35 mpg!

Well, not really, but last night on the way home to Brawley I had the cruise control enabled, a tail wind on my back, and the trip computer was showing a fuel consumption of 35.2 mpg and a range of 545 miles. Sadly, both the trip computer and the cruise control are somewhat mathematically challenged – even on an all freeway drive I have never gotten more than 350 miles out of a tank of gas and that worked out at about 31mpg. And the cruise control still wanders between +/- 5mph of what its set at, its definitely not set and forget like it is in every other car I’ve been in. But it does give me much better mileage than if I use my lead foot so I think for my twice weekly commute I shall use it more often.

Forget Vegas, Lets Go Fast!

So I’ve officially decided against going to Vegas. Instead, I plan to motor to Kingman, AZ, to finish up my Commercial pilot certificate at one of the two-day courses held by Sheble Aviation. Not sure when exactly I will go but I think it will be more fun, more friendly, and definitely more worthwhile (so long as I pass!)

Vegas or ?

Been thinking about whether to go to Vegas for this year’s MINI Vacation in Vegas after all. If the crowd is as clique-y as last year then pretty much the only attraction of the event is to be amongst all the MINIs and to motor to interesting places; unless you’re driving something other than stock, you’d better know people or you’ll be ignored. But the runs are the same ones I did last year and the fun of being amongst the MINIs is offset by the distance, cost etc. So I’m having a hard time convincing myself to go.

New MINI Watches

From the good folk at Motoringfile comes news of some new MINI watches. I haven’t been a huge fan of the MINI watches (and really the idea that a car needs its own fashion just makes me laugh) but I kinda like the new men’s watch:

New MINI Watch

The Thrill of Shifting

Driving into San Diego today I was struck at how much fun it is to drive a manual transmission, or stick-shift if you must. I’ve always known this but the whine of the super charger as you change gear and accelerate adds something extra, I think. I’m not sure I could ever drive an automatic as my daily driver though thats not to say I don’t appreciate the ease it brings when I drive my wife’s Accord.

Coming into San Diego this morning through La Mesa, I spotted an Arco advertising regular unleaded for $1.89!! Premium was $2.11 which isn’t much different to what I pay in Brawley but I thought 1.89 was pretty decent for the times.

Wipers on, Lights On in CA

One of the new laws that came into effect on Jan 1 was that drivers must now have their lights on anytime they have the wipers on continuously. On my drive over to San Diego yesterday I saw plenty of lawbreakers looking for citations. Regardless of the law, however, the combination of dark skies, heavy rain and lots of spray on the road made it near suicidal not to have your lights on if you wanted not to be hit.

Btw, one of the other Jan 1 changes: mandatory $1000 fine for speeding tickets over 100mph. MINI owners take note!

Car Washing and Flying

Whilst washing my MINI yesterday I was struck by the similarities between that and flying. In both cases it doesn’t matter much what a great job you do, the activity is defined by just one thing: in flying, its the landing; in washing its the windscreen. Fly like an ace but all anyone asks is “how was the landing”. Wax that MINI to a supershine but if there is a smear on the windscreen, you did a bad job.

And, of course, I washed the MINI yesterday because I knew I’d be driving through a monsoon this morning. The road into the base must have been half an inch of standing water for the last 1/2 mile. Its odd, but I don’t remember English motorways getting as waterlogged as the freeways in the US. Is it some difference in construction? Or am I just losing my mind?