Various thoughts about travel, writing, and publishing -- plus anything else that is worth a comment by award winning science fiction author Henry Melton
Thursday, July 06, 2006
My RV has big wide windows, which gives me great visibility on the road, at least for everything straight ahead and out the side windows. Today, I felt the need for an even better view.
You see, the new satellite dish and it's controller have an option called, "Motion Stow". The idea is that if you drive off, forgetting to stow the dish, the controller will notice that you've lost your signal and stow the dish itself. The thing is that my previous installation also had that option and it never worked. So, parked in Gilbert Rey campground, where there are no overhanging tree limbs or power lines, I decided that it would be a perfect time to test out the D3 controller's Motion Stow.
Mary Ann was nervous about it, since one time she had driven off the old system and had gone several miles with the dish raised until she remembered and pulled off the highway and stowed it manually. The old system was heavily dependent on a program running under Windows to handle the dish steering. Every time we changed power systems, Windows would crash, so it rarily was running when it needed to auto-stow.
But this time, I simulated another 'forgotten stow', doing everything wrong -- unplugging the park power, starting the generator, and then driving off with the dish raised. Almost immediately, I heard the whine of the dish beginning to stow. However, I didn't stop. I kept on, leaving the park and trusting that the stow operation, once begun, would finish properly.
On the road, with engine noise and generator noise competing, I couldn't hear the dish finish the stow operation. By the time I was several miles down the road, second thoughts intruded, but even with my lovely wide windows, I couldn't look straight up to see if it was properly stowed.
That is, until a Border Patrol car pulled up beside me at a stop light. The white Suburban had nice clean side windows, making a perfect mirror to allow me a good view of the top of my RV, with the dish completely stowed. Worry dissipated.
I've been making use of other vehicles' windows quite a but lately. We are driving through the desert in the summer, and I've been trying to watch the clouds, but again, looking up is hard. For this, oncoming windshields and the rear windows of sedans passing me do a good job as mirrors. Pickup's don't cut it.
So, nice visibility, even in my blind spots, as long as I can see reality reflected in others.