Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

The drive from Denver to Hill City, (Mount Rushmore) South Dakota was roughly six hours, a fairly short drive for the iglide car. On the drive, the car drove through Wyoming and passed animals that haven’t been seen on the tour before, including pronghorn and a camel farm (which was very unexpected for Wyoming). Wyoming is exactly what one would expect, acres and acres of plains with very minimal population. One town, Lost Springs, had a population of four. The car had a flash back to the Yukon at the beginning of the North American tour where it passed more animals than people on a given day. But this time instead of pine trees, mountains and bears it was plains, farms and cows.


The plains in Wyoming

Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South DakotaFields of sunflowers

A western sunset

There are a lot of similarities between these stretches of road and iglide bearings. At first glance, they are nothing special; stretches of fields without a human for miles, and a small, light, plastic bearing. Upon closer inspection, however, those vast plains become beautiful landscapes, and iglide bearings reveal themselves to be an innovation in plastic bearing technology – lightweight plastic embedded with strengthening fibers and microscopic particles of solid lubricant. That means no adding grease or unexpected seizures. It also means reduced energy consumption due to their extremely light weight – iglide bearings weigh approximately 80 percent less than PTFE-lined bushings!

 

The car arrived in Hill City, about 10 miles from Mount Rushmore, and drove through the old west town, with a population of 950. The town was exactly what a classic old western film portrayed it to be, a frontier town. The facades on the restaurants resembled movies about the Old West, down to the rickety steps and creaky wooden doors. The shops were extremely old fashioned, selling rock candy, jaw breakers and home-made fudge, and the roads were lined with sculpted wooden animals.

The town of Hill City

Saloon style buffalo burger

The car’s next stop was Mount Rushmore, one of the most patriotic landmarks in the United States. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. The presidents carved into the granite (left to right) are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. This was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. Doane Robinson was the one who conceived the idea of Mount Rushmore. He was a state historian of South Dakota and picked this location in South Dakota to promote tourism in the region.

From left to right, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln

Initially Robinson wanted four western heroes to be featured on the mountain such as Lewis and Clark, or Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum wanted the sculpture to have a more national focus. The project took 14 years and was finished in 1941, with over 400 workers continuously working on it. The presidents were chosen because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory.

Roughly three million people venture to South Dakota each year to see this granite sculpture. As an American, to see this famous sculpture almost felt fake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sculpture looked pasted into the mountain. Americans see this image many times in their life on posters and in books but few actually get to see it due to its location. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, which is in a prime location, Mount Rushmore is not. It is a more out of reach US attraction and to actually see it was unreal.

 

The next stop in South Dakota was Sioux Falls, another six hour drive east through the hay and corn fields of South Dakota. On the drive over the iglide car made a few stops. One was to visit “1880 Town”. For anyone who is familiar with “Dances With Wolves”, starring Kevin Costner, this is where a portion of the movie was filmed. Although the car stood out a bit next to the run down town the car learned that some of these pieces of machinery such as the train and an old cars may have broken down due to the rusty metal bearings inside the vehicle. The iglide car was happy that igus plastic bearings were retrofitted into 56 different parts of the car. The car joyfully said goodbye to the ghost town and knew that running on iglide bearings would keep the car from ending up like these vehicles.

The spiffy iglide car next to a run down vehicle, clearly lacking iglide bearings

This sign seems pretty legitimate

Sioux Falls, also called “The Heart of America”, is the largest city in South Dakota. the population in 2013 of 165,000 and is the 47th fastest growing city in the United States. The car was able to stop here, have a good meal and refuel for the home stretch to Minneapolis. The car only had four more hours left of the 14 hours journey from Denver, Colorado.

Wyoming and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.2

Next stop, Minneapolis – look for us on the road!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Colorado

From Salt Lake City it was time to head to Colorado. The drive from Utah to Colorado is a stunning ride through the desert and mountains. Moab Desert is a famous National Park in Utah and the iglide car took on another adventure and drove through Moab. The road through the desert goes through miles of red rock arches and other intricate rock formations. To give an idea of what it is like, imagine giving a child red clay to play with for the afternoon. The rocks and formations look like someone placed them carelessly on top of each other and yet they stay stacked and balanced on top of each other. For instance “Balanced Rock” is a rock formation where a round rock is balanced on top of a cylindrical rock. It gives the illusion that if the wind were to blow the rock on top would fall over. Moab was breathtaking. Almost equivalent to the Grand Canyon’s majestic aura.

The most famous of the Moab Arches 

Balanced Rock

From Moab the car drove to Golden, Colorado, right outside of Denver. While in the Denver area the car made a stop at Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. The garden is a miniature Moab with red rock formations staggering into the sky. But nothing will quite compare to Moab.

Once in Denver it was time for a customer visit this time to a manufacturer of bicycle suspensions. They are thinking of switching their current bearings out for iglide plastic bearings. Many manufacturers of all kinds love iglide bearings, as they are inexpensive, and provide excellent performance for the low price. Unlike many cheap plastic bearings that need to be replaced quickly, iglide plastics are all extensively tested for wear resistance, low-friction qualities, and other specific features for a wide range of applications. They also lower potential maintenance for the products the bearings are installed in, as they do not require lubrication, and will continue to operate for a long period of time with no upkeep. Unlike metal bearings, they don’t require any lubrication, like messy oils and greases, which are time consuming to properly apply, and can also become messy quickly, which can lead to dirty or damaged products, something no manufacturer wants!

Without the grease and constant care, not to mention the wide range of features and special certifications available, iglide plastics bearings are a great solution for manufacturers in nearly any industry!

igus Sales Representatives speaking with a potential customer on upcoming projects where igus bearings would be desired

A quick stop was made at the US Air Force Academy. The US Air Force Academy is home to about 4,000 students. The campus is roughly 10,000 acres and sits right below a skyline of mountains. The school holds Cadet Chapel which was dedicated in 1963 (just a year before igus was established). The chapel is based on denominations depending on the religion. Inside the chapel is tiles of stained glass that line the walls. At the back of the church there is a massive organ that sits on a balcony over looking the church.

The Dry-Tech Box in the courtyard of the Academy

Cadet Chapel

The campus

Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America. It is ranked 31st in elevation among Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners”. Climbing Pikes Peak with iglide  bearings is no problem at all. These bearings are maintaining their performance while climbing to 14,115 ft at a temperature of 27º F. Starting out on our ascent, the temperature was 56º, which dropped to 27º at the summit. This was no problem for iglide bearings, which can operate at  longterm temperatures as low as -148º F. The bearings are durable for bikes and cars to climb the steepest mountains with no friction or resistance. The bearings are designed to make a smooth transition when put to work shifting and switching gears. Not only is there a temperature change but rapid weather change. At the bottom it was cloudy and dry, at about 9,000 feet the hail started to smack the windshield. But our bearings pushed through the vast change in weather and temperature. At 11,000 feet a light dust of snow started to appear on the ground. Just like their resistance to temperature changes, the changes in weather and humidity couldn’t beat our iglide bearings. Unlike their metal counterparts, iglide plastic components are not affected by water and moisture, which can rust metal and wash away lubricants, which aren’t required with iglide, as the plastic materials contain microscopic particles of solid lubricant, where rain hail, and snow can’t touch.

The snow is no match for igus bearings

The road below that leads to the top of Pikes Peak

This is a section of the 19 mile road to get to the top, extremely icy conditions with sharp turns and minimal guard rails.

From Colorado it is time to head to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota!

Look for the iglide car on the road,

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

After driving through California, it was time to head north to Las Vegas! The palm trees and breezy Pacific Ocean quickly turned to cactus and expansive desert. The car arrived in Vegas and was able to drive down the brightly lit Las Vegas strip, home to many world-famous Casinos.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

We took a helicopter ride over the city that evening, excited to see the city from above. Las Vegas is built in the middle of a desert, meaning that the city is the center of the action, surrounded by the suburbs where thousands of people live, and then nothing; just desert. To see Vegas from a bird’s eye view was pretty overwhelming. While in the helicopter we wore noise canceling head-phones to protect our ears from the loud noise of the propellers. The head-phones featured a narration of our ride, which included many facts and interesting tidbits about the city below. From this guided tour we learned that there are over 300 weddings a day in Las Vegas, including the weddings of many celebrities who chose the infamous strip as their wedding destination. The Luxor hotel (shaped like a pyramid) has a light beam that shines into the sky and can even be seen from space. Most interestingly, we learned that there are more hotel rooms in Vegas than all of Europe. To give an example of the magnitude of these hotels and casinos, our hotel alone had 4,000 rooms.

Check out this raw footage from above the Vegas strip!

https://youtu.be/sWwH8kxsiuQ

From Las Vegas, it was off 118 miles to one of the Seven Wonders of the World; The Grand Canyon. We took a bus tour that dropped us off at two locations, the first being the Sky Walk which, was opened in 2007 by the Hualapai Tribe, a recognized tribe of Native Americans, originally from the mountains of northwestern Arizona. The Sky Walk consists of a horseshoe shaped steel frame with a glass floor that extends almost 70 feet /about 21 meters/ from the canyon’s edge, allowing visitors to look straight down to the canyon floor, a somewhat terrifying experience, as nothing but a sheet of glass separates you from the long fall to the bottom.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.2

A second viewpoint from the canyon gave a scenic overlook of the canyon. As the sun set behind the mountains, the sky turned a bright orange, lighting the canyon in a breathtaking way, which no photo can do justice.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.3 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.4

From there, it was onto the next stop for iglide on tour, Salt Lake City, the capital and largest city in Utah. The drive was unbelievable; the iglide /iglidur/ car journeyed through miles of canyons, taking a pit stop at Zion National Park. Driving through a 5 mile stretch of road, wrapping around mountains and canyons to reach

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.5 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.6 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.18Cairns, which are rock towers that mark trails for hikers.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.7We made our own cairn with an iglide R bearing to match the red rocks of Zion.

We’ve also had some amazing customer visits in the recent days that show the variety of industries that use igus. One visit was to a company that specializes in equipment to aid in the mobility of people with disabilities, including a new hydraulic ankle joint in a prosthetic leg. Modern prosthetics allow patients to walk more naturally and comfortably than those with traditional prosthetics, partially because of new materials used in their development and manufacture.iglide bearings are used in many prosthetic limbs for several reasons, like their light weight, immunity against water, dirt, and other environmental factors, quiet operation, and their ability to dampen vibrations.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.8

Because they are made from plastic, rather than traditional metals, iglide bearings are very light in weight, which can drastically reduce the weight of prosthetics, making them more comfortable to wear, and allow for a more natural gait, as the patient isn’t compensating for the excess weight of a prosthetic device.

Bearings used in these sorts of devices are made of iglide plastic materials like iglide Q, which a great choice because it is extremely resilient under high loads and exceptionally shock absorbing, making it an excellent buffer for impact load, like those that occur from walking or running. These are also very quiet, eliminating excess noise – no squeaking or creaking from the bearings with every step!

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.9

Possibly the most important, these plastic bearings are used in these devices because they are not affected by the dirt, dust, pet hair, rainwater, and other external factors that can be deadly to a traditional lubricating bearing. When using a metal lubricated bearing, this dirt and dust is attracted to sticky grease, clogging the bearing and causing the bearing to seize up, or freeze in place. Similarly, water can wash away this lubricant, leaving the bearing unable to move properly. In a prosthetic leg, for example, a bearing seizure can cause the joint to lock up, and could even cause the user to fall and get hurt. Self-lubricating plastics, on the other hand can work perfectly in even the dirtiest, rainiest environments, keeping prosthetics running!

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.10

After visiting customers, iglide on tour took to the road again, on the way to Salt Lake City, with a sightseeing stop at Salt Lake Temple, one of the largest Mormon Temples in the world. Traveling through the city, it was surprisingly calm, as winter is the busy time of year with tourists traveling from everywhere to ski the area’s beautiful mountains.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.11

Traveling just outside the city, there are a number of small ski communities, such as Park City, home to the SundanceFilm Festival, an annual celebration of independent films from all over the world. Park City is also full of ski lodges and shops, with an adorable main street lined with restaurants that all looked delicious. There is even a ski lift that picks up residents in the old city and brings them to the mountains. It runs in the off season as well, bringing people up to the mountains, which have water slides and other recreational activities.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.12One of the many restaurants lining Main Street

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.13

Banksy, a famous artist, has left his mark on a wall in town.

From Salt Lake City, iglide on tour is heading to Denver Colorado, through the Moab Desert. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

San Francisco and Los Angeles

Before arriving in San Francisco, we stopped at Muir Woods Park to see the famous California Redwood Trees, just north of the city. The trees seem as tall as skyscrapers, and their trunks have such an enormous width that four people can pose for pictures inside some of the hollowed out trunks.

San Francisco and Los Angeles

While attempting to get the dry-tech box posed in front of the towering trees, it tipped over and fell off a bridge into a creek. But fear not, the dry-tech box survived the fall and the water, as the bearings are sturdy and waterproof. Sascha came to the rescue, jumping over the railing, and climbing down the bank to fish out the box.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.2

From Muir Woods we approached San Francisco. The car drove over the famous 1.7 mile-long Golden Gate Bridge into the hazy city. As we drove, the iconic fog began to roll in and cover the arches of the bridge.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.3 San Francisco and Los Angeles.4

After touring the city the iglide car had two customer visits, the first was in San Jose to a company which specializes in designing and manufacturing medical laboratory equipment. Next it was time to head to Santa Clara, where the car visited a potential customer that designs specialty bicycles, which hopes to reduce the weight of their bicycles, in addition to other advantages igus bearings can provide.

In San Francisco, the car had no problem scaling the steep (vertical) streets, reaching the top for panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the storied Alcatraz Prison, and then driving down the well-known zigzagging Lombard Street. The hand-break was constantly in use, essential on the streets of San Francisco, putting igus bearings to the test. We were able to ride on the cable cars, which are a form of public transportation in the city, racing up and down the hills, as cars dodge the fast-moving trolleys, and passengers hang off the side of the cable cars. The car also visited Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory for a little treat.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.5Lombard Street

San Francisco and Los Angeles.6Alcatraz

San Francisco and Los Angeles.7

San Francisco has a retro feel, teaming with tourists, hipsters, and eclectic personalities. The Dungeness crabs, mussels, and fish and chips were delicious and fresh, fished from the San Francisco Bay, which hosts America’s Cup sailboat race, and is known for its vicious currents. We said goodbye to the cool mist of San Francisco and drove south to Los Angeles. We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping at Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. From there we headed to our destination of Los Angeles.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.8

We had two customer visits in the Los Angeles area, the first with an electric car designer and manufacturer, known for their innovative and sleek style. The engineers at this beautiful design facility where highly intrigued by the iglide car, and the parts we had on display. Our next visit was to a company which provides measurement solutions designed to improve product quality and productivity for many different kinds of manufacturing equipment. One manager said if she had to sum up igus in one word she would use “excellent”, noting the reliability of the iglide line.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.9 San Francisco and Los Angeles.10 San Francisco and Los Angeles.11The iglide car was a huge hit at our customers’… Everyone was clamoring to get inside and have their photo taken! 

After the customer visits it was time to take the car on an adventure through downtown Los Angeles. After battling the infamous 405 traffic, weaving through all six lanes on the highway, the iglide car wanted to partake in the excitement of the Walk of Fame. The car posed with the Hollywood sign, made an appearance at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and even spotted a celebrity or two.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.12The car with the Hollywood sign in the distance. 

San Francisco and Los Angeles.13

We are now hitting the road to Las Vegas; look for us on the strip!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car

After eight months of leading iglide on tour, it is time for the world famous Sascha to go back to a life that does not involve driving across the world in a bright orange car. I have been lucky enough to get to know Sascha and see the man behind the car and the iglide on tour operation. After witnessing the daily commitment needed to make this tour what it is, I can safely say that igus could not have chosen a more exemplary individual to take on such a demanding task. Sascha is the perfect choice; someone who loves to travel and experience different cultures, who never backs down from a challenge, and is always professional.

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car

Off the job Sascha is easy going, selfless, a good sport, witty, a team player, and extremely kind hearted. He has carried dozens of suitcases up and down hotel stairs, into elevators, and in and out of vans. He always looks out for his iglide crew by opening doors, lending an ear, arm, hand or the shirt off his back, buying coffees for everyone, and is constantly smiling, looking to make light of any situation. He is a problem solver, and will always find a silver lining, even when the team has driven 17 straight hours. Best of all he can always make everyone laugh by attempting to rap to American music with his German accent.

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car.2

While on the job, Sascha is incredibly professional, and enthusiastically interacts with our customers by speaking about the tour and igus products. He always says that he sincerely enjoys speaking with customers and getting to know their company by explaining how igus can provide them with the best solutions for their products.

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car.3

iglide on tour has become the amazing adventure it is because of the tone Sascha has set. Everything is well organized and planned, leaving enough time for customer visits, while also making sure that there is enough time to take the car out for adventures and sightseeing. He has an amazing eye for the camera and knows exactly what moments are important to capture.

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car.4

It has been such pleasure to work alongside Sascha while he showed me the ropes. Here in the U.S. we cannot speak more highly of his character, good humor, and professionalism.

We will all miss you Sascha, thank you from all of us for an outstanding job with this tour. It is no easy task but you came, drove, and conquered.

Best,

Kayla