Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dec 20: Driving to California!

The Traveling Trio will be hitting the road... laying down some rubber and making tracks to visit family throughout California. (As Governator Arnie would say, "Cauli-foh-nyah")

Snow brings out the festive mood in people. The white stuff covers the flaws in the streets, brings a hush to the air by damping sounds and reminds people that Christmas is around the corner! Hurray!

Work even looks like a fun winter wonderland! lol!

Then you have have to drive in the stuff!

That's when the crazy stuff happens, tempers flare and people (me, myself and I) cuss like sailors.

Ice is interesting stuff to drive on...

1) Leaving work a car stops at a light. Of course, knowing conditions are poor I slow to a stop with plenty of room. I notice the car in front of me is starting to slide sideways. It must be ice. Wow! My car is starting to slide sideways too. I apply a little gas to get the tires to engage and straighten out the car, but why is that guy still on the brakes? Fortunately, for him the light changes and he's able to go... or I would have gone around him.

2) I'm walking the pups before my road trip and a car is trying to drive up a hill... The driver takes a running start at the hill where the car slows to a stop midway up. He guns the engine and the tires spin. He stops and guns the engine again... gets two feet and the tires are spinning out to the point they're smoking. Is he trying to melt the ice an inch at a time? He finally gives up. Reverses, Y-turns and goes back down the hill.

The lesson with these two cases has to do with physics and friction. Static friction gives you the greatest force while dynamic friction results in less force. Tires rolling on the ground is due to static friction. Tires sliding or spinning out is dynamic friction (a lower force to keep you in place or propel you forward). The key is to keep the tires rolling without spinning out.

Anyway, back to my road trip... It's time to leave while the leaving good - between storms.
First day was slow and hellish. Turned out to be a 10 or 11 hour trip, including pit stops at rest areas to walk the pups. I lost track. People driving on clear highways with chains should have their licenses revoked. Traffic is trying to go by at 50 to 60 mph and these folks are going 25mph.

After sleeping in the car, the pups went to straight to sleep.

Day 2 in Oregon, about 30 miles from CA, but still a long trip ahead. Another 10 hour day. Of course, I run into a massive traffic jam in the SF-Sacramento Area.

Good thing I have a desk job and sitting around doing nothing is easy for me... lol!

The final peak/mountain pass before California!

Typical road food... caffeine, high calories sustenance and a snack to keep me awake.

The food has to be high calories since I don't like stopping for lunch. Also, the trick is to slowly eat the sandwich of the next few hours so you don't have a lead weight in your stomach at the beginning of the trip. :-)


Anonymous said...

Love the road story, especially the physics (I'm a physicist) yes some basic physical ideas could stop a lot of accidents. Yes agree about the high calorie snacking but I thought it was to do with body heat production. In Finland and Russia to quickly warm up the body they drink pure butter (about 1 to 2 cups) this really heats and warm you up quickly. I have done it once it really works only use for extreme cases or else the heart attack rate goes up.

Hope trip is safe for you and the dogs (cute photos). Happy NY to you and your family and friends and pets.

Eat4Fun said...

Physics is Phun (fun)... lol! Wow! Drinking pure butter. I don't think I can do that... unless it's accompanied with lobster or crab meat. :-)