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Guest Kit: The Camaro Saga, Continued

By Vijay Ravindran

In July, Achenblog management was kind enough to publish my guest kit on the saga that was my search for a 2010 Camaro. I was an eager buyer. But the local Chevy dealers I contacted apparently weren't so eager. They had a hard time coming up with a car for me to test drive and, more inexplicably, didn't try to establish a relationship for the future.

Well, within hours of when the kit was published, a nice person from Chevy headquarters tracked me down on Twitter and offered to send me a Camaro to try out for a week. I told him I just needed a single drive, and I made clear that I wasn't a car reviewer. (Besides, The Post's Warren Brown had already written a review.) At the same time, I didn't want to pass up my chance to finally check out the Camaro. We settled on a three-day test drive starting Aug. 17.

The whole process was a bit of a black box. A driver delivered the car -- a black SS with red-orange leather interior -- to The Post and then asked me for directions to the train station. The car had Michigan plates and just over 5,000 miles, but I had no idea where the driver had come from or where he was headed to. Three days later, a different driver whisked the car away again.

So, after all that, what did I think of the Camaro? I have to say, it's a wonderful car. The manual transmission is smooth and easy to shift. The pickup is every bit as muscular as advertised. And the handling is impressive. I was able to take ramps and curves at high speed with complete confidence in the car hugging the road. The Camaro didn't even start to tilt.

The only negative is the growl. The car doesn't purr like my BMW, it really growls. At 3000 RPM you want to shift based on the noise, but the car is fine and just getting warmed up in that gear. My wife turned up the radio to compensate, and then we realized it was hard to have a conversation. (Which I suppose, depending on your situation, may not actually be a negative.)

The real reason to buy a Camaro, though, is to get noticed. I took Joel and editor Marisa Katz for a ride around D.C., and they got to witness the stare effect. We saw guys roll down their windows to check out the car (and possibly Marisa). And two joggers literally stopped in their tracks and turned around in the middle of a crosswalk. As Joel observed from the back "vomit seat" (his words), if you want to know who are car people, drive the Camaro around town and you'll be able to tell immediately.

So am I buying one? Well, as they say, timing is everything. Had I gotten even a single test drive when I started looking back in May, I would have bought on the spot or put down a deposit for an order. But life has changed a lot since then. I'm going to be a first-time father early next year. And I can't imagine getting a baby in and out of this car with a rear-facing car seat. I'm afraid the window for realizing my dream of owning a Camaro has closed. I still think my current car is about to give out (and also not car-seat friendly), and I still want to buy American.

Now, it's more likely that a manual transmission Cadillac CTS (or CTS-V) is in my future. In fact, using The Post's Cars site, I filled out a web form and have already been human contacted by Lindsay Cadillac, Jim Coleman Cadillac, Capitol Cadillac, and Moore Cadillac Hummer.

P.S. To the Oklahoma boodlers who commented last time, I grew up in Norman. Boomer!

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 31, 2009; 12:34 PM ET
 
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Comments

This makes me think I should use this space to complain that I've never had the opportunity to solo in a P-51.

Posted by: byoolin1 | August 31, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I have a good friend from Norman... and she drove a Camaro there!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 31, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I've never had the opportunity to experience the freedom of Boodling with an AirBook and Verizon Access card...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 31, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I've never been on an all-expenses-paid vacation to the French Riviera.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I've got simple tastes, trying a rogue or impreza with door delivery and pick-up would be nice.

Mudge got mudged. Hihi.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 31, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey byoolin! You made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: slyness | August 31, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Howdy Vijay. Though I'm neutral re: OU, OSU & Oklahoma schools, as an Okie I reply: "Sooner!"

I love this Kit, particularly the revelation at the end. All that corporate solicitousness undone by the March of Time. Timing is indeed everything. Congratulations on the Happy Event. Start sleeping now, while you still can.

You're absolutely right: if you think maybe you can't get a car seat in a car like the Camaro, then you certainly can't. Even if someone else could. Our 2-door VW Golfs were early casualties of the Boy's advent. Life as a new first-time parent is too filled with confusion, exacerbated by loss of sleep, to do battle with car seats.

Too bad, though. That Camaro does sound fun to drive.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it was Krugman in the pic. I saw him on TV a couple of times.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 31, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"The only negative is the growl. The car doesn't purr like my BMW, it really growls."

Dude. That's a /positive/. It's supposed to growl...

Posted by: wiredog | August 31, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

That car stare effect is something to behold. I drove the Miata to/from St. Paul this weekend and you'd think they hadn't been around forever.

Haven't driven a Camaro since I was shopping for a car in OCS. Chose a 280ZX instead, despite the significantly steeper price tag. Hope the Camaro quality has improved in the intervening 28 years.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Evangeline Lilly. Just a quick spin around the block, that's all I ask.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I mudged myself. Yet again. Sheesh.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Veej, I have some particularly well-edited child car seat information, in case you're interested. The punctuation alone will take your breath away.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"The punctuation alone will take your breath away."
snort

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

You should hear those semicolons growl.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Car seats do not fit well into the back seats of 1987 Mitsubishi Cordias either. Hence it's trade-in on a 1990 Toyota Camry. Any guesses on the birth year of my son.

You dodged a bullet, Vijay. I had a boss that had bought a brand-new loaded 280ZX right before his wife got pregnant. In the meantime, the model number was changed to 300ZX thus increasing the drove-it-off-the-lot depreciation more than the usual 40%. Not only did he have to get rid of the car, he took a bath on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

You've gotta be kidding me. The problem with the Camaro is the growl?! It doesn't "purr" like your BMW?!

That's the problem with the yuppification/wussification of society. You know the people I'm referring to, those of the $20 coffee in a thimble Starbucks swilling, Banana Republic wearing, IPhone talking, BMW driving ilk.

The Camaro is an AMERICAN MUSCLE CAR, the growl is part of the appeal. Unless you are driving an E92 M3, that Camaro SS would smoke your three letter yuppie-mobile while you are on your way to yacht club to drink tea and eat crumpets.

Posted by: playahatah | August 31, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: -TBG- | August 31, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Car talk does bring out the passion in people. Unlike say politics, sports, or gardening.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

And, of course, any decent little motorcycle would smoke either of them stop-light-to-stop-light.

Not so much fun in the rain, though.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 31, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I recommend getting a thoroughly boring car that will never give you a lick of trouble, that will start up every time, that gets good-to-great fuel economy, and has four doors that provide good accessibility. Is there any U.S.-made car, yet, that can meet these criteria?

There are other ways besides a muscle car to help one cope with one's aging body, receding hair, and extending belly, that are not so unpleasantly situated at the conflict point between one's childhood dreams and one's adult pragmatism. I suggest an expensive bicycle -- costly enough to make you feel like you're not a cheapskate, beautiful enough to draw some favorable attention (assuming you are not in overly-poor physical condition), and cheap enough that you don't feel like an idiot stuck with a white elephant that you can't get rid of.

There are numerous U.S. makers of high-quality bicycles, covering a range of price from expensive to outrageous. Trek, Klein, Rivendell, Kona, Co-Motion, Bruce Gordon, plus many individual frame-builders. If you find yourself simply not getting around to using this beautiful machine, you could give it to a worthy person. Me, for instance. I'm patient. I can wait.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

No self-respecting yacht club would allow permiscuous crumpet-munching. Watercress sandwiches without the crust, maybe. But no crumpets.

At sea, and in general the fare tends toward grog and hardtack. Tea is OK, but coffee is more manly.

Arg.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I've got to say that complaining about the growl of a muscle car show a misunderstanding of the concept of "muscle car".
It reminds be of people complaining that their sleigh dog (Malamute, Siberian, Husky, etc) pulls on the leash, their sight hounds (vizla, saluki, greyhound, etc) chase things and animals tirelessly, their guard dogs are weary of strangers or that their retrievers can't see a puddle of water and not jump in it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 31, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

SciTim,
Just don't get lost pedaling around Shaker Drive like I did.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2009/08/lost-in-columbia.html

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Vijay... why did you spill the beans????

Maybe no one noticed. Growl of car + radio = unable to carry on conversation with wife.

Muscle car... no, silencer ... of sorts.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 31, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"a thoroughly boring car that will never give you a lick of trouble, that will start up every time, that gets good-to-great fuel economy, and has four doors that provide good accessibility."

That would be my 1999 Camry 3.0 V6 manny tranny which gets 23/29 real world MGP and was made in Frankfort, Kentucky ten years and 136,000 trouble-free miles back. And best of all it's paid for!

Posted by: kguy1 | August 31, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I think I can understand the allure of an expensive bicycle, but I will never feel it, even though I have witnessed it with Mr. F.

I suspect others think they understand the car thing, but they don't really feel it. Unfortunately, some of the people who think they feel it don't-for them it is just a status thing and an expensive mistake when circumstances change.

For those who truly feel that a car is purely "me" there is often just one make, model year, color, and set of specs that will do. Later incarnations, no matter how improved (often a debatable term)don't cut it. Practicality be damned. If the car is really you, you'll find a way to work around all the challenges-including infant transport. If the car isn't worth the effort, or the additional expense of keeping a serious transportation alternative, then it's not the one. Perhaps for most people no car exists that is "the one." They should be thankful.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Although the aforementioned Toyota neither growls nor purrs, it does, like its driver, sometimes snore.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 31, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

My Honda Fit hums; or, at least, it sounds that way when the hamsters' little feet start going really fast on the wheels under the hood. I get 34 miles per cup of alfalfa pellets.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Per Frosty's 2:57, the car that is pure "me": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stutz_Bearcat.jpeg

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe this one, I dunno: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Columbia_Mark_III_Phaeton.JPG

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll still tout my '93 Miata. Of course there is no room for a baby seat, but it hums along quite nicely at 35mpg highway and only 230K miles. Still deciding if I want to spend the $1900 to fix the oil leak around the rear seal, or just keep doing a continuous oil change.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 31, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Around here lots of punks illegally modify their mufflers and straight pipe so they can make noise. I assume half of them are removing the catalytic converter too. Cops won't stop it - claim they can't "interfere" with Federal enforcements. And they don't care, which is the real point. It's annoying to me. Little brats.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 31, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

http://www.rqriley.com/images_xr3/DSC02417B-web.jpg

Y'all need to get with it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 31, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Circa 1980, I lived in a Wyoming town where kids working in the oil patch couldn't make up their minds over having Camaros or short-box 4x4 GMC pickups. Regrettably, I never took advantage of the ample supply of slightly-used pickups, getting a little Japanese one instead. Not a Toyota, a Chevy LUV. Bad idea.

The latest command decision was to replace a nice Ford Focus station wagon (purchased in Sept. 2001) with a Pontiac Vibe, a functionally-extinct brand of car assembled at the soon-to-close NUMMI plant in Fremont, California, where my 1989 Geo Prizm had come from.

The new Vibe is a perfect specimen of post-Murano styling; I think Subarus and Mitsu Outlanders are prettier and the Nissan Xterra can actually go on sand, regardless of goofy appearance.

Consumer Reports gave my big-engine Vibe a mediocre rating, but my gosh, cars have changed since 2001. I've managed to set off the Vibe's electronic stability control, interacted with the electronic tire pressure system, registered with On-Star, and marveled that after a lifetime of mashing accelerator pedals to get underpowered cars going, I'm eyeing the tachometer (my first) and noticing that there will never, ever be a reason to get the engine anywhere near the redline.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I like it, Jumper. What is it?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me one could develop a device that would squirt a narrow stream of paint over a distance of a few feet, manipulating the spray to produce instant graffiti. Mounted to the grille of one's car, one could, for example, paint "I'm too stupid to figure out how to turn down the volume" on the back end of a car with a very loud stereo. Or, "this car violates federal and state laws." For example.

Of course, I have also sometimes wished for a roof-mounted missile launcher and laser-guided target-acquisition. But that would be wrong.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nevermind, Jumper; I found it. They make this for SciTim: http://www.rqriley.com/xr2.htm

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to buy a car. You can make your own, like the 1931 Shotwell.

http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/cars/shotwell_shell.shtml

Posted by: kguy1 | August 31, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

My car, since I was a little kid, has been a '57 Vette. Absolutely gorgeous. The twin headlights on the '58 ruins it for me.

When I first saw an ad for the '05 Mustangs, I fell in love. My wife didn't take much convincing, either. My only regret is that we couldn't afford the GT. The 2010s, I'm not so sure about.

Cars can be beautiful, but small changes make huge differences. Much like people - there's a reason you've never heard of Doug Pitt.

Vijay, I don't mean to imply anything negative by asking this, but were you born in America? Were your parents? I think a lot of my appreciation for cars comes from my childhood, a good portion of which was spent riding shotgun with my dad, with the top down and the radio up. That also explains my musical tastes, I guess. But my point is, I don't think the Sunday drive is as prevalent in India as it is in the west.

Posted by: tomsing | August 31, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

There's an old comedy routine about issuing drivers guns with suction-cupped darts. You shoot them at other cars doing stupid things. If your car has too many arrows on it, the cops can pull you over and give you a ticket for being an @sshole.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

A baby! Congrats! You don't need a muscle car...you're already in for the ride of your life.

When picking out your new car (or your new-to-you car) I'd suggest an interior color that goes well with smushed-up cheerios. And really appreciate that new car smell...it will seem no time at all before it smells of old McDonald's fries and spilled juice boxes.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 31, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tomsing, isn't the Sunday drive a thing of the past (50 years ago)? We used to do it when I was a kid. But you know when I was a kid, Eisenhower was president.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on the baby Vijay, sometimes things happen for a reason and your inability to buy a Camaro when you wanted it proves this point. I still miss my Miata and hold out hope that I'll have another one some day. Meanwhile I'm just glad my car gets decent mileage and runs well.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 31, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think you're right about the Sunday drive. The oil crisis in 1974 and afterwards pretty well did that one in, as well as the goldarned traffic you have to deal with these days.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 31, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

So just what did a Sunday drive entail? How many miles? What sort of destination? Was the point just to get the kids arguing in the backseat?

The wife and I still daytrip, just not always on a Sunday. The last one stretched so long it turned into a weekend getaway.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Cheney's blowing his usual smoke on TV. And the TV people are afraid to ask him heavier stuff about this. It's a case where our own revulsion (and I feel a need to apologize but this upsets me) is playing into his hands:

"The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgement that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes."
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004409

Also, earlier I didn't make it clear that even if Dole (or McCain who recently said some useful things about the government needing to bid on generic drugs) in such cases, I too always keep an eye on the punchbowl like many here do.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 31, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, my childhood was in the 80s and 90s. Dad had a succession of cool cars - a Cougar convertible that I'm not sure of the year, an '86 Corvette with removable hardtop, and a '71 Ford LTD covertible (and lately, a '67 Mustang GT350).

It wasn't so much the Sunday drive per se, but the drive to the lake, the drive to the grandparents, the drive to see the Christmas lights (mom insisted on putting the top down for that cruise, which got chilly even in Florida). The journey is half the fun, and all that.

Posted by: tomsing | August 31, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Rape by instrumentality? Can we come up with a more palatable euphemism? Perhaps 'enhanced cavity searches'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The Cougar might even be credited with saving his life - he was a smoker until he got his first convertible. He kept getting burns in his shirt from the ashes, and rather than put the top up, he quit cold turkey.

Posted by: tomsing | August 31, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Individual plumbing excavation.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

yello, here are the rules and regulations for the Sunday drive: http://www.dcmilitary.com/dcmilitary_archives/stories/030304/27784-1.shtml

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

When I was a child, my father had a brand-new VW Bug. Not one of those candy-@ss ones with the sissy frills, like a gas gauge or a dashboard clock like the Karmann Ghia (known to fail the instant the tires went over the curb while leaving the dealer); no, this was a seriously no-frills car, with a lever in the floor to switch to the 1-gal. emergency tank when the engine began to sputter.

In parallel with owning the Beetle was a rusty old pale-blue Buick Behemoth (I don't know its actual model name) that we called The Blue Bomb, which my Dad drove so my Mom could have the Beetle. That is the car that tried to kill me when the door latch popped open while rounding a corner and, because nobody wore seat belts in those days, I flew out the door. Fortunately, I whipped my trusty Peanuts lunchbox around from my left side to my right side, landed on the lunch box, and skittered across the street safely. We did not keep the Blue Bomb much longer.

Later, the Beetle was replaced by a green Plymouth Valiant. Which was replaced by a Dodge Dart of unmemorable color (gold? blue?), which eventually was replaced with a red Honda Accord that lasted faithfully for about 15 years. Our family has never been without at least one Honda or Toyota since then. Right now, counting up in my head, we have 5 Hondas and 2 Toyotas among 6 driving adults.

This history may have much to do with my preferences in cars.

I still have my Peanuts lunch box, which I use to store random bits of useful hardware that I rarely use again. Unlike past cars, I will never throw away my Peanuts lunchbox.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 31, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought you usually stored random bits of useful hardware in your vest, Tim.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Nice link Mudge. Our Sunday drives were shorter and had less people in the car, usually just my parents and maybe one of my friends and/or my dog. Dad didn’t like long drives or the dreaded ‘traffic’ resulting in trips to the beach at 8 am on a Sunday, after 6 am Mass. We’d eat lunch at 10:30 and be on our way home by 1 pm. All this to beat the crowds. If it was a non-beach drive, we’d usually be trying to find the general store with the penny candy that we’d visiting a few times but could subsequently never remember exactly where it was.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 31, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

We don't need mindbleach, we need history bleach, and a time machine.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 31, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

My dad bought one of these as a commuter car in 1956. It was a POS.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://home.comcast.net/~ljfid/fids_hj_photos/53_hj_kp.jpg&imgrefurl=http://home.comcast.net/~ljfid/hjmodels.htm&usg=__xI95RoSj6UyvRx_voxA4-hVmVgU=&h=346&w=640&sz=85&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=iiqWdjHY6wXHgM:&tbnh=74&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhenry%2Bj%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1

Scroll down to the green car about halfway down the page and notice the kid sitting in his dad's lap while driving!

Posted by: kguy1 | August 31, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

kguy, the kid sitting on dad's lap wouldn't be so bad if dad wasn't driving on the wrong side of the road.

I suspect this was some kind of classic car cruise, because there's a Dodge Ram of 1994-2002 vintage in the background, and I believe a late 60's El Camino following the Henry J. Which means low speeds, making the kid in the lap a little less of a problem (but wet roads might counteract that). I remember getting to steer the car around a parking lot or two as a little kid, and I survived. :-)

Posted by: tomsing | August 31, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Loved the essay, Mudge. I have no fond memories of TSAD. Growing up in the Midwest, there was no beach to head to. What we had were new home developments. Which adults, apparently, must go see. So every Sunday they would pack us in the car and head off without revealing any destination. But in 20 or 30 minutes, we would arrive at a godforsaken dusty patch of new concrete streets, with one green yard. We would be dragged throughout the show house while our parents exclaimed about the shoddy construction and oohed and aahed about the spacious rooms. Then we'd pile back in the car, most often to head to another new development. During the drive the rest of the family would comment on the scenery, which didn't move me. It was discovered when I was 9 that I was nearly blind. Glasses were a revelation. Scenery was more than just a muddy green blur outside the windows. TSADs improved a bit after that.

I want to congratulate Vijay on having the fortitude to come back and share with us after the first time.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 31, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

That was a great article mudge. Thank's for linking to your friend's story. I think I understand the concept.

We do road trips which are longer and more destination oriented. We rarely drive aimlessly. At least not on purpose.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

My grandparents lived 20 miles/30 minutes away, and that was the destination for most of our Sunday afternoon drives. I enjoyed them, got to play with the cousins and usually we had a meal.

I suppose I was in kindergarten when my mother decided that she needed rocks to form the borders of her flowerbeds. We would travel country roads looking for and stopping to pick up appropriately-sized boulders, 6-8 inches in diameter. There were lots more country roads and rocks in those days than there are now.

Posted by: slyness | August 31, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Did everyone else's Dad snarl about "G'd'mned Sunday Drivers" while out on the Sunday drive? And get even more annoyed if you pointed out that he, too, was a Sunday Driver?

Perhaps my family had a few issues.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 31, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdDNFJpil50

Posted by: -jack- | August 31, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Our family weekend activity was boating. We'd take the boat out to the lake, do some water skiing and eat a picnic lunch. We had to leave early enough to get out on the water before all the other boats made the water too choppy. The same sort of cognitive dissonance applied as my dad complained about all the rubes making waves.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 31, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

In a variation on Sunday drives I used to do nap drives. To my great annoyance, the Boy gave up napping for all practical purposes when he was about three. He would, however, fall asleep in the car during the afternoons. I'd strap him in on Saturdays, and on Sundays after church, and we'd drive out into the country to the little towns nearby. The drawback, of course, was that he'd wake up when the car stopped, refreshed and ready to go. I would not be refreshed at all. Nap or not, at night he was horribly active, like a bat.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm visualizing the Boy hanging from ceilings and furniture, shrieking nearly supersonically, Ivansmom.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 31, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Frosty, prayers for your BIL and Frostsister....

Wonderful, wonderful The Sunday Afternoon Drive! More details than I could ever remember, will send it to all of my family. The Sunday Dinner was really at 1:00 PM and the Sunday Supper was usually waffles or left over mashed potatoes fried into patties, and something else, I really just loved the patties.

Now, our Sunday Drive was usually to Richmond to visit relatives, so we left at 8:00 am took more than two hours from Norfolk back then, and they did expect us to spend the day and eat a meal with them. Our alternate Sunday Drive was after church (and after Daddy came home from the golf course), Sunday Dinner at 1 PM and then drove to the beach, either the Chesapeake Bay or Va. Beach for the afternoon to swim and play on the beach without much in the way of toys, just buckets and shovels, didn't know we were deprived. :-)

Posted by: VintageLady | August 31, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, should say loved all the vw beetles and the sports cars we had over the years, am now happy with our Prius.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 31, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

My computer crashed last night. It's a 11-month old MacBook. The 'genius' at Applecare tried every trick in the book with me over the phone. Finally he gave up and told me I'd have to take it to the Apple Store. Oh the horror of the Apple Store. Eventually he told me that I could take it to an independent Mac Fixer and that it would no doubt be faster than the geniuses at Apple.

The inderpendent repair man said that if the problem was a software one, I'd have to pay for it, but if it were a hardware problem, Apple would pay. What are the odds that he'll find that it's the software? I bet it's worse even than the lottery odds.

I cannot back boodle here at my brother's house. It's too chaotic, with three televisions booming and three simultaneous conversations with the four people here. I'm losing my mind.

And, you know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste!

Posted by: mm_donovan | August 31, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Y'all can come ridin' in my car:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRK2o3EkOUw

Posted by: -pj- | August 31, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Vijay, I'm sorry I didn't get to this sooner.

I've been threatening to take JA out in a screaming yellow Dodge Viper for years - so we can *really* get stared at and can't hold much of a conversation due to the V-10 "UPS truck from h3ll" booming sound effects and foot-wide center tunnel to shout across. Besides, passengers are always looking out the windows to see who's who's looking back at who on earth would be in such a thing, anyway.

Good call on the CTS-V, I'm a big fan of those things. A friend of mine who develops suspensions for one of the big three and I get to drive race cars with occasionally told me that the new CTS-V was the nicest car he's ever driven - bar none.

And one advantage of the CTS-V over an M5, M3, RS4 or the like is that there's more holders in the interior for baby wipes.

And I doubt the magic of that Caddy will fade, even when you have to do an emergency diaper change in the back seat, or clean up partially-digested formula. Or Gerber squash baby food.

Tim, I like the 34 MPG on the Fit, but my 216K mi. BMW still gives me 31 MPG combined, and my POS 165k mi. Neon ACR's giving me 35 combined - both still on the original clutches, original engines, etc. No significant problems on either, other than reasonable wear items.

But seriously, Vijay -- for someone who drives like me there's only one favorite kind of car to really take out on a track and enjoy:

someone else's

Glad you got to enjoy a little of that.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | August 31, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I own a green Ion.

Who wants to touch me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 31, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Positive or negative Ion, RD?

Either way, that's one shocking car.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 31, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Ahh... the Sunday Drive. Ours was usually to Chevy Chase to my grandparents' house. Our cousins lived next door--which seemed perfectly normal as my best friend next door had her cousins next door to her grandparents in Maryland, also.

We moved to our side of the Potomac in 1960, before the Beltway, so our Sunday trips to Yia Yia and Papou's house went through the city. After the Beltway was born, the trip was much faster, but seemed to always include a stop on the way home for me to throw up; I guess the middle back seat really was, as Joel calls it, the Vomit Seat.

If we didn't go to Yia Yia's house, we went to visit new developments. In Fairfax in the early 60s that's all there were... new subdivisions... Camelot, Red Fox Forest (their model homes had ponds with real goldfish!), Old Forge, Surrey Square. They all sounded so fine and romantic. The bedrooms all had sets of bunkbeds and looked like they were trying to squeeze the Brady Brunch inside.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 31, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Watch out, RD, your bad-boy side is showing.

We did Sunday drives when I was a very small girl in a very large Buick. I seem to remember that my parents had a quest to locate an old-fashioned soda fountain so that we could get ice cream floats. In the early 60s in Central Alberta, there were none. And so it was perfect as a rationalization for getting us all together in the car every week.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope Southwester and dbG each had a great First Day of Work. I thought about you both today. Hope you had someone to have lunch with. I hate to think of you sitting alone with your PB&J and Peanuts lunchbox.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 31, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

We often did Sunday drives, not sure there was a destination, Dad just liked to drive.

One memorable trip I remember was Easter Sunday, I was maybe 7 or 8. Being Catholic we were not allowed to eat before mass (pretty much shortened to the hour before mass). Now being Easter Sunday that ment I had an entire basket of jelly beans and chocolate that was off limits until after mass. When mass was over we set off on a drive, by the end of the drive my basket was pretty much empty, I looked over at my older sisters and noticed it was barely touched and remembered she still had some halloween candy left. Don't really remember too much about the drive, but the envy of her ability to moderate her candy intake remains.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 31, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh God, yello, I have suppressed most of the memories of boating with my family. I remember hiding under picnic tables with my brother while my parents tried to back the boat into the water. It seemed safer to hide, since they were yelling so. Then that peculiar oily smell of a smallish body of water with many power boats on it, mmmm - nausea inducing to this day. Oddly, despite the hopelessly bizarre family, I still love being out on water. I guess there must have been some good times mixed in.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 31, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh dmd, I feel your candy envy. I was a chubby child and had no will power at all. I had a very skinny friend who always had Easter candy left in August, something I never understood. Thankfully I have lost most of my desire for candy. I think there is still a package of personalized M&Ms leftover from my birthday two and a half years ago hanging around here somewhere. But I do remember all the penny candy eaten on the Sunday drives, sort of makes me queasy now to think about it.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 31, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

there are more yahoos who didn't evacuate when they were told to and are now asking for rescue from the fires in los angeles. this makes me totally crazy. i don't think they should be rescued until the conditions are safe. it's called facing the consequences of your totally irresponsible actions. arrrrrgggghhh.

Posted by: LALurker | August 31, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

for you sciency types, a picture of a pyrocumulus cloud from the l.a. fire is now part of the wikipedia article on the topic:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrocumulus_cloud

Posted by: LALurker | August 31, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

We hardly ever took sunday drives. Dad was a heavy construction carpenter usually building forms for dams, bridges and tunnels. Either in the summer in Northern California where it's over 100 june-october or in the winter when it rains monsoons. That plus constantly remodeling an old 5&10 cent store for our house on saturday, sunday was his day of rest after church. But one saturday he came home with a surprise, he traded in the '37 chevy on a brand new 1950 chevy (standard pale green 4 door). The next day after church we took a drive 60 miles up to Shasta Springs by Mount Shasta. Getting out of the parking area he backed into a tree. The back bumper was still bent when he finally got rid of it in the '70's

Posted by: bh72 | August 31, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, LALurker, thanks for that link. The things I learn here!

As a lapsed EMT, I have always wondered if Princess Diana would have lived if she had gotten to surgery sooner, as under the scoop and run protocols in the US. Probably not, inasmuch as torn aortas don't allow for a golden hour. This article, comparing prehospital care in the US and France, is worth a perusal:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HealthCare/story?id=8437560

Amazing to think that it's been twelve years.

Posted by: slyness | August 31, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

For me all back seats are vomit seats, and it was worse when parents smoked in cars without a care in the world. A VW wagon finally put me over the edge and I rebelled at ever - going - any - where - in - that - car if I have to ride in the back. The destinations were mostly wonderful, old cemeteries, historical and natural points of interest, but a hated Sunday drive was the Colonial Parkway from Yorktown to Jamestown. Miles of trees just like the ones in the park near our Newport News house, but at least in the park we could play.

Mr. F is the type who enjoys driving just for the sake of going for a drive. Very early in our relationship I learned to demand an itinerary and veto power over some of the more ridiculous destinations. Looking at RVs in the Oklahoma summer heat was one of those.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

You have my empathy, frostbitten, on both counts - carsickness and looking at RVs in Oklahoma summer heat. We didn't really do Sunday drives. I've always assumed that was because for most purposes we lived in the country already. I do wonder, though, if my complete inability to ride in a car for any distance without falling ill played some part in that decision, on a higher level than me. My mother smoked, as did most of my aunts etc. Car rides with even one of them were torture; I'd fall out of the back seat at our destination white and shaky. It never occurred to anyone to put me in the front. Kids rode in back.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

We did Sunday drives when I was a kid, around Lake Minnetonka. We'd spend the whole time whispering urgent prayers that Dad would stop at Dairy Queen.

Summer returned to Bemidji for the big Page family vacation: 80 and sunny most days; bright moon and loons at night. Glorious!

Posted by: KBoom | August 31, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Vijay, don't worry. The window for sports cars will re open, as soon as your child moves out of the hosue for good. Though at times its going to feel like forever, in the end, it will feel only an instant has passed.

Ah the sunday drive. I love Sunday drives. We don't do them now so much as we did when we farmed, but sure do love it. We lost it when the world started moving too fast.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 31, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

And perhaps when we lost Sunday drives we gained spell check, or would if this blog had a spell check. Or italics.

I just hope my blanket SCC card still works.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 31, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Subaru Impreza WRX. 0-60: 5.3 seconds (just two tenths slower than the Camaro). $9,000 less expensive. Better gas mileage. All-wheel-drive. Plenty of room for four. No problem with child seats.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | August 31, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Canuckistanis. I spent all day avoiding listening to Darth's carp about "saving thousands of lives" with torture and As It Happens has to use his actual voice as heard on faux news as its "for the record" segment. Is this how you soften us up for the invasion? And-while I'm whining. If you're going to send every insect in Western Ontario over the border, couldn't you send your health care along with them?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

See what I mean? If it's "the one" none of WhatHeSaid's 11:26 matters.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Frosti, I think the insects are stage 2 :-).

So many yellowjackets here this year, dmdspouse had one fly down his shirt as he was walking to a meeting. Got stung a couple of times and called me all worried about it, he was heading in to a two hour meeting and asked what he should do. I said he was probably OK as not reaction, but just let someone know in the meeting just in case. He dutifully sought out what he thought was the friendliest face in the room, told his tale of the bee sting only to discover the person was not going to be in the meeting. Apparently there were two people waiting outside the room anxiously waiting to see if everything was OK.

Today the eight year old got stung when a yellowjacket go inside her shoe, she managed to walk home from the store with her friend, inform me, and receive an ice pack all without tears.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 31, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmd, the mosquitoes, moth down my shirt, and black flies don't seem so bad now.

Time for lights out Chez Frostbitten.

toodles boodle, and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 31, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

You got ponies, we got mosquitos. This is socialized healthcare for you.

The Very Large Puppy made me laugh tonight. He had a big meal so he was pretty groggy from his food. It was Amateur Butcher Hour ( I made steaks and cubes for chili from a beef loin, a good deal from costco) so both dogs got extras after their regular meals. As we were watching a show about Christian Dior' couture house the dreamy-looking VLP came to Mrs. D and looked longingly at the couch. For effect she sat on the couch's arm and the VLP jumped on HIS spot and promptly fell asleep. Now try to move that 125lbs slumbering beast out of his spot...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 31, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Good evening all. Coupla things...

Cars to me are...cars. A way to get from here to there. Recently when filling out a hotel registration, all I could think of for an answer to make/model/year was 'blue.'

About something earlier, probably last boodle. While I'm not a Republican, I feel the need to defend Sen. Dole. Yes, he's a nice man. He's also sharp as a tack, very funny, and more handsome in person (and taller) than you think. But he's not the dyed-in-the-wool Republican that he's portrayed to be. In my mind, Sen Dole is closer to Teddy Kennedy than a cursory review of his career would suggest...he loves his country more than he loves his party. It is my impression that Sen Dole's success was rooted in his ability to suffer fools, many of whom were his colleagues. He also is of the Walter Cronkite generation...look professional when there's a camera on you, try to convey strength and leadership at all times, never let them see you sweat. My guess is his choice to not address the whackjobs was purposeful...I don't think he sees himself as their teammate. Considering there's nothing for him to gain by speaking other than helping his President and his country (his life story speaks to his efforts at this), I think his words should be read in the most favorable light...he's just trying to help. Again, I'm not a Republican, but Senator Dole is man I respect.

Have a happy night all. Sweet dreams...

Posted by: LostInThought | September 1, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

My Subaru is 2000 miles away from 300,000.It makes a lot of noise,but still runs fairly well.I had a guest one night who worked for Subaru,he said the myth of getting a new engine at 300,000 miles in just that a "Myth".

I don't see anything new or even used coming down the pike in the next few months so she will have to do.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 1, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

some amazing fire photos from lat:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bigpicturefire,0,5985825.htmlstory

pyrocumulus cloud above downtown l.a.:
http://www.latimes.com/includes/soundslides/bigpicturefire/bigpicturefire02.jpg

pyrocumulus is my new word for the day.

Posted by: LALurker | September 1, 2009 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Seasea, thanks for the link about nicknames.

Good thoughts to VL and frostbitten’s BIL….

Jumper, I understand your annoyance at modified mufflers perfectly (re: your 3:25pm post.) We have the same thing here. It’s not uncommon to see a small (less than 1000cc) car having a huge muffler and exhaust pipe.

Posted by: rainforest1 | September 1, 2009 3:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, LAL, that’s one scary fire. The clouds are beautiful but the fire…more scary than beautiful….

Posted by: rainforest1 | September 1, 2009 3:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Coffee pot is perking and kettle is whistling, right start of the day.

LALurker, words fail me. Those photos of towering, flaming colors and the grime, grimy people fighting the enemy says it all, thanks.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 1, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Thank you rainforest and all the boodle. It's nice to think we three (you & lurker & I) touch at 4 am, despite the years and the miles apart. Nice.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 1, 2009 4:05 AM | Report abuse

My dad's last American car was a Ford Gran Torino Brougham, a car he hated with a passion for its poor quality. When we returned to the states, he bought a 1979 Toyota Corolla as a family car. We had to drive as a family of five with a dog and a cat from Huntsville, Alabama to Tampa, Florida in that tiny yellow thing.

He has since upgraded to Accords. I had two Corollas in college. My wife's first car was a Geo Spectrum (a rebranded Isuzu) and mine was the Mitsubushi Cordia Turbo (don't ask, it's embarassing) that got traded in on a Camry when my son got born.

While doing the struggling young family thing, I had two hand-me down cars, a Toyota pickup prone to breaking down and a '73 Coupe de Ville, last of the land yachts.

There have been two other Camrys and two Dodge minivans. Somewhere in the middle was a Ford Escort which was really a Mazda built in Mexico. We are now a two Hyundai family. My wife has the low-mileage sub-luxury Azaria sedan and I have the grocery getter and bike hauler Sante Fe. Two of our other friends have Sante Fes. We are not alone.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/31/AR2009083103900.html?nav=igoogle

My dream car is a slightly used BMW Z4 but those cost about the same as a year of out-of-state tuition.

Time to go ride my Trek 1500. Not expensive enough to impress Tim, but it gets me where I'm going.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 1, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, morning, friends. VL, meant to say hello Sunday morning, and hope all is going well for you.

Lurker, be safe.

As for the kit, love it. The Camaro is suppose to growl, I think. That goes along with the whole persona of the car. It's a chick magnet, right? I like the term JA used for the back seat, vomit?

As for the Sunday drives, we always did the ice cream thing. The area where I grew up is called rural, so the place is that all over. One leaves "rural" to go to "rural". Country all over. Forty miles will take you to a city, that's east, and ninety miles west will take you to Slyness's neck of the woods or city.

It is rainy and cloudy here. Yesterday really depressing and just a tad cool. I love the cool. Of course, I may moan that later on as the cool moves to cold. Can't please some folks.

Mudge, Yoki, Slyness, Martooni, Scooty, and all the gang, have a great day. Need coffee.

Posted by: cmyth4u | September 1, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Hey Cassandra, I'm not complaining about cool and rain! We didn't get enough of rain, but that's par for course.

Pyrocumulous...now there's a descriptive word I'm going to have to remember. Yes, the photos are spectacular. I hope the firefight is successful today.

Mr. T and I met my friend the IRS auditor for dinner last night at Bucca di Beppo. She is on the board at the local charity that houses out of town folks when they have relatives in local hospitals, and they were having a fundraiser. Good food, and I didn't overindulge. I have enough eggplant parm for at least two lunches...

Let's do scrambled eggs and bacon this morning, along with VL's good coffee and tea. And sourdough toast for those so inclined.

Posted by: slyness | September 1, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

You know it's looking kind of dim in Afghanistan, and I mean that in the sense of troop loss and the situation there. It's a hard place, and yet we stay and fight. And all this cost money, and drains the economy in a sense. Yet we see this as a need, something we need to accomplish, and even more so when so many lives are lost. What will be the benefits? What tangible thing can we see from this? Will it give us peace of mind? Will it curb addiction? Will this war torn and democracy deprived region bloom and shine, and its people live a better life up from the ashes of death and destruction?

I don't know. I doubt anyone really knows. But there is no outcry about this. And I'm not saying there should be. All I'm trying to say is why the guns at a healthcare forum? I think we have it twisted.

Posted by: cmyth4u | September 1, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle. Top o' the mornin' to you, Cassandra.

How did the lazy days of summer get so busy? Wait, don't answer that.

Posted by: Yoki | September 1, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Scooty? Who dat? *L* Morning, Cassandra! *HUGS*

Hey, when did Livan Hernandez sneak back into the Nats' dugout, anyway? :-)

Yes, LAlurker, PLEASE stay safe!!! Looks like the Mt. Wilson Observatory will survive, which is a good thing.

*off-to-the-Diet-Pepsi-machine Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 1, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodlers.

Here, on the first of September is the unofficial end of winter. Bleah, it's cold, gray and dreary like yesterday.

Good clumn by George Will today.

Haff a gut one everyone.

Posted by: Braguine | September 1, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

WaPo had a graphic of that fire. I've been cruising up through those hills on vacation. A LOT of nice homes. I'm surprised we aren't hearing more about celebrities being rounded up and put into high school gyms for shelter.

Stay safe left coast boodlers.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 1, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I feel bad for the people around LA, those fires look terrifying. I am grateful to live in New England where, for the most part, we deal with blizzards, very long winters and an occasional glancing blow from a hurricane but not the massive weather or terrain related events that other parts of the country must withstand.

Gorgeous chilly late summer day here. Perfect time to start painting the house. I need to keep busy as being unemployed makes me antsy.

Posted by: badsneakers | September 1, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

After mouthing-of yesterday about the extraordinary reliability of Toyotas and Hondas, the ScienceSpouse's Toyota mini-van suffered a Failure To Start The Engine last night. A turn of the key yielded a staccato of loud clicks from beneath the hood. We went back this morning and tried again after resting overnight: the engine weakly turned over a bit, then the starter motor stopped running and we went back to the clicking. Hooking up jumper cables to my (ever-reliable) little Honda Fit did not provide enough juice to get things moving, if indeed a low battery were the problem.

So, is this likely to be a mechanical problem, perhaps the pawl of a ratchet clicking? Seems unlikely, as I didn't hear a motor actually spinning and this morning, although the motor started spinning, I could hear when it stopped and the clicking began.

Could it be an electrical problem, with a big relay throwing itself repeatedly? There's enough battery power to light the headlights. However, running the electric windows up and down, they move slowly -- there's not a lot of juice available to them. Could something be shorted out?

Could it be a relay responding to a mechanical problem, disconnecting the electrical power because the starter motor is stuck and drawing too much power?

"Help me, Obi-bc! You're our only hope."

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 1, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Brag, you read George Will? I'm impressed that you have what it takes, I don't.

Temperature was 64 and a light breeze when I went out for the walk. No shorts this morning, I put on slacks and was comfortable. Yep, autumn is in the air.'

One thing that impressed Mr. T and me when we were in California in May was how overgrown were the sides of the roads. I guess state government doesn't have funding to keep the roadsides cut back. The economy and weather of southern California may be great, but I'll take winter and hurricanes over earthquakes and wildfires any day of the week.

Posted by: slyness | September 1, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Glorious day today but on the cool side. It's supposed to stay that way a whole week. Yes.

Your battery seems weak Science Tim.
Try to boost the minivan with a "real" car or truck equipped with a good-size battery that is known to be in good shape. If it doesn't start it could be the solenoid or the starter.
The solenoid (your big relay) may have gone bad. It does click (engage) but does not send current to the starter. It's not too expensive. Or the starter may be shot. The solenoid engages (clicks) but fails to turn the (shot) motor of the starter. It's definitely more expensive.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | September 1, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

*SIGHHHHHHH*

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/us/01bar.html

JA, here's a good question to ask the blogosphere -- care to pony up for a legal fund to ensure access to important governmental actions?

*SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 1, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

See, sd, that's not the advice I want. The advice I want is "tap lightly on that spot... there... and everything will be fine." Unfortunately, the advice that I want may not be advice that will actually solve any real problem. Desire is the source of pain.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Here are some cool volcano pics:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/gallery_volcanoes/

Posted by: bobsewell | September 1, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, SciTim, sorry for the late arrival.

Things are busy out in the deserts of Tatooine, y'know?

Ya have my phone #, call me if ya need me, ya big lug.

I agree with s_d, that sounds like a dying battery. And he's right about the starter solenoid, though that does not explain the slow windows and (presumably) dead headlights. That would lead me to start with the battery.

The Fit *should* be able to prove enough extra juice to get the minivan started with the battery not entirely dead - if you hook those jumper cables up with both car's headlights on, you should see the Fit's dim and the mini's brighten. If not, the connection between the batteries isn't correct. I'd suspect either the jumper cables aren't grounded properly, or the battery terminals on the mini are corroded and need to be cleaned to provide a good connection.

I'll call you, stand by, big guy.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | September 1, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Raysmom | September 1, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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