Interesting Stuff

Summer Musings Take 3

Gas crunch. What gas crunch?

Last weeks’s day job trek to Yellowstone found the GUARDIAN pondering the effects of high gas prices, the economy in general and the role Yellowstone and the West play in the lives of those who don’t live here.
The couple in the little ultra tiny Smart Car with Illinois plates had to really love each other or have alzheimers to ride more than 4,000 miles–albeit at some astronomical mpg–confined in a space the size of a Larry Craig toilet stall. They were part of the endless stream of visitors entering and exiting the nation’s first national park at West Yellowstone. A cheap “mom and pop” motel room where you park at the front door cost us $109. Everything within the park was booked full.

We saw gas as high as $4.36 and as low as $4.09 during the loop from Boise through the parks and back. The Eastern Idaho stations sell a low grade 85 octane as “regular.” No shortage of gas or customers.
A lone coyote was cause for a major traffic jam as tourists “cried wolf” and jumped out to take photos. The biggest chuckle came in the Hayden Valley east of Yellowstone Lake where visitors crowded together to watch a herd of elk through binoculars and spotting scopes at dusk. One excited woman exclaimed, “I have never seen a moose before.” She still hasn’t seen one.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I think you can vary the octane by altitude and get by with lower octane at higher altitudes…someone correct me if I am wrong.

  2. “A lone coyote was cause for a major traffic jam as tourists “cried wolf” and jumped out to take photos”

    A great line…nationally travel is down about 7% and dropping. Todays trivial bailout by the treasury involves the institution most clueless about economics, the Congress so the bail out is bound to fail. I see at least 2 years of very bad time and, if Obama tghe clueless is elected, many more.

    This years problems will be seen as the good old days next year if the dems win big.

  3. erico49:

    It’s an air quality thing, which, given your statement, I guess could be viewed as a double entendre.

  4. i got a kick out of JIMV’s comment about what will happen if the dems win big.
    It’s correct, of course.
    Unfortunately, the exact same thing is true if the R’s take it all.
    Or if the two split it.
    Or if some unnoticed third party sneaks in.

    In other words, ain’t nobody gonna fix the whole mess in a year or two — or four, or maybe eight.

    Might’s well get used to it.

  5. Jimv?
    Obama clueless?
    Guess your one of those hard core Rebulicans.
    Thought it was McCain that admitted he knew nothing of the economy and wanted another 100 years in Iraq. A figment of our imagnation. You gotta quite listening to Rush it rots your brain.

  6. I doubt if the couple in the smart car traveled the distance from Illinois to YNP in the smart car. More likely, they pulled the smart car behind a large motorhome.

    On another note, I find it quite strange and sad that our species is so out of touch with nature that the average person living in the states does not know the difference between a coyote and wolf or an elk and a moose.

    EDITOR NOTE–Re the car, you are probably correct, but it is not as interesting to contemplate. However, we did not see any sort of towing device on the front.

  7. erict:

    I must be slow today. I don’t get the double entendre.

  8. Made me laugh out loud – twice. Good one Dave.

  9. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Jul 14, 2008, 12:58 pm

    Standing in the Chow Line at “Firebase Eagle” within the “Warm Lake Complex” Fire in ’89 I saw what I NOW know to be a Chipmunk run by and exclaimed in my then very thick Brooklyn accent: “Hey – Look at That F***ing Muskrat!”

    If nothing else, it provided some much needed comic relief to about a thousand other FireFIGHTERS in the Chow Line that day, and a running joke that lasts to this day amongst my friends.

    I still don’t know what a Muskrat looks like.

  10. “Jimv?
    Obama clueless?
    Guess your one of those hard core Rebulicans.
    Thought it was McCain that admitted he knew nothing of the economy and wanted another 100 years in Iraq. A figment of our imagnation. You gotta quite listening to Rush it rots your brain.”

    You are right, McCain admitted it (and I am not voting for McCain), but Obama lives it. Have you read any of his economic proposals? $300 BILLION a year in new or expanded programs (2.5 times the ccost of the war), a Jimmy Carter ‘wear a sweater’ energy plan, and a really big tax increase are not the things to fix the economy. McCain is honest about his limitations, Obama hopes to fake it with a adoring press.

    Where do you get your slogans, the DNC fax machine?

  11. Cyclops, do you mean Riverside Village in Garden City?

    Regardless, as a walker on the Greenbelt, I think its lovely to have one place to walk without having to worry about getting run over by a speeding bicyclist or smushed btween two passing cyclists.

  12. Why, Sara, your position is in direct conflict with the Guardian’s experience! His report specifically referred to people being pleasant and cooperative on the green belt. And, although you may find that section pleasant, you would also find it illegal. At least according to the state and the first lawsuit. I guess by your logic, that if the restaurant owners on Patio row downtown decided that cars running down the street wasn’t pleasant, they would have the right to permantly close the street between Main and Bannock. Somehow, I don’t thing ACHD or the city will buy it! Why, then, should we accept it from Garden city??

  13. Boise "Whining" Tango
    Jul 15, 2008, 9:12 pm

    Actually, “Patio Row” (I like it!) is already a “Private Street” “owned” by the CCDC who can close it at will.

    In recent weeks, the CCDC has been quietly asserting this with the surreptitious replacement of standard Street Signs with the Blue / Private Street ones, and have even gone so far as to mark curbside parking spaces with Yellow Paint vis-a-vis the standard White Paint found elsewhere on City Streets.

    Reasons may include the desire to restrict access to the “Right Kind of People” (Quote from Mayor pro tem Tertling-Payne at State-of-the-City Address), and to insulate the City from liability associated with its tacit approval of beer trucks, etc., using Downtown’s most strategic Fire Lane as a long term Parking / Loading Zone (despite a plethora of viable alternatives) during the busiest times of the day, and the inevitable tragedy that will result.

  14. That is correct erico, the octane level changes with the altitude because a typical engine draws in less air per cycle due to the reduced density of the atmosphere. This directly translates to reduced absolute compression in the cylinder, therefore deterring knock.

    It has nothing to do with air quality, just the ability to produce energy efficiently.

    The Smart car is really not that bad for two people on a long drive, although western US highways are a bit more rough than the French and German roads I drove a Smart ForTwo on with my father. I also drove one (an early model) in Salt Lake a few years ago, it seemed to handle the hills fine and even the climb to Park City on I-80 (no worse than a base Mini I owned for a few years). Mercedes did their homework before sending the Smart to the US.

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