Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sweet Ride

Look at this...

This is a 2016 Honda Pilot.

I have never bought a brand new car in my life. Heck, I've never even wanted a brand new car. I know a lot about working on cars so I feel like I can leverage my skills and save money by buying older cars that have demonstrated quality.

I bought my first Toyota with 155,000 miles and my second with 154,000. We bought our CR-V with 94,000. Most people consider cars spent at that point. But not me. My Landcruiser is 22 years old and runs better today than it did when I bought it.

The point is, I like older cars because I feel like I get more value from it. I also get satisfaction from getting my hands dirty under the hood. My first truck (the Toyota), I owned for five years and I sold for only $1,500 less than I paid for it. And in that time I had my first experiences with changing a transmission (me and a buddy in the driveway), oil leaks, and disassembly and reassembly of front four wheel drive hubs.

I balk at the cost of warranties because I feel like the effort and heartburn associated with obtaining warranty service is just about on par with simply doing the work. This is particularly true with older cars that have some sort of third party or non-manufacturer warranty. These are uniformly designed with the interests of the warranty provider's bottom line at heart rather than providing service. (If I bought a brand new car, I would gladly accept the manufacturers warranty.)

Some say that cars are too smart to work on any more. To me it's an opportunity to get smarter, not roll over and concede defeat. The basic functions are the same, there's just some extra systems to help it along.

So why would I even consider a brand new car?

Maybe you didn't see picture. Look at it again.

That's a hot ride. It looks like a larger version of the CR-V, which I love. I've always liked the CR-V, but never more than the current model. In my mind, though, the chief failing of the CR-V is it's light carrying capacity and its small size. It fits the niche that it's designed for very well, I just want something that looks like it but has higher towing capacity, and it would be great if it had third row seating. Also, I'd like to see some suspension upgrades that would make it more stable under heavy loads.

I've essentially just described the 2016 Pilot. The availability of suspension upgrades is still slim, but it is brand new.

This new model also overcomes previous Pilot's chief drawback: its looks.

I'd love to drive one home today.

Don't misinterpret this to mean that I'm about to buy one of these magnificent beasts. It's simply a financial impossibility to drop $36,000 on a car right now. And then there's the philosophical implications of putting two car seats, their occupants, and a furry beast into this lap of luxury. It already makes me cringe to put them all into an 8-year-old CR-V with 120,000 miles.

Anyway, philosophy aside, its not going to happen. What's new here is the desire to have this brand new car. It's not something I'm accustomed to. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to pic up a nice used one.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Some Spring Camping

So this weekend we had planned on going on a scout outing. Fate, however, had other plans and the outing was rescheduled to a weekend I can't attend. Since the outing was to Tubal Cain Mine and the plane wreckage, I felt I needed a make-up tent night. (Don't have time for the hike.) Here's a confession, part of the reason I was so anxious for a night out is I just bought a new tent and was desperate to take it for a spin.

Since the outing was rescheduled, I was also able to attend a wedding reception I wanted to go to. So there you have it, cram in a night in a tent while also attending a reception.

Fortunately, I have both a willing co-conspirator and a very nearby campground, so we made it happen. The outing was pretty simple because we only had a little time, but it covered all the main bases. We had a fire, roasted some marshmallows, and then the kiddo decided to it was time to go to bed. All in about 35 minutes.

Of course, he was tired until we got into the tent, then he was too hyper to calm down. Lately I've been reading Roughing It at bed time, so that helped a little. It was also fun to text with mommy at bedtime, reading him the texts and texting what he told me to.

Of course, when you go camping, the only thing better than going to bed late is getting up early. Around 6:00 he decided it was time to get up. So we wrapped it up early. He finally got me up at about 7:15. We started the fire back up and had some muffins and juice boxes. After a few minutes he decided he was cold and started packing up.

The whole thing wrapped and we were home by 8:45. Camping with toddlers. Can you beat it?