Monday, February 22, 2010

Dried-on bugs

I'm not sure if this will be a reoccurring series, but in case does become so, I want to give credit where it is due: One aspect is right from this guy's series called Remembrance of things Pabst. and the other is from a writing assignment from this nice lady.

I now live in the Boston area, but grew up and lived in the Pacific Northwest until shortly after getting married. Every place has bugs in the Summer and they tend to make a mess on your car windows, especially on long highway trips. In my experience this is much worse in the inter mountain West (between the Cascades and the Rockies). I would guess that it is a combination of very arid conditions, so the bugs desiccate and harden-onto the windshield very quickly and something about the climate such that all the bugs hatch at the same time. I have seen swarms of gnats so thick it looks like it is foggy out.

It can get difficult to see, to the point that you need to clean the window but they don't clean easily. The wiper-washer combination makes a dent, but you go through the fluid pretty quickly. Most gas stations have window washers, but even these just will not cut through a really thick layer of bugs. I eventually, through a lot of trial-and-error, found a really good solution:

All you need is one of those flat, one gallon plastic containers like the ones that anti-freeze always comes in. Most rest areas have a faucet so that you can re-fill the container but you can start a trip with it already full so that you can use this method any place you care to pull-over. All you do is turn-on the windshield wipers and then get out of the car. Open your Prestone bottle and lay it on the roof of your car so that it can drain onto the windshield. Between the flood of water and the wipers, it just clears the bugs away like magic.

I think the way it works is that the wipers clear away the bugs parts as they re-hydrate. With the small volume of the windshield washers, the bug parts just form a viscous solution with the wiper fluid. You need the large volume provided by this technique in order to clear away bugs.

Once I discovered this method, I almost hoped for bug swarms. My car may have been a piece of crap, but it would be the only one with a clean windshield.


Trooper York said...

Great story.

Series can be a lot of fun.

You will be surprised how they start to add up to a long story.

dbp said...

True enough. I have a few more from the same epoch just waiting to be written.