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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Major Achievement

I frequently have really weird or crazy ideas that I think would be really cool. One idea in particular has been on my mind every time I've driven from Logan to Brigham City over the last several years.
I have a theory that from a certain point in Sardine Canyon, you can drive all the way to Brigham City without touching the gas pedal. Every time I drove that canyon(and wasn't in a hurry,) I would test this theory. Unfortunately, traffic, or construction, or weather conditions would not permit a perfect test. Well, I am here to announce that several weeks ago, on a late night return trip from Logan, I was able to complete a perfect test of my theory.
If you are familiar with Sardine canyon, you know that about halfway through the canyon there is an area between two ridges with a very long, straight, sweeping stretch of road as the highway dips into a valley and comes back out again. Coincidentally this is also the stretch of road where I discovered that my parents Saab is limited to 136 mph. As you reach the crest of this hill, the remainder of the trip into Brigham City is mostly downhill. I say mostly because there are two major obstacles which must be overcome.
The first is the stretch of road that passes Mantua. The second is the large hill you must ascent before dropping into Brigham City. In previous attempts, these obstacles (and rapidly approaching traffic from the rear) forced me to chicken out and accelerate back to normal highway speeds...but not this time.
Here's the setting: My brother Andrew and I are returning home from Logan at about 1:30 in the morning. I observe that the conditions for my theory appear to be perfect.
As we are driving through the canyon I explain my theory and tell him that if traffic conditions stay ideal (as in no traffic,) then we are totally going for the perfect test!
He is a little bit puzzled by my crazy idea, but he agrees. As we crest the hill while going the posted speed limit, I take my feet completely off the pedals and put the car in neutral. At first everything is pretty standard and dull as we coast along slowly losing speed. Shortly thereafter the road steepens and we begin to pick up speed. From previous attempts I know that you get going the fastest on some of the twistiest parts of the highway. I start to get nervous and position my foot over the break pedal. While Andrew had previously been skeptical, he is beginning to get into the thrill of the adventure.
We coast into the first valley at nearly 80 mph! The road starts to level out past Mantua and we quickly lose speed. As we approach the final leg of the canyon our speed has dropped below 40 mph. We are still pretty sure we can make it past Mantua, but the obstacles seems more imposing now.
We successfully made it past Manuta to the bend in the road that signals the last downhill stretch of the canyon. Slowly we pick up speed, and reach a respectable 75 mph. The final hill is in sight!
The road bends uphill and our speed rapidly drops. 65...50...45...35...25. We are nearing the top of the hill, but our speed seems to be dropping too quickly. We get down below 20 mph almost to a crawl as we struggle to reach the top of the hill. Very slowly we inch along. We make the top of the hill and breath a joint sigh of relief as we start down the other side.
We made it! We proved that from that exact point in Sardine Canyon you can coast into Brigham. Now comes the fun part...seeing just how far we can make it before we come rolling to a stop. Before we get too excited I remember that there is one more obstacle we must pass...the traffic light at the bottom of the hill.
Because cars are usually going so quickly coming out of the canyon, there is actually a set of flashing lights about a quarter of a mile before the intersection. If the lights start to flash, you had better start slowing down because the traffic light will be turning red in a few seconds.
As we rolled down the hill gaining speed, our eyes were fixed on that set of lights, willing them to stay dark. We had picked up speed to about 65 mph and successfully passed the not-flashing lights. It appeared to be smooth sailing. Sure enough we coasted right through that intersection without another car in sight. We actually maintained our speed on the straight and level for a lot longer than I thought we would. It appeared that not only were we going to make it further into Brigham City than anticipated, but we were going to have to face a second traffic light obstacle.
We could see the light in the distance, and it was green, but as we got closer, it changed to Red.
I started to panic thinking that we had made it all this way and would have to brake for the very last intersection. Resisting the urge to brake for as long as I could, we continued onward towards the intersection.
We had a brief ethical discussion on whether or not we should run the red light for the purposes of science, seeing as how there were no other cars within sight. Fortunately, just before we reached the point of no return, in the darkness we could see the opposing lights turn to yellow and then to red. Our own lights turned to green just seconds before we went coasting through. It was a pretty close call and was majorly nerve wracking.
We had successfully made it through Brigham City and past the gas stations and now we were approaching the freeway entrance. We knew that the end of our legendary journey was nearing an end as the road began to turn uphill.
With our speed slowly dropping, we speculated on the possibility of reaching the south-bound freeway entrance and actually coasting onto the freeway. As the incline of the road increased, our speed had dropped below 30 mph, but still we kept rolling. We dropped below 20, and then below 10. Now going slower than five mph it was clear that we were not going to reach the south-bound freeway entrance. However, we were only a few car lengths from the north-bound freeway entrance! Inching forwards we finally came to a stop and began to roll backwards with the entire stretch of the north-bound on-ramp directly visible out of the passenger window.
Rejoicing in our powerless victory over those 10 solid miles of highway, we put the car back in gear for the first time in 10 minutes, and accelerated onto the freeway, satisfied with our major achievement.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forget the third obstacle - Mantua's own robo--cop. it is a good thing he was home in bed.

Robby Spratt said...

Hmm, I haven't heard of this Robo-cop. That's pretty cool though, I'd like to learn more about this human cyborg.

Robin said...

Ha ha! When I was up there I had a roommate from Brigham who told me about this theory. I know she has done it before, but I don't think she started as far back into the canyon as you.
Also- you lived in Logan and haven't heard of Robo-cop??

You asked about my old blog- it still exists but I made it private and don't use it anymore. I got weird about blogging a while ago...hmm.....sorry? :)

Robby Spratt said...

Yeah, I seriously hadn't heard of him until after I moved back to SLC...how weird is that. It was just recently that I actually saw him for the first time.
p.s. I'm impressed that you have read this far back in my blog!

p.p.s. I will be even more impressed if you actually read, and respond to this comment on your comment. ;)

Robin said...

Is this a test? Read. Responded.
:)

Robby Spratt said...

Ha ha. Something like that. ;)