Print Story Put the Volvo in sport mode,
Motorbikes
By georgeha (Tue May 18, 2004 at 04:57:37 AM EST) (all tags)
we're mixing it up with Maryland traffic. Plus, why SUv's lead to congestion, the seven year old groundscores, brood X report, car CD/mp3 player review, metalworking to be done, what I read and more.

Poll: Favorite urban assault vehicle?



We're back, and I'm exhausted and out of shape. I used to be able to drive five hours without too much of a problem, but the 350 miles from Baltimore took a lot out of me. My shoulders are still sore today.

I've decided the Vasa is a decent urban assault vehicle (once I switched from economy to sport mode), far better than the lowly Stratus I rented, and even better than the Tracker. The perfect urban assault vehicle does not exist, compromises must be made, depending on your skill and fear level. In general, something big, fast and nimble is good, and a battered car body that shows you're not afraid to trade paint help. Plus, if drive a brand notorious for oblivious driving, such as a Volvo, you have that going for you.

So, the Stratus has poor visibility, was too low, and had a shitty turning circle. The Tracker has great visibility, but is a little too tipsy, as most SUV's are. The Subaru has the mismatched and dented body, but is a little too underpowered and unimposing to challenge a minivan in the Towson traffic circle. But the Volvo 960 wagon, yeah, biggish, fastish, and nimble enough to mix it up, plus it inspires terror in clos drivers, because it's a Volvo. The only thing that might do as well would be a big Dodge wagon.

The highlights of the trip were the Metro, the Aquarium, the paddle boat, the zoo, and my sister and sister-in-law, their cute rowhouse apartment, the cicadas and Yuengling. The lowlights were the heat and the traffic (including a 45 minute 98 degree jam that gave the seven year old heat rash), the lack of Starbucks, slow but friendly checkouts, and the wacky ass gas station near CUA that cheated me of 16 cents of gas.

One more gripe about SUVs and pickemup trucks is their poor cornering ability. As were were heading down 70 to 695, fresh Starbucks in our mugs, we noticed the ramp was slow, slow, slow. Looking up ahead, we saw a pickup going about 20. This was typical. SUV's and pickups just get too tipsy when you hit an entrance ramp at a decent speed, so you have to plod behind them.

Walking back to our car after the graduation, the seven year old groundscored an Office Space DVD that some dorm rat through out. Sure, it appeared scratched, but it played fine. The kid probably watched it once or twice, and figured out it was too unrealistic, heh.

The seven year old was also entranced by the cicadas, we saw quite a few. There must have been 20 casings and few lives ones on a 2 foot high plant at the zoo. The cicadas did not disapoint.

The car mp3 player worked fine, we only changed CDs a few times during the trip. It's much nicer to carry a few burned mp3 CDs than 30 CDs.

I picked up some goodies at the hardware store this morning. A flexible 2 x 2 rubber pipe coupler, to see if I can make it fit from my carb to my airbox (otherwise I have to buy 10 feet of PVC). A 3/4 by 1/8 piece of welding stock, which I hope to cut and bend and solder into a starter clutch holder so I can properly torque down my starter clutch. Then, back to riding up and down my street.

I just finished two WWII books, Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers, and Budiansky's Battle of Wits. Citizen Soldiers, being a book about the American GI in Europe from Normandy on, is controversial because it doesn't properly discuss the contributions of the English, French, Poles, ANZACs and Russians. Hmm, go figure. Battle of Wits is about code breaking in WWII, and it's one of Stephenson's sources, or they have common sources, as several of the anecdotes in Cryptonomicon also make their appearance in Battle of Wits, sans Shaftoe and Waterhouse. To wit, breaking into the captains safe of a sinking Uboat, sinking a milchcow in the Caribean, Macarthur being a prick in the Pacific, the 20th Division's code books, spotter planes in the Mediterraneum and more. Next up is Operation Blowback.

They're still not done with the roof, maybe Wednesday. I want our house back. I should have a faux-urquell report tomorrow, it's keg tapping time tonight.

< Channeling Rage | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Put the Volvo in sport mode, | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
SUV maneuverability by lb008d (6.00 / 1) #2 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:00:35 AM EST
That's one of the main reasons they are so dangerous - you can't avoid accidents as easily in one.

I drove my sister in laws Cherokee once by georgeha (6.00 / 1) #4 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:07:30 AM EST
boy did that thing sway when I tried to floor it onto the curved expressway ramp.


[ Parent ]
I voted microbus by ENOENT (5.00 / 1) #5 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:37:58 AM EST
But only if it is red, and loaded with shovels, rakes, and implements of destruction.


Life is just one damned thing after another.
Love is just two damned things after each other.


Australians in Europe post-1944 by cam (5.00 / 1) #6 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:45:21 AM EST
being a book about the American GI in Europe from Normandy on, is controversial because it doesn't properly discuss the contributions of the English, French, Poles, ANZACs and Russians.

There were no Australian ground forces in Europe that I know of at all. Plenty of Australian forces in the air and on the ocean, but none on the ground. After 1940, most Australian ground forces were in the Middle East, after Pearl Harbour/Malaya, most were in the South and Central Pacific.

There was also only a couple of ANZAC Forces after 1916. Once Australia sent enough troops to Europe in World War I, they quickly got their own Corps (the Australia Corps) like the Canadians. IIRC, there was an ANZAC Camel Corps though in Palestine that lasted until well into 1917, if not until the end of the war.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

Dodge Neon. by blixco (6.00 / 1) #7 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:46:22 AM EST
They cost about $11.95 per dozen, and have plenty of Ooomph....and not just the stupid SRT4 model.

The Neon I had in Massachusetts was the perfect vehicle for Boston traffic: small, nimble, dented up, Code Red paint, and a maniac at the wheel.  I could squirt into gaps in traffic that most people wouldn't dare, and if I got hit, so what?  I mean, sheesh, it's a fucking Neon.
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I get by on automatic
No surprise at all

I never drove a Neon by georgeha (6.00 / 1) #8 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:56:24 AM EST
but I imagine it drives like my 1988 Colt, quick and snappy, if not nearly as cute. It doesn't have the intimidation factor, though.


[ Parent ]
Shocking headroom. by wumpus (5.50 / 2) #20 Tue May 18, 2004 at 07:45:53 AM EST
The catch, is that until a few years ago, the automatic was a three speed.  Note to non-USian Hussies, you can't rent a standard transmission in the US.


Wumpus


[ Parent ]
Grrr grrr. by blixco (3.00 / 0) #29 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:38:24 PM EST
I hated that.  Three speed on a modern vehicle?  No excuse.

That and: every single Neon needs a new head gasket.  If they don't yet, they will soon.

Truthfully, I hated that fucking car when it started breaking.  But it was perfect in Boston.  The best possible combination of cheap and fast.
---------------------------------
I get by on automatic
No surprise at all

[ Parent ]
88 Vmax by wiredog (3.00 / 0) #9 Tue May 18, 2004 at 05:59:22 AM EST
IIRC, that was the one with the turbo. Tended to leave riders behind. Or maybe that was the 83? Definitely a Warp 9 Death Machine.

Got thousands, possibly millions, of cicadas around my house. Yesterday I could barely hear jets flying overhead. Today they're louder.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I picked a random year for the vmax by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #10 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:01:10 AM EST
I hate your traffic, too.


[ Parent ]
I'm in DC, not Bawlmer by wiredog (3.00 / 0) #12 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:12:29 AM EST
Well, NoVa, but inside the beltway. Everyone here hates the traffic. The Gummints (local and fed) are spending upwards of $10 billion to fix one bridge (the Wilson) and one interchange (Springfield). have to turn down jobs that are more that 15 miles away in some directions due to the traffic hassles to get there.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Extreme traffic measures are needed by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #17 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:22:21 AM EST
From Chinooks/Skycranes hovering over the Beltways to pick up and move accidents in minutes to more HOV lanes, staggered working shifts and working days, double decked highways, more congestion warning signs, and monorails. Yes, more monorails.


[ Parent ]
power cruisers by garlic (3.00 / 0) #26 Tue May 18, 2004 at 09:54:54 AM EST
I checked last year looking to trade up from my little shadow 600, and the top powered cruisers were

HD V-Rod -- porsche engine
Honda Valkerie -- 6 cylinder
Honda 1800 -- 1.8 liters! more than my car!
Yamaha VMax -- Until recently, the only power cruiser.
Honda Magna -- at .750 liter, the power to weight ratio is what pushed this up I think.


[ Parent ]
Ikea and Trader Joes by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #11 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:07:43 AM EST
I must mention them next diary.


The Yuppie Furniture and Food Stores. by wiredog (3.00 / 0) #13 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:16:09 AM EST


Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I will rant later by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #15 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:18:50 AM EST
about how getting one more box from Ikea takes 20 minutes, how you can't get spaghettios at Trader Joes.


[ Parent ]
Write-in: by MohammedNiyalSayeed (6.00 / 1) #14 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:17:02 AM EST

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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
How many gees will that pull on the skidpad? by georgeha (6.00 / 1) #16 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:19:30 AM EST
and what's the 0-60 time?


[ Parent ]
2, and not so great, respectively by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #18 Tue May 18, 2004 at 06:39:16 AM EST

But what you lose in take-off time, you more than make up in ability to drive over stopped vehicles in traffic jams, enabling a nice constant 45 mph speed throughout any given urban environment.


-
You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
The downside by eann (6.00 / 1) #19 Tue May 18, 2004 at 07:30:14 AM EST

Is that it looks like it gets about 15 gallons per mile. So using it for regular commuting can run as much as keeping an apartment closer to work.


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I'm not trolling here...just trying to earn my badge in the PC Police Force. —tps12
$email =~ s/0/o/;


[ Parent ]
Hey! by ad hoc (6.00 / 1) #28 Tue May 18, 2004 at 11:37:25 AM EST
Is that the thing from Lost in Space?
--
Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick two. -- Keith Bontrager
[ Parent ]
stratus by LilFlightTest (3.00 / 0) #21 Tue May 18, 2004 at 08:15:40 AM EST
they do have a crummy turning radius, and shit for headlights. however, theyre pretty comfy to drive, and with a couple modifications, you can haul some serious ass in them. in under a year, i will be co-driver of a 1997/99 turbocharged 5-speed 2.4L stratus sedan. why do all that to a stratus, you ask? because we can. the body, however, will be stock. no ricey wings or body kits.
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Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?
I hated the vision in mine by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #22 Tue May 18, 2004 at 08:19:06 AM EST
I could barely see out the back, since the back of the body swooped up.


[ Parent ]
ohhhh by LilFlightTest (3.00 / 0) #23 Tue May 18, 2004 at 08:24:01 AM EST
were you driving a new one? those i can see how the view might suck, but i never had a problem in the 1G.
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Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?
[ Parent ]
Probably the 2002/2003 two door by georgeha (3.00 / 0) #24 Tue May 18, 2004 at 08:25:32 AM EST
nice car for racing, or the track, but not so nice for heavy rush hour traffic.


[ Parent ]
actually by LilFlightTest (3.00 / 0) #25 Tue May 18, 2004 at 08:29:47 AM EST
theyre not all that fast, stock. only run low 17s. ive seen guys get em down to 14s or 13s, but thats with a supercharger and nitrous.
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Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?
[ Parent ]
driving in a straight line is not racing. by garlic (3.00 / 0) #27 Tue May 18, 2004 at 09:57:32 AM EST


[ Parent ]
true enough. by LilFlightTest (3.00 / 0) #31 Wed May 19, 2004 at 02:37:33 AM EST
but with the guys ive seen driving strati, i dont think we want anything other than that. death and mutilations would occur.
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Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?
[ Parent ]
Sort of a write in vote by MacBrave (3.00 / 0) #30 Tue May 18, 2004 at 11:55:48 PM EST
I voted for the Willys because it's the closest to my current urban assault vehicle, a 1995 Jeep Wrangler.  I love that jeep. I'm hoping to keep it in good enough shape that I can give it to my oldest son in about 4 years when he starts driving.

Put the Volvo in sport mode, | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback