Have you ever been driving at night, with your headlights on low beams, and someone flashes their lights at you because they think you have your high-beams on? It happens to me a lot. My car and my truck both have halogen headlights, which are quite bright. Actually, most vehicles today have those same headlights, so maybe mine are just cleaner (which I doubt). Anyway, I was driving from Kamloops to Prince George the other night when we were moving our planting camp, and I got flashed quite a few times on the trip, which prompted this post.
Let’s talk about halogens for a minute. The halogens are from Group VII of the periodic table, which includes flourine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astitine. At room temperature and standard pressure, flourine and chlorine are gases, bromine is a liquid, and iodine and astitine are solids. This makes the halogens the only group in the periodic table which exhibits all three states of behaviour. Halogen headlights took over from the previous generic sealed-beam headlights in the 1980’s, and produce a whiter glare than the typical old yellowish sealed-beams did. But since practically everybody is using them, why am I getting flashed all the time? Perhaps it is because I always drive with my low-beams on. My eyesight is pretty good at night, so being lazy, I feel no need to turn the high-beams on when I’m on a deserted stretch of road – I’d just have to turn them back off when a car is coming at me. So maybe the drivers assume that since I haven’t “switched” my lights when they come in sight, I must still be on high beam. I don’t really mind the people who do a quick flash and then don’t do it again, because they probably realize that my headlights WERE on low-beam after all, and they feel silly. But when I get a second, last-minute flash from someone who thinks they should “punish” me for not dimming, that’s when I feel the need to slam into them head-first (although I can’t do that, because it would ruin my perfectly clean driving record). This headlight problem should get even worse soon with the new HID headlights that are starting to become more popular. Those lights are even brighter than halogens, and since they tend towards the blue end of the visible spectrum (due to the xenon gas), they are even more annoying to oncoming drivers. But enough about headlights.
The next afternoon, I drove from Prince George to Alberta, and luckily, since it was during the daytime, I was able to keep my road rage to a minimum. I also got to drive by Mount Robson, which wasn’t surrounded by clouds when I drove by, so I could see the summit pretty clearly. That happens about once in a blue moon (I think that saying just popped into my head since tomorrow night is a blue moon). Anyway, Mount Robson, at 12,972 feet (for the American readers) or 3,954 meters (for the rest of the logical world), is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It isn’t the highest peak in British Columbia – that’s Mount Waddington in the Coast Mountain Range. It isn’t the highest peak in Canada – that’s Mount Logan in the Yukon. And it isn’t the highest peak in North America – that’s Mount McKinley in Alaska. But Mount Robson is a nice little mountain to drive by. Here’s a photo that I took of it:
Not much else of interest happened on the trip. I stopped in Jasper and pretended to be a tourist, and ooh’d and ahh’d over the elk running around downtown, and asked some other tourists nearby if they’d ever seen horses that big. Then I stopped and filmed some wild mountain sheep a bit further down the road. Finally, I pulled over and went to bed on the side of the road, because I had meetings starting shortly after 7am. The trip took far longer than planned, but then again, camp moves always do, because something always goes wrong. In fact, one of the girls in our camp hitch-hiked from Kamloops to Alberta with her dog, and arrived before we did, because one of our trucks broke down as we were about to leave Kamloops.
Switching topics abruptly to something with a musical connection (how much does a seg weigh?), you’ll probably eventually notice that I slip a lot of lines from classic rock & country songs into my blog posts, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes just out of reflex. “On The Road Again” is the title of a song by Willie Nelson (country), and also the title of another song by Canned Heat (rock). Maybe I should make a little trivia contest so the first person who correctly identifies a song title or a line from a well-known song in any of my blog posts gets a free CD in the mail (that is, if you figure out the specific song that I pulled the line from).
And back to the whole point of this, if anyone knows where I can get a Death Ray kit, please let me know ...