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.

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.

DJI Phantom and Wind

This week I took my drone to video Initial Point in Idaho. It’s a rocky outcrop about 20 miles south of Boise that was chosen as the initial survey point for the Idaho Territory in 1867. It has a concrete platform installed at the top with a survey marker embedded. There’s a rocky trail that can be driven to the top if your vehicle has a high ground clearance. I chose to walk to the top.


Initial Point Idaho

My car was parked at the base, I climbed up about 130 feet to the top. The wind was occasionally gusting at the base. It was constant at the top, with much higher gusts.

I carried the drone in my backpack to the top, and launched it from the platform. I manually flew it around the point, but was feeling extremely nervous doing so. I only flew about 36 feet above the platform during the entire flight.

The concrete platform has a metal railing surrounding it, and I didn’t trust the drone to return safely to land without hitting the railing so I manually had it land nearby. As I was hovering the drone before landing, it was holding a fairly constant 20° lean because of the wind.

After hiking back to my car I still had plenty of battery for another flight. From near my car I launched the drone and flew vertically to about 200 feet, centered the drone over the survey marker, and used the point of interest feature to create a video circling the point.

I don’t believe that the wind was any less on my second flight than it was on my first flight. The fact that I was in the wind on the first flight had me feeling significantly more nervous while flying than when I was out of the wind on the second flight. Watching the video from the first and second flight doesn’t appear significantly different. I would have liked the point of interest video slightly more if I’d been on top of the point the entire time, but I was too nervous to do it all while I was sitting in the wind myself.