The Dark Side of the Moon

Dark Side Moon-distglow-Moon5

When the space program was in its infancy a new term came into existence “the dark side of the moon.” The term applied to the time the astronauts in orbit around the moon for the very first time lost all contact with planet Earth. The time was scary. No one knew what had happened. The loss of communication had not been expected. Yet, when analyzed, it became obvious that radio signals from the capsule when it was behind the moon, i.e. the moon was between the capsule and Earth, could not wrap around the moon toward earth. The tension at Mission Control could be felt around the world. The loss lasted several minutes, and a cheer went out after the capsule again came around into the signal area.

I am currently traveling and I feel like I have been on the dark side of the moon with my posts. At other times, I blogged daily from different parts of the USA. This time I have not had the opportunity to do so.

Today, I drove four hundred and eighty miles from one city to another.  The first half, or two hundred and forty miles, took five and a half hours for a grand spanking 43.6 mph average. The gas consumption measured 27.8 mpg. The ride was scenic and through rural areas. We experienced one incident which tested my mettle. I stopped to gas up, and stopped in front of a gas pump. I pushed the button to pop open the lid for the gas fill tube. It did not open. I kept pushing the button on the dash, nothing happened. I stepped out and used the key fob to pry at the edge of the door, nothing happened. I asked Peg to sit in the driver’s seat to push the button while I banged and pried at the door, nothing happened. Finally, I told myself to use some force to get the darn thing open. I figured the worst would be a broken or  bent door. Peg held the button down and I levered the door with the key fob enough to get my fingers into the opening and yanked for all I was worth. The door opened. I gassed up and left the door open for the rest of the trip.

The second two hundred and forty miles were more scenic  and covered wide open spaces with very large skies, it took three hours for an 80 mph average, and a gas usage of 25.1 mpg.  In both halves I never exceeded the speed limit. If you knew where I was you would understand completely why there is such a difference. I enjoyed both halves of the course, but must admit the second half was a white knuckle ride. A lapse of a single second from the road found me correcting the wheel. At high speeds it is easy to wander from side to side very quickly. I also experienced the sensation of relative speed. When approaching a vehicle from far behind my speed seemed normal, however, when coming up behind the same vehicle from within thirty-car lengths the distance between us closed at the speed of light. In one instance I came upon a semi-truck and signaled to change lanes for a pass. The truck pulled into the passing lane at the same instant. I found myself standing on the brakes to avoid running into him.

Tomorrow morning we will cover three hundred miles at the same speed limit, I look forward to the thrill.

One Response

  1. Shake the trees but don’t rake the leaves.

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