Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Can So Little Seem Like So Much?

Today we drove only 172 miles, from last night's stop at Thousand Palms, CA, to Simi Valley, CA. How can 172 miles seem like 659 miles? Because it was all on the freeways of the Los Angeles metropolitan area!

Nobody should ever have to drive on these highways! Thank God we weren't driving the motorhome! You have to have at least two people to drive down here: one to steer, watch traffic, slam on the brakes and curse the other drivers and one to watch the Garmin GPS, read the map, and say "No, the LEFT lane for this exit! -- I said the LEFT LANE!"

By the time we got to our destination, Suzy had to literally pry my fingers off the steering wheel!

We did get to see some things like the windmill farms chewing up the sky to make electricity: thousands of these immense apparently slow-moving three- or four-bladed affairs. But when you calculate a little bit: the blades appear to be maybe 50 feet long, and it takes about 30 seconds for a complete rotation --- let's see, circumference equals pi times Diameter, 3.1416 X 100 = 314 feet, so each blade travels 314 feet in 30 seconds, that's 10 feet a second. A mile is 5280 feet, so that's 528 seconds for the tip of a blade to travel a mile. 528 seconds is 8 and a half minutes. The blade travels a mile in 8.5 minutes, so in an hour it would travel about 7 miles. Seven miles an hour -- that's about twice as fast as a person normally walks. Now we know. If you ever get onto Jeopardy, that might come in handy.

Now I'll be the first to admit that my statistics may be flawed. I really think those blades are quite a bit longer than 50 feet, and the 30 second rotation figure came from observation of one windmill one day. It could be a lot faster than that on a real windy day. I tried to do some research on Google, but they aren't talking about size and speed, just how much electricity the windmills can generate, and that the number of bats and birds that are killed is tiny compared to the number killed by cats. But my math is OK. I think.

But why did we only drive 172 miles when we had all day? Our goal was Simi Valley because we really want to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We had tried to visit here a few years ago while traveling in the motorhome, but the threat of the Santa Ana winds encouraged us to move along. This is our opportunity.

And here we are, checked into the Grand Vista Hotel, probably the fanciest hotel Suzy and I have ever stayed in --- on our own. We've been in much finer establishments when our employers where having a major affair, and they were paying the bill. You know it's a fancy place when, upon entering the lobby you have to walk half a city block to get to the registration desk and there are three uniformed agents at the counter ready to grab your American Express Card! Suzy fingered her way through Expedia.com last evening and found a real bargain. We even have a king-size bed and a room service menu!

We'll tell you about the Reagan Library the next time you visit ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. I drove around Los Angeles last year and swore I'd never do it again. Now you have to drive back, don't you. Safe travels.

  2. Mind boggling stats on those windmills. But they are right in our winter stomping grounds from the looks of it - Palm Springs?

    Enjoy the nice hotel and the Reagan Library, I'll be looking forward to your post.

  3. Be careful....there are a lot of scary drivers here in CA. Looking forward to our visit later this week!

  4. It's that traffic mayhem & chaos that keeps us out of all large cities. I had enough of that madness years ago & refuse to voluntarily be a part of it again. It's why we stay on the Borrego Springs side of the mountains in California. If it wasn't for the sheer numbers of people & crush of traffic on the other side we would love to see a lot of the sights over there but it's not likely ever going to happen. That kind of frenzied lifestyle sure makes folks like us totally appreciate where we live & how nice we have it compared to the people living the madness.

  5. Can't wait for your report on the Ronald Regan Library. We want to see it also. Hate dirving through large, traffic ridden towns also. Stay safe.

  6. Are you missing "Rosie"? Hope you didn't let her know you were going away "By Car and Moteling" have fun, drive safe!! Sure glad you are able to post - Always enjoy your text and pictures.
    Barb & Bob

  7. Dennis and I got into a nightmare snag driving our Cougar through downtown Las Vegas once...WHOLLY TRAFFIC, BATMAN!!! We avoid big cities at ALL costs..You are brave souls!! Travel safe!

  8. Guess our retirement checks must be a lot lower than yours cause we aren't staying in any Motels of that caliber. I sure wish I had an RV.
    Enjoy the library.....


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