Friday, August 3, 2018

Day 27: Graceful degradation

Googling the title phrase will get you

Graceful degradation is the ability of a computer, machine, electronic system or network to maintain limited functionality even when a large portion of it has been destroyed or rendered inoperative. The purpose of graceful degradation is to prevent catastrophic failure.

The first inspiration for this phrase was from the road which started today's 137 mile ride. It was an Ontario backroad, and by definition it was in rough shape. Like many of the roads we've jarred along during this tour, the pavement had a seam about every 20 feet that wasn't smooth. I've spoken of these seams in previous posts; they frequently cause a sharp bump to the bike and all the parts of me that are resting on the bike. Lets just say it gets real old. But this road was different. Where the seam approached the right hand side of the road, the pavement was fractured in a fan shape, something like this where dashes indicate broken pavement:

 center                 -----
  line                ---- : -
---||---------------  ::  ::
                        ---- : -
So if I rode out toward the right edge, there was some rough pavement but no sharp bump - the road had degraded gracefully.

As the day went on, things were going swimmingly and, referring to how we get from coast to coast, I quoted the hip-hop song This is how we do it to Jenny as we spun along. I thought "Ah shucks, I can't use that blog theme 'cause I'm not degrading." Then we passed the 90 mile mark and I had to reassess things when confronted with the usual after lunch blahs and an unfavorable hot wind as the temperature climbed into 90's.  At the last rest stop I saw Arnie had his tube sock at the ready to fill with ice, but I hadn't thought to pack mine. Still, with Paul's help trading off the lead, we persisted but slowed down bit by bit until the "smell of the barn door" inspired a final burst of energy to make it into Niagrara Falls (on the Canada side).

So that's the kind of graceful degradation you need to use out here to get the day done.

But the big news is that I was able to check off another major lifetime landmark:

I suppose this awesome natural wonder is an extreme example of graceful degradation as the lip of the precipice slowly moves back over the eons.

That water is in a hurry to get to the Atlantic:

The color was amazingly blue.

Lots of crowds, but very different from Mt Rushmore. Here there was an amazing diversity of nationalities and languages, most folks were in multi-generation family groups. People don't really stack up to the river though:

The sun came and went, but when it came we were treated to a rainbow:

As for the ride: we found the eastern side of Ontario to be hillier than the flatlands we rode over yesterday. The day started out with fairly thick ground fog (the pavement here shows the kind of degradation I was yammering on about above):

We had a crummy stretch of road before the lunch break. It was busy, with a narrow shoulder and we were passed by at least 50 dump trucks going our direction and 50 loaded ones going the other way.

We saw lots of soybeans but also some broccoli and tomatoes, some leafy plant growing under shade nets and fields of tobacco. Somebody said they grow chewing tobacco up here.

 A combine harvesting wheat:

A northern oddity: different weight limits from March 1 to May 31, I guess because the thaw must weaken the road foundation.

 More cool churches:

 This one is Ukrainian Catholic

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