Monday, January 28, 2013

Coco and Cattle Trucks

United States flagPublished: by Wyatt Olsen  North America » United States » Nevada » Lake Tahoe
January 28, 2013

After finally leaving California on May 30, we drove to Lake Tahoe. On the way, we stopped at a rest area for lunch where I proceeded to make roast beef sandwiches while Alan was cleaning the windshield. Ironically, two cattle-haulers pulled in and parked on either side of us. The cattle were mooing loudly and smelled a lot! We closed the windows, ate quickly, and left in a hurry!

Dan flew to Reno to spend a week with us, and we had a great time. We stayed at Zephyr Cove Marina & RV Park, in a lovely setting near the Heavenly Ski Area at South Lake Tahoe. Dan even saw a bear in our campground, which was just a tad unsettling, but exciting.

We took a couple of short hikes, one near Emerald Bay and one to Glen Alpine Springs near Falling Leaf Lake, just south of the big lake. The scenery was gorgeous, with gushing waterfalls and snow still in the mountains at the higher elevations.

We went out on a charter fishing boat one morning at 6:00 a.m. and returned at 11:00 a.m. with several large lake trout. We crossed the lake (20 some miles) from
Zephyr Cove
Zephyr Cove

Lake Tahoe as seen from our campground
south to north to find our fishing spot, in deep water (150 - 200 feet). Dan caught the biggest fish of the group, a 6 ¾ pound beauty. The deck hand cleaned and bagged our catch.

The weather was warm during the day but chilly at night. We had a couple of great campfires (courtesy of Eagle Scout Dan), and cooked out most nights. We had a very nice dinner out at Nephele’s restaurant in South Lake Tahoe, where we peeked at the Mavericks/Suns game over at the bar’s TV.

After Dan went home (still a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday), we hit Harrah’s Casino and came out in the plus column by about $125. Next drive is to Salt Lake City, where we pick up Alan’s Dad, JC, for a trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

....MCI introduces 2013 J4500 coach....

MCI introduces 2013 J4500 coach

MCI, Schaumburg, IL, debuted the 2013 model of its J4500 coach, touting improved safety features and new style changes. The company says the coach has been redesigned for heightened curb appeal and a more elevated presence.
The Greyhound Group
Peter Pan Bus Lines, Boston, MA, liked the concept from the start and will be the first to take delivery of the 2013 J4500 off the assembly line this fall.
For the coach’s design MCI turned to BMW Group Designworks USA, which led the designs of the E4500 and J4500. Designworks engineers collaborated with MCI engineers, who turned to current J4500 customers for input.  Chief among customer criteria: a coach that has “presence” and “curb appeal.” MCI also wanted to increase the coach’s safety and reliability.
“The redesign gave us the opportunity to make several key improvements to the lighting, body bumpers and serviceability,” said Brent Danielson, the MCI engineering team leader.  “We think customers are going to find the 2013 J4500 a welcome addition to their fleets.”
The high-style high and low beam headlamps, now serviceable from outside the coach, are brighter with full LEDs set in stainless steel to resist corrosion and sealed to reduce wind and air intrusion. The ID, clearance and marker lights are higher as well to enhance visibility. The new front and rear bumpers are significantly more durable.
The J4500 comes equipped with safety technologies like electronic stability control along with upgraded tire-pressure monitoring and fire-suppression systems. The coach also features a multiplexing system carried over from MCI’s D-Series coaches.

..Two Driver's Cease Operation in USA..

The Greyhound Group  (facebook)  


FMCSA orders two drivers to cease U.S. operations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared two Canadian bus drivers employed by Mi Joo Tour & Travel of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, to be imminent hazards to public safety, immediately prohibiting them from operating a commercial vehicle within the United States.
FMCSA launched an investigation of Mi Joo Tour & Travel following the Dec. 30, 2012, crash of a company bus in eastern Oregon. Nine passengers were killed and 39 others were injured. On Jan. 8, 2013, FMCSA ordered Mi Joo Tour & Travel, Ltd., to cease U.S. operations and revoked the company’s authority to provide passenger service within the United States.
“We will not tolerate illegal and unsafe behavior by bus and truck drivers,” said U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety for every traveler on our highways and roads is our highest priority.”
In the continuing FMCSA investigation, the driver of the bus that crashed, Haeng Kyu (James) Hwang, was found to have been driving well beyond the 70-hour maximum hours of service within a seven-day period as permitted under federal regulations. Driver Choong Yurl Choi, who was operating a second Mi Joo bus as part of the same tour excursion trip, likewise was found to have been driving well beyond the 70-hour limit.
“Interstate bus and truck companies and their drivers should have no doubt that we will vigorously enforce all federal safety regulations to the fullest extent possible by law,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Carriers and drivers who flout the safety rules put the public at risk and will be shut down.”
The investigation also found that on the day of the crash, both bus drivers had engaged in unsafe driving behavior, including operating a commercial passenger vehicle at speeds too fast for existing road conditions. Each driver holds a commercial driver’s license issued by the province of British Columbia, Canada.

                                 Published by Wyatt Olsen

Monday, January 21, 2013

High-intensity discharge (HID)

High-intensity discharge (HID)

HID projector low beam headlamp illuminated on a Lincoln MKS
High-intensity discharge lamps (HID) produce light with an electric arc rather than a glowing filament. The high intensity of the arc comes from metallic salts that are vapourised within the arc chamber. These lamps are formally known as gas-discharge burners[according to whom?], and have a higher efficacy than tungsten lamps. Because of the increased amounts of light available from HID burners relative to halogen bulbs, HID headlamps producing a given beam pattern can be made smaller than halogen headlamps producing a comparable beam pattern. Alternatively, the larger size can be retained, in which case the xenon headlamp can produce a more robust beam pattern.[original research?]
Automotive HID may be called "xenon headlamps", though they are actually metal-halide lamps that contain xenon gas. The xenon gas allows the lamps to produce minimally adequate light immediately upon start, and shortens the run-up time. The usage of argon, as is commonly done in street lights and other stationary metal-halide lamp applications, causes lamps to take several minutes to reach their full output.
The light from HID headlamps exhibits a distinct bluish tint when compared with tungsten-filament headlamps.


When a halogen headlamp is retrofitted with an HID bulb, light distribution and output are altered.[32]In the United States, vehicle lighting that do not conform to FMVSS 108 are not street legal.[32] Glare will be produced and the headlamp's type approval or certification becomes invalid with the altered light distribution, so the headlamp is no longer street-legal in some locales.[33] In the US, suppliers, importers and vendors that offer non-compliant kits are subject to civil fines. By October 2004, the NHTSA had investigated 24 suppliers and all resulted in termination of sale or recalls.[34]
In Europe and the many non-European countries applying ECE Regulations, even HID headlamps designed as such must be equipped with lens cleaning and automatic self-leveling systems, except on motorcycles. [33] These systems are usually absent on vehicles not originally equipped with HID lamps.


Xenon headlamps were introduced as an option on the BMW 7-series in 1991 for Europe, and in 1993 for US models. This first system used an unshielded, non-replaceable burner designated D1 – a designation that would be recycled years later for a wholly different type of burner. The AC ballast was about the size of a building brick. The first American-made effort at HID headlamps was on the 1996-98 Lincoln Mark VIII, which used reflector headlamps with an unmasked, integral-ignitor burner made by Sylvania and designated Type 9500. This was the only system to operate on DC, since reliability proved inferior to the AC systems.[citation needed] The Type 9500 system was not used on any other models, and was discontinued after Osram's takeover of Sylvania in 1997.[citation needed] All HID headlamps worldwide presently use the standardised AC-operated bulbs and ballasts.


HID headlamp bulbs do not run on low-voltage DC current, so they require a ballast with either an internal or external ignitor. The ignitor is integrated into the bulb in D1 and D3 systems, and is either a separate unit or part of the ballast in D2 and D4 systems. The ballast controls the current to the bulb. The ignition and ballast operation proceeds in three stages:
  1. Ignition: a high voltage pulse is used to produce a spark – in a manner similar to a spark plug – which ionises the Xenon gas, creating a conducting tunnel between the tungsten electrodes. Electrical resistance is reduced within the tunnel, and current flows between the electrodes.
  2. Initial phase: the bulb is driven with controlled overload. Because the arc is operated at high power, the temperature in the capsule rises quickly. The metallic salts vapourise, and the arc is intensified and made spectrally more complete. The resistance between the electrodes also falls; the electronic ballast control gear registers this and automatically switches to continuous operation.
  3. Continuous operation: all metal salts are in the vapour phase, the arc has attained its stable shape, and the luminous efficacy has attained its nominal value. The ballast now supplies stable electrical power so the arc will not flicker. Stable operating voltage is 85 volts AC in D1 and D2 systems, 42 volts AC in D3 and D4 systems. The frequency of the square-wave alternating current is typically 400 hertz or higher.

Burner types

HID headlamp burners produce between 2,800 and 3,500 lumens from between 35 and 38 watts of electrical power, while halogen filament headlamp bulbs produce between 700 and 2,100 lumens from between 40 and 72 watts at 12.8 V.[35][36][37]
Current-production burner categories are D1S, D1R, D2S, D2R, D3S, D3R, D4S, and D4R. The D stands for discharge, and the number is the type designator. The final letter describes the outer shield. The arc within an HID headlamp bulb generates considerable short-wave ultraviolet (UV) light, but none of it escapes the bulb, for a UV-absorbing hard glass shield is incorporated around the bulb's arc tube. This is important to prevent degradation of UV-sensitive components and materials in headlamps, such as polycarbonate lenses and reflector hardcoats. "S" burners – D1S, D2S, D3S, and D4S – have a plain glass shield and are primarily used in projector-type optics. "R" burners – D1R, D2R, D3R, and D4R – are designed for use in reflector-type headlamp optics. They have an opaque mask covering specific portions of the shield, which facilitates the optical creation of the light/dark boundary (cutoff) near the top of a low-beam light distribution. Automotive HID burners do emit considerable near-UV light, despite the shield.


The correlated colour temperature of factory installed automotive HID headlamps is between 4100K and 5000K[citation needed] while tungsten-halogen lamps are at 3000K to 3550K. The spectral power distribution (SPD) of an automotive HID headlamp is discontinuous and spikey while the SPD of a filament lamp, like that of the sun, is a continuous curve. Moreover, the color-rendering index (CRI) of tungsten-halogen headlamps (98) is much closer than that of HID headlamps (~75) to standardised sunlight (100). Studies have shown no significant safety effect of this degree of CRI variation in headlighting.[38][39][40][41]


Increased safety
Automotive HID lamps offer about 3000 lumens and 90 Mcd/m2 versus 1400 lumens and 30 Mcd/m2[disputed ] offered by halogen lamps. In a headlamp optic designed for use with an HID lamp, it produces more usable light. Studies have demonstrated drivers react faster and more accurately to roadway obstacles with good HID headlamps than halogen ones.[42] Hence, good HID headlamps contribute to driving safety.[43] The contrary argument is that glare from HID headlamps can reduce traffic safety by interfering with other drivers' vision.[original research?]
Efficacy and output
Luminous efficacy is the measure of how much light is produced versus how much energy is consumed. HID burners give higher efficacy than halogen lamps. The highest-intensity halogen lamps, H9 and HIR1, produce 2100 to 2530 lumens from approximately 70 watts at 13.2 volts. A D2S HID burner produces 3200 lumens from approximately 42 watts during stable operation.[35] The reduced power consumption means less fuel consumption, with resultant less CO2 emission per vehicle fitted with HID lighting (1.3 g/km assuming that 30% of engine running time is with the lights on).
The average service life of an HID lamp is 2000 hours, compared to between 450 and 1000 hours for a halogen lamp.[44]


Vehicles equipped with HID headlamps (except motorcycles) are required by ECE regulation 48 also to be equipped with headlamp lens cleaning systems and automatic beam leveling control. Both of these measures are intended to reduce the tendency for high-output headlamps to cause high levels of glare to other road users. In North America, ECE R48 does not apply and while lens cleaners and beam levelers are permitted, they are not required;[45] HID headlamps are markedly less prevalent in the US, where they have produced significant glare complaints.[46] Scientific study of headlamp glare has shown that for any given intensity level, the light from HID headlamps is 40% more glaring than the light from tungsten-halogen headlamps.[

            Published by Wyatt Olsen

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Distracted Driving and Driver Fatigue

All eyes on driver

As I reflect back on recent safety initiatives while also looking ahead, two topics stand out in my mind: distracted driving and fatigued driving.
Distracted driving has been a hot topic for several years. The issue hit its peak in the motorcoach industry when safety regulations related to distracting cell phone use by commercial drivers and carriers came into play in late 2010. Long before these regulations were enacted, however, most companies understood that distracted driving was a serious safety issue. As is typical, some carriers took steps to counteract it while others waited to be told what to do.
Has the danger associated with distracted driving gone away? No.
To the contrary, vehicle and personal mobile electronics continue to enhance the opportunities for distracted driving. While many newer cars now have Bluetooth phone systems to limit hand-held phone use, some newer cars are also their own mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. New research shows that surfing while driving (webbing) is on the rise. As carriers, however, we feel more comfortable that we’ve done what we can to control distracted driving by our drivers and for our customers, which is all we can ask for.
This brings us to another safety concern — fatigued driving. Fatigue is one of those moving targets difficult to pin down. A lot of questions that can be asked about the concept of fatigue come with, unfortunately, a lot of vague and uncertain answers.
Some of the questions I’ve heard from operators:  What defines fatigue?  When does it occur?  How will I know someone is fatigued?  How can I prevent fatigue?  Is fatigue the same as sleepiness?
We should probably already know the answer to these questions since we certainly understand that fatigued driving contributes to accidents. Part of the problem is it is tough to quantify exactly when fatigue was a causal factor in an accident, especially when not indicated by a driver.

            Published by Wyatt Olsen

....GMC - Futurliner - Extremely Rare....

GMC   - 1939 - Futurliner - EXTREMELY RARE!

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO OWN A PART OF HISTORY: GM Research Director Charles Kettering was touched by the outpouring of public interest in GM’s science and technology exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. He commissioned legendary GM designer Harley Earl to build 12 Futurliners to showcase new technologies across the country. Three have since been lost. They are dramatic streamlined vehicles each 11-feet-7-inches tall, 33-feet-long with a 20-foot wheelbase. Peter Pan Bus Lines has meticulously restored this particular unit by Peter Pan Coach Builders over a total of three years. The 400-horsepower leviathan is 33 feet long and just shy of 12 feet tall. When it was built for the 1939 New York World's Fair, it cost GM around $2 million in today's dollars. (Those of you with long memories may recall that a similar example shattered Barrett-Jackson records when it hammered at $4.1M in 2006). After the World's Fair, the 12 Futurliners toured the U.S. under the "Parade of Progress" banner, showing the nation the technology of, well, the future. Each bus opened up to display the science behind microwaves, jet propulsion and the like. This particular example was exhumed from a New York corn field in 1997 before being massaged back to life by Coach Builders of Springfield, Massachusetts. This is a very unique opportunity to own a piece of automotive history that very seldom comes around. Any interested parties can contact Tom Packnally at Peter Pan Bus Lines or 413.781.2900 ext:1235

BusesOnline.comBusesOnline.comGeneral Information
Year: 1939
Manufacturer: GMC
Type: Miscellaneous
Model: Futurliner
Price: $3,000,000.00
Mileage: 54,000
Location: Springfield, MA

Web Links
Equipment details can be found here at Coach Builders website

Video Links

Seller's Name

Seller's Name
Name: Bruce Westcott

Seller's Phone
Phone 1: 413-781-2900
Phone 2: 413-326-1373

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Safe Driver Hall of Fame

Safe driving over the span of a career that covers more than three-million miles requires the highest standards in every facet of the job from driver behavior and passenger awareness to exacting vehicle maintenance. The National Safety Council says fewer than 200 drivers ever achieve this status.
  Inductees into the  Safe Driver Hall of Fame presented by 5Star Specialty Programs.
Emory Hysell, a veteran driver for Greyhound Bus Lines, and Russ Lippincott and Lee Roy Weems of Village Charters and Tours, Wichita, KS, and Oklahoma City, OK, have each crossed the rarified threshold without a recordable accident.
The 2010 inductees join previous Safe Driver Hall of Fame members (2008) Aubrey Hutchings, K-T Contract Services, Elko, NV, and (2009) Edward C. Hope and Everett L. Anderson, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield, MA.
Emory Hysell
Greyhound Bus Lines

Emory Hysell, has driven motorcoaches for more than 50 years and estimates he has driven 4,500,000 million miles with Greyhound Bus Lines. Today the company puts him at the top of its list of its Exceptionally Safe Drivers (ESDs) — drivers who have not had any traffic violations, accidents or reported incidents of unsafe driving while on duty.
Originally from Huntington, WV, Hysell currently drives the Jacksonville-to-Miami route and trains new drivers for Greyhound. His employer says he understands the importance of safety and works diligently to share his knowledge of driving with those he trains.
“Safety has always been a top priority for Greyhound and myself,” says Hysell. “I practice safe driving at all times and try to instill these same safety measures into future Greyhound drivers.”
Russ Lippincott
Village Charters and Tours

Russ Lippincott began driving coaches in 1977 for Continental Trailways, continuing through its acquisition by Greyhound. As a driver trainer for Trailways Lippincott received the Safe Driver Award every year he served with the company. He moved to independent charter coaches in 1985, driving one winter for Prestige Charters, and a short stint with Kincaid Coach before joining Village Charters & Tours full time in 1988. Lippincott has logged 2,550,000 miles in his 33-year career. In that time he has two recordable accidents, one in which he was at fault. To his credit, Lippincott has not put so much as a scratch on a coach in the last 10 years.
Lee Roy Weems
Village Charters and Tours

Lee Roy Weems also drove for Continental Trailways beginning in 1974. In 1985 he left to help found Prestige Charters, Wichita, KS, then formed his own travel agency in Hays, KS.  In 1989 he sold his shares of Prestige to join Village Charters & Tours, driving full time up until 2007 and continues part-time. Over the span of 36 years, Weems has logged 2,700,000 mile without a recordable accident and only one scratch on a coach in the last 10 years. Weems also received the Trailways Safe Driver Award every year he drove for that company.

Three tools I won’t leave home without

Three tools I won’t leave home without

By Bob Bergey
We all have certain items we take on our bus trips, especially those of us who do charter trips around the country. A couple of snacks, bottle of water, travel pillow for a nap and my camera are a few of my favorite things I almost always bring along.
But I have three electronic tools — some would call them gadgets — that I’ll never again leave home without.
One is my cell phone. Ever leave home without it? You feel half dressed, don’t you? About a month ago I managed to walk out of the house without mine, not discovering it until it was too late to return for it. I could hardly wait to get home again.  What did I miss? Fortunately it was just a short day trip, and as it turned out I didn’t miss anything at all.
Second is my GPS receiver. I honestly believe that any driver, no matter the level of experience, benefits enough from having GPS. It is worth using on every trip. The biggest benefit for me is knowing my ETA — estimated time of arrival — and knowing whether I am ahead of schedule or running late.
You drive differently when you know you are on time. You can relax and drive more safely when you know where you stand. If you are running late, GPS gives you plenty of notice so that group leaders or others can adjust plans accordingly.
The third tool I’ll never again leave home without is my new Apple iPad. I’ve been using it just over a month now, and it has radically changed my outlook on driving. It brings the huge world of information online right into your hands, no matter where you are. Maps, websites, communications, entertainment and more are literally in the palms of your hands.
I’ll talk more about the iPad in future posts. But let me just mention for now a couple of the apps I use most and am coming to rely on daily.
Number one is the Maps app. Based on Google Maps, my favorite online mapping site, it instantly gives you detailed maps for any part of the U.S. or Canada you might be in (and, I’m sure, other parts of the world, too, but that’s out of my range of experience).
Push the little Compass button, and the GPS chip built into the iPad centers the map over the exact spot you’re in right now. As you drive along, the blue dot marking your location stays centered on the display as the map moves along behind it, so you can always see what’s around you in all directions. Now, you don’t want to take your eyes off the road, but a glance when you’re sitting at a light can be invaluable. And for doing your homework, there’s nothing quite like it; I prefer it over my laptop or desktop Macs. Directions to your destination are available too.
Second is the Inrix Traffic app. All you need to do is start up the app, and it centers a Google map over your exact location, similar to the Maps app, except this time it overlays traffic info on top of all the major routes around you. Wow. I used it a couple of days ago when I was returning to the Philadelphia area from Washington, D.C. on a Monday afternoon rush hour. I could see exactly where the worst traffic tie-ups were located, and also a good escape route!
We went a few miles out of our way but never sat in traffic anywhere for more than a couple of minutes. Really cool.
Third is an app I’ve just started using — Wikipanion. It simply and beautifully provides an interface to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia of everything. I use it to look up info on destinations and things we might see along the way. With just a few minutes of research, you become the “expert” on your trip. You may not use it every day but when you need it, it’s invaluable.
Last but not least, for now, is the AccuWeather app. You can get a gorgeous 10-day forecast for wherever you’re at or wherever you’re going (well, the weather may not be gorgeous, but the app is). Nice to have that info to pass along to passengers too.
I’m out of time and space here … see my website,, for another article on the iPad. And stay tuned for more here, too!
Bob Bergey is a motorcoach driver based in Franconia, PA.

 Published by Wyatt Olsen