Thursday, December 31, 2020

666,666 Miles to Look for the New Jersey Devil




During the witching hour on a winter’s night which included a thirteenth full moon of the year, I set out to locate a possible mile-marker of a demon, the New Jersey Devil.  Leading up to the six-hundred and sixty-sixth thousand, six-hundred and sixty-sixth mile of my vehicle (i.e.: 666,666 miles), I had been experiencing an odd sensation.  The sensation was of not being alone, although no one else was with me.  So, just in case the presence was any bit demonic, I stayed within a stone’s throw of an old favored church from long ago for the mileage event to pass.   However, I didn’t see the demon.  But I enjoyed a nice night ride out into the pines, and that’s ok.

AVT  (December 2020) 

For some photos of the pines, see: Pine Barrens / Pinelands National Reserve of Southern New Jersey . Also see: 8200 Miles in 3-1/2 Weeks.


PS.  Odd how it was so difficult to clearly photograph the odometer reading at this mileage - no matter how I took the photo.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Vehicle Bears No Witness Against Me. Cars Testifying Against Owners.

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone who was concerned with privacy rights in the modern age, given the fact that our automobiles store information about our traveled locations.  Stored vehicle information which could be collected later to verify exactly where our vehicle was located at any given time - though some cars might offer the ability to stop/turn-off the collecting of such information.  So, anyway, what about when our cars and trucks become self-tracking devices and/or self-spying?

The matter reminds me of the famous criminal-procedure court case.  In that case, we were supposedly taught and it was determined/opined to be unconstitutional for a government entity to attach a tracking-device to individual’s vehicle/car in the United States.  At least the government was not allowed to do so for an indefinite period of time, regardless of any reality of the matter; with pre-Patriot Act days and the Patriot Act notwithstanding maybe, I’m sure.  But what about when all the cars and trucks become commonplace tracking devices?

The modern high-tech automobiles may have much in common with the modern-era cell phones and the related privacy rights thereto - in that anyone who is able to listen to those conversations and who is able to glean that information is arguably allowed to do so or likely can do so regardless (as if the generator/speaker of any such eavesdropped information would even be aware of the eavesdropping).  So, if one’s vehicle was collecting or broadcasting its location, then such information is likely to be determined to “non-testimonial” in nature anyhow and that collected information could then be used against the vehicle’s owner/driver (say, as evidence in a court of law for whatever the reason). 

In other words, not only are our vehicles collecting information that could be used against us in court - if such a situation ever became relevant, it is unlikely that any currently recognized legal theory would prevent one’s own vehicle from testifying against them – as things currently stand.  But then again, who knows what the future might hold.  Except to say, that I am in no hurry to purchase any new car.   

My vehicle can bear no witness against me in a court of law, as it is an older model (with no built-in GPS or the like).  That is to say, my vehicle stores no electronic data which could be used against me and to my detriment at any future point in time.  (Forgoing the authenticity of vehicle-collected information for this blog entry, of course; e.g.: calibration issues, etc.)  Anyway, other than the typical unseemliness of being seen or leaving behind physical evidence, should such ever become an issue, there is no stored information in my vehicle of its exact comings and goings nor its instantaneous real-time locations.  And, I think I like the fact that my car could not become a high-tech witness against me. 

June 2019

See for instance:
How your car is spying on you | Daily Mail Online

Your car is watching you. Who owns the data? - Roll Call

Your car may be invading your privacy - USA Today

In China, your car may be spying on you for the government

Big Brother on wheels: Why your car company may know more about you than your spouse

Monday, January 16, 2017

The 600000 Mile Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement

Having attained the 600,000 mile milestone with my vehicle a few months ago and additionally never having opened the engine for any maintenance or repairs (and it still runs great), I figured this finally would be a good time to replace some internal engine gaskets.  Furthermore, over the last 50,000 miles, I occasionally noticed a very small pool of coolant sometimes accumulating under the back-side of the engine.  After eliminating any heater hoses or freeze-plugs as the source of the leaked coolant, a mechanic friend verified that the rear of the intake manifold was in fact showing signs of leaking (as the intake manifold on this engine maintains a water-jacket for cooling or whatever).  So, as I said, I figured 600,000 miles was long enough to wait to open the engine to replace some gaskets. 

The photos show some of the carbon build-up internal to the top-side of the engine.  What can I say?  Often driving the vehicle off-road in the sand when I first purchased it, I nevertheless probably only changed the motor oil a handful of times during the first 100,000 miles – if that often.  Regardless, knock on wood (and all), the engine still runs fantastically well and even better than before the gasket change!

Here’s to the next 600,000 miles!    :) 

Adam Trotter, P.E.  (January, 2017)

600,000 Miles to Idyllwild, Cal.

When in Southern California and seeking to get-away from the hustle and bustle of the urban/suburban sprawl, a drive to Idyllwild, Cal. can fulfill any such yearning!  Go and check-it-out for yourself to learn how unique and special is the town of Idyllwild. (See:

Idyllwild is a fun place to visit.  Even the ride up into the mountains to get there can be exhilarating.  Idyllwild has interesting events throughout the year and many great trails upon which to hike, good restaurants at which to eat, and even interesting and fun places at which to stay/lodge. 

Worth noting, I had been overdue and meaning to create this blog entry for the last couple of years.  However, a couple of months ago, my vehicle was poised to surpass the 600,000 mile point.  So I decided to take my own advice and take a special drive to Idyllwild to attain this exceptional mile-marker for my vehicle.  I was fortunate to have such a fun drive to such an interesting place available to me to commemorate this historic event for my wheels.

AVT (January, 2017)

PS.  The photos are from a couple of years ago during the late fall time of year.