Cruise Control at 65mph

Last weekend I went to Seattle, and on the way back had the patience to drive for an entire tank of gas at 65mph. Often on a long drive I’ll have the cruise control set approximately five to ten over the posted speed limit. This time I left the cruise control speed at 65 even after I got to Idaho where the posted speed is 80mph.

A very interesting thing during the drive from Portland to Boise, the trip computer was regularly calculating the range at a number that, when added to the miles already driven, calculated over 600 miles in the tank. The pictures above are showing an estimate of 580 miles in the tank after having already driven 400 miles.

A quick calculation of driving 432 miles at 65mph vs the same distance at 75mph tells me that the faster speed only saves me 53 minutes. This time I arrived home with over a quarter tank of fuel. Previous times I’ve had the low fuel warning light on when I was still 20 miles short of reaching home. If you figure I could have put another 7 gallons of gas in the car at over $2.50 a gallon, I saved about $17.50 for that 53 minutes. It was on a day that I hadn’t planned on doing anything beyond driving point to point, so I think it was worth it. Just the difference in gas price between Idaho and Washington pushed that difference in cost to over $20.

The real calculations below show that I only achieved 22.72 mpg during this stretch, while the computer was displaying 25.0 mpg. The 16.59 in the next column is the average mpg over the entire lifetime of my vehicle.

3/29/2017 11.555  $    29.45 138615 17.40 16.56  $      2.55 201.0 4 50
3/31/2017 21.918  $    63.98 139002 17.66 16.57  $      2.92 387.0 2 194
4/2/2017 21.265  $    61.01 139401 18.76 16.57  $      2.87 399.0 2 200
4/2/2017 5.196  $    14.23 139513 21.56 16.58  $      2.74 112.0 0 112
4/3/2017 19.011  $    48.08 139945 22.72 16.59  $      2.53 432.0 1 432
Oregon I84

Oregon I84

Oregon I84

Oregon I84

Sometime I may have the patience to try driving the stretch at 55mph, which was the law when I was back in university and drove a car that regularly achieved 38mpg. Views like these last pictures are part of what makes the drive itself worthwhile.

Rental Car vs Personal Car

I’ve spent most of the last winter in Boise, but still call the Seattle area home. I own a BMW X5 that turns 15 years old this year. I ordered it from the factory with the options I wanted, and have been happy with it other than the gas mileage, which I understood when I bought it, and the electronics, which are now 15 years old.

A driving trip from Boise to Seattle is 500 miles each way. That means a trip is a minimum of 1000 miles. My X5 gets as much as 19mpg on the highway, and it requires 91 octane or better fuel. A round trip in my vehicle is going to be a minimum of 52 gallons of fuel, plus wear and tear on the vehicle itself.

I did some quick research and figured out that a comfortable sized rental car would include a Ford Focus, and it should get about 38mpg on the highway, and it would probably take regular fuel, which is already 20¢ per gallon cheaper. I’d driven a Focus in Hawaii in the past and liked the way it drove so was interested in trying it out for this purpose.

I’d plugged in my start and several destinations into Google Maps and come up with a distance I’d drive of 1200 miles for estimation purposes. I created a simple spreadsheet with rough details. I was hoping to get as many as 38mpg in my rental car, which meant that I’d get a savings of over $100 towards paying for the rental car.

Rental Car BMW X5
1200 1200 Miles to Drive
38.00 17 Miles per Gallon
31.57895 70.58824 Gallons of Gas
 $       2.57  $     2.79 Average cost of Gas
 $     81.16  $ 196.94 Total Cost of Gas
 $ 115.78 Savings by using a rental car

I rented from Budget. They didn’t have a Focus, but I got a Nissan Sentra that had very nice electronic toys for me to play with, including Bluetooth connectivity for my phone for both music and telephone calls. It also connected to my phone via the USB connection which seemed to have slightly better audio, plus keeping my phone charged the entire time. The rated MPG seemed to be about 5mpg less than the Ford, but you take what you can get.

After the drive, I tallied up my gas receipts in the fashion I keep track of with my X5 normally.

Date Gallons  Total Mileage MPG Average MPG  Dollars/Gallon Miles In Tank
11/3/2016 1.212 2.86 18200  $     2.36
11/3/2016 9.222 23.97 18538 36.65 36.65  $     2.60 338.0
11/8/2016 8.284 20.37 18806 32.35 34.62  $     2.46 268.0
11/8/2016 3.552 2.239 18924 33.22 34.38  $     0.63 118.0
11/8/2016 6.359 16.4 19122 31.14 33.63  $     2.58 198.0
11/9/2016 6.673 15.74 19346 33.57 33.62  $     2.36 224.0

And then I transferred that data into a duplicate table like the first one.

Rental Car BMW X5
1146 1146 Miles to Drive
33.62 16 Miles per Gallon
34.09 71.625 Gallons of Gas
 $       2.31  $     2.53 Average cost of Gas
 $     78.72  $ 181.15 Total Cost of Gas
 $ 102.43 Savings by using a rental car

I didn’t get quite the mileage that I was expecting to get while driving the rental car, and it seemed to go down as I drove it longer. I’m guessing that it was largely related to my being more of a leadfoot the longer I was in the car. I paid $171.78 for the rental car, so the estimated gas savings mean that I paid less than $70 for not having wear and tear on my own vehicle.

Nissan Sentra Instrument Pod

Nissan Sentra Instrument Pod

Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra

My First Personalized Luggage

I have been purging things recently and after getting rid of my Samsonite luggage, it was time to get rid of my Skyway luggage as well. While I think of the Samsonite as my first luggage, it was originally my mothers, while this Skyway was purchased for me.

Skyway Side View

Full Case Side View

Skyway Handle

Handle with personalization.

The last time I used this luggage for flying was obviously on a trip to Zurich. It’s also interesting that it has GVA inspection stickers on the slide locks, for when it went through Geneva Switzerland.

This was very nice luggage that I was probably given as I went off to university in 1985. It was the first generation with four wheels that you pulled behind you instead of the two wheel style of the earlier Samsonite. Two wheels rotate, while two wheels stay straight. It had a leash that connected to a hook on one end and could be snapped to the top for storage, or as was generally recommended, disconnected entirely so it wouldn’t get pulled loose in transit.

This design was not a hardside like the Samsonite, but had a sturdy outer fabric. It wasn’t as moisture resistant, but was generally nicer. It had a stiff outer frame, and the sides were softer and somewhat flexible.

I carried this luggage back and forth to Europe with me many times in the early 1990s. A nice feature of this design is the ability to open it on a luggage rack and rummage through the contents. The style of the Samsonite required double the space to open it.  Both of these were before the modern habit of luggage that’s designed to be carried on in the passenger compartment. When I was flying with this I could also carry on a garment bag and have it hung in the closet in the airplane.

The heavy use of this bag over the years has obviously bent the frame around the wheels, causing one to come off entirely, and the others not to sit straight.  Having a combination lock was nice because it could be secured without worrying about having the right key to open it. This was all in the days before TSA. Back then, the only time your bag would be opened for inspection would be in your presence, usually as you were going through international customs.

Time to get rid of old Samsonite

It’s finally time to get rid of the oldest suitcase that I’ve been keeping around. I’ve had a stack of suitcases in my storage unit for the past several years, and I occasionally pull one out if I’m traveling and need more than an overnight bag can easily carry.

This one is kind of interesting, and the stickers on it are nostalgic for me. It still has the manufacturer sticker proclaiming that it has WHEELS!

Samsonite with handle extended

Samsonite with handle extended

Samsonite with handle secured

Samsonite with handle secured

This was the first generation suitcase with wheels, and it really was a big deal. Mom bought this suitcase, but it became the suitcase that I carried most often. I know that the suitcase was purchased in 1981 or earlier, because the cruise stickers were from Christmas of 1981. This is the style case cruise ships still recommend, because it opens in the middle, lies flat, and can slide under most beds. You can see that the plastic feet for the suitcase have broken off in recent years.

We lived in Australia from 1981 to 1983. I really liked the Advance Australia logo, and anyone who’s checked luggage a lot knows that making your luggage recognizable is important.

P&O was the Pacific and Orient Cruise Line, which became famous running Princess Cruises, and we went out on the Sea Princess. The Sea Princess was the sister ship to the Pacific Princess, which was the ship used for the TV Series The Love Boat.

Inside Airline Tag

Inside Airline Tag with our Australia address and phone number

This was the suitcase I took with me when I went off to university, with everything I needed for the first semester if school inside. When I graduated a few years later, I had a 5’x10′ storage unit full of stuff.

This suitcase has carried a lot of memories for me. Now it’s taking space in a storage unit that needs to be made available for other items.

Lily Pond

Lily Pond

Lily Pond, Washington Park, Chicago, Ill., U. S. A.

This is the last of the stereograph pictures I had to scan, and the only one in color. It’s interesting how only the green color remains.

I don’t know if a color photography system was originally used and the colors other than green have faded, or if the color was added later. I suspect the former.

Spanish Torpedo

Spanish Torpedo Taken from Harbor of Santiago

Spanish Torpedo Taken from Harbor of Santiago.

In modern warfare explosives are coming more and more into use. Streets and thoroughfares as well as rivers, straights and harbors over which it is thought the enemy may pass, are mined with deadly explosives sufficiently powerful to wreck the mightiest battleship or overwhelm a large land force. Torpedoes are usually made in forms similar to a cigar, so that they may be projected under water, the sharp end going forward. As is well known, they can be arranged to explode by contact, a time fuse, or an electric wire. The sample death dealing instrument shown in this view provided with contact arms which, when struck, thrust a spike into the interior as shown, causing explosion by percussion. Doubtless it was some such contrivance as one of those described above, which, on Feb. 15th, 1898, tore into shred and sent to the bottom of Havana Harbor, our proud battleship “Maine,” together with nearly her entire crew.

Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge (Grand Canyon of the Arkansas), Colorado, U. S. A.

“Oh! the power that piled these wonders
As the mountains took their stations;
As a great red belt rose upward in a glittering zone of fire.” — Ferguson.

The crowning wonder of Colorado is the world famed Royal Gorge. Its rock piled crags tower above the river at this point 2,600 feet. The narrow and broad gauge railroad running through the canon is one of the greatest pieces of railroad engineering ever accomplished.