Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The Car

I still have not dissected and digested the whole of my trip to Oregon yet, but I feel compelled to write about it. Instead of rushing head long into the middle of some unformed thoughts and opinions, I decided I would break the trip down into three parts (I have always liked the number three): The Car (it's new); The Drive (it's long); The Stay (it's special).

So today, blog fans, you get the first part, and, I might add, probably the most boring of the three.

About a month ago, we bought a new (to us) car. It's a 2003 Monte Carlo SS. Really, it is a sweet ride. Fully loaded, and ready to roadtrip. Some of the features, it turns out, came in handy, too.

The Good

Heated leather seats: Even though we were heading to a warm destination, it was still cold in the morning, and cold upon leaving. Nothing warms you up faster than heated leather. You don't have to wait for the damned heater to warm up, and blast enough heat throughout the ride to actually make it comfortable. And then you don't have to worry about cooling your car back down once the sun comes out. You just flip on the switch, and watch your ass get griddle hot. It's N I C E.

Sunroof: Maybe it's a moonroof, can anyone really tell me the difference? Anyway, it is just nice to have the sky poking through from above. It really is. Sort of makes the car feel bigger, you know? And, when you eat out for nine days straight, developing a case of swamp ass, the vent feature lets the gases escape before hitting the passenger. Carly was happy about that, I can assure you. Cruising with the thing open, too, means letting the car cool down without having the annoying wind making your eyes tear up behind cheap sunglasses (thanks, Ebay!).

Active Trac (traction control): I always thought this was a bit of a joke. It engages whenever you hit ice around here, which, around here, means all the damned time. And all it does is make the ABS go off (loudly), startle you, and then disengage. But I was wrong. It still sucks on ice, because it cannot make the coefficient of friction from the tires to ice any better, but it works wonders on switchbacks. We had to drive through two mountain ranges, twice, and would have probably driven off the edge without active trac. OK, I would have driven off the edge. Turns out I like to take turns at 80. Who knew?

Sirius Radio: Where would we have been without this? We drove through areas where "towns" were more than 100 miles apart, and those "towns" were just a collection of trailers gathered 'round a fire pit. I wish I was making that up. Anyway, I doubt there would have been much in the way of radio, and certainly nothing worth listening to. Sirius rescued us with The Coffee House, The Pulse, and, at the end, Laugh break and Raw Dog. We didn't have to fight over the radio, we both got to hear music we liked, and we were not constantly hitting the scan button, and settling on crap that was only half-bad.

The Bad

Two Doors: Yeah, just because you don't ride back there doesn't mean you don't have to get back there all the time. Two doors means having to crawl my 6 foot 190 frame into a space made for midgets just to get something out of the backseat. It means having to wrestle with the seatbelt to get to that space. It means having to try and figure out how I had my seat before moving it that was so comfortable, and how it could get so bad just by moving it a little bit.

The Paint: When the car is clean, it is a very nice burgundy (I am told). It looks classy, and sporty, all at once. When it is dirty, it is pink. It looks like a teenaged girls car. When it is covered in sea salt it is HOT pink. It looks like barbie's dream car. For most of the trip, it was hot pink.

The Horses: I am told we have 220 of them. I believe it, most of the time. When passing on the highway, that thing can really rumble. It is nice, and I feel powerful enough to forget I am driving around in a pink car. But on the hills, and later, the mountains, all those horses went away. Clearly, this thing is geared for speed, and not power. I had to kick it down into third sometimes to make the mountains at the speed I like (see above). It made me sad, and a little piece of me died. Do I really have to type out which piece that was?

The Verdict

Overall, this is still one sweet ride. The comfort, and drive, more than make up for the color and loss of power on inclines. It was smooth and responsive most of the time, and really saved our back and asses from a long drive. Also, for a car with so much power, it gets GREAT gas mileage. To the tune of 29.5 mpg over our trip, actually. I am glad we bought it, and glad we took it on our trip, instead of flying. We got to spend a lot of quality time with each other, and, were it not for the comfort of the car, we probably would not have got along so well.

Stay tuned for Part Two: The Drive.

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