Friday, October 21, 2011

the drive, part 3?

No, I don't have any photos, but I have this word glimpse from the road.

One of the non-landscape magical pieces of my ride comes courtesy of a huge truck.  Almost every trip, several times per trip, I pass these large fin-like contraptions getting a ride out west.  I imagine they are the blades from the wind farms I have seen in California, but I don't know for sure.

There are two sizes.  The *smaller* of the two can fit onto a gigantic flat bed truck and doesn't need an "oversize load" truck to travel with it.  On these flat beds, there are two of these humongous gray blades, that I like to think of more as fins.  They are tucked up against each other like cozy twins.  But on the back side, I can see black things poking out of the non-finlike end.  I imagine these are the connectors that will radiate power to turn the blade.  But, maybe they will just hold the blade in place as it rotates around the motor?

I fell in love with these improbable road companions the first time I saw them.  I was traveling in the opposite direction the first time.  I thought it was a fluke (not a whale's tail), but just a rare oddity.  Some wind farm needed a replacement blade, and here it was traveling along I-40.  But, they have been fairly constant companions since August.  Some days, I will see four or five nestled twins traveling west.  Some days, I have to be happy to have just one set.

Then, one day, there was an even larger blade.  This one travels by itself, making it much more precarious.  I can see it tremble with the air moving around it.  It is so large, it needs the "oversize load" trucks in front and behind.  Though sometimes these guys get separated from their charges.  These really seem like shark fins to me ... cutting through the air in search of their ocean and maybe some prey.  But, like I said, they also seem precarious ... and, in that sense, helpless and a little lost.  I am in awe of them every time I see them.

Who knew there were different sized blades on those huge wind farm "fans"?  I guess the engineer who designed them, but not me.

Where do they come from? Where exactly are they going?  Are they populating new farms or are they just replacement parts??

I am easily amused, but these huge blades are endlessly fascinating to me.  Someday I might get a photo, but I will have to remember to bring my camera with me for that to happen.

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