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Upside-Down Michigan Van

A man in southeast Michigan proudly drives his 1985 GMC van upside-down. How? The answer might surprise you. You might flip your lid.

Veer Here | September 11th, 2020

Cody rearranged his red van to seemingly drive backwards, only four inches off the ground. This was achievable by gutting the inside and rebuilding the van.

It certainly is an interesting choice in automobile architecture, as you can see in the video. The process was very precise to make the upside-down effect legitimate.

Primarily, holes had to be cut in the roof for operational tires to slot through. Secondly, new seats were bolted to the roof which is also the floor of the vehicle. So far this seems to have the mechanical ability of a dune-buggy. Next, blacked out glass had to be fit for all the windows to shroud the work that was done inside. Therefore, side panels had to be removed as well, creating seagull-like wing doors that open with the style of a DeLorean.

While it is considered road legal, I have my doubts. Some questions, if you will, about the overall road-worthiness of this upside-down van. Sure, it can go to parades, but can it run on freeways?

How’s That Blind-Spot Looking?

Granted, there are windows to the side. But besides a 4:3 aspect ratio of a frontal view, I don’t see how they can see out of this flipped van.

Where Does The Gasoline Lean?

Is the engine stuck in the back – er – front? Or does the driver of the wayward wagon have the engine rested before his feet.

How Fast Does It Go?

Seat belts notwithstanding, could you actually imagine this vehicle to be able to peak at the speed limit? Sure, but how would that affect the passengers. God forbid, a massive braking maneuver flings the sucker off the edge of his seat!

Traveling to Crater Lake National Park?

Driving will only take approximately 2-3 hours to soak up one of the most scenic byways to see Crater Lake National Park. However, a straight-through 33-mile cruise on Rim Drive will take an hour.

Between May 22nd and October, the entrance fee to the park is only $30 per vehicle. The fee is towards one whole week. If you are driving a motorcycle, it’s $25. The rate increases based on if you have a commercial vehicle. The fees are fortunately put towards enhancing services and facilities for visitors.

Since the road is narrow, it’s crucial to be on the lookout so you can cautiously share the road. Not only are other people passing through, but the park is home to an array of magnificent wildlife.

With 30 pullout points along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the “deep blue lake.” The notorious lake just so happens to be the deepest lake in the US.

Does Crater Lake Have A Gas Station?

With 13,069 acres of land to explore, you can follow the trails on foot. On the other hand, if you choose to embellish the wonder from afar, driving will still be great. And no, you will not run out of gas.

If you do choose to drive the majority of the time, it would be wise to consider gasoline. Fortunately, Mazama Village Store has a self-serve station with unleaded gas. The store hours vary but typically during summertime, it’s open 10:00 am- 6:00 pm. Just to be prepared and so you can thoroughly enjoy Rim Drive, getting gas beforehand might save you more time.

If you are driving an electric vehicle, Crater Lake has you covered! Annie Creek Gift Shop has a 24-hour charging station with a Tesla connector as well as one standard (J1772) connector.

Although planning before a trip is popular to do, it is wonderful to “come across” these sites. There’s plenty of views here!

General Motors Is Ready To Dominate Electric Industry

General Motors announced that they will have at least 12 new electric vehicles for their 2021 lineup. The company owns multiple car brands under its umbrella.

GM is already making a name for itself. During the 2019 Superbowl, they announced their new vehicle. The HUMMER EV took everyone by surprise. Throughout the advertisement, we were treated to big names in sports. Each one speaking about endurance. The end title took everyone by surprise by including HUMMER.

The Hummer is the largest SUV in automotive history. Its an all-terrain vehicle that was adopted into the US military in the early 2000’s. Since then, a 2 consumer versions were built. the H1 and H2 were one of the most powerful gas-guzzling vehicles in America. The industry took a large hit during the rising fuel prices. The company was sold, but is now back in the hands of GM. The HUMMER GM took the same power output and made it an all-electric vehicle.

General Motors Pushes Cadillac EV

GM also owns Cadillac. With the combination of luxury and comfort, the benefits of electric are creating a superior ride. While electric car company Tesla is creating consumer friendly vehicles, other companies are looking to take on Niche markets. While the Tesla line-up is considered “luxury”, the comfort and ride leaves a lot to the imagination.

Another major niche that GM is working on is the commercial vehicle line. While Tesla and Nikola are working on electric semi-trucks, GM is working on utility vans. For plumbers, electricians, and many other manual labor focused industries, the use of vans are significant.

With General Motors working on these avenues, there is no doubt that they will be a US powerhouse for the electric industry. As of right now, they have one of the best chances to focus on their electric program.

As for next year, we will have to wait and see what these vehicles look like, but it appears that GM is on the right track.

Will Public Forum Bring Changes?

A three-hour public forum on June 29th challenged Eugene City Council’s proposed 2021 city budget. Citizens spoke out regarding the disproportionate amount of the city budget that goes to the police department. Though no initial changes have been made, council members are discussing future amendments.

The general fund for 2021 is a proposed $223 million. The current budget allocates $59 million to the police department. That is roughly 26% of the total budget. But city council members claim they don’t have enough time to make changes before the July 1st deadline. Citizens fighting for reform feel that budget redistribution could provide better services for the community as a whole.

Addressing the Public Forum: Where Does the Money Go?

Let’s look at what the people of this particular Eugene public forum are suggesting. “Defund the police” can be a misleading title. While there is no one consensus on exactly what demands are, there is clear ideology at work. Citizens are not necessarily arguing to get rid of police entirely. Rather, they are suggesting that the city’s budget could be better divided to improve communities.

Treat the analogy like this: communities have diseases. We’ll use poverty as an example. Most prosecuted crimes are committed in low-income areas. (There are plenty of crimes happening in affluent areas as well. They are just less likely to be reported.) The crime is a symptom of the disease but it is not the disease itself. We try to fix this by treating the symptom. But when we do that, we have failed to treat the disease itself. Additionally, we currently treat that symptom by “punishing” it instead of rehabilitating it.

“Defund the Police” refers to a change in how we address these diseases. Creating programs that would allow financially-struggling families resources is another way to treat the disease rather than the symptom. Free classes could teach them new skills. Seminars could help them get better-paying jobs. Free childcare could free up money for them to invest in their futures.

And handing off nonviolent offenses to social workers and other rehabilitation programs can take the stress off of cops. Police officers can better do their jobs when they aren’t so overloaded. What we are seeing is a new understanding: what we are doing now just isn’t working. People are still committing violent crimes. Nonviolent crimes are still being punished with excessive force. There are clear rifts in our communities. It’s time we start talking about how to heal them.

SpaceX Launches First Manned Space Flight

SpaceX, the world’s first privately-owned space shuttle program, launched its first-ever manned takeoff. The launch was to meet up with the International Space Station and dock. Everything went off without a hitch.

The flight had a different feel than what the astronauts were typically used to. The main propulsion rocket was said to be a little rockier than NASA’s, other than that, once it was knocked off, the regular jets worked smooth-as-silk. Also, the docking process was smooth and with no issues.

“So the first stage engines shut off, and then it took some time between the booster separating and then the Merlin vacuum engine starting,” Hurley said. “At that point, we go from roughly three Gs (three times the normal force of gravity on the ground) to zero Gs for, I don’t know, a half a second probably, and then when that Merlin vacuum engine fires, then we start accelerating again.”

SpaceX Dragon: Rough Then Smooth

“It got a little rougher with the Merlin vacuum engine, and it’ll be interesting to talk to the SpaceX folks to find out why it was a little bit rougher ride on second stage than it was for shuttle on those three main engines.”

Hurley and Behnken the two astronauts who were sent in the Dragon Capsule. They said the docking “didn’t feel like docking at all.” They also mentioned that “It was just so smooth.”

The first successful launch of a private manned spacecraft is one for the record books. The Federal Government has pretty much shut down all things “Space”. This means other pioneers are stepping up to the plate. SpaceX and Elon Musk have done what global powers couldn’t.

We’re back to launching people to the stars. Now if only we can get some flying cars like we thought we would have by now.

Bears! Coming To Your Neighborhood!

Bears have been seen entering city streets in order to forage for food. With so many people under their stay at home protocol, wildlife has found its way into neighborhoods and streets where they might not usually end up.

Take for instance Eugene, Oregon. A black bear was spotted foraging for food outside of a residential neighborhood.

Spring has sprung and many wildlife are coming out of hibernation. This leads them to forage for the first couple meals upon awakening.

Bears Aren’t True Hibernators

While many animals fight off the cold by stocking up on body fat and sleeping through the winter months, Bears follow the same path. The exception is that bears will wake up to drink water if they feel dehydrated, other than hat, they just sleep off the winter months like a bad hangover.

Problems Arrive With Stay In Place

Due to most people staying indoors, Bears have found they are less habitat oriented. Their immediate response upon waking up is to find food. This can often lead to them foraging a little too far from home, and into your backyard.

“It’s not uncommon to see bears emerging from torpor this time of year,” said Chris Yee, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.

One might think that the stay in place would deter the bears, but due to low traffic, they do not feel as threatened to be in suburban areas. Fewer cars, fewer pedestrians out and about can lead to other foragers entering.

Italy Has Seen Wildlife Appears

Even places like Venice, Italy have seen an increase in wildlife roaming into the neighborhood.

With the canals of Venice not clear, and the sediments has settled to the bottom. marine life has come back to the city. From jellyfish to even dolphins, Venice residents have taken a liking to seeing life emerge from the murky canals.

Drivers Speak About Driving During COVID-19

COVID-19 has put many drivers on edge. The industry has taken a few hits over the past few years, but none have been as impactful as the countrywide “stay at home” policy issued by many states.

Mass Closings Of Stores

Due to mass closings of public areas such as rest stops, and stores, many drivers are feeling the pressure to continue with the lack of essential supplies. Many truck stops that are still open are also facing the dilemma of having low hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, and latex gloves.

“I feel like I have a high potential to catch the virus if I go into a store without the proper safety,” says Graham Hinsch – a driver currently going from New York to Portland, Oregon.

Restaurants Are Take Out Only

With many restaurants not allowing for sit in and dining, many drivers are forced to eat at open truck stops. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options (or healthy ones at that) that provide truck drivers the essential nutritional value to continue their day.

“It really comes down to planning ahead. Knowing that these stores are closed means that I need to bring my food. I portion my meals in order to get the best benefit throughout my day. Some days I drive upwards of 14 hours with no breaks so I need to run on all pistons.”

Drivers Face Long Hours

Apart from the lack of necessary supplies, a silver lining for them is that they are not required a maximum of 8 hours before they need to stop. The current demand for drivers has worked to put a strain on many of them. Some are driving upwards of 13+ hours a day and are facing a lack of supplies wherever they go.

“DOT has lifted the regulations that we would get ticketed before for doing. Such as time limits.  70 hrs on duty was the limit before you needed a 34hour reset and my company is still keeping that. Other companies and owner-operators have removed that time limit so you have many truckers working non stop and like the good old days when we weren’t told when we have to sleep or drive by an electronic system. I am paid well to meet the demand and having unlimited hours has been beneficial for me.

Despite these shortcomings many drivers are aware that closed truck stops and other places are trying to get back on track. They feel that these are just temporary for their times and look forward to things returning to normal.

Trucking During COVID-19

In a time of emergency, the trucking industry has always been presented a mainline for citizens. From delivering products to shelves, food to stay in stores, essential medical equipment helping many with their issues, the trucking industry is the reason why that all exists.

Now more than ever truck drivers are moving across the country, working double time in order to make sure people will be safe. Products will continue to be delivered, people will still be able to purchase the necessary products for their homes and health officials will be able to deliver the necessary procedures to help fight back against COVID-19.

Trucking Does its Part

The world relies on truck drivers more than ever. With the ability to supply literally everything in this country, many supermarkets are waiting for their shipments to come in.

Truck Drivers Are Staying Healthy

Truck drivers across the globe are doing their part to ensure public safety. From using alcohol wipes on fuel pumps to keeping their inner compartments sterilized. While they are facing harder lockdowns such as public bathrooms and gas stations, they continue to do their job even as it gets harder. We respect all truck drivers and hope for their continued safety.

To Truck Drivers, We Say: Thank You

In this time of emergency, your efforts to do your part and help support citizens across the country do not go unnoticed. While many police and healthcare officials are working around the clock to help tend to the sick and needy, you are also spending those same long hours traveling long distances and away from loved ones. While many are stuck inside waiting for their local grocery store to resupply. It is the duty of the trucker to ensure that the world is fed, and has the basic necessities to grow and counteract the spread of COVID-19.

Green Energy: Trucking’s Uphill Battle

Green Energy has become a popular focus for many industry leaders. With the invention of the world’s first-ever Tesla Semi, everyone got to see how the future of automotive manufacturing will soon be revolutionized. Already with the development of Tesla’s smart cars, the industry has made a drastic shift away from fossil fuel burning combustion engines. With all these inventions, the path for the trucking industry has been set. Fully electronic vehicles have are here and will see the light of day upon 2022.

Green Energy In The Trucking Industry

Renewable fuels have been on the mind of everyone for the past 20-years. Now that we have fully established an electric car industry, American industries will switch over, albeit this may take some time. The Tesla Semi, an all-electric semi, will see the light of day come 2022 and will have a limited release for most major trucking fleets. Having just one in your fleet will save both time and money in fuel. It will come at a hefty cost, though, but like most new things, they will.

Trucking has had a difficult uphill battle in terms of being a large scale producer of carbon emissions as well as developing new technologies to better both the cost of industry and the impact that they have on the planet. With so many companies across America utilizing alternative energies such as B20, their environmental impact still remains high, but it has made incredulous efforts to diminish this impact.

Tracking Development of Greener Pastures

The trucking industry has been able to incorporate biofuels within the industry. With many utilizing what is known as B20 (or 20% biofuel), lowers the negative impact that fossil fuels have by a substantial amount. This, like most diesel engine vehicles, has become a focal point for many in addressing the sate of current environmental concerns.

Trucking Takes the Reigns

The development of B20 has not only benefitted the trucking industry but has helped with farmers too. The use of farmland and the excess biomass that get thrown away has been utilized to create the B20 that many diesel engines use. This has generated positive buzz.

Farmers across America are using their byproducts as fuel. The fuel acts to combine both diesel and ethanol to generate energy. Many diesel engine owners who are not part of the trucking industry have hopped onto biofuel. The VW bus has recycled itself to become the most known environmental vehicle next to Tesla. On top of that, old Mercedes 300 owners have pulled the car out of the garage and converted them for biofuels.

The world of Green Energy

Soon the world will bear witness to the prospects of being fuelless. Instead of our dependency at the pump, we will be able to enjoy the low carbon standards that have hurt the environment.

The Mystery Machine: What Was It?

The Mystery Machine is one of the most iconic American vehicles. Next to James Bonds Aston Martin and Smokey and the Bandits Pontiac Firebird, the van would go on to transport a bunch-a- meddlin’ kids through each one of the adventures. Often becoming their safe haven when the “monster of the week” showed up. Many have speculated as to the make and model of the van, but as it is a cartoon, it’s hard to put a definite answer on it.

VW Micro Bus: The Go-To Answer

This is what most people assume the bus is. It makes sense, too. With the ’60s and 70’s so far back in people’s minds, or for those who never experienced either of those decades (including myself), most people view the van as the standard hippie bus. With the flowery designs and pseudo psychedelic paint job, it does, in fact, give off the hippie vibe. Also, with the cabover approach, this signals that the engine is either right under the driver seat, or in the back (which in multiple iterations of the cartoon has the engine located there).

Ford Econoline (Mid 60’s)

The general shape is pretty consistent with most iterations of the van. With a flat-top rear wheelarch this essentially has the right style and shape, but not quite. The headlights are a different shape, as well as incorporating air intakes within each light. This is such an iconic feature, that if this was the van of choice, they would have incorporated it somewhere in the drawings.

Dodge A100

This van has the general shape (but what van for the time didn’t have it?). The headlights are in the right place and are the right shape, too. Also, the use of a roof rack is similar. Unfortunately, the headlight size is way too big and the “character lines” were a distinctive feature of the A100 where the mystery machine was relatively smooth.

Chevy Sportvan: Closest To The Mystery Machine

The Chevy Sports Van is probably the closest one to the actual Mystery Machine. Where the van the gang drives in is only imaginary (in that its a cartoon), the Chevy Sportvan has the closest resemblance to it. From the right sized headlights to the front-mounted spare wheel, this guy takes the cake.

The Mystery Machine is an Icon

With countless episodes and re-iterations of the show, the Mystery Machine has had a couple of different forms, all keeping the basic shape and dimensions relative. The van has been in service for over 50 years and has helped to boost the Van craze for each generation. Now, if only we could figure out what the gang was up to in the back.

mystery machine
mystery machine
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