ASC log 7/3/12: The Eighth Day



Eighth is a very weird word. I guess I don’t have to type it out very much, since I only realized how weird it is just now. Ghth is just a weird sequence of letters. The more I stare at the word, the less sense it makes. Oh well.

Anyways, back to today. I rolled out of bed half an hour late, and it made me realize that I actually prefer sleeping on the ground to sleeping in a bed. It’s a lot easier for me to get up in the morning. Beds are just too comfy. Maybe when I get home I’ll throw out my bed. Probably not. But maybe….

We headed out early to start our testing. We picked one of the roads that my buddy and I scouted out yesterday, and drove along it until we found a nice big parking lot to set up in. A big parking lot-esque area is necessary in order to take Impulse out of the trailer and do work on it before heading out on the road. This was the first time we’d be unpacking Impulse since we embarked on the road trip, and there was no telling what state it would be in now. A lot of problems we’ve encountered in the past have been due to vibration, so being in a big trailer can’t have been great for Impulse. Anyways, we found an empty elementary school parking lot and started setting up.

Much to our surprise, Impulse turned on and appeared to work just fine! I took it on a few laps around the parking lot and showed it off to some construction workers doing landscaping. There were some code errors which caused the controls to be screwed up, but that only meant that new code needed to be uploaded onto the car.

It seemed like we would be able to take it onto the road soon, but unfortunately in trying to fix a minor issue with the motor, we accidentally blew a fuse that would prevent the motor from working. A very small, very specific fuse that we didn’t have on us and that none of our teammates back home could find. We tried for an overnight rush order, but unfortunately nobody delivers on 4th of July, which is tomorrow. So we won’t be able to drive the car until July 5th at the earliest, which is the day before scrutineering. Uh oh…

We worked on Impulse as much as we could until there was nothing left to do but drive, and at that point we packed up the car in the trailer and returned home.

Up until this point, we had planned on treating the 4th as a day of respite, and going on a day trip to New York City. It became apparent that we were running out of time, and we could not afford to lose a day to such shenanigans. However, this would be the last chance that we would get to do any traveling before scrutineering starts. So, we made a group decision, around 7 PM, to go to New York City tonight.

The trip was very exciting. It took about 1.5 hours to get there, all 7 of us packed into one minivan rather than take the whole caravan there. As we approached New York City, we could feel the tension in the air rise. The amount of fucks that drivers on the road gave began to approach zero. We had to go very fast and swerve around some cars in order to survive. The roads were narrow, the speeds were fast, lights and crosswalks were seen as general guidelines, and multiple people were stopped in the middle of the road for seemingly no reason.

After navigating the city streets (keep in mind this was on the outskirts of Manhattan), we found a cozy parking garage to keep our minivan safe in. Then we passed through Central Park and took a subway into the middle of Manhattan.

At 9:30 PM, the city was abuzz. We walked into Times Square, which was one of the most mind blowing places I’ve ever been. There were so many lights and screens and people, it was hard to keep track of where I was. It was a stimulus overload. We took some pictures and then tried to find someplace to eat.

We found a random pizzeria which looked pretty good, but walked in to find that it was very crowded and had a few people waiting to get in, which was somehow not surprising given the number of people who were on the streets at the time. However, when we asked for a table to seat 7, we were led immediately to the heart of the restaurant. From the outside, it was just a little doorway from the outside, but it was like the TARDIS – much larger inside. It expanded into a circular room, with 3 different tiers on which to dine. There were also multiple chefs and ovens located throughout the restaurant. The entire place seemed to be full, except for one 8-person table right in the center of the circle. Surely, this was fate.

We ordered 2 large pitchers of Ginger Ale and Root Beer (because we are too young for actual ale and beer L ) and 3 large pizzas. The food was delicious and not very expensive, and at the end I think we wish we ordered 4 pizzas. We departed around 11, satisfied with our meal and our nighttime adventure. We took the subway back up to the parking garage (the subway was crowded even at 11:30, away from the center of the city), and left to go home. Most people slept on the way, since we are all used to sleeping around 11 PM.

We got home safely by 1:30, and headed to bed. Luckily we didn’t have to wake up too early the next morning. New York City was quite the adventure, and we were only there for a couple of hours. I can’t wait to go back one day when I have more time to enjoy myself. It sure is a stressful place to drive in, but I don’t think I would mind living there for a bit, provided I didn’t have a car, and I stayed away from the sketchy areas. I got a very strong feeling of being alive while I was there. Everything was always moving and always active. Perhaps I won’t appreciate that later in my life, but it was an interesting departure from what I’m used to, especially considering I spent the last week  traveling between consecutive middles of nowhere.


Here’s what I was thinking while driving to New York at 8 PM.

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