24 Aug 2010, 8:15pm
Automobiles Commuting Safety

Comments Off on Live longer by driving less (or at least slower)

Live longer by driving less (or at least slower)

San Antonio traffic jam

San Antonio traffic jam photo from viainfo.net.

A recent study laid out what I found to be an amazing stat.

For every hour driving, U.S. life expectancy decreases by 20 minutes, suggests analysis in a University of Toronto study. The shorter life spans are due to crashes.

An hour a day is about the average two-way San Antonio commute. So the typical driver here loses four days a year, about half a year over a 40-year career. The payoff is a year and a half slogging through traffic to make the bucks.

The finding that drivers lose a minute of life for every three minutes on the road wasn’t even the main point of the study. Authors wanted to consider the risks of driving faster to reduce travel times. They determined that time saved by speeding is far outweighed by shortened lives due to higher chances of crashing.

The conclusion: Americans drive a little too fast and can live longer by driving slower.

15 Jun 2010, 11:42pm
Automobiles History Passenger rail Railroads Roads Travel:

Comments Off on Going to Corpus Christi, then and now

Going to Corpus Christi, then and now

The main road to Corpus Christi, circa 1910

The main road to Corpus Christi, circa 1910

A wee trip to the coast, a fine way to spend a hot and hazy Sunday.  While I’m still stuck in bachelor mode – decide to go, jump in the car and away – my wife needs, shall, we say, a little more, um, preparation.  Providing my ipod is loaded and charged, I am sorted.  She, on the other hand, loaded our vehicle like the old days when we were carrying a baby.  Blankets, pillows, books, a lap top for heaven’s sake, towels, changes of clothes, the works. more »

8 Jun 2010, 8:32am
Automobiles History Travel Uncategorized

Comments Off on Actually, they are all divas

Actually, they are all divas

WE8I had small, jolly close to subtle, magnetic signs made for the Texas Transportation Museum’s 1924 Model T truck that simply say, “The Diva.”  This is because while the old girl runs pretty well on our unimproved roads and neighboring streets, it acts out badly during show time.  Oh well!

Here is a link to a set of snaps taken at the recent fourth annual Ford Model T Show here in San Antonio.  It is a joint project with the local Model T club, the “T Fords of Texas,” and sponsored by the Red McCombs Automotive group.


 It was during this event that I arrived at the surprisingly conclusion that all  Ts are divas.  That’s why they are still here.  Someone was just too crazy about each one to let it go.  So far this year I have had the pleasure of touring both Medina and Caldwell Counties in this persnickety old machines and I fully understand the devotion.  Now all I have to do is get the one I am looking after for future generations to run right!  Having said that she did come through in spades during the Flambeau Parade, so she makes all the effort worthwhile!

21 May 2010, 9:39pm
Automobiles Bicycles:

Comments Off on How cul-de-sacs make people fatter

How cul-de-sacs make people fatter

walkability maps

Cozy, secluded and deadly. That’s how a new study portrays suburban America’s unassuming cul-de-sacs.


Because people who live in the pods don’t walk and bicycle much, according to research by a University of British Columbia professor. The swirling, disconnected streets don’t allow short trips to a whole lot of places.      

Look at the maps above. They show all paths within one kilometer of a selected spot in each of two Seattle neighborhoods; one constricted by meandering streets and the other splayed open by a connected grid.

People who live in the networked neighborhoods travel 26 percent fewer miles by car than those who ensconce themselves in the spaghetti-and-pod burbs.

And, studies by the author, Lawrence Frank, and others show, people who live in neighborhoods that are more walkable tend to, well, walk more. And bike more. That means, per capita, their body mass indexes are lower and they breathe cleaner air.


7 Apr 2010, 11:22pm
Automobiles Commuting Uncategorized

Comments Off on Top-rated cars for working people

Top-rated cars for working people

The New York International Auto Show has been offering up plenty of glam and muscle to hog the spotlight since last week.

2011 Audi R8

2011 Audi R8

MSN has had fun giving us the show’s 10 most notable unveils, and the 10 sexiest rides — i.e., to your right is a glimpse of the Audi R8 Spyder (go ahead, click the glitz for a full view).

“Give us sports cars and make them sexy as hell,” MSN’s Matthew de Paula declared. “We want 10-mile-per-gallon Lamborghini Gallardos and 510-horsepower Aston Martins all the way.”

Closer to ground level, Consumer Reports plodded forward to give us the New York standouts. Cars.com patiently poked and prodded the show’s winners and losers.

It’s a lot to digest, sort of like trying to eat your way into a bargain at an all-you-can eat buffet.

I guess that’s why my thoughts keep drifting back to a more meat-and-potatoes Top Picks announced just before the noise revved up in New York. Using affordability, comfort and safety as criteria, AAA selected the best cars to commute to work in.

And topping AAA’s list is the …

more »

28 Mar 2010, 11:30pm
Automobiles Bicycles Commuting Roads Toll roads Transit Travel

Comments Off on 2005 Dodge Caravan 4th anniversary

2005 Dodge Caravan 4th anniversary

This is somewhat obscure but while searching through papers for the upcoming tax adventure, I happened upon the original sales document for my 2005 Dodge Caravan which I purchased exactly four years ago to the day, March 28, 2006.  Since then I have added 69,271 miles to its already high one year total of 28,702 – it was probably a rental that maxed out early – making a grand total, as of today, of 97,973. more »

24 Mar 2010, 11:11pm
Automobiles Commuting:

Comments Off on Suck in your knees, and meet the future

Suck in your knees, and meet the future

Electrick Networked Vehicle
Imagine puttering around on a barstool, bumping elbows with the person next to you and hugging the bumper of the car in front.

You’re in an Electric Networked Vehicle, a smart electric car that will be able to drive, brake and pack more cars into shorter stretches of road while keeping traffic moving.

General Motors will display three models at the World Expo in May.

more »

9 Mar 2010, 12:49pm
Automobiles History Roads Travel

Comments Off on On the road to Bigfoot, Texas

On the road to Bigfoot, Texas

T Fords of Texas at the Bigfoot museum

T Fords of Texas at the Bigfoot museum

Last Saturday, March 6, I had the great pleasure of taking part in a “T Fords of Texas” club cruise around Medina County.  Led by Castroville residents Tom Campbell and Wayne McBryde, a group of nine Ts traversed the area’s handsome back roads under a glowering sky, dense with dark and darker grey clouds, too high to actually rain, but very dramatic.  In an open runabout T driven by Gary Bethke, I had the full opportunity to take in the wintry landscape with occasional hints of spring, such as isolated peach and red bud trees in delightfully unexpected full bloom.

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18 Feb 2010, 11:09am
Automobiles Bicycles History Passenger rail Railroads Roads

Comments Off on San Antonio transportation history talks

San Antonio transportation history talks

Beginning Saturday February 20 at 9:30 AM, I will be be giving a series of four talks on local transportation history at the main public library downtown.   Technology willing, they will be accompanied with PowerPoint slide shows.  Admission is free.  I will have copies of my two local transportation history books available for sale.

Here is the topic schedule:

Saturday February 20, 9:30 – 11;30 AM – Ox, mule and horse drawn transportation.

Saturday February 20, 1:30 – 3:30 PM – Railroads; 1850 to the present

Saturday February 27, 9:30 – 11:30 AM – Public transportation, streetcars, jitneys and buses

Saturday February 27, 1:30 – 3:30 PM – Private transportation, from the bicycle to the present.

1 Feb 2010, 9:19am
Automobiles History

1 comment

When cars came to San Antonio

The first San Antonio car dealership was a bike, photo and typewriter repair shop that started selling 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobiles.

The first San Antonio car dealership was a bike, photo and typewriter repair shop that started selling 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobiles.

It’s amazing to see today’s rush of technologies, ragged edges and all, bump and grind in the marketplace in a race to reconfigure how we work and play.

But the dizzying pace really isn’t all that new. Consider the shock of the first horseless carriages rumbling over rutted streets more than a century ago, stirring up dust, dropping jaws and spooking horses.  

Giving us a glimpse into those strange and heady times is “San Antonio on Wheels,” a book written by fellow OnTheMoveBlog.com blogger Hugh Hemphill.

Just as tech ventures come and go in a slippery market – producing epic battles among giants such as Netscape and Explorer, Google and Bing, iPhone and BlackBerry – so too did early auto experiments.

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