21 October 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Waiting for the light to change I first noticed the approach of the lady with the dog, a mutt with his question mark tail wagging over his back. Only then I noticed the reason for the wag...
An old man, bent slightly forward due to age and bent even further because of a slight dowager's hump, was speaking to the dog as it and its owner approached. The lady stopped alongside the old guy, waiting for the light to change to "Walk", and the old man bent down to scratch behind both the dog's ears. It was VERY obvious that both beings, four and two-legged, were enjoying the encounter. It made me smile.

I was on a mission.
The donut shop that provided the delicacies I had been eating all week was just down the road. I'm once again in Torrance, California to renew my Flight Instructor certificate. The class is 3-1/2 days long and includes three days of classroom instruction and a half day in which a flight in either the two-seat R22 or the four seat R-44 is accomplished. Two years ago I flew in the R-22, so this time I needed to fly in the R-44. Yesterday morning I passed the end-of-course test. Sara Jean came with me this trip and after hearing my raves all week about the pastries, gave me orders last night to bring some back to the motel this morning.

Through "Thrifty Rent-a-car" I rented a Hyundai Sonata, wanting the chance to see if we might be interested in purchasing one in the future. When we arrived at John Wayne airport, my Hundai Sonata had magically turned into a new Chevy Malibu. We were running late and the rental agency was closing in 15 minutes, so I didn't complain. The Malibu looked like a nice car. But halfway in our 45 minute drive to the Torrance Ramada a bell sounded and these warnings appeared on the dash:
Rental agencies remove the owners handbooks from their cars so I have no idea what these warnings mean. I haven't noticed any change in the car's driveability, so we'll keep the thing and report the discrepencies when we return the car tomorrow.

Sunny Southern California... isn't. It's been overcast and chilly most or our week here. That's a real shame, because we are only five or so miles from some of the most BEAUTIFUL views of the ocean to be found. With this bad visibility, it's not even worth the hassle of driving there.

And then there is the traffic.
Surface streets aren't much different than anywhere in the U.S.. Traffic is busy and you just have to resign yourself to dealing with it. That means long, LONG waits at stop lights where you sometimes see chance encounters between man and beast. But the Interstates?
There are places here where there are 8 lanes on either side of the median and sometimes all those lanes are FILLED with cars. Sometimes all those lanes are moving at reduced speed. Sometimes those lanes aren't moving at all. We went to "Knotts 'Scary' Farm" last night and for the first time I heard "Carmen the Garmin" warn, "Severe traffic ahead, RECALCULATING."
And we were then redirected to the surface streets. The trip to the amusement park took 15 minutes longer than we planned. Still, we had a great time.

We're headed home tomorrow morning.
I'll catch you up on details soon.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Feds now require auto makers build in traction control and electronic stability control. What you had showing was those systems were not working.

Suspect GM bought all the old Lucas stuff and is trying to recycle it.

Old NFO said...

Glad you passed :-) And yeah, when you slow down you DO see some interesting things!