Friday, August 31, 2018

400 mph stroll through the neighborhood...

Ever take a flight and find yourself looking out the window and wondering... "what town is that?"

I used to do that all the time.  So I picked up the "Bad Elf." Some open source gps mapping software and viola!

Hmmm where exactly am I?

Fire up the Bad Elf and you can find a half dozen satellites, fix your position, air speed, location and altitude....

There ya go!  The GPS mapping software is NORMALLY used to route you through highways using the Bad Elf as a GPS antenna and chipset seeing as how most smart phones, iPads and androids do not have a GPS chipset.  The Bad Elf makes the iPod a genuine off wifi, no data consumption travel companion.

A practical little gizmo that reduces your need for a data plan to ZERO.

The Labor Day Holiday is upon us in the US... I wish you all a safe and enjoyable rest this weekend!


Sunday, August 19, 2018


Yup, Hokies!  I had the pleasure to visit Viginia Tech today.  I get to visit a number of University campuses to recruit engineers, but had never been to VT.  As you may have guessed... the Hokies are Virginia Tech students, as they like to call themselves.
Located in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is a pretty amazing university!

The campus and the town are well planned for foot traffic and of course this little town has the vibe of a college town...

There was a church service with standing room attendance this morning...

Many of the buildings are made of local limestone.  "Hokie Stone"

This is a most interesting sculpture!  As the story goes, this young man, William Addison Caldwell, walked 26 miles from his home to this campus in order to enroll at the school in 1872.

More tradition... in this mall, are two cannons. These are actually 3 in Civil War era "Guns" and were purchased by the Drill Team in 1893.  During World War II scrap drives were common and these guns were identified as scrap and to be melted down to support the war effort.  Upon finding out that this was to be the fate of these guns, students hid them in a pond near the campus!  Many years after te war, a new group of students recovered the guns and brought them back to campus where they languished in a basement for 50 years.

The stone facade on many of the VT buildings is truly beautiful... but I must say, its give the buildings a sort of cold institutional look.

Well here ya go!  The VT mascot.  YUP, it's a Turkey.

A really impressive university! 


Saturday, August 18, 2018

What to do when local events put a spin on travel...

This past week was another one of those unplanned adventures that turned out just great!  The fans that go to Bristol over the week for all of the entertainment pretty much reserved all of the rooms for miles...  Not being aware of NAS-anything, I found a cabin miles from work and it was great!

Small, located about 10 miles out of Damascus

What an excellent alternative to the Marriott!
 And an opportunity to explore a new city...  Roanoke.  I had never been to Roanoke, but I have to say, it's a very beautiful city...

What's old is what's new - Detroit Electric Car Company...

One of only two manufacturers to make cars in Virginia - The Kline

An old Dodge School Bus

No seat belts here!

I really like the 1930's

This Fleetwood has a rumble seat...

This EMD actually ran the Cannonball Route

Look like a Gemini?  Ten years before, this is a Jupiter Ballistic Missile.

A nice bullet nose Studebaker Speedster

-and a nice Studebaker Lark taxi...

LOL... a SnoCat too

I think the Starliner was a Loewy design...

Able Baker...

The Kline had an electric coolant fan!

My garage looks just like this!

Fun. I wonder how Roanoke came to name this street?

NASA wind tunnel model

So interesting... you can see the pitot tube locations.  This F18 model provided empirical correlation with the math models.


Give up?  Panama Canal "mule."

The evolution of rail gauge.  Bigger engines, bigger gauge.

Of course I made it to the famous Roanoke Star! Lots and lots of neon in three colors.

Largest Star in the world - or so they say...

The art museum has as a sort of Guggenheim vibe to it...

The Virginia Transportation Museum is a re-purposed railroad warehouse/loading dock.

An old Vought Corsair... eventually to find a place in the museum...

Not a bad wander through Roanoke, such a great little city.  Hope you liked the pics!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cleveland has a very interesting history....

I visited the Cleveland Historical Society Museum and found some very cool exhibits. Like many industrial cities, Cleveland has a very interesting past and has re-invented itself quite nicely for the future.  There is so much to say about the how and who behind the cars, people and city.  I'll share the pics while I have a few minutes, waiting to board another plane... 

NASA is here, and this is an extra Lunar LEM rocket motor...

Very nice!  So ergonomic.  Notice the crankshaft is longitudinal.

This is a special DeLorean...

This is model number 1  The very first one ever made!

Gosh I wish I had my Nikon!

the lines of this coupe are still very attractive.  Notice the rear fender step for back seaters?  Maybe we were a bit more fit in the 20's...

Presentation of mechanicals and performance specs were placed in front of every car.

A bit more car than most would need... but still very classic in design

Remember, this is before the era of enclosed bodies.  This rag top had window panels that could be added as the weather dictated or your passengers wanted...

Excellent restoration and presentation!

What do think these are?  Incredibly, these are automobile horns!  When cars were new and novel, and only those with exceptional means could afford one... why not go for that one of a kind pipe organ horn sound!  Announce yourself with class...

How about an Owen magnetic drive?

Looks so elegant.

Has a distinctive Stuts Bearcat look don't you think?

A super Avanti, Studebaker stepped up to an all fiberglass body before GM, and much of the expertise that pioneered this material ended up in Bowling Green.

Steam power anyone?

Camping 1920's style.  Nothing new under the sun!

Nothing says we have arrived like a Packard hood ornament. Beautiful.

...and here's what goes with that ornament

A Vincent Black Shadow - superb!

Did I mention nothing makes a statement like rolling up in a Packard!

WOW.  I knew about the stainless steel bodies made in the 30's to experiment with anti-corrosion research.  Those cars literally ran over a million miles with no damage.  I forgot about the aluminum experiments...

The 30's cars, with their compund curves... this era represents the pinnacle of the fusion of art and industrial design in my opinion.

Even an Aluminum T-Bird...

So why not an aluminum Continental

with suicide doors!


This is the revolutionary Chrysler turbine and automatic transmission from the 1950's. Crazy idea? I think it was out of the box thinking, and that's a very important thing!

Cockpit of a...

Beautiful Cadillac, of the modern designs I like the CTS Sigma 2 platform.

...and of course, a beautiful arch rival.  This Auburn is amazing.

This is one classy rumble seat!  But I have to say, I prefer the Caddy.

I've always loved the Airflow.  Studebaker had a very similar design.  The recent Dodge Magnum was modeled after this 1930's design.

A spiffy Lincoln.  The rear fenders and fender skirts are so well fitted it's hard to imagine this quality of craftmanship was manufactured without a 3d model, cnc machine or even a calculator.  Sliderules and skill.  We've lost something in our collective societal knowhow when we ceded that kind of skill to computer driven machines.  Cost effective - yes, net loss to society - of course!

This was the prototype AMC Javilin.  A rumble seat, and a pointy noise didn't make it into production.

Hope you like this short hop through Cleveland, a city with a very interesting past.  There's a lot to say about this city and the old cars that were made here.  Part of the industrial revolution and supported by so many bright people through the years.  It's interesting to try to figure out why some of these companies survived.  The Great depression really drove a change from the craftsman orientation of  automobiles to the mass produced philosophy.  Economics dictate an unforgiving set of rules.