Tag Archive for 'dodge caliber'

Car Aches

Today I drove the whole distance between Ithaca and my parents’ place in NC by myself and made it in one piece. This essentially means that I left Ithaca before the sun was completely up and it was well dark by the time I got to my parents’. There was a bit of car trouble–flashing lights, buzzers, and a loss of throttle control–but restarting the car seems to have fixed that, at least enough that I was able to make it the last fifty miles or so without incident. But I will definitely be taking the car in to a dealer before I drive the 630 miles back.

I think a large factor in my ability to have driven so far and so long in one go was listening to Neil Gaiman reading Fragile Things the whole way. The audiobook claims to be 10.5 hours, and, though I’m near the end, I’m not quite finished, which seems to indicate that I did actually drive less than 10.5 hours, which surprises me because I’d been pegging the drive between here and there as 11 hours or so. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. The audiobook definitely helped, though, because I didn’t find myself growing sleepy and easily distracted like I normally do after, say, six straight hours behind the wheel. And, being Neil Gaiman, it was all brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him do all the different accents and voices–so much so that I think I may listen to the whole thing again on the way back instead of listening to music like I typically do. If that’s not a shining recommendation, I don’t know what is.

Haven’t had a chance to see my parents really because they were on the way out the door to a Christmas party when I arrived. I did see enough of them to be extremely disturbed by the sight of my father with a full beard. (With few exceptions, my father has had either a mustache or a goatee my entire life.) I think the only thing more distressing than my father with the full beard is him with no facial hair. Ah well. I suppose if he doesn’t get the right to complain when I cut my hair, I don’t get the right to complain about his facial hair. Which, mind you, does not mean that I won’t give him a hard time about it. 😛

Plans to drive to Arkansas for Christmas have been scrapped, and, I must admit a certain relief. After today, I really don’t need another 14 hours of driving. I’ll be sorry to miss seeing my extended family–I so wanted to hear my uncles’ remarks on my Cornell “Actually, I am a rocket scientist” t-shirt–but life goes on. And on. And on.

I think I’m ready for a nice, relaxing holiday now. I doubt I’ll get it, but it’s nice to delude oneself every once in awhile.

Insert Beach Boys Reference Here

I am, in fact, alive and well, if lacking in new and interesting news. The last week has involved a lot of shopping and driving and general preparations for the big cruise. This year my parents are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary by taking the honeymoon they never had, and they’re kind enough to take my sister and I along. We’ll be taking a Carnival lines cruise in the Caribbean with stops including San Juan, St. Thomas, Aruba, Dominica, and Barbados. Our plane leaves Sunday and we’ll be back on the Fourth.

I expect to have grand adventures to report–snorkeling! rum! rainforests! coconuts! sugar cane! sunburns! rum!–and pictures to go along with them. My research indicates that, although I am not permitted to drink onboard the ship, I am of legal drinking age in the ports we’re visiting–with the possible exception of Dominica. I haven’t managed to find information on the legal drinking age there because Google is convinced that what I really want is information about the Dominican Republic. In any case, the important thing here is that I get to enjoy visiting the rum distilleries more than, say, my little sister. And mostly it’s so that I get to enjoy making Pirates of the Caribbean references just a little more often. 😛

Anyone interested in getting a postcard from the Caribbean should drop me a line at gnome[at]silver-starlight.net with the appropriate information. I will try my best to be good about doing that this time.

In car news, we hit 301 miles today, which means that the engine is officially broken in and long distance road trips are now permitted. This is good because, once we get back from the cruise, Mom and I (and probably my little sister) will be taking a road trip up to Ithaca, New York in order to locate an apartment for me. Exciting times.


Here’s the end to the great car-shopping saga. Of course, it’s been more of a saga for me than for any of you because I haven’t written down every niggling detail. But in any case, I’m now the very proud owner of a new 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT:

My new car

After some online searching and a fair amount of luck, my father and I located a suitable model about 70 miles west of here. Actually, the two models I’d specced out online were sold the night before Dad called to ask about them. But an identical one had just come in on the truck, and that’s the one that I got. Dad (and I) got the insurance and financing worked out–and I spent Mark‘s last couple of days here and the rest of last week struggling with my excitement.

On Saturday we drove down I-40 to sign the papers and pick up my shiny new car. I’ve put about 100 miles on it since picking it up, and, to borrow a phrase from McDonald’s, I’m loving it. It’s quite nice and comfortable without having a ridiculous load of bells and whistles (although I’m still scratching my head over the beverage cooler). And it’s somehow just the right size, especially the driver’s wheel. Every time I sit down to drive somewhere, I find myself enjoying more than the previous time.

The driver's view

It’s gotten a good reaction from everyone else, too. My mother seems more comfortable in it than in her van–although part of this may have to do with her not having to worry about me wrecking her vehicle. And, to my amusement, one of my little sister’s friends just poked her head in my room to inform me that I have “a really pretty car”. How funny!

I’ve started doing a few little things to personalize it. I’ve got a Case School of Engineering sticker in the back window, and there’s a Case license plate holder waiting for my proper tag to arrive. I’ll have to swing by Cornell’s bookstore when I’m up in Ithaca to get a Cornell sticker, too. There’s something of a debate raging in the household as to what the car’s name should be. The current two choices are Remy and Rigel. Remy is based on the fact that the car is a Dodge Caliber–think Remington rifles–and Rigel is, well, the brightest (blue-white) star in my favorite constellation. The aerospace engineer in me leans toward Rigel, but Remy is an easier diminutive. Yeah, I know that anthropomorphizing my car is sad.

My sister and I went a little crazy with the picture-taking today, but I consider that an effect of having waited so long to take them. The guilt got to me. It’s been raining here a lot lately, which makes it tough to get pictures. But I have them now, so go take a look.