On my way up to Purgatory, the temperature sign at Trimble Crossing shows it’s hot as hell. Does La Plata County have an untapped power source? Is the magma that fuels Trimble Hot Springs coming to the surface? Can La Plata Electric Association turn this heat into electricity? Sign me, Curious Cathleen
Action Line generally avoids answering questions about hell.
Don’t tempt the fates!
Besides, churches have far more information about eternal damnation – and Action Line avoids church religiously.
But some of us tortured souls must wonder if 489 degrees Fahrenheit is indeed “hot as hell.”
To find out, we’ll blend scripture and science.
In Revelations 21:8, the Good Book informs us that unbelievers, sinners, liars, adulterers, sorcerers, cowards and other riffraff will be “consigned to the fiery lake of brimstone.”
Brimstone is an old word for sulfur.
Now for the chemistry.
Sulfur’s melting point is 239.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, its boiling point is 832.3 degrees.
A lake of molten brimstone, therefore, would have to be somewhere in that range.
Thus, it’s truly hot as hell if Trimble Crossing’s 489 reading were correct.
But it’s not, global warming notwithstanding.
Is anyone in hot water when an animated sign shows temperatures to be a bit on the high side?
Action Line called around the shopping center.
First, the folks at PJ’s Gourmet Market were not in a particularly chatty mood, saying the sign “is programmed wrong.” Fair enough.
Then Action Line dialed up Cathy Craig, an all-around nice person and real estate professional with Legacy Properties West Sotheby’s International Realty, which has an office at Trimble Crossing.
“Real estate is a hot commodity right now,” Cathy said with a laugh. “But I don’t think even an ‘overheated’ market would cause temperatures to rise to that level, thankfully.”
Would inferno-like conditions depress demand for Hot Damn schnapps or Fireball Cinnamon Whisky at Animas Wine & Spirits?
Or would such temperatures boost sales of ice-cold beer?
The cashier didn’t want to speculate, so we’ll never know.
Meanwhile, over at Trimble True Value Hardware, a clerk noted that outdoor sign not only shows sizzling temperatures but also smoking deals on a variety of items, including snow blowers and roof rakes.
“These were on sale long before temperatures exceeded 400-plus degrees,” the clerk said with a chuckle, adding that rising temperatures normally help move charcoal and barbecue grills.
In the meantime, a local wag suggested the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad switch fuels when chugging past Trimble Crossing.
Call it the “Fahrenheit 451 Express.”
Instead of coal, the train would burn books, commemorating Ray Bradbury’s famed dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451” in which books are banned and set ablaze.
In case you didn’t know, the “451” in the title refers to the temperature at which book paper supposedly catches fire.
But there’s a catch.
Several people have tested the auto-ignition threshold of books by putting them in a hot oven and seeing what happened at various settings.
Apparently, most books start smoldering at closer to 480 degrees. That’s just a tad cooler than the 489 temperature reading at Trimble Crossing.
Isn’t it interesting that a book-burning temperature is a “reading”?
As for the train burning books, it will happen when hell freezes over.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you wonder how the second half of climatological is “logical.”