1. Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan comes pretty close to the Platonic ideal of a beer-and-brew-supply store. The beer selection was as awesome as their taste in homebrew supplies. The starter kit, for example, includes stuff that I wouldn’t do without such as a siphon primer. Better, they don’t even sell those awful malt syrup and hops all-in-one kits. They even make their own wort chillers, which gratifyingly look almost exactly like the one that I made. Any beer-oriented readers from the southwest Michigan area would do well to introduce yourselves.
2. One can (just barely) drive from Grand Rapids to Pittsburgh in a
1999 2009 Honda Fit on one tank of gas. We averaged about 72 MPH with air conditioning running most of the way. That averages to 41-ish MPG over 410 miles in a regular-type internal combustion car, although it is fair to point out that winds reliably blow east-southeast over that part of America. Given how skeptical I am of the long-term value of hybrids when you consider manufacturing complexity and the eco-awfulness of their batteries, that was pretty gratifying.
It is also important to note that under the more useful measure of efficiency, gallons per mile, the difference between what I got and a Prius at 50 MPG (.02 GPM) adds up to less than the difference between my car (.024-.033 GPM) and a V6 Camry (.04 GPM). In terms of efficiency the most important move you can make is out of the teens or low twenties. Even graduating from an 18 MPG SUV (.055) to a 23 mpg mini-SUV (.043) saves as much gas as if I switched from my ‘dirty’ car to a Prius and drove it at a constant 45 MPH with the air conditioning off. Once you can reliably drive in the 30’s the rest adds up to relatively small potatoes.
How was your Fourth?