CAVEAT: THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be long country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. Any products, places, and / or whatnots that I review for this blog are purchased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al sticks tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online footprints by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Entry for July 27, 2008

We took a trip last week, first to a family reunion in Indiana (very low turnout), then on to Crescent Beach, Florida where we stayed for four nights and three days at Beacher’s Lodge, which has great access to the ocean and miles of white sand beach. My normally silky smooth, lily-white legs are recovering from some serious sunburn and sand blasting. The weather was great, only one storm shortened the beach time. Food at the oceanfront South Beach Grill was excellent as always, as was the food from my favorite Greek restaurant, Zaharias’s on A1A. We have vacationed in Crescent Beach nearly every year since 2001. On this visit, we decided against any of the tourist recreations in St. Augustine to make more time for the beach. Few things can equal seeing the moonlight reflecting from the ocean’s surface from your hotel room, or during a late night beach walk.

Gasoline prices were down as low as $3.85 a gallon in some areas along the trip. Traffic was brisk but nowhere near as bad as it has been in past years. My guess is that the cost of fuel is indeed keeping many people off the roads. My Chevy Cobalt averaged over 30 MPG for the 2,200-mile roundtrip; the onboard computer showed that the average speed (city and highway) was 55 MPH. If traffic allowed, I would cruise at the posted limits (mostly 70 MPH). On a rare dash to avoid a bottleneck, I would hit 80 MPH. The worst roads and heaviest traffic on the trip were in Illinois. Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida seem to have a good handle on road maintenance and managing traffic flow in construction areas.

For overnight stays while traveling, Marriot’s Fairfield Inns are very clean and accommodating, and I have never found one in a questionable area of any town. Rest areas on the interstates are accessible, clean, and usually safe during daylight hours. Well-lit busy large truck stops are the best bet for stops during the night. The Cobalt has over a 400-mile range on a tank of gas, but I usually look for a place to refuel when the onboard computer says that I have 100 miles of fuel left.

Some politicians are resurrecting the advocacy of a 55 MPH national speed limit to conserve fossil fuel. That is nonsense, few observed the limit years ago and few will observe it if it is again applied. A more effective step would be to keep the speed limits that exist, and have the automakers hardwire some chips into cars and trucks governing the top speed to 80 MPH. My guess is that the price of gasoline will drop low enough for most of us to resume our lives as usual, and for us to lose our zealotry for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Would a government mandate help? Mandatory belt restraints, air bags, and air pollution control would never have happened via the benevolence of the automakers. Mandating fuel economy may have merit. America loves to drive.

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