Art at the speed limit

Typically cars aren’t thought of as tools for creating art. Sure, Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson used a Formula 1 race car to shoot paintballs at a canvas, and  BMW ran a new M6  with ink sprayed on its tires to make promotional postcards, but one would never mistake, say, a Porsche for a paintbrush. However, pointing the lens out the window at (um, yes officer sir, we were traveling the) speed limit, can create a delightfully impressionistic pastel effect, with lovely distortions and blending. This is the same Interstate 40-side rice field as seen in this earlier shot, taken at a somewhat slower speed.

blurred rice field
RACING — past a rice field in mid-harvest.

Cars and coffee

We got up early to attend our first outing of a Saturday morning car club coffee klatsch. (Unlike our other first car club meeting, we went to this one voluntarily.) Though sponsored by the local Porsche club, all marques are invited. Despite a somewhat damp and overcast morning with a bit of a chill, more than a dozen car folk brought out their machines. Discussion of favorite driving routes, automotive admiration, and even some car parts dealing, ensued.

In a way, this fits into Where’s my backpack”?’s challenge this week: Transportation.

By the grace of God and faith in engineering

Rain. Hydroplane. Slide.

In the seconds between leaving the road and coming to rest in the trees, there were three clear thoughts running through my head: “I hope we don’t roll.” “Get as deep into the seat as you can without bracing.” and “My husband’s side is going to hit the trees and there’s nothing I can do about it.”  He told me later he was thinking, “I’m glad it’s going to hit me and not her.”

The roadster’s front end hit a tree and the force spun the car. Then everything stopped. The only sound, the staccato drumming of the rain on the hard top, was broken by the questions:  “You OK? I’m OK.” “Are you OK? I’m OK.” And then we opened the doors and stepped out into the rain, giddy that we could.

We are grateful to the engineers who could design a car to take such a blow and allow us to walk away — even after 91,000 miles with adventures in 15 states. The front end absorbed so much energy the airbags didn’t deploy. Inside, the cabin was pristine, one couldn’t tell that anything was wrong.

We can’t help but think that beyond the engineering, the grace of God played the biggest part in our survival.

Sadly, the much-loved car is no more, totaled by the insurance company.

THE LONG SLIDE — The four tracks indicate the sideways motion over wet grass that was slick as ice.
OFF ROAD — Where the roadster came to rest.
THE DIAMETER OF A TREE — The impression left by the tree in the engine compartment, two weeks ago today.

Jan. 29 and 75 degrees

Here it is late January and according to the National Weather Service, it hit 75 downtown.  However, as is often said, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” There’s a slight chance of snow in 72 hours.

Buffleheads noodling around the pond.
Chipmunk enjoys a warm morning.
Squinting chipmunk enjoys a warm morning.
Cardinal in a tree
Cardinal gazes out from his perch.
It was so warm, it was a good day for car washing.