Off-the-wallBy Bob Spiwak

Well, today’s car count came within a whisker of tying the old Memorial Day record, as we remember it. The written record is missing but the number was 385 westbound vehicles, as we recall. Today, May 30, it was 379. The eastbound count was 91, between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Last year it was begun 15 minutes earlier for what we refer to as a “non-peak” hour. If you were to allow a conservative eight hours of westbound vehicles, it would be 3,032 leaving Winthrop going past West Boesel. Add to this the number of motorists departing from Mazama and Edelweiss, and there is a major increase.

This scientific study, however, applies to midway between Winthrop and Mazama. There were 14 motorcycles total, four going east; three bicycles; and two airplanes headed west.

After decades of this counting endeavor, there are several conclusions to be drawn. Without a specific study, which we may do next time, the types of vehicles have changed from the older days: virtually gone are the campers that dropped or slid into the bed of a truck. The have been replaced by huge self-contained, house-sized vehicles, and on a lesser scale by pull-behind camper trailers. I’d venture that pickup trucks equaled cars in number, and the big Greyhound-size vehicles are not far behind.

We have traditionally offered a mathematical summation of how many dollars these vehicles, aside from their cost, represent in terms of the cost of fuel, miles per gallon, number of passengers, distance of the average trip, how many dollars per day were spent on food, lodging, entertainment, and miscellaneous expenditures. This time, you pick the numbers and do the math. It is a good exercise for school kids, especially without a calculator.

Why you? I have potatoes to plant.