Scoutlanding Report #2

Amazing, but yes, this is in fact only the 2nd Scoutlanding report. Anyway, here’s my results from today’s adventure:

If you turn onto the road for Fitchburg High School (the new building) and follow it down a ways, you’ll come to a fork in the road. The left-hand fork is a dead-end, but if you bear right and go about 1000 feet, you’ll come across a path on your left that is wide open (no gate, no signs). There’s a stream not too far down, and also some signs that warn of a cross-country cable buried in the vicinity – these signs have the AT&T logo on them. Interesting, huh? I didn’t go beyond the stream, because I was just Scoutlanding – but I probably could’ve made it a ways beyond. However, it’s never wise to go Outlanding alone, so this trail will have to wait for another time.

Following that same road and bearing left when you come to the next intersection or two will bring you by a road called “Telephone Road.” This dirt road is a dead-end, but it has more of those AT&T signs at the end, and probably connects with the other end of the previously mentioned trail.

Going further down this road (again, bear left at any 3-way intersections) may bring you past a road that says “Road closed to thru traffic.” Ignore this sign – the road is quite open; though it does turn to dirt for a good portion of the way. Following this road to its end will bring you out onto Rindge Road.

Not bad for a short Scoutlanding trip, eh?

International CXT

PM: Jay Leno’s Garage – Mar. 2005

An article by Jay Leno about the amazingly over-sized International CXT… what is ostensibly a “pickup truck” built on the same platform used by dump trucks & whatnot.

Totally obnoxious, but Jay’s writing is funny, so it’s an enjoyable read. Here’s a little quote:

When you take people to lunch in most vehicles, you can look in the rearview mirror to see if all your passengers are ready. With this big boy you actually have to unbuckle your seatbelt, turn around and look just to find them all. There are people sitting in hidden pockets of this thing. I mean, I took a whole bunch of people to lunch—I’m not even sure how many. And everybody had a seat.

You know, with an SUV, you’re up high so you can see two or three cars in front of you. In the CXT, you can see the horizon. When people see you in their rearview mirror, they’re startled. Probably the only thing they can see is the bumper. If you want them out of the way, just hit the giant air horn. Of course, if you had an accident with this thing, you might damage the planet. You could actually dent the Earth.

And of course, the highly amusing:

There are a few minor challenges, though. You can’t park it anywhere. I went to the market in it and there were four spaces marked “Compact.” So I took all of them.

Heh heh heh…

Fun in the Snow

Okay, I admit it, I’m a sucker for snow – especially when there’s lots of it.

I dropped off Amanda at the YMCA (gym) today around 1pm, and then I decided to go for a “drive.” At this point, there’s like 5 inches of snow in most places – give or take 1 or 2 inches – and the roads are pretty bad because it’s coming down so fast that the plows can’t keep up with it. Perfect conditions for some joy riding!

After driving up (and down) most of the big hills in Fitchburg (my street being one of them), I headed up route 12 towards Ashburnham. The roads were slick, but I never noticed. Along the way, in West Fitchburg, I came across an accident that had just taken place. The police were there, and the tow truck was just arriving, so the road was blocked for a few minutes, and I had plenty of time to observe.

A middle-aged guy driving a Chevy Suburban had smashed into a telephone pole at a corner – interestingly, he hit the pole on the inside of the corner. (How he did this I’m not sure, but I’m certain that “bad driving” had something to do with it.) So I watched this with some amusement until they moved the truck to the side of the road where the flat-bed tow truck could get to it.

After reaching Ashburnham, I turned onto 110 (I think it’s 110, maybe 101? I forget.) This was a fun road, because out this far the plows are scarce compared to Fitchburg – and there’s more snow up there, too. Eventually this merged with Rindge Road – which leads back to Fitchburg. THIS was a challenge. It had NOT been plowed AT ALL. All I had to go on were a pair of tire-tracks on my side of the road, with snow piled 6″ deep everywhere else. Even with AWD and snow tires, it was a bit tough. Especially since I was traveling at between 35 and 40 MPH. However, as most regular readers of this blog will know, I’m an excelent driver. Some concentration, both hands on the wheel, and judicious use of engine braking allowed me to remain in control the entire way. But it was FUN. :-)

Back in Fitchburg, the main roads had improved somewhat, and it was almost time to pick up Amanda from the YMCA. So, I went home to wait out the last half hour (and obviously, to write this entry) and once again, found the only problem I have in the snow. Ironically, it occurs when I’m turning a sharp corner that’s got a lot of snow on it. My speed is usually like 3 MPH (yes, 3), and the Keithmobile just kind of… slips. Sideways. Sometimes the front doesn’t turn (understeer), and sometimes the back end whips out a bit (oversteer). It’s a little annoying; but what can you do? Snow tires give less traction side to side (as opposed to forwards & backwards), and let’s face it, at only 3,500 lbs., the Keithmobile isn’t that heavy. So it slides from time to time, if you’re not careful (or if conditions are nasty). Still, all it takes is some quick steering input to correct (for oversteer), or, alternatively, a light jab to the throttle (for understeer). So it’s all good. (I love my car!)

Well, I gotta get to the YMCA now – drive safely everyone, and enjoy the snow, if you can!