August 20, 2017

New Look for MCI Coaches

I haven’t been very active on my blog here the past year, but I’m working on changing that and getting the site updated again. I’ve kept the Links pages pretty much up to date, but have a lot of other things to share, too, especially with other drivers. I’m planning to change the direction of the site more decidedly toward motorcoach drivers, not so much for motorcoach passengers, although I’m considering developing a separate site for passengers. Stay tuned.

Have you seen the new look of the MCI J4500 models? Both inside and out, MCI has refined and updated the look of their touring coaches. You’ll still clearly recognize them as MCI — they will stand out as different from Van Hool and Prevost just as much as in the past. Not a lot of details yet on their Web site, but early renditions and some information has been posted.

New 2013 J4500 MCI Coach Preview

In addition to the slick new appearance outside, the other thing that caught my eye was the improved cockpit layout, with the transmission controls much more logically placed for the driver.

One big question remains unclear: have the designers considered that passengers create trash, and that trash needs to go somewhere? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Apple to Release iOS 4.2.1 Today

Apple has announced they’re releasing iOS 4.2 today at 1 PM EDT. It will finally bring multi-tasking and folders to the iPad, as well as a few new features to the iPhone and iPod Touch. All three devices will finally be running the same version of the operating system.

I’ve been using beta versions of iOS 4.2 on my iPad for the last several weeks. While the first few betas were somewhat buggy (surprise, surprise), the final Gold Master iOS 4.2.1 that I’ve been running the last few days has been perfect so far. I expect to upgrade to the final release version later this afternoon (conveniently, I’m off work today). Highly recommended.

Veterans Day in DC

I’m in Washington, DC today (Veterans Day) with a group of veterans. I’m parked at Union Station as I write this, where things seem to be returning to normal. Bus parking is almost back to full strength. Whatever they’re doing in the bus parking area — can’t quite figure it out — they’re not doing today, at least, and only a handful of bus parking spots are taken up with construction equipment and supplies. The exit onto H Street is open again, too. Two weeks ago when I was here for the Sanity/Fear rally, about half the bus parking spots were roped off for the construction, and the H Street exit was blocked.

The restroom renovations on the second level of Union Station are done and will be appreciated by bus groups. They are bright and clean, all new fixtures and decor.

In the food court area there are still one or two vendors missing, but most are open for business as usual. I noticed there are even a few new stores on the third level.

Construction work on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (also known as South Capitol Street Bridge) has been completed, and the 10 ton weight restriction was lifted as of October 1, 2010, meaning buses (and trucks) can again come into Washington, DC from MD-295 via Howard Street to South Capital Street. This is one of my favorite ways into the city and I’m glad we have it back as an option. I came that way across the bridge today.

The weigh station southbound on I-95 in Maryland was open this morning when I came through, but a bit of odd behavior: all buses and trucks had to go through the weigh station, but no one was being stopped on the scales. We all just drove slowly right on through. Not sure if the signs weren’t working, or if they have new drive-through scales, or what was going on. At least we didn’t lose much time.

Getting back to business here…

I have a few days off this week, so I’ve been working hard the last couple of days to get this site updated. I’ve installed a new blogging platform behind the scenes (based on the Genesis system for WordPress), and updated a couple of older posts. The category “Daily Notes” has been renamed as my Blog, and I hope to post here much more frequently in the future. The home page will still feature major articles, updated less frequently than the blog but hopefully more often than they have been the last six months. I’ve got a number of posts in progress, so you’ll see more here soon.

Boston Marathon, Day 1

I’m in Boston, MA today. I left from our terminal with a group of runners (I decided not to run this year — or ever), and their families. First stop was at the Prudential Center in the heart of Boston, where I had a very filling dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Good thing I don’t have to drive another seven hours! Runners registered at the Convention Center, and the rest shopped and ate. Now we’re off to the hotel for the night, with more race prep (after church) tomorrow. This is one of my favorite trips, this being the sixth year in a row I’ve driven for them. So I’ve gotten to know most of them on a first name basis. Fun trip!