The Emperor got to come out from under his cover on Saturday for the first time in 10 days as the MMC met for breakfast at a Steak & Shake in Augusta. On the drive over to breakfast it was misty or sprinkling or just road spray the whole way. Our 1990 Miata didn’t have intermittent wipers, just off — low — high, but the 1995 and this one, additionally have a one speed intermittent setting. For most of the trip to Augusta the wipers were set on intermittent.
The Purple Whale has an intermittent setting with about 8 variations of intermittentness. Invariably when driving the Sonata in the same conditions as Saturday’s trip in the Miata I will find myself playing with the settings, trying to get just the right amount of wipage per windshield wetness, yet in the Miata I was perfectly happy with the one speed intermittent setting. Another example of more choices not necessarily being a good thing I suppose.
While I was standing around waiting to talk to someone before being allowed to drive BMWs and its competitors, I got into a little conversation with a gentleman who was standing there. He was casually well dressed and I assumed a salesman just standing around waiting for the low hanging fruit of customers falling out of the new 3 Series after the drive.
We chatted a bit about cars with their rapidly expanding use of technology, especially BMWs. We then traded push button start/proximity key fob stories. Mine was about getting out of the car and “locking” it by pushing the button on the door handle, being greeted by a long loud chime and not being bothered by it. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I learned that the sound was indicating that the car was *not* locked. Turns out that you can not lock the car with a fob inside the vehicle. Mine was in my pocket, but Donna’s was in her purse which we were trying to lock in the trunk.
His story involved a friend who showed him how easy it was to start his new car, just get in and push the button. His friend then let him get in the car and push the button. Of course it wouldn’t start, his friend was standing outside a few feet from the car. Ha, ha.
After driving all the cars I had to fill out a little survey. I thought it was going to be about which car I preferred and why, but it was mostly about my satisfaction on how the event was run. Every question got high marks except the last, it asked did I enjoy meeting the Olympic athlete? I had to respond that he wasn’t there when we were there. So I asked the girl giving me the survey who was our athlete, she said, “Larry Myricks, former Olympic long jumper.” I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no clue who that was.
This morning while reading a the paper I noticed a small photo and article about the BMW event. There in the photo was the guy I was chatting with and, you guessed it, he was identified as one Larry Myricks.
Knowing what I know now, I kind of wish I could get another chance at that conversation…
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1138
Our 2011 Sonata is EPA rated at 22MPG City, 35MPG Highway and 26MPG combined. For the first nine months I haven’t really paid too close attention if it was meeting those expectations.
The Sonata has this little button on the dash that says ECO. When we first got it I kept in ECO Mode because I figured it would increase the gas mileage of the car. Then I ran a couple of totally unscientific tests by emptying a tank full of gas with the button on and then a tank with it off, it really didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
My non-calibrated butt-dyno did seem to feel that the shift points were changed while in ECO to keep it in a lower gear longer. With ECO off the shifting felt a bit sportier. When the Purple Whale had his 7500 mile check up, there was some sort of bulletin about the transmission and they reflashed the ECU. It totally changed the feeling in the ECO mode to something such that I can no longer tell the difference between the shifting characteristics of the two modes.
Neither of these two issues aren’t the real reason I have abandoned using the ECO mode entirely though. My biggest issue was that when the ECO mode was on, it displayed 1/8″ high letters reading ECO in bright green in between the speedo and tach. And if that wasn’t annoying enough the button on the dash to the lower left of the steering wheel had a super bright blue LED that glowed steady, it was noticeably in the day, but at night it was almost searing.
Anyway, where am I going with all this? Well, I keep track of the top transitions for the Miata, so I thought I’d keep track of something for the Sonata, its gas mileage. I signed up for an account on fuelly.com that would take care of all that higher math stuff for me. They have a couple of badges for web sites or internet forums and I’ll probably add the little one over on the right somewhere.
Started down, went went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1112
We have driven the Miata to work the last couple of days and it is all because of the weather. No, it has not been warm enough to ride with the top down, just the opposite, it has been in the 20’s for morning lows. We took the Emperor because he spent the night in the heated garage so it was nice and warm inside to start the drive, unlike the Purple Popsicle would have been.
Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1097
In today’s mail:
- a check for $18.04 from the Foreign Currency Fee Litigation Settlement Fund. My first thought was that it was a scam, but an internet search led me to the BBB and to Reuters’ saying otherwise.
- a mailer from Kroger chock full of coupons.
- a statement from Hyundai Finance reminding me of my next Purple Whale payment, including a handy payment coupon even though they know I have it set up as an automatic payment from my bank.
- and a couple of Christmas cards. One of which included a bunch of old photos of Donna’s family.
The above photo, circa mid 80’s*, was taken in New Orleans. I immediately recognized Donna, but it took me a while to figure out who she was holding on to. Yikes, it’s me! Donna looks just about like she does now, but that person she is standing next to looks nothing like the old guy I see in the mirror every morning.
Try as I might, I couldn’t conclusively make out what is embroidered on the shirt, best guess is Louisiana State University.
*Photo dating clues were Donna’s big glasses, my positive amount of hair, the bicycle helmet I am holding onto and the shortness of my shorts.
Relax, nothing happened to the Purple Whale.
We went to an Augusta Greenjackets game last night. The draw was twofold, fireworks after the game and admission plus a hot dog/hamburger buffet for $20.
As is normal at minor league ballparks there are a rash of promotional stunts between innings and one of them at Lake Olmstead Stadium is called Hit the Hyundai. A fans name is drawn at random and he is brought out to the field just on the outfield grass beyond first base. He is given a bat and has three chances to knock a baseball off a plastic tee and hit the Hyundai Sonata as it drives slowly along the warning track from right center field to the foul line.
The first ball last night’s contestant hit lands about half way to the warning track and about fifty feet ahead of the car. His second hit travels the same distance towards the car, but more online with it. He really connects with ball number three and for a second it looks like it has a chance, but it lands smack in the center of the warning track about 2 feet behind the car. The PA announcer says, “Wow! That is the closest we’ve had all year!”* Had he hit the Sonata he would not have won the car (dent and all), but merely $50.
*He probably says that at every game.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1063
We ran a couple errands after work today, the last of which was to pick up our evening meal, a buy one get one free spaghetti dinner. Trouble came when we left the restaurant parking lot, home was to the left and making a left on this road at this time of day is nearly impossible, so I made a right. Then I hung a quick left on a road I have passed by a zillion times, but had never driven. When I got to the next stop sign I realized where I was. Back to the right was a road I had already traveled on the way to the restaurant and away from home. To the left and towards home was a dead end with a little dirt spur that dumped out behind Walmart.
I went left. The little dirt spur was in a lot worse shape than I remembered. The pot holes were separated by not much of level and because of the recent afternoon thunderstorms, filled with dirty brown water. Slow and careful driving allowed me to keep most of the wheels out of the divots. Then to top it off, the final obstacle was a curb to drive down off of to get back to pavement. Thank goodness we weren’t in the Miata.
The Purple Whale got a deserved bath after the spaghetti dinner.