Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I loved that car

Sure, it wasn’t anything fancy, but I’m going to miss El Caballero

You can see more photos of what’s left of El Caballero at Pat’s blog, Desert Sea. But I also wanted to put a couple of photos here.

The thing about El Caballero was that it wasn’t any sort of fancy car at all, but it was reliable. I could always count on it. It had run reliably for years, for about 120,000 miles, and I’m sure I could have looked forward to at least another 100,000 miles before it got to needing more repairs than it was worth – we took care of the oil changes and tune-ups, and the car just kept on running with no trouble. It’s almost always less expensive to keep an older car going than to get a new (or less-used) car, and El Caballero was definitely proving that point.

Plus, I just plain liked the car. No, it wasn’t a Ferrari, but it got the job done, and with good tires, it had nimble handling and was just plain fun to drive.

Well, the engine seems to have escaped damage (as best as I can tell, even the radiator remained intact), and three of the four tires are in good shape, and we got new windshield wipers a month ago, so there’s a lot of stuff on the car that’s still good. If there’s somebody out there who has a Cavalier body in great shape but needs the innards, we can make a deal.

I really appreciate all of the comments, both on the blog and through email, that I’ve gotten to let me know that all of you out there care about what’s been going on. It means a lot to me that so many people really care, even if they’ve never met me. One of the comments that I didn’t appreciate came from one of the parents of Tadpole’s Boy Scout troop – he had driven with her son in El Caballero to the Order of the Arrow conclave, and she claimed that she knew Tadpole was a bad driver because he drove too fast (according to Socorro County sheriff’s deputies, not a factor in this weekend’s accident), and because instead of using the brakes, he downshifted on long, steep, downhill stretches.

Let’s see … you’re on a narrow, twisty downhill mountain road. Which do you prefer: ride the brakes until the brakes overheat and fail, or downshift and let the engine slow the car down so you don’t need to use the brakes all that much?

Apparently, this particular parent believes that engine braking is a bad idea. And she sent out an email to the Scout troop and all of the troop's parents, telling everybody not to trust Tadpole’s driving skills. That’s a nasty blow – according to the EMT who was in the car just behind him when the tire blew, he did a magnificent job of controlling the car and keeping it from rolling over.

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Anonymous AdriftAtSea said...

The woman who left such a thoughtless comment is an idiot, and a far greater threat to other drivers than is Tadpole, who at least understands the basics of operating a motor vehicle in hilly terrain.

Tue Jun 26, 05:14:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Update: For some unknown reason, we got a Wall Street Journal delivered to our house this morning. There was an interesting article in it about foreign imports, especially from China. It's not just adulterated food additives, but also tires that don't meet U.S. safety standards. The tire that was on the right front wheel of El Caballero was Chinese -- it was what we could afford at the time we needed a replacement tire.

Now I'm really going to stick with Michelins, even if it means the car sits without a tire until we save up enough pennies to get the good tire.

Tue Jun 26, 11:13:00 PM MDT  

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