Monday, January 07, 2013

Things I never thought I'd miss.

Most of my life, my vehicles were pretty spartan. In addition to the years riding motorcycles, where weather protection is something you wear and grocery shopping is limited to what you can squeeze under a bungee net on the pillion, I have driven beaters that needed to be exited through the passenger door and once had a daily driver with no carpeting, no radio, five-point harnesses by way of seatbelts, and a fire extinguisher between the seats where most cars have cup holders.

It's not like the Z3 is exactly a plush-bottomed luxobarge, but it does have a few creature comforts which I wasn't used to and which I therefore pooh-poohed as excessive fripperies when I bought it. Now, having driven the Forester for a week while the Zed sits in the garage waiting for climate change to have an effect on the Broad Ripple glacier sliding down the alley, I find myself missing things I never thought I'd miss...

Remote door locks, for example. Before I had the Z3, I used to mock the little *beeps* and *bwoops* you'd hear in parking lots, yet it only took a month or two before I found myself standing outside my apartment door with an armload of groceries, unconsciously thumbing the remote as though it would unlock the deadbolt, too. The Subie has power locks, but no remote, and I'm constantly getting ten steps across the parking lot and having to go back and do that thing with the key in the door. Funny, I don't remember locking and unlocking a car being this much of a pain in the ass.

Cruise control? I can hold a speed on the highway +/- 5mph without tying up too many processor cycles, but what am I supposed to do if my right foot gets a little owie and sore after a couple hours? Coast to the shoulder while trying to flex some life into my tootsies and the stiffness out of my ankle? I can't remember... I know I took roadtrips before 2001, and so I must have known the answer and just forgot it.

The roadster has a pretty truncated version of BMW's trip computer: Pushing in on the turn signal stalk will toggle the clock through telling you the outside air temp, average speed, average mileage, and range remaining on this tank. The Subie will tell me what time it is, but only because the clock in the Alpine head unit is still soldiering on after the integral one in the overhead console has gone to wherever it is that little LED clocks go after a long and happy life. Being the 'satiably curious sort, I find myself scanning the horizon for bank thermometers because what's the temperature, dammit? I have to know! I used to know and now I don't!

Perhaps surprisingly, I am surviving without the heated seats just fine. The Forester's heater makes with the toasty air in a hurry and the cloth seats warm fast, too, and if you don't dial the temp setting back, it'll run you out of the car in a sweat in a surprisingly short time.

I feel like such a tenderfoot for missing cruise control, though...

53 comments:

guilherme.atencio said...

"once had a daily driver with no carpeting, no radio, five-point harnesses by way of seatbelts, and a fire extinguisher between the seats where most cars have cup holders."

Could you provide more details? I am curious!

Ancient Woodsman said...

For some reason my brain read the phrase, "what's the temperature, dammit?" in the voice of Michael Stipe, followed by the obligatory tunage.

Guess REM will have to get back together & re-do that song from the reverse viewpoint. If they ever do, yours could be the very first line.

Tam said...

Ancient Woodsman,

"For some reason my brain read the phrase, "what's the temperature, dammit?" in the voice of Michael Stipe, followed by the obligatory tunage."

Then you read it just like I wrote it! :D

og said...

You been busted up so i know you got a cane. A cane is redneck cruise control. Your arm gets tired but it gives your foot a break.

Joseph said...

I went from a car with power windows & cruise to one without 12 years ago and I still wish I had them to this day. Too bad Obama won the election, I had already picked out the decked-out 4x4 crew cab with bells and whistles I was going to buy if Mitt won. Instead, I replaced a faulty coil pack and spark plug wires this weekend to keep my heap running for another four years.

Pakkinpoppa said...

Ah...cruise control...

The trucks at work, when I started sooo many years ago, it consisted of your foot at a certain level of pressure to keep the speed at a certain level.

Plus...I knew a ticket for speed in a truck (a non CDL but still up to 25,990 pounds) is about double the going rate for a car.

Off work...I need cruise control. Okay, I don't "need" cruise control, but it is so darned convenient. In Honda type vehicles, one even can set the cruise down to 25 miles per hour, not quite slow enough for the "school zones" but hey, darn close anyways.

Old NFO said...

Yep, the redneck cruise control... Cane one each! Due to multiple broken ankles, that is what I used until I could finally afford a car WITH cruise.

Bram said...

I get in my wife's car and bitch endlessly because it doesn't have Bluetooth and satellite radio. I used to drive a Civic that didn't even have a tachometer.

Scott J said...

My wife went from a 95 Cavalier with manual everything to an Audi A4 in 2003.

She admits she's now spoiled.

Frank W. James said...

Yeah, I know exactly what you're saying.

I traded my 5 yr. old pick-up off essentially for the same reasons when it ONLY had 70,000 miles, which to me is almost like brand new.

Bought it new at model year end close-out, but it was spartan (it did have cruise control) and found I was a wuss, so I ordered the new one with a number of specific extras; like pwr windows, pwr outside mirrors (I hated adjusting the old ones every time I got the trk washed....which was sometimes twice a week) and carpets. (I didn't think I would miss carpets, but it was amazing the way stuff slid around on the floor without 'em.)

It's amazing how quickly one can be corrupted...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Brad K. said...

Back about '91 I bought a new Toyota Corolla, stick shift. I had them add cruise control. Panasonic made mine, it included an annoying switch zip-tied to the clutch pedal -- that came off if my foot slipped wrong on the pedal. It was surprising how often Panasonic, or the installer, felt my foot placement was "wrong". But the added little box on the dash was nice.

I have to wonder, though -- should those caught texting while they drive be forced to have cruise control removed on any vehicle they drive? It might be that cruise control frees up the attention they divert to those diverting electronic gizmos. And, if they persist with the divertinging, erratic speed can look like distracted, not to say "drunk", driving.

Myself, I would forbid laws that make you drive safely, except maybe for driving closer than 200 feet from the car ahead, or cutting in front of someone (like, closer than 200 feet , and/or at a speed slower than the vehicle you are cutting off), and for negligence and/or causing a wreck. Thinning the gene pool, is the way I have heard it described. And the driver at fault don't get no claims on any insurance. But that won't be this week.

Blackwing1 said...

When I read the start:

"...years riding motorcycles, where weather protection is something you wear and grocery shopping is limited to what you can squeeze under a bungee net on the pillion..."

I had to laugh. I spent one year here in Minnesnowta where my only "vehicle" was a 185-cc Honda. You ever try to get your foot under the shift lever while wearing a pair of Sorels? (Sorels boots, aka, "Minnesota Wingtips".) You have to approach the lever from the side, and kind of boot-tip it from 1st to 2nd. My route from apartment to work was all on snow emergency routes, so it was always plowed, but getting that thing started in sub-zero weather was interesting, to say the least.

Now I've got cruise control on the bike (GoldWing), and enough storage built in that I can haul two or three full grocery bags INSIDE the plastic. Plus the case of Guinness on the pillion. That's without even pulling the trailer behind it.

I've thought about getting a "little" bike for in-city commuting, but I'd miss all of the creature-comforts that make the 'Wing a 9-month-of-the-year bike, like the heated grips, heated saddle and full fairing-and-lowers. I'm spoiled, too.

Anonymous said...

What a girly girl!

I had an old Ranger that was lovingly known as the Township Truck. No radio, no crusie, no AC and no rear bumper and painted dull grey.

When I traded it for the F-150 XLT package I was in hog heaven. Now I complain because the pickup doesn't have a cup holder for my coffee.

Gerry

Wolfman said...

I went from a 67 Newport to an 89 chevy half ton and thought I was living high on the hog. Power windows, wow! Next one was a trade to a 3/4 ton work truck. Still pw/pl, but it had a spotlight on the roof, and eventually rope for both door handles. Finally bought a grown up truck- diesel, crew cab, heated leather, remote, power EVERYTHING. Now I feel like I'm getting soft... But at least my wife will ride in this one. It happens. Enjoy your Subie, though. There's a reason they are the most popular passenger car in Montana and Idaho, and its not for the fripperies.

Sport Pilot said...

Cruise Control is doable...

http://www.thecruisecontrolstore.com/ez-catalog/X380183/0009

Beent there...done that.

DOuglas2 said...

What I miss is the air-conditioning. Not because I get hot, but because of the speed at which windows will de-fog when it is active.

Owen said...

FYI, if the Forester is like the Impreza, the back hatch does not lock itself when you close it. You need to lock it with the key after its closed.

Stuart the Viking said...

I dread my next change of vehicle. Cruise control? Power windows? Remote? Naw... the thing I'll miss is the almost turn-on-a-dime turn radius. In a full size SUV no less. On the occasions that I have to drive my Mother's car to take her or my Grandmother anywhere (neither of which have an easy time getting into the jeep, too high) I'm always amazed by the car's lack of maneuverability. Parking spots that I would just whip into with the Commander are difficult for the car (disclaimer, the car is a BUICK, so I imagine it doesn't have the best turn radius out there).

For all the things Jeep got wrong on the Commander, they sure got the turn radius right. It makes that thing drive like something half it's size.

s

Roscoe said...

From long experience, I know that I can't afford to drive a car without cruise control - too many speeding tickets if I'm controlling the speed.

Garrett Lee said...

I know what you mean, Tam - for years I was driving a '92 Buick Roadmaster with every option but the heated seats (it was a Florida car, what's the point of heated seats?), and now use a '98 K2500 P/U I bought from Penn State - as a fleet vehicle, the only option was the automatic transmission. I don't miss the powered locks, and I prefer the driver's window being manual (the passenger one being manual means a long stretch across the cab, though), but God, I do miss cruise control.

perlhaqr said...

once had a daily driver with no carpeting, no radio, five-point harnesses by way of seatbelts, and a fire extinguisher between the seats

I knew there was a reason I liked you. :D

Sounds like my car, except the dash has been gutted too, and the passenger half is just a piece of tubing. No back seats, either. ;)

I am thinking of making it slightly *less* spartan though, and putting a heater in it, and an amp with a headphone jack on the dash so I can use an iPod with it. I feel like such a sellout.

Of course, I'm not sure I'd be able to hear the stereo over the exhaust anyway.

rickn8or said...

"...I found myself standing outside my apartment door with an armload of groceries, unconsciously thumbing the remote as though it would unlock the deadbolt, too."

Just thought you'd like to know you're not the only person that does this.

Stuart the Viking said...

Garrett Lee,

There is a use for heated seats in Florida. My Mother's best friend had poor circulation (on top of a host of other non-deadly but annoying conditions). She LOVES the heated seats because there are days when the rest of us would be uncomfortable in long sleeves, while she's shivering in a sweater. Heated seats means that we don't have to choose between her comfort and ours when we all go somewhere in the car.

s

RevolverRob said...

We sold the wife's 2004 Saturn Ion that was essentially fully loaded for a 2011 Mazda 2, that wasn't. We have power windows, keyless entry, heat, air conditioning, and a radio. The end. She'd already bought the car, by the time I got there, if I had realized it was sans cruise control, I would have left it at the dealer.

It sucks, because that little shoebox gets around 38 mpg drinking regular on the highway at 75mph. My car (Mazdaspeed 3, fully loaded), only gets 32 mpg at 75mph and drinks premium. The cost difference is significant enough that the shoebox is the road trip car on trips longer than 100 miles one way.

No cruise control for 1000 miles, is a long damn 1000 miles, for a long injured right now and regularly sprained ankles. I feel you.

-Rob

Chas Clifton said...

Og wrote, "You been busted up so i know you got a cane. A cane is redneck cruise control. Your arm gets tired but it gives your foot a break."

The old VW squareback had a mesh-bottomed storage shelf under the dash.

A friend of mine used to run a gold-headed cane through the mesh to stabilize it, then hold the head lightly in this right hand, braced against the steering wheel

Sort of steampunk cruise control.

RKN said...

I found myself standing outside my apartment door with an armload of groceries, unconsciously thumbing the remote as though it would unlock the deadbolt, too.

Similarly, in a fit of urgency, what modern hasn't tried swiping a TV screen with a fingertip to change the bloody channel?

Ed Jones said...

I drive a 2010 F150 XLT and a 1987 full size Bronco with granny first four speed, AM/FM and snow plow front springs. It is a relearning process every time it snows.

Anonymous said...

Tam misses cruise control ... my world is crashing down.

SPQR

RKN said...

@S the Viking,

Shivering. In a sweater. In Florida.

Ohhh kaaaay.

Another Alaskan for Global Warming,
-RKN

Geodkyt said...

Heated seats are also useful in other ways.

Couple of years back, was involved in an accident on my way out of out of state. Ended up still going, in my wife's car.

I credit the heated seats in the Forrester for being the only reason I could walk after a four hour car trip, twelve hours after totalling my car.

Wildman7316 said...

If you've got Power Locks, you CAN add your own remote:

http://www.bulldogsecurity.com/Products/453055507-model-ke1702-vehicle-keyless-entry-system.aspx

I picked mine up at AutoZone for Half a Hundred Bucks. It is an Afternoon Job for when the Weather is nicer...

Will said...

If the Subie had cruise control or p/locks as an option, you can most likely rob a junk yard car for the necessary parts to upgrade yours. It's typically an easy job to swap optional items this way, and generally better and cheaper than working with aftermarket upgrades.

The only real problem I've encountered doing this on various vehicles was in the case where the wiring harness wasn't set up with the plugins for the item. Normally, most of the time the manufacturer tries to design the harness to accept all the options possible, although sometimes this may require changing a sub-assembly harness. This might be as extensive as the rear half of the system sometimes, but it should still be a plug-in harness.

Occasionally, it requires a different computer to control the option, though.

Getting one of those service books with the various wiring schematics helps a lot. The Chilton/Haynes books might still have the wiring in them.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ! I too had a car with a roll cage. My first car actually (Peugeot 205 GTI, lot's of lift-throttle oversteer).

With mandatory 4-point harnesses for rallying.

One day I got pulled over by the cops. I just couldn't get my wallet (driver's licence, insurance ...) from the console. My first attempt at getting my wallet probably made me look retarded: "dammit, my arms are too short !".

Then the next one had A/C, remote locking and what sounded like a stereo with a CD player.
The current one has automatic windshield wipers and automatic headlights ... Makes you totally lazy. It's like "car entitlement programs" !

Next one will be even more ridiculous: swipe you feet under the rear bumper and the trunk pops open automatically. You don't have to press on the remote anymore ...

Calimero

Will said...

For temps, you could buy one of those in/out electronic thermometers at Harbor Fright, and just route the external wire through the passenger door rubber seal. Last I bought one, they had a couple types, about $10.

The wire is delicate, so protect it.

Anonymous said...

Well if it was frippery you wanted with your AWD, you shoulda chose the Mondeo...

Son got his title transferred today, had it serviced and checked out by our guy (no problems), and will hit the road for south fla in a few hours. Here's a fake fleabay listing with pics of car and son (son not included).

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251208668624

Fripperies out the ying-yang, a very pleasant driver, and it's a creampuff for an '02 with 85K on the clock and a sub-$5K price.

Still, as I've referenced before, it'll probably have a date with the compactor while your old Subie is still busting 'drifts. You made the right choice for what you need...and with temps here in the 70's today and the 80's the rest of this week, so did he.

PB

Anonymous said...

Fleabay gives you several no-cost local vehicle listings, which include a free Autochek similar to a Carfax, so that 'splains the fake listing (I'm a cheap bastard).

Also listed a clean '06 Chrysler 300 (for which I traded a Rolex on Friday) for the same reason. Might list that one for real though; son preferred the Jag, and I can sell the 300 quicker than a 10K watch in this economy...PB

Anonymous said...

Tam, in my experience you can use the brake and clutch foot for the go pedal if you are in long term cruise control. Give the other foot a break. Also it's a good time to stop and take a short walk if your leg is cramping.

Used to drive between NYC and Montreal ( more or less) where the GPS says (North of Albany): "next turn, 225 miles" (and the sign for gas says: next gas station 60 miles) or some such in the Adirondacks, and that's about 7 hours highway ride with light traffic without the CC, you get used to it pretty quickly.

TJIC said...

Amusingly, your Z-3 came up in conversation over in New Hampster recently: Jennifer and I were road-tripping back down from the NE gun blogger dinner when she brought it up. Always looked like neat cars; would love to own one someday.

Anonymous said...

Cruise control is a good thing. It's as much a safety feature as a luxury, for allowing you to keep more of your eyes on the road. You can always stick a thermometer on the outside mirror. I once had a 1963 Dodge 330 with a digital clock and rear window defrost. That what was lacking can be added. -- Lyle

NotClauswitz said...

I'm soooo glad my "new" truck has motorized mirrors and locks, and even A/C - and cup-holders!

armedlaughing said...

My '89 Isuzu Trooper had hand-crank windows and wing windows!

I miss her...

gfa

Ed Foster said...

Moving backward for the winter, leaving the Tucson under a tarp.

Firing up the old '69 Chevy C-10, with all 250 screaming straight six cubic inches and a 4 on the floor T-10 with granny gear and 2 speed transfer case.

No A/C or cruise control, but it does have an 8 foot Fisher plow.

Jeffro said...

Don't feel bad about missing cruise control. Twenty five to thirty years ago I'd drive for too many hours straight holding the fuel pump on a Cummins in the sweet spot, and when I got home I'd about fall out of the cab. Cruise control extended the life of my knees by several decades. Less stress on you, too.

Anonymous said...

Cruise control - that's what you got TWO feet for! Sheesh. All you're doing is shaking your foot out.

Mind you, I went from a Nissan Maxima w/ cruise, automatic, power windows, remote power locks, etc, to a basic F150 work truck with one upgrade. Cruise control. It's a 5spd, crank windows, manual locks. Oh, in between the Maxima and the F150? I spent 3 years with only a motorcycle. So yeah, I really appreciate the creature comforts of a/c & heat, self cancelling turn signals. I would like power windows (the passenger window is a LONG stretch across the cab), but that's about it.

Tam said...

" I spent 3 years with only a motorcycle."

Rookie. :p

DaveFla said...

More years ago than I care to number, I drove straight through from New Bern, NC to Michigan. Sixteen hours with three stops for gas, restroom and a burger. I'll always remember how glad I was when I found that I could push the loud pedal on that Ford Ranger with my left foot for a while, and without bumping the stick out of overdrive...

benEzra said...

Ten years ago, I was driving a 4-cylinder, 4-speed 1980ish Ford Fairmont with 252K miles on it so that my then-wife could have the nice car to transport our special-needs son around. No A/C, vent didn't work, no defrost, no headliner, 3 hubcaps (until I snagged 4 Buick platters at a yard sale and upgraded), and the driver's seat was wedged in place by a landscape timber on the floor behind it. But the 4-on-the-floor and empty-tin-can weight made it passably fun to drive, and the automatic oil changing system (aka quart-a-week leak) kept the oil fresh and clean.

Now, ten years later, I'm driving an '04 Acura sports sedan with a 6-speed manual and more onboard geekery than you can shake a sonic screwdriver at. Buttons are sooooo 20th century when you can operate your car's systems by talking to her...and I now find myself missing the voice controls when I drive a car without them.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Remote Locks? You know, I just saw an ad in Sunday"s paper where Best Buy will give you a remote STARTER for under $200. Just think, having that second cup of Java while waiting for the Suburu to get nice and Toasty come February....

staghounds said...

Remote locks, power windows, and cruise were $1500 more on the Jeep.

Worth every penny.

Anonymous said...

Here's a cruise control that's working perfectly on my '97 Outback Sport:

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/rpc-250-3592/overview/

Install took about 45 minutes.

And there are remote door lock modules for your Subie on fleabay for about $50. Key fobs are a little extra.

And not all Subarus are driven by hippies. I know for a fact that the Outback Sport can hold 8800 rounds of 7.62x54R and a slightly annoyed bulldog without problem.

I'm sure your Forester can do better during the next "Ban the Mosins! For the Children!" scare.

Windy Wilson said...

Scot J. Your wife has an '03A4?

Tam, considering your other handle, do you refer to the Z3 as the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper?
:0

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