Nov 232011

Voyager I

NASA launched the space probe Voyager I 2 days before my 4th birthday on Sept 5, 1977.  I can’t remember it very well,  because my house was adjusting to the birth of my new baby brother.  Later, I learned about the launches of Voyager I and II in grade school and was intrigued by the pictures it took of Jupiter and Saturn as it flew by!

Voyager I's Gold Plated Disk

It is also amazing that the probe will keep going on until it is stopped by something and it won’t even get within 1 light year of a star for 40,000 years.  In case someone or something finds the probe, a gold plated disk, containing information about Earth and humanity, has been included!  A twin probe, Voyager II was launched a few weeks earlier and is also traveling away from Earth.

Voyager I

Manufacturer: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) United States

Launch Date: September 5, 1977

Dimensions: Small Car

Weight: 1,592 lb

Speed: 3.5 x the distance between the Earth and the Sun each year also known as Astronomical Units(AU)

Distance from Earth: 1.78×1010 km or 119 AU as of October 2011,

Nov 222011

This 1955 Chevy Pickup Has Seen Better Days

As I was growing up during the 1980s, I would spend part of the summers helping out on my grandma’s farm.  They raised sweet corn to sell at their stand and some went to local grocery stores.  Most of the time, I manned the cash register and bagged the corn for the customers.

As I got older and stronger I helped my uncle pick corn in the field.  He had a old  beat up 1955 Chevy pickup.  It looked very similar to the one in the picture, but more abused, holes in the floor, no bumper, and more rust in the body.  Each time we got ready to take it out, he would have to spend many minutes trying to get the engine to turn over. Often the engine would flood instead, and we would have to wait, and then repeat the process over again.  When it  finally started, mice would run out from under the truck and black smoke would shoot out from under the hood.  Since the muffler had rusted away years ago, the engine created a deafening rumble.

Once under way, we would crash out into the field as the pickup  plowed a path through the already picked corn stalks.  I can remember riding in the back and hanging on for dear life as we went over rocks and holes.  Finally stopping at a fresh unpicked area, we would fill the truck bed with bushel baskets of corn for several hours until it was overflowing.  Then we would get on the side runners and my uncle would drive more carefully so neither we or the corn would get thrown from the truck.  Once we got back to the farm, we would be tired, but would spend another hour unloading the corn and putting it into milk crates in the cooler.

Collector's 1955 Chevy Pickup

I only thought of the 1955 Chevy Pickup as a beat up workhorse, and not a collector’s vehicle until years later when Iwould see it at car shows.  People put so much hard work into restoring them!  Even beat up models can sell for several thousand dollars.  I wonder if my uncle still has his!

Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Year: 1955

Engine:  V6 or V8

Transmission: 3 or 4 Speed Manual

Doors: 2

MPG : 8-15 mpg

Top Speed: ~60 mph