On the Road – toward Reno

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This morning I set out in the direction of Reno, NV, taking in a small piece of what is left of the historic Route 66 as I left the Pasadena area.  I stayed on 66 as long as I could and then picked up my connection to US 395 after Barstow.

At fist the countryside was sparse and the road was often just a two-lane with plenty of semis.  As I got closer to the mountains the road eventually became a divided highway, at least in most spots.

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The Evolution was made for mountain roads.  The turbo provides so much power to climb the hills that it feels like a giant rubber band is pulling you up. 

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Turbochargers were first developed for aircraft engines so that they could fly at higher altitudes where the air was thinner.  The needed a way to test the engines with the turbo-superchargers without endangering the pilots so they took the engines up to the top of Pikes Peak and tested them there.  On the east coast Pratt and Whitney used Mt. Washington to test aircraft engines.  Mount Whitney not only gave them altitude it also gave them some of the worst weather in the United States.

The elevation changes went up to over 8000 feet as I crossed the high Sierras.

I’ve been purchasing 91 octane from Shell stations along the way.  It has cost as much as $3.52 a gallon, but they let me use the restroom.

I am staying the night about an hour from Reno in the mountains in California.  It is a town called Walker that is a haven for hunters and fishermen this time of year.  The evening has a nice breeze and the sun is strong, but I know that in the mountains the sun goes down suddenly.  I’ll watch the cotton wood trees move in the wind and read a book before I get some rest tonight.

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2 Responses to On the Road – toward Reno

  1. Gordon says:

    Jim,

    Just for the sake of accuracy, the air is not “thinner” at higher altitudes.The composition remains the same till at least 30,000 feet. The atmospheric pressure is lower, the end result to mountain climbers and IC or jet engines is that less oxygen is available .

    Really enjoying your trip reports, thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    Best, Gordon

  2. jimsgarage says:

    True, and that pressure change plays an important role in how the engine runs and what kind of octane gasoline you can buy.

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