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The challenge: become a hyper-miler

 


Have you figured out what a hyper-miler is? Here’s a clue. If you consider yourself a driver, you could be a hyper-miler without knowing you are but that is highly unlikely. Why? Because most of us drive in the Coulee as quickly as we can, and, as we all know, it’s sometimes difficult to keep that foot off the gas pedal, to snail along in our vehicles where designated speed limits range from 20 to 40 mph. Some drivers might holler that those limits just get in the way.

Do you get the drift? We’ve established that hyper-miling has to do with driving at reduced speeds, so if you decide to follow the hyper-miling credo to its fullest extent, you’ll find a snail’s pace just right. The ultimate goal of hyper-miling is using only one gallon of gas for 150 road miles. Not possible you say? Maybe so, but this goal was achieved back in 2008 in a competitive race held back east. The guy who won the race drove a stripped down “mini me” vehicle on a 20-mile course with stop lights and some hills, finishing in less than two hours. He won a trophy and a gift card for his effort. By the way, he coined the word “hyper-miling.”

So what’s it going to take to qualify as a full fledged HM? Here’s a few ideas, and by adjusting your driving habits, you might make a go of it, or at least give hyper-miling a try, preferably where you won’t be pulled over for driving too slow. You’ve got to be in a vehicle that runs on gas only. Get yourself in a compact car if you can, and strip it down; if you are in this adventure alone, remove the passenger seat and the back seat too. Get rid of everything in and on the vehicle that isn’t nailed down — you are striving for a “bare bones” ride. If you have a spare tire in the car, take it out. It’s OK to keep your cell phone, just in case “Old Betsy” gives out and you need help.

We’re not finished getting ready for the ride, read on. Never mind on the shoes or boots and socks, bare feet is all you need to work the pedals, so go ahead and practice bare footing the gas pedal and brake to develop your skill levels in the art of soft pedaling.

Here’s another hyper-miling skill that you could try: gliding to a stop at a stop sign without using the brake. This is a skill that takes some practice and is achievable only if you can learn how to avoid causing a pileup behind you when the other Coulee drivers are racing and then, braking to a stop.

Just to make sure you’re at the top of your game before you take this challenge, lose some weight. Just imagine what a difference a loss of 5 to 20 pounds would make when you get behind the wheel of your HM ride.

And yes, I’ve tried this way of driving in the town of Coulee Dam twice and haven’t been pulled over for driving too slow yet. It’s amazing how far you can go at 15 mph while using up every drop of gas and fumes in the tank. We’ll talk about where you can try a slow roll next time.

Here’s the scoop on a couple of yard sales last Saturday. I arrived at the driveway sale in Electric City after 9 a.m. so I may have missed out on, as the saying goes, “all the good stuff.” But, eight dollars later, I left with a brand new lamp shade, a few children’s books and stuffed animals. Right when the sale opened, some lucky son-of-a-gun got “the deal,” a like-new foosball game for $50. Big stuff like a washer and dryer set and a couple of tables sold early at the Coulee Dam sale.

If you’re at the Okanogan Fairgrounds this coming Saturday for the fourth annual vintage sale, I”ll be the short person that the big people are trampling on. See you there.

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