Category Archives: Transportation

Riding the Bus Again

Riding the Bus to the Children's MuseumLast week we took a family trip to the Children’s Museum. Lexi had a blast and spent most of her nap telling her stuffed bear everything she did.

I think one of my highlights was riding the bus (it was also one of Lexi’s highlights). I used to ride the bus to work every day and loved it. I talk about this all the time, but I think public transportation is great. I like to drive, but it’s just as nice to sit back and let someone else do the driving. You get a chance to interact with people and see things you just can’t see when you’re concentrating on the road.

It sounds goofy, but I just feel more connected to humanity when I actually interact with them. Even if it’s just a quick nod and smile, it’s more than staring at someone’s bumper.

I think Lexi and I will be taking the bus more often.

Goodbye Geo

Goodbye GeoWe said goodbye to our 1992 Geo Metro yesterday. We sold it on Craigslist to a mechanic who seems to collect early 90s Geos and patch the working parts together into a kind of Frankenstein Geo. Or that was my understanding anyway.

We had the car for about a year and now we’re officially a one-car family again. I suppose if you’re going to have two cars for only a year, the year you move is a good year to do it.

It’s kind of sad to see the little car go. It was fun to drive (for me anyway) and was convenient to have. Plus it had a lot of shared history. But alas, it wasn’t worth sinking money into. As is, I think we ended up breaking even on the car, or possibly making some profit (which will be funneled into our adoption fund).

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The Geo Dies, Harry Potter Freaks

Well, apparently I spoke too soon yesterday when I introduced you to the Geo. Today the Geo died. Going down I-35E. Just sputtered and stalled and then I’m sitting on the side of the road.

Abby diagnosed it as a failed fuel pump. I diagnosed it as catastrophic failure. So $92+ later the Geo is sitting in front of my house, awaiting its fate to be donated somewhere (it’s been a week for stupid expenses–yesterday I spent $150 to find out my water heater won’t explode).

Then tonight we went to Barnes & Noble at Mall of America, T-minus four hours before the release of the final Harry Potter book. Bad move. I don’t quite get the concept of a midnight book release. Reading a book isn’t a group experience. And it’s not like many people are going to actually finish the book tonight. Seems so much easier (and less freakish) to wait for the UPS man to deliver it tomorrow. Oh well, to each their own.

It was just over the edge when the Hagrid look-alike showed up and everyone jostled to get a picture with him. But I couldn’t tell if he was a paid Hagrid or just a fan who really fit the bill. Bizarre.

Swimming with the Geo

I find it hard to believe, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about our second car on my blog, and that’s really quite a shame. Last year some friends of ours moved to the east coast and didn’t think their 1992 Geo Metro would make the trip. They wanted to get rid of it as easily as possible, so we traded them an air conditioner and $100 for the Geo.

The thing leaks oil, starts less than reliably, the wipers won’t shut off (until you pull the fuse, my usual remedy), you have to shut off the AC at a stoplight or it dies and the passenger door only opens some of the time (a fact I discovered when picking up a business colleague at the airport–he had to ride in the back seat when I couldn’t get the door open).

Anyway, that’s our second car. On to my story.

Yesterday I went to to the bank in the Geo and it started pouring rain. Pouring. It came so suddenly that the streets started flooding and before I knew it I was driving in six inches of water. Then I wasn’t driving anymore, I was coasting. Or maybe floating.

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Typical Three-Car Family in the Twin Cities

This morning the Star Tribune is reporting on a transportation bill passed by the legislature. What seems wrong with this description?

Minnesota legislators set the course Monday for a historic showdown with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, approving a transportation bill that features a gas-tax increase and other revenue hikes that would cost a typical three-car family in the Twin Cities between $250 and $500 a year.

“A typical three-car family”? Since when is a three-car family typical?

Apparently since at least 2005, according to this random data I found. The average number of vehicles per household in the Twin Cities was 2.6, compared to a national average of 2.0. Ouch. No wonder the average Twin Cities household spends more on transportation than housing.

2006 Mazda5

2006 Mazda5 Strato Blue SportWe bought a new car yesterday. It’s the 2006 Mazda5 I’ve been talking about for months, a six passenger mini-minivan of sorts. Last night we traded in our Jetta–even got to watch the dealer driving it away from us (sniff, sniff)–and came home with the 5. Of course it was dark out, so I couldn’t take any pictures. But that’s OK, because then I could justify a donut run this morning.

I’m sure I’ll be going on and on in later entries about how cool my new car is, so I’ll cut it short for now–except for this: Later today Abby and Lexi are going out with another friend and her young baby, and they’ll both be able to ride in one car. What a concept.

iPod Car Stereo Hook Ups?

OK, so I’ll be picking up a new car in less than two hours, one that does not have a cassette tape player (while I like that my 2002 Jetta still had a tape player, how 1984 is that?). Which means my cassette adapter is useless and I can’t play my iPod in the car without some new gadget.

So who has advice on the best way to do it? FM transmitters? Seems like they have questionable quality and are pricey for what you get. iPod car stereo adapters? Even pricier (I could buy a new iPod for that!?) and the installation could be a nightmare.

I’d love to hear how you do it. And no, my fancy new car doesn’t have a stereo input, as much as I wish it did. One of these days car manufacturers will learn (some already have), just not soon enough for me.

A Man Day

Today was about being a man. My wife called today a grown up day, but for me it was a man day. We started off by going out and buying a new car. Well, we didn’t actually sign the papers yet, but we probably will on Monday. So I bought a car.

Then I came home and took apart my clogged drain. Our drain has always been pretty temperamental and a few shots of Drano usually does the trick. But lately it’s been slower than normal and you’ll still find standing water in the sink half an hour after washing your hands. So I took out the drain trap and stopper thing and cleaned everything out. Nothing was completely clogged, but there was a lot of gunk in there. Now it’s free flowing. Yeah.

Both very manly things to do. I think tonight I might watch some movie about action and blowing stuff up. Yeah.

Like/Dislike About My 2002 VW Jetta

So I think we’re buying a car. We tend to make these big decisions pretty quickly, and I think we’re doing it again. Last night we finally came to the realization that as much as we like our Jetta, it doesn’t meet our needs anymore. And as much as it might make sense to have two cars now, we can’t afford it and we really like being a one car family. So we’re planning to trade in the Jetta and get a Mazda5. Hopefully.

Which has prompted me to reminisce about what I like and don’t like about the Jetta.

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