Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Horrible to die in Indiana

Recently I mentioned my four near-death experiences but forgot the fifth. I was en route from Pittsburgh to Wheaton, Illinois, (25 miles west of Chicago) accompanied by a Pittsburgh colleague who had, in retrospect, a terrifying theory. Expressways, thru-ways, and interstates are less crowded in the early hours so why not drive then? By 3 am we were reduced to 30-minute stints to ensure one of us didn't just give up the ghost and fall asleep at the wheel.

What did wake us up was a loud bang at about 80 mph. I knew enough not to jump on the brakes and it seemed to take quarter-of-a-mile to come to a halt. Distant inspection revealed flames licking a burst rear tyre above which was the fuel tank.

The sequel to this is dull I'm afraid but relates to something many ignore. Given I was lucky it was a rear and not a front tyre I take tyre checks quite seriously. Especially on our long journey through France to the Languedoc villa. Because the load changes from our normal two persons to five the recommended tyre pressure rises significantly from 33 psi to 42 psi. And because garage gauges are often defective I have become a connoisseur of the portable variety.

The traditional silver one pushes a piston and needs to be positioned carefully; it's also worth having several goes. The one with a digital read-out is difficult to mate with the valve but is more accurate. The tubey-dialish one has yet to be used but I have great hopes. Dull, I know, but then it's so yesterday to cartwheel over the Armco.

Novel progress 27/11/09. Ch. 5: 6932 words (Read. Satisfied.) Chs. 1 - 4: 15,288 words. Comment: A grand improbable love story (not Hatch for now) rises and topples over.


Avus said...

As a motorcyclist I agree about attention to tyres and pressures (that small area of rubber contacting the road is all there is between me and kingdom come). I also use the "Halford's digital" these days. Not only more accurate, but easier to crank over the valve and under the cast alloy wheel spokes of a PTW

Sir Hugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Hugh said...

Can't wait to hear how the untested one goes on.

(Prev. comment deleted due to spelling error)

Hattie said...

I depend on my techno husband to know these things, which he too sometimes learned the hard way.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah yes, something to keep in mind as the busy holiday travelling season approaches. Properly inflated tires also help you keep control of the car when all sorts of woodland critters suddenly dash in front of you as you're barreling down the road. This is a huge concern around here. Just yesterday, a tailflicker narrowly missed the swiftly rolling rubber of my Buick! He's alive today because of tires properly inflated.

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Vital with bikes. A burst back tyre is almost as bad as a burst front. Re the Halford digital: it must be my clumsy fingers.

Sir Hugh (x 2): Since I've been spreading boobos all over the place just recently I sympathised with your need to start again. Alas though, there is no secrecy left in this world. I have adjusted my settings so that incoming comments to the blog are flagged in my email account. As a result your first attempt (with the spelling mistake) was there for me to see. In fact I sympathise even more; that is not an error one could live with. That homily over, I'll go and check my tyres.

Hattie: It's a mucky business increasing tyre pressures at the garage, deservedly left to techno-husband. However you should attune your antennae to the matter and ask him, at appropriate times: "Do the tyres need...?" The family that inflates together avoids the Armco.

RW (zS): A Buick! But I had you tagged as owning a... No, I'll leave that until I need a special favour or (more likely) forgiveness for one of those aforesaid booboos.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, the Buick. BB, you should know that it was not a purchase of the heart. It was there on the lot, a used car with low mileage, a reasonable, sensible car (aargh). It is only my second ~ my first was a Mustang Hatchback that lasted 217,000 miles! I miss that Mustang, let me tell you.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): Knew you weren't a Buick Babe, au fond. What stopped you going for quarter-of-a-million in the pony car? Don't tell me now, let it seep through the interstices of your blog, causing me to dribble with anticipation.