Friday, May 24, 2013

Hell on wheels, holiday-style

It's the Memorial Day weekend, so you can literally bet your life that you're going to see some hair-raising dangerous stunts unfolding on the Gulf Freeway as many folks make a mad dash for Galveston.  Here is one such example that I had the great gift of experiencing as I was driving home from a business meeting inside The Loop late this afternoon.
Talk about a proverbial Kodak moment, eh?  Framed by the League City Parkway exit sign to boot.  Gulf Freeway southbound, about 4 p.m. this afternoon. 

I mentioned in previous posts that I often drive with a DSLR in my lap, so that I can simply raise the camera and do a point-and-shoot without taking my eyes off the road. 
Do you recall that I published a post recently titled "Where to buy a mattress in Houston"?  Well, this right here, folks, is how not to bring one home. 
Many people grossly underestimate the wind forces associated with highway speeds.  No planar object is ever going to remain tied to your roof-rack unless you've secured it very, very well, because the lift forces are absolutely enormous in scenarios such as this.  Here, the mattress is acting as a double-bed-sized sail that is on the verge of separating from the automobile and assuming its own airborne trajectory.  Which of course could easily become a fatal proposition if it caused a crash involving other cars in the freeway lanes behind it. 

And yes, as a matter of fact, I think I will leave your license plate visible in this photo, thank you very much.  Next time, spend the fifty bucks it takes to get the danged thing delivered, OK?   
I was exiting League City Parkway, so I pulled in front of this vehicle and took this pic with the camera pointed toward my rear view mirror.  Look at that view and invoke your common sense: imagine the air pushing against this thing at 60 or 70 mph.  It has zero chance of staying on that car without extremely strong restraints and without being prevented from "catching wind" like this. 
The driver wisely exited League City Parkway behind me (he's in the center of these three lanes), presumably in order to better secure this thing.  This pic taken into my rear view mirror is blurry, but you can see that, at the reduced traffic speed of the feeder, the mattress has settled back down onto the roof of that car.
Have a great weekend, and remember - don't do anything stupid like what's shown above.  And don't drink and drive.
I had another business meeting yesterday in Galveston, and I snapped this pic just before the Highway 6 / Hitchcock exit.  This tally will certainly rise by the end of this holiday weekend, flying mattresses or no mattresses. 

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