6. P T and A

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

This is an entirely non-political section of this blog, with random photos from my travels across the United States. Randomly updated…

Sheriff’s deputy blocks the westbound lanes on I-74 in Indiana, just east of Indianapolis. It was a major accident.

89a

Another collection of trucks:

080a

A freight train making its way through the valley right next to Devil’s Slide, Utah.

017a

My new ride: Kia Optima! Another step into automotive purism… I had planned to trade in my Accord Sport at 50K miles, so when I reached that I started looking around for a good replacement. My default choice was another Accord Sport but with a 6-speed manual – it is a blast to drive… But that was precisely my problem. In the Accord I was always pushing the speed limits, so I decided to scale back and look for something more… docile. And pure, in other words free of as much electronic nonsense as possible. The Optima turned out to be, well, the optimal choice. This is the base model, but it is better equipped than my Accord was. It rides more comfortably and does not urge you to carve through the curves like you are on the run from the law. It is laid back and quiet. Plus, the torque band is wider than on the Accord. (That has always been my beef with Hondas – you have to pass 3,000 revs before they go into action.) Long story short – a trade up for less money.

optima

Small two-engine plane taking off from Cheyenne airport. Pilot was probably happy there was no wind, which usually makes flights to and from Cheyenne a vomitable nightmare…

IMG_9448

A couple of BNSF engines, idling while waiting to go pick up more coal upstate:

064a

The more miles I put on my Accord Sport, the more I like it. A nice car for automotive purists who are sick and tired of the gadgetification of the automobile.

012c

1970 Cougar Eliminator! Top of the food chain in the muscle-car era.

IMG_0398

Accident on the I-80. A guy pulling both a fifth wheeler and a flatbed trailer with two ATVs probably got caught by surprise by strong cross winds:

146

Another freight train. Somewhere in Wyoming:

IMG_9247

This is the highest point on I-80 anywhere between Hackensack, NJ and San Francisco. It’s 8,640 feet above sea level, and a 2,000-feet elevation over the 39-mile distance from Cheyenne: 051a I-15 near Brigham City, UT: 021a It takes monstrous power to move coal out of Wyoming. Here’s where that power comes from: IMG_8368 Busy I-405, Seattle, WA: IMG_9160 A UPS Cargo 747 trying to look beefy next to a FedEx Cargo… is that a Lockheed Tristar? At Stevens International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska: IMG_9153 Traffic jam on I-90 through the Snoqualmie, Washington state. In the right lane, that’s a Honda Pilot behind an older Ford Escape. In the left lane, the newest (and quite overdone) iteration of the Hyundai Sonata behind an old Mazda 626. In front of the Mazda, a Ford Fusion: 063a Interstate 84, just east of La Grande, OR. 118a Interstate 5, somewhere in central California: IMG_8782 Autobahnkampfwagen: IMG_8793 Interstate 5, just north of Roseburg, Oregon: 139 Gary, Indiana. Not the first place you’d want to stop for a snack and some gasoline: 122 Ohio Turnpike. The silver sedan is a Hyundai Genesis. 123 My new Accord. Great car! 111 I-17, outside Flagstaff, AZ, looking south. 109 The spaced-out Acura TL: Acura TL A real gem – Pontiac Grand Ville, probably from 1973. No price tag. I’d give a lot to cruise through the Wide Wild West in this babe…: 022 Somewhere in Nebraska: The second-generation Toyota Camry Solara. The first generation was well designed but this second-gen model was, well, wallowy. It looked like something that could have come out of a GM design studio: Interstate 70, somewhere in Kansas:   Last-generation Mercedes E-class, a nice example with panorama sunroof and a cool, classy blue color: Interstate 84, somewhere in Idaho. Dodge Charger V8 AWD, in the service of an Iowa State Trooper: Indiana Toll Road: Interstate 25, just north of Cheyenne, WY. Looking south: Ford Taurus SHO. A beautiful example:

A rare example of a rare species – Acura NSX making its way through Denver commuter traffic. God bless the man who keeps it alive! Ford Mustang Convertible, only a V6 but still a decent car. In the background, a classic early ’90s Camry: Random selection of cars, eastbound on the I-80. New S 550, last-generation Taurus and a ten-year-old Buick:

4 comments

  1. Utlandssvensk

    Great selection of cars, Larson!

    I got the new Audi A8 about one year ago. So far, I am really happy with that car. It is light due to the aluminum body and the four weel drive system delivers in the alps. Even with the small engine (3 liter diesel) it is almost as fast as the 911 that I traded in (0-100 in 6.0 sec versus 5.5 for the Porsche). And that is done with an average consumtion of around 7 liters for 100 km! I often do Zurich – Malmö on one tank and it is a fantastic car to do long distance with. The only problem is parking but that should not be an issue in WY (I assume).

  2. S R Larson

    Thanks, my friend! Congratulations on the new car. Audi sure knows how to make diesel engines. BMW has been selling the 335d here for a long time, but due to the model transition it’s not currently available. I was considering it for my next trade-in, but I’ve become more and more of an automotive purist over the years. I flat out rejected an offer from my Hyundai dealer to get in to the new Azera. It’s a great luxury car, with leather seats, a silky smooth V6, panorama sunroof, cooled-and-heated seats, and all the electronic bells and whistles you could ever wish for. And somewhere there, they lost me. I don’t need to do facebook updates while driving. Nor do I need stock market updates or a cruise control that slows down my car when someone is ahead of me. If I can’t do that, I don’t belong behind the wheel. So I am considering a truly purist choice: either an old early ’70s battle-ship size, body-on-frame cruiser… or a brand new Honda Accord Sport with very few features, an inline four and a six-speed manual.

    • Utlandssvensk

      The Accord is a great looking car and in general I think that Japanese cars have better quality. We have a 2007 Subaru Legacy (3 liter petrol) as well and of all the cars that I have owned, this one is unique in the sense that there has been no problems what so ever. It just runs and it is also (like the Honda) a very fun car to drive. Very similar to a BMW, actually. In Switzerland, Subaru is very popular due to the permanent 4 wheel drive.

      The purist thing I can relate to. As an example, I really don’t like any buttons on the steering wheel but it is now almost impossible to avoid. Also, I want to be able to turn off the rain sensor, etc, etc. Maybe it is just an age thing?

      Talking about older cars, I have heard that Ford is now selling brand new components for the original Mustang, i.e. you can now build one yourself. That one, as a convertible, is a bit of a dream car for me….

      Anyway, always fun to talk about cars and I hope to see you back in the Swedish debate. You are needed!

  3. S R Larson

    Thanks for the appreciation. We’ll see. Somewhere I’ve given up on Sweden, but I have not given up on trying to have a say.

    Let’s keep in touch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s