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Christopher Greaves

Up the Don Valley Parkway

Now that I knew I could get seven hours driving without filling up, and reflecting that that news came to me after a lazy cruise non-stop across Nebraska, I began to wonder if I couldn’t stretch my mileage even further during my daily drives on business around and across Toronto.

The Don Valley Parkway runs up the Don river, naturally enough, from Lake Ontario up to the big highway 401, at which time the DVP continues north under the unromantic name of “Highway 404”.

The Don Valley Parkway is running mainly up hill, since, of course, the Don river runs downhill into Lake Ontario, and so it was early one evening I drove UP the Don Valley Parkway towards highway 401, sitting in the right-hand lane, doing the speed limit, watching cars whiz by me in the centre lane and the left lane.

When to my surprise I saw brake lights up ahead, and (Newtonian physics being my forte) I pondered why people traveling uphill would brake?

Why not just take your foot off the gas pedal and let acceleration due to gravity drain away your speed?

There they went again, brake lights for a quarter-mile ahead of me.

What was going on?

Those drivers were applying their brakes to drain away kinetic energy from the vehicle; the energy was being converted into heat by the brake pads, the heat was dissipating into the air.

The kinetic energy initially came from the engine, fed by gasoline, and the gasoline came from the gas pump last time they filled up. And that meant it came from their wallet or purse.

Clearly a case of money going up in smoke.

Literally!


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416-993-4953 CPRGreaves@gmail.com

Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 12:54 PM

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