Driving diversions: Winter tires, too-quiet cars, blinding lights

It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet and already Christmas music and decorations are in the stores. Are the trappings for Thanksgiving going to be forgotten? Trappings like the turkey, the Pilgrims, the Indians, the Mayflower, and especially the giving of thanks for the country we live in.

It seems the Christmas season is well underway. It is getting close though, but hey, what’s the rush?

Tuesday, Nov. 14, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie and Christmas conversation never really came up; then again, neither did Thanksgiving.

The saga of the pool table continues. The pool table is still in the OMOTM’s cellar and waiting for the rope to drag it outdoors. The table is bolted together and the OF just does not want to take time fussing with it.

This OF claims he has bigger fish to fry, like finishing his pirate ship. One OF said that, if the removal of the pool table takes as long as building that ship, the pool table is going to be in his cellar for a while longer. The OFs were surprised that no one wants the table just to get the piece of slate on top.

Winter driving

This time of year, the OFs are considering switching the tires they are running now to tires for winter.  This is to be sure they are ready for snow and ice.

Some change tires from summer to winter tires while others go for the all-tread design and some for the studded snows. An OF suggested the best attack for winter driving is to stay off the doggone roads.

Holes in the floor boards

Driving for the OFs is not the fun or the challenge it used to be. One OF said he thinks today’s drivers have become more crazy than ever.

Another suggested it is the handling of (and how much more quiet) new vehicles are than the ones the OFs used to run — old cars where the driver was able to see the road roll by through the holes in the floor boards.

These newer vehicles give a false sense of security to the driver so the driver has a tendency to have mind lapses and unknowingly make more stupid diving mistakes like following too close, too fast, or blowing through stop signs, etc. The drivers know better, but the tunes take precedent over their driving.

Too bright

The OFs have complained about this before, and are now finding out it is not only OFs, but many people the OFs talk to about the white lights on vehicles — especially pickup trucks. The lights are blinding.

They may be fine for the driver of the vehicle that has them, but they are extremely dangerous to oncoming traffic. The incident of drivers’ having to pull over and stop because they are blinded by these lights is increasing, and they are not all OFs.

Maine glories

One of the waitresses at the Your Way Café was wearing a Maine sweatshirt and it is interesting to note how many of the OFs have been to that state. In the Northeast, more of the OFs have been to Maine or Vermont than the other New England states.

Some have mentioned they have been to Massachusetts, Connecticut, or maybe New Hampshire, while none of the OFs have ever mentioned Rhode Island or Delaware. Maine seems to be the spot.

The OFs who were talking about it say the best time to hit the state of Maine is after kids go back to school. The OFs are not inclined to be ones who are going to charge into the ocean just to watch themselves turn blue in the water off the coast of Maine.

The OFs are more inclined to go to the southern part of Maine at this time when it is possible to drive the highways at a speed of more than 15 miles an hour.

One OF mentioned how ethereal it is to be awakened early in the morning (when sleeping in a cabin close to the ocean) and hear the horn of a lighthouse off in the distance moan its way through the mist of the first light of day.

Or at night listen to the gentle slap of the ocean on the shore while the lighthouse sounds its warning to ships at sea in a slow constant rhythm.  

One OF complained that it is now hard to find old Maine. It seems all the entrepreneurs and developers from the big cities have ruined most of the southern part of Maine; however, many still travel there, trying to reminisce about how it used to be.

Again, one OF remarked — just like going to concerts or football and baseball games — the little guys have been priced out. These outings now are mostly for the upper class, and the upper middle class.

The buzz on bees

As this scribe has reported on various occasions, one of the OMOTM is a keeper of bees, known as an “apiarist,” and, as reported before, he transports his bees to a little town south of Raleigh, North Carolina for the winter.

The place where he takes his bees was involved in a hurricane that came through the state as a tropical storm last summer. This OF reported that all the bees of that beekeeper were lost as they all drowned in the water and mud caused by the storm.

The weather can be detrimental to an industry rarely given any thought and, as industries go, this one of the bees is at the top of list in being the most important one of all.

Many people do not consider that, if it weren’t for farmers, there would be darn fewer people trotting this sixth rock from the sun (they have taken away Pluto and, if it weren’t for bees, there would be nothing for farmers to grow.

It is amazing how all life goes back to one simple but intricate and amazing insect. Even the dinosaurs had to depend on a few simple insects and birds to pollinate the plants.

Those Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Your Way Café in Schoharie and partook in a friendly atmosphere and lively chatter were: John Rossmann, George Washburn, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Richard Frank, Otis Lawyer, Chuck Aelesio, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Jim Heiser, Roger Chapman, Gerry Irwin, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Herb Bahrmann, Ted Feurer, Jake Lederman, Wayne Gaul, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Jim Rissacher, Jerry Willsey, Ted Willsey, George Byrnes, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.