Thoughts of: The bike in the garage.

Summer is a great time for biking…  For most of th country that is.  The snow is gone, the sun is shining and the air is fresh.  A bike ride is a great way to break out of that winter funk and re-tone the body for the beach and summer clothing.

Except in Florida.  Summer is the worst time of the year for biking.  The high temps along with the thick humidity create some sticky saddle sores along with the amazing ability to paste your clothing to your body in just a blocks distance.  And that’s in the morning.

The afternoon is worse due to daily thunderstorms.  The last thing I want to do is go out after a hard days work in the sun and ride a bike around in the rain.

So my bike sits in the garage as I await the first cool break in October.  By then the traffic is a madhouse on the roads, but luckily it’s legal to ride on the sidewalks in my town.

Take the time and enjoy a good bike ride this summer.  I’ll catch up by fall.  Honest.

Thoughts of: Kicking the bucket… list.

Remember how I posted about Lesley Carter’s Bucket List Publications and how she wants you to send her your list?

Thoughts of a bucket list.

Well I sent mine in and I am off to go hunt ghosts!   My wife and I are going to St. Augustine for the GhoSt Augustine Hearse Tour.  We’ll be chauffeured in final comfort as we travel throughout town to fascinating destinations including the Lighthouse that was featured in an episode of Ghost Hunters.

I also have to say that Lesley went way out of her way to help me with this prize.  When she first contacted me about the list, she tried to get me either the Skip Barber Driving school or the standard course at Tom Brown’s tracking school.

I was amazed at how fast and how hard she worked to make one of my dreams come true.  She made it a personal mission to get me at least one thing on my list.

So what about you?  Do you have a bucket list?  If so, post it and then submit it to Bucket List Publications.  What have you got to lose?

Submit your bucket lists to: info@bucketlistpublications.com Put “Bucket List” in the subject line. Include your name, blog address, current city/town & country See http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/2012/02/09/2012-bucket-list-adventure-awaits/ for an example bucket list. 

Thoughts of: MPG cars

My friend, Eric was explaining to me that he would soon be paying off his truck and planned on keeping it while buying the Camaro he always dreamed of owning.

That got me thinking.  My truck is paid off, but I don’t relish filling up the gas tank.  It might not be a bad idea to look for an economy car to zip around with while keeping the truck for the heavy lifting.  Besides, the truck’s been through multiple hurricanes and countless heroics.  How do you just leave a buddy like that?

So I let my mouse do the scrolling and looked at the two latest economy fun cars.  The Ford Fiesta and the Chevy Sonic.  $18,000 M.S.R.P.?  Yikes!  Yeah, It’s been a long time since I priced out a car, but that’s only six grand less than what my truck was with V-8, four wheel drive, and off road package.  Yeesh!

My mind went back to Eric and his dream car.  Why couldn’t I do that in a fashion?  Why couldn’t I look for cars I wanted back in my high school days and pick out the ones that had good mileage?

That’s when the fun began.  There is nothing like going from site to site, hunting down the cars of your past to see if any survived with dignity.

Two came quickly to mind:

  • The Dodge Charger Shelby 2.2
  • The Cadillac Cimarron

I liked the Charger because everybody wanted either a Camaro or Mustang back then.  The Charger was Dodge’s competitor until they came out with the Daytona.  Truth be told, the Charger was a slug!  It was so slow that when Lee Iaccoca advertised the thing, he threw 0-50 stats on the page instead of the recognized 0-60 stats.  He avoided quarter mile statistics all together.

That didn’t matter to me.  I liked how it looked and I liked it was an underdog.  I always liked the underdog back then.  (Still do sometimes.)

The Cadillac Cimarron is the complete opposite.  The first time I saw one was on a used car lot.  It was small like me, but it seemed to have style.  Especially when compared to the Cavalier, Firenza, and J-2000/Sunbird that were built along side it.  (Buick had a version as well, but I can’t recall it’s name.)

The Cimarron was a huge flop for Cadillac.  It was their first small car and they had no idea who to market it to, or how to market it.  Instead of focusing on the BMW 3 series, like they should’ve;  Caddy turned it into a mini deville.  Then they threw on an outlandish $14,000 price tag on it when the average Chevy Cavalier was $8,500.  Another way to look at it, that car was created twenty four years ago, but priced only $4,000 less than today’s Fiesta or Sonic.

Then I went completely selfish and looked up the two seat Fiero.  A decent car killed when Pontiac threw in a 16 valve, turbocharged 4 cylinder in it that was faster than the Corvette of the time.

I also looked at the Jeep Wrangler and Suzuki Samurai.  The jeep gets horrible mileage unless you get the four cylinder version.  Then it’s gets bad mileage while being slow as tar.  The Samurai gets great mileage, but the suspension will put you on a first name basis with your local chiropractor.

Out of nostalgia for my car sales days, I looked for a Saturn SL-2 10th Anniversary edition.

While sifting through all this, I was amazed at what I found.  There is a 1986 Shelby Charger, a 1988 Cimarron, and a Fiero all with less than 40,000 original miles on them listed for ten grand or less.

So for 10K I can get a low mileage, vintage 80’s high school dream car that gets mid-thirties highway mpg to drive every day.  But should I do that?  These cars have become rare just through attrition.  They somehow survived the rigors of daily life for the average car.  Should I force that upon one when I could honestly be considered a collectors or future collector’s item?

But then again, will they ever be truly collector cars?  There might be a case for the Fiero since it was a sporty two seater, but for the other two, one was a tarted-up Cavalier and the other was a stretched two door Omni.  Does anyone besides me ever look back at these two cars and regret not buying one?

Of course, there is another option all together that avoids the entire debate.  A first gen Miata.

There’s still scads of these around with low miles and they are priced every bit as low as the others mentioned.  With so many out there I wouldn’t feel like I was destroying a piece of potential history and could still one of the cars I dreamed of when I was younger, albeit at an older age.

So which would you choose if you had 10K to plink down on any of the older cars listed.  Let me know what you pick and why in the response section.  In the meantime, I’ll try to decide which one would be my best choice.  I doubt if I’ll get one anytime soon, but it’s fun to kick around.

Daydreams of: Three wishes

A wild look of unbridled joy smeared Jack’s face as he held his elusive prey.

“Let me down!”  Came the cry from a little man caught in Jack’s ever tightening clutches.  “Let me down!”

“Only if you swear not to run away.”  Jack replied through his teeth.

“I swear it.”  Said the little man who was still struggling.

Jack shook his head.  “Swear by your name.”

“Swear by my name? Why I’ll…”  The little man squirmed valiantly against Jacks grip, but to no avail.

“Swear it.”  Jack threatened.

Giving up, the man agreed. “Fine!  I swear on my name as King Brian of the little people, I will not run away if you let me go.”

“Good” Jack said as he released his captive.  “Now that we’ve established that you are truly a leprechaun, I’ll have my wishes.”

“So you’ll be wanting me gold then, eh?”  Said King Brian.

“No.”  Jack replied “I won’t need money once my wishes come true.”

“Ah.”  Mused King Brian as he thumbed his fiery red beard.  “It’s power that ye be wishen for then.”

Jack shook his head with amusement.  “Nope.”

King Brian flustered and stomped around.  “Well don’t spend a lifetime making me guess and wait.  What are ye wishes?”

Jack smiled triumphantly.  “I want to be sexy forever.”

“Granted.”  King Brian said flatly.

“I want to be irresistible to women.”  Jack commanded.

King Brian nodded his head.  “Done.”

A wild look filled Jack’s eyes.  “And for my last wish, I want to understand women.”

“Your wish is granted.”  King Brian said with a bow.

POOF!

Jack looked down to see the most voluptuous set of tits hanging from his chest.

“What the hell is this?”  He screeched in a high soprano shrill.

“I gave you what you wanted.”  King Brian said.

“I said I wanted to understand women, not become one!”  Jack hollered.

“Ah, but only a woman can truly understand women.”  King Brian answered with a smile before disappearing into thin air.

Brought to you for the Trifecta Challenge.

More Thoughts of: Google’s Self Driving Car

 

Yesterday I talked a little about Google’s self-driving car and some of the ramifications it will have on our society, but I feel that I only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Just as a brief, Google’s self-driving car is exactly what it’s called.  A self-driving car.  Google has announced that it has absolutely no plans to build a car.  What Google wants to do is sell the software to various manufacturers so they can build the car.  This is a smart move because they open themselves up to multiple buyers from around the globe while not directly threatening any established motor company.

While the car has been making news everywhere, I honestly think that many don’t realize the ramifications of this technological breakthrough.  This will be looked back as a watershed moment.

Let’s look at the time when cars came on the market and the changes they brought.

  • Cars freed people from having to use high maintenance horses for travel and work.
  • Cars reduced the amount of horse detritus in the roads.
  • Cars allowed people to go from city to city easier than in a horse carriage.
  • Cars literally gave the frame work for pickups and larger trucks.
  • The trucks allowed for longer local travel of heavy goods, such as bricks and iron beams.
  • Cars and trucks put the traveling salesman out of business.
  • Cars reduced the need for ferries and horse veterinarians.
  • Cars created a need for paved roads and an interconnecting highway system.
  • Cars made it easier to move to a new city or state when job opportunities dropped where a person resided.
  • Trucks cut into the long haul market dominated by trains and killed the short track train market.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  Cars changed the world in ways unthought-of when they first came out.

Google’s self-drive technology will do the same thing.

I already talked about how this technology will render speed traps obsolete. But let’s go further on this point.

Right now a couple is trying to sue a girl that texted her boyfriend while he was driving home.  The guy was either reading the text or texting back when he hit the couple as they rode their motorcycles.  Both riders lost a leg from the accident. They state that the girl knew that her boyfriend was driving and texted him anyway.  The couple argues that this makes her the distraction that caused the boyfriend to crash into them.  By having the car drive itself, you take away this danger.  It will also stop the hazards of drunk driving.  The downside is that it could also take away the responsibility of paying attention and being sober.

The self-driving car can help by letting kids visit their grandparents.  With the car holding the license, the kids just hop in and say, “Take me to grandmas.”  Off they go.  There is a big benefit for parents as well.  In theory they will never have to endure the long procession of the school pick-up line again. Just send the car to get the kids.  Of course you are going to have to do something so the kid realizes which car he or she is supposed to jump into.  I also see a lot of panicked parents when the car comes home empty because the kid went to his friend’s house instead.

The self-driving car will also act as an ambulance for that single person whatever their age that has to go to the hospital but doesn’t want or can’t afford the real thing.

On the other side, self-driving vehicles is that there will be a loss of transportation based jobs.

  • Taxis – no longer will you have a person drive you.  The car will do it.
  • Greyhound bus drivers will be replaced as well
  • Long haul trucks will also be self-driving and they won’t be limited on the hours they can travel.
  • Distribution to store trucks will also be driverless.
  • Body shops will be in less demand.

These are just the ideas that I can come up with now.  I’m sure you can come up with others.

The self-driving car will bring with it many good things as well as bad.  It is truly a game changer.  Welcome to the future.