PlanningTravelling Alone

Often people are shocked when they hear that I love to travel alone. Some state that they would be afraid to do this while others imply that they just don’t think they would enjoy the trip without having people accompany them.

Well, there are several advantages to going solo:

1. Planning is much easier. You just think about where you would like to visit and start researching your options. You can open an email with flight offers and book whatever grabs your attention at the time without having to consult or compromise.
2. Travelling is more flexible. If you miss a plane or decide to get sidetracked you can coordinate things based on one schedule only – your own. You don’t have to worry about anxiety or commitments of others in your party. In fact, you could even choose to give up your seat on an overbooked flight and receive hundreds of dollars from the airline for doing so.
3. Opportunities abound. It is a lot easier to purchase one ticket to a popular event that two. Several times I have impulsively arrived at a box office and found that the concert was sold out – except for one great ticket – MINE! Would you believe twenty-third row center for Natalie Cole in Seattle?
4. Relationships develop. Frequently I am invited to join interesting people at their table for a meal when they realize that I am on my own. I have made amazing friendships and enjoyed great conversations on trips that wouldn’t have occurred if I had been with other people.
5. Culture can be experienced first-hand. There is always time to visit with hotel or restaurant staff, discover local adventures or learn about the language and customs from a shop keeper because no one is waiting for you or wanting to do something else.
6. Plans can be altered. You can sleep in, order lunch in mid-afternoon or take an impulsive detour without upsetting anyone else’s itinerary.
7. You set the pace. I have learned to walk slowly and rest often – a situation that does not match that of many other people. Last month, in Ronks, Pennsylvania, for example, I chose to take advantage of an outdoor Amish-made rocking chair so I could just rock and people-watch for two hours. I loved it but know that not everyone would have felt the same way!
8. You spend less money. At least I do because I know that I am the one who will have to haul my luggage around from place to place. And I don’t want to pay an extra transportation fee if it weighs in att over fifty pounds.
9. I also eat better when I am alone because I am not in restaurants three times a day trying to finish everything on the plate. In fact, I eat only one restaurant meal a day, ask for a take-out container and then supplement my left-overs with fruit, vegetables or snacks that I have purchased throughout the day.
10. Finally, and with tongue in cheek I enjoy the fact that there isn’t anyone to correct my stories!

You don’t have to be afraid to travel on your own if you are wise. Just use your common sense, ask hotel personnel for advice about safe areas and keep your eyes open. With just a little practice, you will find that travelling on your own can be a wonderful experience!

Three Reasons To Buy Used From a Ford Dealership

From clear financial incentives to increased reliability and better buying tools, there has never been a better time to consider buying a used car or truck. Not sold? Here are three reasons to buy used for your next vehicle.

Save Yourself Money

It’s no secret that buying a vehicle used instead of new will save you money, but just how much money can you save? Statistics from Kelly Blue Book show that in 2015 Americans spent an average of $33,500 on new vehicles versus just over $20,000 on used. That’s an approximate $13,500 in savings.

With buying new, there is also the depreciation factor. As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, its price drops by several thousand dollars. According to statistics from Consumer Reports, a new car purchased in today’s market will depreciate to just 54 percent of its original price tag after just three years on the road. With used vehicles, such depreciation is a rarity, making trade-ins and sales back to the dealership more economically viable.

Get A Reliable (And Better) Vehicle

Going the used route can free up resources and allow you to buy a better and more reliable vehicle. The rationale is simple: when you save by buying your car used, you can put that extra money towards a better make or model. If you do your homework, the cost should be about even – and in the long run, the investment will likely fall in your favor. By choosing a better-made model, your used vehicle will likely outlive the new, less reliable alternative. Plus, with the lifespan of today’s cars at an all-time high, even vehicles with several years on the road can be a sound investment. According to a 2015 survey by IHS Automotive, the average age of cars on US roads has reached 11.5 years, with estimates projecting a continued increase in lifespan. For used car buyers, this is good news. The used vehicle is no longer a temporary fix, but a reliable alternative to buying new.

Vehicle History Reports and CPO Programs: The Future of Used Car Buying

Today’s certified pre-owned (CPO) programs further guarantee that when you buy used, you get a reliable car in great condition. Since a growing number of new car drivers today choose to lease their cars rather than buy them, dealerships nationwide have substantial inventories of CPO trade-ins to buy. New car leases typically involve 3-year contracts with restrictions based on condition and mileage, which mean when they trade in their vehicles they are still in excellent condition.

Whether you are buying a CPO model or a car from the regular used car dealership, the prevalence of vehicle history reports through online services makes it easier than ever to find a reliable used vehicle. Enter the automobile’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and gather valuable information about its history and registration. A dealership will be happy to assist you with this process. With today’s tools, you will be able to find a high-quality used vehicle faster than ever.

Mining Industry Builds Up Smart Solutions

The present-day mining industry provides large-scale possibilities for the latest automotive and connective technologies to be tested out.

It goes without saying that the process of recovering the planet’s natural resources is hard. Apart from being difficult, it can be environmentally damaging. In these circumstances human safety is of top priority. It is provided by such IT revolutionary systems as: ‘extreme Wi-Fi’ that is able to cover vast deserts; autonomous vehicles that deal with extracting vital minerals and rocks without the need for operator action; smart communications that warn employees if they get close to gigantic machines and much more. The experts in the field believe that the potential of these systems will help to achieve the ambitious goal of the fully autonomous mining site, where the actual presence of humans is not required.

Smart mining premises

All the leading manufacturers of mining machinery are currently developing the best autonomous practices to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce cost, and lower emissions without sacrifice of safety. By using connectivity and valuable data analytics they develop the optimal dig patterns at the coalface and enable the vehicles of exact autonomous routing. Mining has become the mutual combination of big industry, big data and big money.

The underground IoT provider

One of the most ingenious contributions to smart mines so far is the Smart Rockbolt. Basically, this is the device that creates an underground Internet of Things. The global mining industry uses 100 million of bolts every year. These tools are used to prop up walls and ceilings during dynamiting. The concern is that they are rather susceptible. Being damaged, they lose their load bearing capability. As a result, there is the risk of deadly collapsed tunnels and cavities.

The innovative Smart Rockbolt was designed at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden and has an impressive list of virtues. It is equipped with sensors that measure vibrations and strain. When linked to 4G or Wi-Fi it empowers a mesh network with the might of a 24/7 safety monitoring system. What is more, a single non-rechargeable battery cell is able to run for years.

The art of geofencing

Geofencing technology serves to keep workers away from dangerous equipment. It is integrated with various microclimate monitoring systems, which benefit from sensors that measure humidity, temperature, sound and gas levels in the area. In case of any problems mining workers and engineers receive the corresponding text messages on their phones. Employees can get warnings not to enter an area because the air quality is not satisfactory or because there is heavy machinery working. A worker also can send an alert to the control center when they are in need of assistance. Another important value of the technology is that it can give real-time feedback on the physical condition of workers (e.g. blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) by means of special wearable devices.

The ultra-reliable Wi-Fi

To guarantee successful remote operation, the connectivity should be just flawless. But in case of the open mines somewhere in high mountain ranges the task demands a lot of effort. Sometimes, the environmental conditions are so tough, that for electronics it’s like going to Mars. But there is such advanced networking equipment with ruggedised routers that allow remote mining and construction workers to take advantage of the so-called ‘extreme Wi-Fi’ everywhere they go.

The need for 5G

Providing reliable connectivity that is flexible and durable enough for underground mining operations is quite a challenge. To arrange the work of autonomous mining machinery on a regular basis, the connectivity should be of no less than the 5G standard. Telecommunications equipment companies have already launched the projects that aim at investigating how to remotely control monster-like vehicles. For this reason, distributed radio networks with carefully arranged antennas are being set up in the mines to deal with the long underground tunnels and rough walls.

Mine of the future

Autonomous haulage around the mine is not a dream, but the reality that is tested nowadays at the Pilbara iron ore mine in Western Australia. The concept under the big name ‘Mine of the future’ is being realized with the help of 69 partially autonomous trucks. Other outstanding plans include automated drilling and even a fully autonomous long distance railway to get the ore to market.

In the near future a fully remote control over dump trucks is planned to be ensured through an electric steering module, installed between the steering wheel and valve. Moreover, the trucks will use data from the on-board sensors, as well as digital maps that will help to navigate around a mine and identify an exact location for dumping.

Great Expectations

Alongside big behemoths in the form of haul trucks, there are smaller versions of transportation trucks in the form of tippers that are also used for bulk cargo haulage around a mining site. Autonomous transport solutions for construction sphere have become one of the prime concerns for Swedish automotive manufacturers. Thus, Scania tippers represent the company’s ongoing commitment to profitability and sustainability. As an initial result, two collaborating construction vehicles from Scania have already demonstrated its self-driving abilities. A distinctive feature of the project is that its final goal is not to take away the need for human intervention but to make the driver to be a key player in proficient autonomous transporting and dumping solutions.

Automotive Filter Changes Importance

Humans require clean, easy-to-breath air in order to live. And just like humans, vehicles also need to be able to “breathe” clean air in order to survive. While human lungs make it possible to breathe, a vehicle’s air filters do just the same. But after some time, they begin to accumulate mass amounts of dirt, debris, and other airborne particles, which eventually decreases their quality and function. For this reason, it is critical to have your vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed on a routine basis to promote safe and efficient driving. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of routine automotive filter changes.

Air Filters

Keep in mind that your car’s air filters are your first line of defense against irritating and obstructive airborne contaminants. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores, exhaust gases, bacteria, and more are examples of airborne contaminants that have the ability to negatively affect the quality and performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. And according to Community Car Care, there is a 1 in 5 chance that YOUR car needs an air filter change right now! Many drivers are guilty of overlooking this small but highly-necessary scheduled maintenance.

Engine Damage

The long list of airborne contaminants can have a powerful impact on your vehicle’s engine, and in a very negative way. Everything from pistons, cylinders, and cylinder walls, to piston rings and bearings, are just a few areas of a car engine that can begin to lose performance value from clogged or dirty air filters. Over time, neglecting to change them can lead to serious engine malfunctions and breakdowns, which means frustrating, costly repairs.

Cabin Filters

If you like to have clean, breathable interior air that smells good, you need to change your air filters on a routine basis. Once they start to become clogged, they begin to slowly lose their ability to do their job. So once they are entirely clogged, you can suffer some mild but irritating consequences, such as musty smells, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, tightening of the chest, and more. Changing them regularly keeps the interior environment of your car fresh and easy to breath.

Schedule

Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for the manufacturer recommendations on factory scheduled maintenance. The general rule of thumb is to have your air filters inspected and changed every time you take your car in for an oil change. In fact, it is often a part of oil change packages. This should be every 3,000 miles or so. Talk to your mechanic for professional advice.