The simplest things in life are not nearly as incontrovertible as they may seem. I often find myself wondering about the series of actions, the cause and effect, that has led me to this very instant. Of course, such thoughts often lead to the even more existential possibilities of how I, or my place in life, may be altered by changing past events and actions. Of course, this train of thought is always immediately followed by the question of how alterations to the past could drive me to crazed heights of genius which would logically then result in the creation of an 115ft tall robot. (Anime and Cartoon Network have ruined me for reality.)
The above was composed by my pre-frontal cortex as I desperately attempted to avoid scaring the bejesus out of the perfectly normal drivers of non-obsolete cars that the lube jockey behind the parts counter can actually pronounce the names of. While my basic reflexes and motion-detection brain bits are occupied keeping me alive, my higher-cognitive functions get bored and start screwing with me. The more hairy the situation, the more ridiculous the shenanigans my brain will pull on me. This one time when I was trapped under a mower deck, my brain solved the incongruities of string theory, I swear. I would in no way be surprised if Albert Einstein came up with his best ideas while juggling hand grenades, or Thomas Edison while playing five fingers with his favorite knife.
It was a warm day, a red day, a fracking windy day. No, seriously, it was crazy windy. This is a serious matter to me. To fully impart the impact of high winds upon your psyche, it is important to understand Chuck. Chuck has the aerodynamics of a brick. Literally, he is a brick on wheels. He also has manual steering combined with enormous steering wheel.
|Errrr, emmm nice try Google images...|
When the winds break 20mph, it is both-hands-on-the-wheel time. There is no wrist at the 12:00 position, leaned-back, relaxed cruisin'. It's a good thing I spent so many hours playing Sega GT as a teenager. It taught me important things such as "a turbo and wider tires make everything faster" and "the E-brake is the easiest solution for hairpin turns."
|This is a static photo, no motion, the winds had slowed to a relaxed 20mph at this point.|
Today, the winds were constant at 35mph, with gusts to 60mph. My knuckles were white, I was blinking one eye at a time to avoid the deadly Salsosa tragus, which the public call by such a harmless name as tumbleweed. These were no normal weeds, at over 3 feet in diameter, these beasts can crush a grill at the speeds they were flying. Add the 40mph of the weeds to my 45+mph and these beasties were already going faster than Chuck ever has. The dust was thick, drifting across the road, settling on Chucks windshield, and the lid of my water cup... I am still finding sand in my teeth. Just so you don't think I am some kind of wind pansy, a 34 miles section of I-40 was closed due to drifting sand, and white-out (tan-out?) conditions.
Of course, through all of this Jen was doing what any faithful wife would, sleeping. Not the dozing lightly kind. Her head was lolling left and right with the wind gusts, her slack jaw oscillated with the crappy New Mexico roads. Sometimes her subconscious (though not entirely undeserved) faith in my driving skills is somewhat disconcerting.
As I climb the hills, valleys, and mountains of I-40 westbound, it occurs to me, that this would be much better if I could go the speed limit. Seriously, every time the wind shifted to head on, my speed would drop 10mph, add the requisite 10mph loss for grades over 2% and we were chugging along at 45-50mph. Even the semis were getting annoyed with me (stupid turbo diesels...). I have discovered that Chuck needs Moar HP. Between the wind, altitude, and steep grades, 110HP was not enough. At 7000ft that 110 is more like 100HP. Of course, our funds are pretty limited at this point. So it looks like I will just get used to staying in the slow lane. If you happen to have a 1.8T, G60, or Subaru 2.2/2.5 engine laying about, feel free to donate it to the Underpowered Camper Vans of America Charity. UCVAC may or may not consist solely of Chuck.
On a somewhat related note, I have discovered that not only does Jen love all plants living with an unholy passion, she also loves plants that are millions of years dead too.
|Petrified wood, apparently just as cute as real wood.|