Transporting Pets Safely

dog-1451448_1920

The main problem with pets in cars is the heat, as it can be raised to 20°F in around 10 minutes, and reach 30°F in about 20 minutes. It will take 60 minutes for the temperature to be 40°F hotter than outside.

But that’s not the only pet/car conflict. Other concerns include allowing a dog to ride in the back of a pick-up truck, as dogs can easily fall or jump from this area and will be killed on impact.

loading-652314_1920.jpgThough often not fatal, the injuries to your pet can be severe. One possible countermeasure is a tether, but it’s not a perfect solution and many home-brew solutions create a risk of tangling or dragging your canine behind the vehicle. It’s much better to invest in a kennel for your pet, which will require some kind of protection from the elements.

Oddly, not all states have banned dogs riding in the back of a pick-up truck. As far as animal safety is concerned, it should be Rule 1.

Another concern is a pets ability to distract a driver, which can obviously lead to damaging more than just the pet. This is best solved by housing your pet in a kennel. If you’re noticing a theme here, you are correct, in general pets should be in some kind of carrier while they are in the car.

Qualities of a Good Kennel

It should be large enough for the pet to both stand up and sit down in, and even turn around. Make sure it’s well ventilated. It is worthwhile trying out the pet in the carrier first before embarking on the trip. The carrier should be secured so that it doesn’t move around too much.

Open Windows

Letting a dog stick it’s head out the window used to be common but it’s not a good idea. There is the risk of them being injured by objects being thrown out of other cars, rocks kicked up from the road, or by signs and tree branches.

That’s just the risk to your pets, in reality, the cause of people no longer letting dogs have their heads out the window is that we’re paying so much more for our cars. If you do drive with the window down be sure to get waterproof seat covers.

Car Training your Pet

The first trip that you take your pet on shouldn’t be too long, just to get them used to traveling in the car. After traveling in the vehicle a few times the animal will become calmer and more suited to long journeys.

Note: Some animals, like some humans, will suffer from car sickness and never adjust to riding in a vehicle. You’ll need to get medicine from your vet in order to transport these pets.

What to Bring

Whether it’s a long road trip or a day excursion, you’ll need to bring some items with you. Including…a food bowl, waste scoop and plastic bags. Think about the animal’s medication too and you might even like to create a pet first aid kit. Finally, don’t forget their favorite toy.

Traveling with Pets

Pets that don’t typically run away from their yard sometimes wander off when in public parks or hiking trails. For security purposes it helps if your pet is microchipped. For longer trips, a travel tag will also be of assistance to you.

41Tjhr3MyyL._AC_

If you are traveling between states it is a good idea to bring documentation of the pet’s rabies vaccination even if some states don’t require those details. Just to be safe.

Carry bottled water when traveling with a pet, especially on very hot days. Your pet can’t reach a drinking fountain, and don’t take for granted that you’ll have access to adequate hydration for your pet.

 

Advertisements

Merry Christmas Part 3

woody-car-4271185_1280

Christmas in the Car

With all the hassle of Christmas, trying to get everything cooked in the kitchen and making sure that you have all the presents correct, spending Christmas in a car certainly has some appeal. It’s evidently an old troupe in films and TV shows that you don’t spend Christmas at home with your folks, but spend it miles from anywhere, whether in your car or old shack. Why this is so common a theme that you almost think it’s preferable.

Generally, we decorate our houses, but lately decorating the car is a trend. It starts with the little things like reindeer antlers on the side windows, or bumper stickers with a holiday theme. Santa is my co-pilot or I brake for reindeer. But more and more you’ll see clever use of LEDs to mimic house holiday lighting. That’s not even including decorating for a big event like a parade or tailgate party.

A word of warning to add lights to your car without an additional power pack is probably not a good idea and will drain your battery. In most states, sticking lights on your car is technically illegal, although the police tend to turn a blind eye at Christmas if you refrain from anything blue and flashing. And if you are using your car on private land and not entering a public road it is completely legal.

ba327f52c97b66a7273a8bed456a82adIf you use lights with their own battery pack it prevents a drain on the car’s resources. The more lights you use obviously the bigger power pack that you require.

As well as using zip ties, you might also use magnets to attach decorations to the car (the car being mostly made of magnetic metals). You should only use lights which are suitable for outdoor use. It’s important that anything attached to the car is completely secure and cannot fall off.

When it comes to the aesthetics of the vehicle a holly wreath at the front creates a nice picture. If you have a spare tire on the front of back sometimes you might find a cover for it with a picture of a wreath on it already.

christmas-car-decorations-e1570768937901An inflatable Santa tied the hood doesn’t look very classy but is certainly original. Then there are those who have a complete tree on the roof of the car. It takes all sorts out there.

You can still choose to decorate a car that is stuck in the garage, by wrapping up in crepe paper for instance.

Lights inside the car also work but remember to take them down after Christmas as they are considered a distraction.

Link to Pics of Crazy Christmas Cars

If you are going to use lights on your car and drive the public roads you have two strategies for not being pulled over: use tiny lights or use all white lights. Either way don’t have them flash. Blue, as already mentioned, are reserved for police. Red, Yellow and Green lights can be mistaken for traffic signals.

The final thought on spending the holidays in your car is this: Do not drive if you’ve been drinking. Most people know this, but it is worth repeating.

 

F v F: Ford Builds it’s Last Car for the Blue Oval

Kicker Temp FvF

Last August we mentioned the 50th anniversary of a legendary event in car racing history. But now that they’ve made a movie about the incident it’s worth revisiting the memory, which is a very sweet one for most Americans.

“The Ford GT race car competed in its final 24 Hours of Le Mans as a factory backed team in June, only three years after it rolled back into France with a four-car squad built to kick Ferrari’s teeth in on the 50th anniversary of its legendary 1966 win. It won its class in that race, making the second-coming of the GT a legend for Blue Oval fans.”

Click above to watch the race coverage.

Races all have rules, some to keep drivers safe and others simply to keep it one type of race and keep everyone playing by the same rules. What you see below is a car designed to compete on a track where the rule book was thrown to the wind. This is as close to an airplane without a prop that a car can get.

Wings, you ask? You don’t see the wings? Well, they’re their in a sense. Well, listen to its designers from Multimatic, Larry Holt, describe how they produce downforce…”a new dual-element rear wing, a larger front splitter, louvered fenders, new dive planes, and a more prominent rear diffuser…”

Yep, wings, just upside down wings. This MKII is not only a “track only model” its not going to be entering any big races soon. The tires and breaks are especially upgraded to withstand the 2G’s of force it often pulls in corners.

The MK II is a swan song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans win, but Ford will be pulling out of future races on this level. If you’ve been following the news lately you know Ford will focus on trucks.

If you’d like to own one of these limited edition (only 45 made) MK II’s it’ll cost you roughly $1.2 million.  If you do buy one, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE drop us a like and let us test drive it!

Virtual Roads – Part One

web-3120321_1920

Where do we start with virtual roads? Well to define what we mean by the term virtual road, it’s easier to think of as a map. It could be an existing road, or it could be a route one takes to get someplace—like directions. To understand why the fancy term, virtual road, we need to consider the history of roads.

Surprising Origin of Routes & Roads

In England a traveller might observe that some roads meander about from town to city and other roads go directly from place to place without regard to any obstacle. To the citizen of the UK these are known as Saxon roads and Roman roads, because modern roads were either built on top of one or the other.

holidays-1283014_1920Saxons built their roads along the path of least resistance, which generally means a bridge ends up at the best historical place to ford across the river long before the bridge existed. It also means that a lot of the roads in England were built where a cow pushed aside the brush making it easier for humans to pass as well.

Roman roads, on the other hand, are professionally surveyed. They were an important part of the empire, not only for efficient commerce, but because the faster you could move an army the better control you could maintain. So, when Romans encountered stream, they bridged it, when they encountered a mountain, they tunnelled though it. Roman roads are straight, city to city, and they withstand the test of time.

But before anyone bothered to build a road, prehistoric man had rough directions from one civilized spot to another—most of which were built along water sources. Therefore, the earliest formal routes to get places start in about 1160 BC where the trails of seasonal rivers, also used as roads were placed on a map. The oldest road map used in a commuting sense goes back to 235BC. It shows a number of towns along the Black Sea.

Maps, Past & Future

There are other names worth mentioning in the history of road mapping such as McNally’s Road Map of New York (1904) and Michelin (their first road map was in 1910) but instead I want to concentrate on using tech to imitate the road, rather than just giving a plan of the road.

android-1869510_1920.jpgA moving map display was first introduced in the 1950s using paper chart. The only problem is that they could only navigate one specific road, so if you had to travel somewhere obscure you were out of luck. Using a cell phone as a guide to where you are has some similarities to using a moving map display, except of course you are not confined to one road. With larger devices, such as the iPad, there’s room to change the display and allow for something resembling a Sat-Nav when using Google Maps.

Ah, Google Maps, certainly one of the most used systems to work out where you are. It began in 2004 as a downloadable desktop program by Where 2 Technologies. It began by two brothers, Lars and Jed Rasmussen, and quickly added some of the processes of Keyhole, a program acquired at a similar time. Google Maps as we recognize it today began in February 2005 programmed using Javascript and XML. In 2012 Google announced it had 7,100 employees and freelancers which worked in the mapping process and in 2017 it had a billion users worldwide.

When Google Maps was created though Sat Navs had been going for a least twenty years. A Honda built with the “Electro Gyro-Cator” in 1981. Instead of using satellites it used “inertial” navigation systems, meaning that the information couldn’t be updated, Read Only Memory in other words. Cassettes allowing information to be changed would come along in 1983.

Since computer tapes retailed at $20 (the equivalent of $60 today) it is unlikely that many people paid to get their navigation device updated.

The first system which relied on a satellite came along in 1990 and wouldn’t gain a voice until two years later. It relies on a vector map which each house or street encoded as its geographical co-ordinates. The Navigation Data Standard ensures that all SatNavs use the same system and will be updated as and when needed. There are many ways to store the road database, not just ROM but also a flash memory, a hard disk or a CD.

There are other things that can be done with a virtual road. This is the subject of the next article.

 

 

Seeing the USA in a Van

roadtrip-4087904_1920

By Paul Wimsett of the U.K. Desk

It seems madness to live in a van, but the caravan has had a long history. But when it comes to taking a road trip across America it surely is the only way to travel.

Although many people do own camper vans outright it takes out so much of the hassle to hire them instead.

Companies such as Campervan Hire USA feed off people’s wanderlust to see the sights around the USA. (Although Campervans are used abroad the idea of hiring a campervan for a limited period seems to be an idea confined to the USA. It may have something to do with the narrowness of roads elsewhere). You have a choice of traveling from A to B or taking a round trip. You need to be over 21 to drive a camper-van and you need to have had a license for more than 12 months.

Luxuries…

car-3314753_1920.jpgWhen it comes to luxuries you have a short list: a stove, clean bedding, pots and pans, table and chairs and a fridge. Presumably the fridge has somewhere to store frozen goods, which can be a matter of controversy. You hope for quite a substantial spot but many only have a tiny “most cold corner of the fridge.” There’s nothing like travelling all day to make one want to snack.

Technicalities…

What might worry people is if they pay to go on a trip and they do not take the whole journey. Do they still have to pay the same amount of money? No, because it all comes down to the recorded mileage. If you are traveling from another country you can even get a reduction on your flight.

Special Types of Camper-Vans…

With all these hire firms there are number of pick up centers throughout the USA. As well as general campers, it is possible to hire what is known as an “A-Class Motorhome”, also known as a RV. Opinions vary on what an A-Class Motorhome is, but the consensus is that it’s an RV built on a van frame that doesn’t require altering the basic shape of the vehicle. Class A’s do accommodate larger groups – for instance four adults and two children—where a typical caravan is better suited to a couple of surfers and their boards.

Pre-Trip Prep…

If you’re from a place like England traveling to America it’s important to remember that even though the culture isn’t radically different, some of the climates you encounter are quite different. Do you have the right clothes for the climate? That’s the first question, you’d ask for a trip to a location, but this is a touring holiday. If you plan to explore New Mexico for instance and you research weather in New Mexico, everything will indicate that the place is generally warm. Then you learn how close you are to the Rocky Mountains and you decide its worth a few hours just to say you’ve been there. Well if you don’t want to pay tourist prices for a jumper it’s vital to plan ahead.

The Trip Itself…

roadtrip-4087903_1920.jpgThere are a number of things you need to remember such as booking the campsites. You also need to check they have all the amenities you need.

The big shocker for those of us from small, but populous places like Java, Japan, or Great Britten is the distances in America. It feels strange just how far apart things are. And while petrol seems cheap compared to home, if you want to explore the West coast and go from Phoenix to Seattle that’s 1441 miles. No matter how cheap price per liter its a hell of a lot of diesel.

The right tool for the job…

We’ve spoken a lot of Class As and simple caravans, which are more dissimilar than we’ve perhaps described. Here’s why it matters. The motorhome/RV is no good in urban areas but comes into its own in the country. If you have in mind, hitting the world’s longest yard sale in but you also want to hit the statue of liberty then you have an issue on your hands. The better vehicle to navigate the streets of “The Big Apple” is a small camper van, but a Class A will provide more comfort on the open road.

The answer any American will give you is to fly into New York and site see for a couple days, then get out of the city to pick up a descent sized Class A and start traveling. Almost any direction you go will provide mind blowing things to see and neat people to meet.

Where to go…

boat-1834837_1920.jpgWe can’t include it all here, but assuming you started in New York, you could drive North and see Niagra Falls, Boston where you can’t throw a crate of tea without hitting a bit of history, then head to main for some lobster. Or, you could head south and go to the nation’s capital where you’ll catch as many museums as America has to offer in one town. (In America 17 museums in one city is a lot, so try not to bring it up London’s 250.)

If you head west there is so much to see but you’ll learn just how spread out America can be. It’s truly impossible see it all if you had a year, but go ahead and throw a dart in the map, you’ll find adventure and friends wherever you go. The most boring state will take more than a day to explore and you’ll never be bored. (I confess that Yanks love our accent, which helps you make new friends and if you speak engine, well, good like buying your own pint.)

Resources…

The websites will refer to “tumbleweed deserts” to “palm lined” roads, but it’s important just to see these as brochures. See if you can find someone online who has actually taken a trip and can inform the best ways to enjoy the trip and stay safe.

By the way, the English version of an ugly American tourist is to say you’ve been to the states and then confess you’ve only been to Walt Disney World in Florida. However, instead of a scowl or good withering look, a yank will smile in amusement. They take for granted that we’ve all glanced at a map and noticed that Florida is one extreme corner of the country and the park is built for fanciful amusement. Expect a follow up comment along the lines of, “Ahh, well your seen it all then.”

But the unexpected truth is, real America is shockingly more amazing than the place they built to escape reality. So what are you waiting for? Explore what’s out there.

 

What’s News: Rent a brand new Mustang?

“For $177, you can stand in lines at Disney all day. You can cover a night in a decent hotel room or eat a plate of deconstructed fried pickles at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Or you can invest in 24 hours with the supercharged 600-plus-hp Mustang Shelby GT-S. Let’s put that last one into perspective: You can’t buy even half of a rear tire for the Shelby with $177.”

German automotive rental giant, Sixt, entered the US market in 2011, and has grown quickly since–probably due in part to sharp decisions like this. Sixt’s Shelby fleet currently stands at 20 nationwide among cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, (price tags vary by market). When Car and Driver rented one in Florida the cost was $177 / day with an extra $0.83 /mi after the first 175 miles.

This sure beats renting a minivan to haul the family to a world famous amusement park and doesn’t cost that much more, really, does it???

“The Shelby GT-S turns every open road into a thrill ride that you pilot. And if it takes your entire vacation budget to make it happen, know that you can probably cook a steak on the car’s supercharger and sleep in the passenger’s seat.”

Original Story Link

The Amphibious Vehicle

300px-DT-30P1_Vityaz_1

James Bond movies aside, the amphibious vehicle has never really caught on. You might associate an amphibious vehicle with a car, but bikes and buses can also be amphibious. Most are developed and used by the militaries of the world. Let’s take a closer look at some Russian, German and American amphibious vehicles.

From the former Soviet Union comes the Vityaz, a the multi-unit ATV and not truly amphibious because it doesn’t really float. It is, however, capable of carrying a monster payload (over 5 tons) through snow or swamp. The Vityaz resembles two carriages from a train with caterpillar tracks. While it’s predecessors go all the way back the the 1960’s the current model has been in production since 1982.

280px-VW_Kuebelwagen_1The German car-maker Volkswagen brings us two offerings: the Schwimmwagen and Kübelwagen. The Schwimmwagen is a squat 4×4 and the Kübelwagen resembles the bottom half of a VW Beetle. Bothe descend from the civilian version of the humble VW Beatle, but the Kübelwagen came first. The Kübelwagen became the Axis version of the allies jeep, sort of an all-terrain swift transport and tow platform. Unfortunately, the bottom design didn’t lend itself to swimming, with lead to the later developed Schwimagen. Over 15,000 Schwimwagens were produced between 1941 and 1944, making it the largest number of amphibious vehicles ever produced.

280px-VW_Schwimmwagen_1The Americans meanwhile developed the DUKW, which is where the story really twists.

The DUKW Story

It isn’t that clear what the DUKW stands for, the official line is that the initialism concerns “Designed in 1942” and “Utility” but the K and the W don’t stand for much at all. It may just be thought of as a code name but if that’s so why come up with code name which resembles what they are?

The DUKW, from this point forward ‘Duck’ was developed by top military and naval pioneers and quickly rejected by the main forces. When several Coast Guards got into difficulty off the coast of Princetown in Massachusetts a Duck vehicle happened to be giving a demo. The vehicle had no difficulty in rescuing the stranded Guardsmen. Later the Duck would show its usefulness by crossing the English Channel as well as manoeuvring on French soil but firstly the initial vehicle was re-engineered by the Yellow Coach & Truck Company.

300px-DUKW.image2.armyTwo thousand such vehicles were used by Great Britain during the WWII as well as 500 being used by Australian forces. Just over 75 years ago they were used in D-Day When the war ended they were used both in the Borneo and the Malayan campaign. These old vehicles seemed remarkably hard wearing, given that many had to undergo the rigor of the tide. The last Duck to be used in the military was in 2012.

There were plans to make Ducks bigger, to turn them into Superducks or “Drakes”. Developments were especially made in what was then the Soviet Union, including the addition of a ramp to the back of the vehicle, which would seem more like common sense than a physical difference.

How Floating Cars Help Regular Cars

As you might guess, there are many factors at play in creating amphibious vehicles that can be used in normal vehicles. Water in the engine is always a bad thing and the developments during the war and beyond were vital to keeping modern cars running smoothly. Then there is the difficulty of what happens when a car not exactly built for it has to drive through water.

The official recommendation is always to avoid driving your car through water deeper than a few inches but even car makers know it’s going to happen. Any water on the road, ford or puddle, may affect your brakes. After going through the water you are advised to check that your brakes work.

A ford is a place you cross a river where no bridge has been built. You should, at least, find a depth gage which marks the current depth of the water. Without a depth gage you’re advised not to try.

The Ultimate Demise of the DUKW

The final resting place in history for the “Duck Boat” has been tourism. Places like Seattle, Washington and Branson Missouri have employed them to take visitors around to see the sights from the unique views available to a vehicle that can go on land and water.

However, these tours have been plagued by tragic accidents, when taken out in adverse weather conditions or when poorly maintained. It will become increasingly more difficult to find an operational DUKW, but that doesn’t mean the world has given up on civilian Amphibious Vehicles.

Quite a few UTV’s are in production with limited amphibious ability, due in no small part, to their ability to help sport hunters and outdoor enthusiasts reach destinations that are otherwise nearly unattainable.

Great Summer Road Trips

desert-959524_1920

The heat is coming, and you are ready for the vacations to begin. No matter where you live in the United States or what your interests, you can pick any state throughout the country and find something to marvel at. With these odds, you could take a summer road trip for the next fifty years and never get bored. Here are some great summer road trips to interest your whole family.

 

Route 66Historic Route 66

If your goal is to escape the hustle and bustle that is life, Historic Route 66 can offer the perfect summer getaway. Whether you start in Chicago or California, this trip will take you down roads that are far less traveled today than when they were the main roads across the country. This trip takes you through eight states and gives you access to numerous historical treasures.

cave-1436498_1920

Meramec Caverns

Starting in Chicago and Grant Park, you can follow through to the Meramec Caverns in Sullivan, Missouri. From there you can see the shortest stretch of the famous route covering thirteen miles through Galena, Kansas. After you meet the tow truck that inspired Mater, you can stop in for lunch at Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma, and marvel at the 66-foot soda bottle before heading out to Texas. In Texas, you can see the Cadillac Museum in Amarillo, then move on to the Mining Museum in Grants, New Mexico. Through the final stretches of this historic route, you can stop at the original London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona and end your trip at the famous Santa Monica Pier in California.

This is a trip that will give you something new to look at every time you make the journey.

 

US 83US-83 The Road to Nowhere

Turning directions, you could also find sanctuary on a trip down the Road to Nowhere. This trek will take you along US-83 from North Dakota down to Texas or further if you so wish. You can take in breathtaking views and historical attractions along your way south.

atkins-2897879_1920Starting in North Dakota, you can take in the 13th-century replica of Gol Stove Church Museum in Minot. From there you can stop for a meal at Mad Mary’s Steakhouse and Saloon in Pierre, South Dakota. Next, you can marvel at the beauty of Smith Falls State Park in Valentine, Nebraska. Continuing south a must-see is the iconic Land of Oz in Liberal, Kansas, that gave birth to Dorothy and all of her friends. Passing through the Oklahoma panhandle and finishing your journey in Laredo, Texas.

There are endless numbers of attractions to see along the Road to Nowhere that is sure to give you enough to talk about to get you through the months until your next road trip.

 

maps-812736_1280Getting Your Car Road Trip Ready

So, you have decided where you will travel this summer and are ready for the fun; but is your car ready to go? There are many things to have checked before you set out on a long road trip, especially in the summertime, when you will be dealing with the heat.

While you are planning your road trip, you should also take the time to schedule a tune-up and any maintenance on your vehicle. Make sure that this service includes checking all of your filters, fluids, and the essentials; because nothing ruins a vacation more than getting halfway through your trip for your car to breakdown.

Don’t forget about your tires either, while you are checking everything. This might be a good time to have them rotated and any tires with worn tread replaced. Recheck the air pressure before you head out on your trip.

No matter where you decide to go for your summer fun, a few small steps before your trip will ensure that you are enjoying the views instead of spending the time looking under the hood.

 

 

The Squeeze – How to Get The Most of Car Space

trunk-2464979_1920

You may not be aware of the term “cargo space,” though it’s just a more complicated way of saying trunk space. A similar term used in the motor trade is “cargo capacity” which means the same thing.

Looking at the objects that people put it trunks in the movies it tends to be suitcases, cooler boxes, items like that. Everything you might need for a week or a fortnight away, though the items we’ll need to place in our trunks could be yard trash, a table, chairs… Well, you get the idea.

A way to increase the space is to have storage in the front of the vehicle, as Tesla does. This wouldn’t be possible in a conventional vehicle but because the Tesla is electric the engine doesn’t take up that much space. They nickname this new space as the “frunk,” a portmanteau of “front trunk”.

trunk-1478832_1920As well as the front space, you might look at the under-trunk space, although in most cars this is where the spare tire is stored. Minivans, however, often only use part of the underfloor to store the tire leaving part for additional storage.

Minivans aren’t alone in touting their ample surplus of space. The makers of the Pontiac boast that you could fit a whole mattress in the trunk of their car. This might be too much space for most people, how often do you wish to transport a mattress? But if you require space this is probably the ideal car to get.

When you have space you might like to utilize it in bizarre new ways.

Are you unhappy with the car’s current speakers? No problem, get yourself a huge pair of subwoofers and stick them in your trunk. Okay, you no longer have half your trunk space, but it does improve your listening pleasure.

Got a couple bikes to transport? You have two basic choices—inside or out. You can install a bike rack on the roof or the trunk, depending on your car’s body type. For those who have yet to purchase a bike rack or wish to carry more than one the bicycle can be a tricky thing to transport. One idea is to use a foldaway bike which not only allows you to store the bike but also, depending on the size of the vehicle, allows room for rucksacks and other items needed for your travels.

If you are someone who needs to look immaculate all the time as you travel around the country you might like to transform your trunk into a walk-in closet complete with space for jackets to be hung up, shoes and ties.

If you are worried about items being broken in the trunk, obtaining a trunk shelf might be the answer, allowing items like eggs and so on to remain in one place and not get crushed by other items. For minivans, a cargo net can be a lifesaver.

A number of the items above may seem like late April Fools but they are available on the internet. Anywhere there is empty space, someone’s going to have an idea of how to fill it.

Chauffeur Driven Limos

limousine-601462_1920

What could be more stylish than a chauffeur-driven limousine greeting you from the airport? The business is all about creating a positive experience which needs to operate 365 days a year, even Christmas Day. But what is the life of a chauffeur all about?

Becoming a Chauffeur:

I addition to passing a background check many chauffeurs have to take a comprehensive test as well. Then they need to gain the knowledge of the streets they will work on and usually have to know them backward. In fact, training is ongoing as construction and driving patterns change with time, and different customers require different services en route.

Types of Gigs:

In some cities, a Limo is nearly as affordable as a taxi and many Limos serve the airport commuter, but we also think of the party limo which is rented by teens going to prom or bachelors/bachelorettes for their last big bacchanal before they settle down for good (or 7 years whichever comes first).

stretch-limousine-2714963_1920These days Limo companies typically diversify into specialty party limos for these gigs. You might see a stretch hummer with a built-in hot tub on the streets of Los Vegas, but smaller towns will still push their basic black stretch into double duty from Friday nights black tie to Saturday nights stag party.

The key to a party/airport driver might simply be patience. If you can drive and you are longsuffering this could be your calling, and the tips aren’t bad either.

The upscale driver will also do Corporate Services, and some chauffeurs work in the diplomatic services. These Limos are now outfitted with access to TV news and radio while you are driving along – well access to radio isn’t that new, but you get the gist. Onboard wifi for internet access isn’t unheard of.

These drivers still need to know where the best places to relax in the city are, but will also know how to find the opera hall and the bank tower buildings. So again training is vital.

Communications:

In the old days communications were down by CB radio, which we probably think of more with taxis, but no, they were also a mainstay in Limos as the company needed to know the whereabouts of their car at all times and provide updates about traffic and road conditions. If this seems counter-intuitive, just think about how often a business person has a change of schedule or a gang of drunks decides to switch clubs. The company needs to receive updates. Also, they need to give them, because speed bumps and potholes that are an inconvenience in a taxis, present a bad limo ride experience and cause costly damage. Of course, now the mobile phone fills in for the CB radio.

auto-2628338_1920

History of Limos and Chauffeurs:

The limousine has a longer history than you might think of being named after the town of Limousin, found in Central France. The most noticeable feature is the partition between the driver and the chauffeur. In Germany, a limousine is referred to a Sedan, though in other countries, sedans refer to a more generalized type of car.

The stretch limo has surprisingly workaday origins, created as it was by a  coach company in Fort Smith, Arkansas and was used by Big Band Leaders. It seems to show that it always had been about style rather than substance, a fun way to travel rather than something more presidential.

Early types of the limousine were the berline and the brougham. The berline takes its name from a type of horseless carriage and began with the driver in the open air and the passenger in the roofed area.  The Brougham was similar but had the driver in the center of the vehicle using a steering wheel which was on a pivot which seems a hell of a job to maneuver. The evolution was to improve life not only for the passenger but also for the chauffeur.

Personality Types for a Chauffeur:

Unlike taxi drivers, chauffeurs know where they are going before the day and can plan for it. So you don’t require quite as much desire for an unscripted workplace. Limo drivers’ personality tends to be available but not too sociable as they need to know when to keep quiet. The other three primary character needs are knowledgeable, professional and prompt.

prom-264219_1920We have this mental picture of chauffeurs as crisply professionals though that is not always the complete picture. Whole books have been written talking about unreliable drivers who are not given adequate rest breaks, so accidents are waiting to happen, such as a 1908 book called Motor Age. As with anything, you get what you pay for.

Another interesting character trait often found in chauffeurs is natural networkers, One reason is that chauffeurs be the last profession to rely on word of mouth to get new clients? Lately, though, everything seems to need to surrender to social media, and limo drivers remain avid networkers. So it’s likely that the profession draws people who like to be near people of influence.

Wherever you want to go, be it a concert, the airport or just round in a circle it is reassuring to know that there is someone to drive you.