Good Idea?

“You want to ride the trail tonight?” my friend Tina says on Monday morning.

“I suppose we could,” I respond slowly, desperately searching my brain for any possible excuse. Unable to present a valid excuse we make tentative plans for meeting up on the bike trail later.

When I tell my husband of the plans, he is delighted. He rides regularly. Me, not so much. In fact I haven’t ridden for about two years (really, it’s been that long?)

As I am preparing our dinner, he is out in the garage attaching the bike carrier to the car, airing up tires, and gathering helmets and such. My back tire won’t air up. It appears that the valve stem is bent. We can’t locate the spare tubes, so I will have to ride his road bike (he has two bikes). Not a big deal (I think) because his bike is similar to mine. That is not the case I later realize.

Finally, we are off and ready to meet up with Tina. Some adjustments must be made to the seat height before setting off. My husband’s bike has cages on the pedals, I do not like them. They are difficult for me to get my feet into them. His seat is not comfortable. This does not bode well for a fun time for me. I am a little wobbly at first, but I push and pull on the gear levers trying to find a good gear. My husband and Tina ride ahead of me as I try to get comfortable with the bike.

Pedal, pedal, pedal. Sweat begins to drip down my face as the temperature rises. The trail is stifling hot. My butt hurts and I want this misery to end. Pedal, pedal, pedal. We continue on and on. Finally, we stop for a moment.

“How much farther to the end? I ask.

“Probably about another mile,” is the response. My heart drops. I can’t go another mile. Tina and I turn around to begin the journey back. My husband will ride on and catch up with us.

Pedal, pedal, pedal, ring! Tina’s phone rings, “Where are you?” her husband, Matt asks. “Are you getting wet? It’s pouring here.”

Uh-oh! This is not the news I want to hear, because the top of the convertible is down! There were no clouds in the sky or prediction of rain when we left an hour before.

We are not getting rained on at this moment. Five minutes later, there are a few sprinkles hitting us. They feel good on my sizzling hot skin. Ring! It’s Matt again, he’s coming to pick us up. Yes, this is great news to me! My husband has caught up with us and when we told him of the rain he shot off like a rocket.

Matt is my savior! He appears not on a white horse, but in a white truck to pick us up. We head to Tina’s house to collect towels to dry out the car. My husband has made it to the car by the time we arrive with the towels. Fortunately, there wasn’t  anything in the car to get wet (other than the seats and floor mats. We wipe down the insides of the car with the towels.

1/4 inch of water in my door handle

Once we are home, the top of the car is suspended in air to allow not only the top to dry, but also the insides. The next day the car sits in the sun to dry out the interior.

So, was this a good idea? I’ll let you be the judge.

The sky on our return to home. Can you see the isolated rain?

PS: We rode again on Friday evening and Sunday morning. I have my bike back and that makes all the difference in the world! Slowly I am beginning the journey of biking again. I know there will be biking stories in the future.

We Thought We Were Getting a Lexus, But . . .

Did you know my husband is a car freak? He LOVES cars! He reads about cars nonstop. We subscribe to many car magazines. He reads blog after blog after blog about cars. He is the go-to guy if you are considering buying a car. He will tell you all the pros and cons of any make or model of car. He spends Sundays visiting car lots looking at cars, reading the window stickers to see what features are included. He can only prowl around car lots on Sunday because in our state, dealers are closed and he doesn’t have to talk to salesmen. He can browse to his heart’s content. If it’s a lucky day, the dealer forgot to lock the car so he can look inside too. This is bliss, to him, not me. He loves to visit Kansas City or St. Louis because they have dealers that we don’t have. Yes, I said he’s a car freak.

So he was reading his car blogs and they said that there is a factory in Germany that had a fire. This is very interesting because this is the only factory in the world (according to the blogs) that produces a part for all car manufacturers. It will take about a year to rebuild this factory. Once the current supply of this part is used up the manufacturers of cars will have a dilemma, and it will impact the number of cars that can be produced. This may occur in three to six months. Hmmm . . . so if I were thinking about getting a new car in a few months (at the end of the summer) I may not have a lot of choices. Maybe we should check around and see what’s out there that we might like. Before starting out there are a few features that we would like to have on the car:

  1.  keyless entry
  2.  leather with heated seats
  3. a backup camera (I don’t always do well backing)

Zoom–my husband was out the door with a smile on his face. About an hour later he brings home the little Lexus. A few weeks earlier, I had mentioned I thought it was kind of cute. It was very nice, cozy inside, definitely a possibility. Next he brings home a Scion tC. It’s okay, but seems to feel cheap inside. It is crossed off the list. The tC goes back to the car lot. The Prius is tested, but it did not meet the needs. A variety of Camrys are tested, only one makes it to the house for my consideration. I like it, it is nice, I could be happy with this. Decision time is looming. My husband wants me to go back to the car lot and compare the Camry and the Lexus side by side. Reluctantly I put on my shoes and get a jacket. (I hate car shopping!)

The two cars sit back to back. We walk to one, it has nice space in the trunk. We walk to the other, it has more back seat room. Back and forth we go, this is good here, this is good there. Which one do we want? No decision can be made yet, but we have to walk inside to shake hands with the manager or our salesman will get in trouble. Good, I think, because I want to see the little Scion car up close. I saw one at Kohl’s a few days ago and thought it was cute.

I sat down inside it. Surprisingly it felt roomy. “I like this. This is cute and I think its fun!” I announced. Shock registered on my husband’s face.

“You do? You would consider this?” he asks me with an incredulous tone.

“Can we drive one?” is my reply.

Sure enough, there is one outside we can drive. The three of us get into the car and off we go! I drive home so I can get dinner started. It has a lot of  spunk for a teeny car. My husband is calculating, we could buy this, get tires for your car, and still be money ahead. It’s something to think about. (I get to change back to my car. :-])

As far as I am concerned, the matter is settled. We will get it.  However, my husband spends the evening reading and rereading reviews of this car. In the morning he sounds like he’s talked himself out of the car. We talk pros and cons. This is not a car for distance traveling. We have a car for that. This is a fun car to run around town. It will save adding mileage to our other cars. I can keep my convertible. It only takes up half a space in the garage. Case closed. We are getting it.

Remember the list from above? This car does not have one single item from the list. Sometimes fun takes precedence over practical creature comforts. We laugh when we see people’s expressions as we drive by. What would you do if this pulled in next to you at the store?

This is a Scion IQ. Friends are questioning our IQ for getting it

Changing Cars

“You need new tires,” my husband announced. “So we need to decide are we keeping your car, or are we getting something else? I don’t want to spend the money for the tires if we are trading it in.”

This was a question I knew was coming my way, but trying to avoid making a decision. I like my car. It has been with me for about five years (the longest amount of time I’ve ever been able to hang on to a car). I hate, hate shopping for cars. My husband loves cars. He is perpetually mentally shopping for a car to meet all needs. I don’t even want to think about it.

“If we are keeping it, I don’t want you to drive it when you go out of town. It’s getting too many miles and the tires are not safe,” he continued as I sat there thinking and weighing my options. “You can take the other car, but you can drive the convertible when you are home.”

I finally respond, “The thing is, I can’t do this, drive one car for trips/work and another for leisure when I am home. I like my “stuff” in my car. I need my “stuff” whether I am home or on the road. I can drive the other car if you want me too, but I need my stuff.”

He understood and spent the afternoon  transferring  my “stuff” to the other car.  I drove the other car, now my car. I must get used to it. I miss certain features of my previous car. I could see the range of miles and the temperature with a glance. The net in the trunk is in just the right location and size. I will miss the whole aspect of the convertible.

There are a few things that are perks on the new car. It is a keyless entry and start. I don’t have to dig around in my purse for the key. The seat has more ways to adjust the bottom and back, so I can get it in the just right position. Plus it has a memory feature so if someone else drives it and moves it out of my position, I can get it back with the touch of a button. It has a backup camera that shows in the rear view mirror. I need that! I can see out the back window (convertible windows just don’t give a wide view).

There are a few things I still have to figure out. But I suppose I will adjust. It’s just not my car, yet.

What Was That?

Thursday afternoon found me tooling along the highway headed for home. I settled in for the four hour drive.  I had to be extra alert during the first forty-five minutes due to the rain. It would be light and misty requiring the intermittent wipers to a downpour then back to misting. Of course there was traffic causing all kinds of wet spraying every part of the car. Ahead I could see a break in the clouds. Was that blue sky peeking out from puffy white balls of floating cotton? Yes! I drove out of the rain and all the bugs from my windshield were magically wiped away.

Traffic has lightened up considerably. There are a few cars in my rear view mirror and a big truck hauling something ahead of me. I begin to relax and take note of the landscape around me. Three days ago the trees were bare, today there is a greenish haze beginning to form. The redbud trees’ fuchsia blossoms stand out against the browns of the trees surrounding it. The fields have turned emerald . . . pow! thunk! crack! An explosion of sound interrupts my thoughts. What was that? Then I see it. Something has hit my windshield and oh my! This is not a little chip. I know a new windshield is in my future.

This is the view of the damage from inside the car. Fortunately it was not in my line of vision all the way home.

I look around (as well as you can at 68 mph) to see where, what happened. My eyes rest on the truck ahead of me. Did he throw a rock up with his tires? Did something come loose from the big metal box-like thing he was carrying? What should I do? Who’s going to pay for a new windshield? All of these questions race through my mind as I keep this truck in view.

I called my husband to report the news. “Should I get this truck’s license?” I ask.

“If you can I suppose that would be good. But how would we ever prove that he did it?” he replies. “I will call insurance and see what we need to do.” He hangs up.

Cautiously, I get closer to the truck. I cannot see a license anywhere. This truck is speeding up, soon he is going way faster than I want to to. So I watch, as  he drives away, leaving my damaged car behind. I am grateful that it didn’t hit my roof and tear it (it’s a convertible). I reach out to touch the inside of the windshield. I expect to feel a fracture, but it is smooth as can be.

Soon I am back into rain. This is hard pelting rain. I worry as I turn on the wipers. Will the glass begin to crumble? Fortunately it doesn’t. I make it home. My husband cannot get over the size of the damage. He is sure it was not caused by a rock. We have an appointment to have the windshield replaced at eight Friday morning. (Shucks, no sleeping in for me.) The windshield guy says it was probably some kind of metal piece that came off the truck. I wonder about that, will his wheel fall off someday and he wonders “How did that happen?”

Just in case you were wondering,  the fields had turned emerald green. I think they were not yet finished celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Here you get an outside view and something to compare it to in size.

Singing Along

Here I am, in my car, traffic is heavy, so few cars get through on the signal. Slowly we are inching our way up to the freedom beyond the stoplight. I am bobbing my head along with the music on the radio. It’s Adele, Set Fire to the Rain. So with my head a-bobbing, my eyes begin to wander and take in the other cars, since we are just sitting and waiting. I glance to the left and notice the girl’s lips are moving. She is not talking on her cell phone, she is singing along with the radio. She is listening to the same station. That’s a strange sensation to be listening to the radio and watching someone sing along. She never feels my eyes watching her. She never looks my way. If she had she would not have seen me mouthing the words. She would have seen me nodding my head along with the beat. Wonder if she would have figured out we were listening to the same station?

Blogging on the Road

Christmas was spent with family in California. It was a wonderful week being a part of my son’s and his family’s busy life. But once again reality creeps back into life and we must head for home where life isn’t quite so enchanting. Work and chores await us and they can’t be ignored.

Once again, we rise long before the sun to get a jump on the many miles that face us. But before leaving, I quickly posted my slice of life, after all it is Tuesday. Last year I described this time of day (you can refresh your memory here). Today we sailed through the multitude of stoplights, not a red light to be seen. That was a first!

I settled back into my seat, with comforter over me and seat warmer on high to try to doze through this urban drive. I guess I succeeded, because I was surprised to learn that we were already in Barstow. With gas in the tank and coffee in hand, we were back on the road ready to head across the desert. The miles stretching endlessly before me, what to do? A quick check of email on my phone reveals a comment from my slice. Yeah!

Can I actually read SOL and comment as we drive? I have never tried this from my phone, but it should work and I have nothing but time. So I begin the process of accessing TWT, clicking on comments, reading slices, and commenting. I won’t say it was quick. I won’t say there weren’t frustrating moments (especially when trying to put in the odd word for the spam detector). But I will say, I was in awe of the technology that allowed me to do this. How amazing is it to be driving across the country and be able to read blogs posted from as far away as Estonia and other points of the world?

So here’s how my fourteen hours in the car were spent. I would read blogs and comment for a while. Then I would read a professional book. Check email looking for comments. Read a few more blogs, adding comments. Play solitaire,  Word Warp, or Angry Birds on the iPad. Read The Secret Garden on the iPad. Back to the phone for SOL, plus throw in a little texting. I don’t think I ever used my phone to actually talk to someone all day long. I did have to drive for several hours while my husband napped. But as soon as he was back in the driver’s seat, I continued to entertain myself with reading books, phone, or iPad. What a change in the world! The days of looking out the window for endless hours are gone. I don’t know if that makes me happy or just a little bit sad. Hmmmm . . .

Crunch

It was raining. My hood was up on my coat as I dashed to the car dodging the chilly raindrops. As quickly as possible I got into the car. Tools for my work today, clipboard and book, tossed into the passenger seat. Grab the phone, hit the button to call my husband. Bluetooth is dialing as I settled into my seat putting on my seat belt. He answered ready to chat with me as I drive to the school I am working in today. This is the morning routine we have followed when I work out of town for the past four years.

However, the routine changed as I am backing out of the parking place. CRUNCH! My heart stopped as I looked through the rear window. Red tail lights met my eyes. Oh, what has happened? I gasped, my husband said, “What’s the matter?”

“I’ll call you back, I think I backed into a truck.” I grabbed an umbrella and jumped out of the car. Oh no, my bumper is dented and a little bit on the trunk lid. The truck had no sign of my attack on it. The driver got out and said, “I saw you backing and hoped you saw me.”

“No, I didn’t see you.  I am so sorry.” (He was not in a parking place. He was perpendicular to parked cars.) He shrugged and said it’s okay. Then he got back into his truck and drove away. With a sick stomach I had to call my husband to tell him what has happened. I am so mad at myself, 110,000 miles with no incidents, now this. 😦

A moment can change the course of a day, or even a life. No one was hurt and the damage was not catastrophic, but it does make me look a bit more carefully every time I start to back up.