worth noting

on the road today…

* we saw the truck that belongs to the company where i work. there’s only one (as far as I know). it must have been on the way to set up at a conference.

* we saw a TROSA moving truck! in Tennessee!

* spacepod turned over 180,000 miles.

* we parted ways with phoebe and her occupants at west memphis; she passed directly over us as she left I-40. whee!

Energy tax credits for diesel vehicles!

I was visiting “fueleconomy.gov”:http://fueleconomy.gov/ to check the fuel mileage rating of the vehicles the heads of the “big three” auto makers drove (or mainly were driven in) to Washington this week, and spotted this…

“Energy tax credits for diesel vehicles”:http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxLeanBurn.shtml

Wow! I have to admit to being somewhat resentful of the tax credits given to hybrids when diesel passenger cars have been getting great mileage for years. I realize that emissions are part of the issue and I wonder if the cleaner diesel fuel now available has something to do with this. Anyway, the credits are only for 2008 and later vehicles and they aren’t much, but the recognition pleases me.

more champagne. less caffiene. taking the poo out of spacepoo.

i’m in Va this weekend. for as long as we’ve been together, J and i have kept lists of restaurants we want to visit together, one in his area and one in mine.

this weekend J decided we should try what is perhaps the fanciest of all the places on the list (or maybe both lists): The Inn at Colonial Williamsburg. they have brunch there, one of our favorite meals.

oh my. here’s how it worked: it was a fixed price menu. you select an entree, and then help yourself to the extensive tasting table which included an omelette station (of no interest to me, but of great interest to J). the tasting table had many hors d’oeuvres, salad, and small desserts. they brought a basket of little bread things to your table (strudel, coffee cake, muffins, and of course real southern biscuits) and– surprise– all the champagne you can drink. a man who i assume was the sommelier (from the possessive way he spoke of the wine cellar) just kept stopping by and topping off our champagne flutes.

for me it was more like dinner than breakfast or lunch, because i didn’t want an egg-based entree. for J it was like breakfast with a side of lunch, i think.

-:|:-

and in our continuing wide world of food, we had breakfast at CW yesterday too– at The Lodge, which is, as the woman at the pancake station said, the “red-headed stepchild” to The Inn. i told her that no place that offered large piles of bacon and sausage next to a large pile of hash browns could really be considered in such a way. they had a quite good buffet, and we only wished we’d gotten there earlier.

we also tried a chain restaurant for dinner last night. i think i had never been to one, and J had not been to one in many years. i hesitate give them free advertising, but the initials are R.T. discerning the name can be an exercise for the reader. i was quite pleasantly surprised. they seem to have re-made themselves from being a burger joint to being something a little nicer. i had strawberry lemonade made from fresh strawberries and lemons that they mix at the bar. very tasty. the food was good, but the strawberry lemonade was the highlight.

-:|:-

a week ago i eliminated caffeine from my diet. the result has been surprising. as i hoped, i am more relaxed, less stressed and have been sleeping quite well. i am surprised to find myself less hungry and far, far less prone to having blood sugar crashes. in general i just feel much better. i did finally have some coffee today after brunch because the champagne gave me a splitting headache, but i plan to continue to lay off the caffeine for a while to come as it seems to suit me.

-:|:-

i have to hand it to the folks at the carolina auto spa in cary. i gave the spacepod over to them to try and get rid of the rotten leaf and mildew smell that has permeated his interior since fall of ’06. they impregnated the porous surfaces with hospital disinfectant, shampooed and extracted, ran an ozone machine in the car for an hour with the engine on and the a/c on full blast, then overnight with the engine and a/c off. finally, they put down another layer of chemicals on the seats and carpets and detailed the interior.

the odor, as far as i can tell, is gone. there’s just no trace of it. i am not fond of the disinfectant smell but J says he likes it. i have been letting the car air all weekend, though.

they said that if it creeps back they can re-treat it for up to 30 days for no extra charge. i can also get free car washes during that time.

it cost more than our brunch this morning (even including tip), but after living with the stank for a year and a half, i think it’s worth it.

smells like spacepoo

spacepod is finally out of mothballs after an hour long transfusion of SHEER RAW POWER from the blue bug, and a jump start.

i took him out to the auto spa today and they removed the crust of pollen and tree goop that had accumulated.

a lot of people have told me how pretty they think the blue color of the blue bug is, but to me, spacepod is the most gorgeous car i’ve ever seen. after he was all clean i had to admire him in the parking lot.

he’s still pretty stinky on the inside, although the vacuuming seemed to help that a lot. i’m planning to take him back to the auto spa some time soon to have the interior shampooed, which might help knock the smell back a little more.

and in other news…

the roswell2k car show has been canceled – presumably for all time. didn’t quite make it to the 10th anniversary show– but i kind of expected that. that’s one of the reasons i went last year.

there’s already chatter on the list about going out there next year on the 10th anniversary and just hanging out. i’m all for it– the car show itself wasn’t that exciting anymore, and i mainly want to see my bug pals again.

Far be it from Ford to be innovative

“Ford Plans to Introduce More Fuel-Efficient Engine in 2009 “:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aKwlFGBIrLNk&refer=home

I was intrigued; new engine technology that improves fuel economy is always of interest to me.

this was the money quote, for me:

bq. “Turbocharging isn’t a new technology. Some types of race cars have used turbochargers because they increase power by forcing more air through the engine. Ford, in its statement, said EcoBoost also will have what the company calls “direct injection,” where small, precise amounts of fuel are injected into each cylinder.”

Also, some types of non-race cars use turbocharging and direct injection. Let me spell this out for you:

Turbo Direct Injection = TDI.

Sound familiar? Yes, I’ve been driving a VW TDI since 1999, and VW has been selling TDI vehicles in the U.S. for a lot longer than that. Because my TDI is also a diesel, I can get fuel mileage into the 50’s under good conditions, and typically get around 45mpg in normal conditions.

I’m glad market pressures are finally forcing Ford to put out something more efficient, but it makes me crazy when companies act like they’re doing something really new and great when they aren’t.

If the Ford TDI vehicles (oh, excuse me, “EcoBoost” vehicles) are gas-powered, not diesel, I have my doubts as to how much of a “boost” they’ll get. The convertible was a gas-powered turbo, and it was quick but the fuel economy was kind of sucktastic, with 30mpg being the best it was capable of. That’s in a small car; now picture that scenario in a heavy Ford truck or SUV. Yeah.

She’s gone.

The convertible drove away with her new momma just a few minutes ago. A little sad to see her go, but the woman who bought her was so happy and excited that that made it better.

Plus, now I can kiss my credit card debt goodbye! Whee!

And in other pending departures… Gran is not doing so well and mom doesn’t think she’ll make it out of the hospital. Her blood thinners were causing some issues so they’ve taken her off of them, which will probably result in a second stroke. Her independent living apartment has already been cleaned out; if she does leave the hospital, it’ll be to go to the full care facility.

And “Thirteen”:http://www.ovenall.com/diary/2008/01/not-a-good-day/ is not doing so great today, either. Very sad.