Summer Days, Summer Nights

 Summer lovin’ had me a blast
Summer lovin’ happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me
Met a boy cute as can be
Summer days driftin’ away, to uh-oh those summer nights
Grease – Summer Nights

Anne has been working on this summer’s spreadsheet. This is not the first vacation travel planning spreadsheet that she has made, but it is certainly the most elaborate. She continues to embellish it, as my queries over dinner ascertained. There are still a few holes in the map, but those blank spots where “here there be dragons” are now considerably diminished. There is an old saw in military circles, “amateurs talk tactics, while professionals speak of logistics.” Anne is no amateur, but rather an expert logistician, she has a master’s degree in systems science, and is not too shabby a logician either, just ask her about prime numbers. The only possible additions that she could make to her summer vacation planning spreadsheet would be pivot tables and macros.

The lump in the snake of this summer’s planning process is Anne’s and my big bicycle trip, in Michigan. It starts in New Buffalo, MI, near the intersection of the Indiana state line and Lake Michigan and ends at the Straits of Mackinac. That part of our logistical nightmare is all bicycling and is all on us. To that end, Anne has been making a yeoman’s effort in training for this ride. She rode 26 miles in the Park on Tuesday and 28 miles out to West County on Wednesday. At this rate, she will be reading Michener’s Hawaii, at the top of the next hill, as I struggle to catch-up. The lump has to do with getting to the start of the ride and then getting back from the finish. It is doable with two cars and two drivers, albeit not without a fair bit of driving up and down the great lakes state. Dan is in Saugatuck and could act as a driver, but his car is in LA. Dave could also play a part, if he could ever decide what he is going to do for the summer. The crux of this problem is that we need two cars, and we only have one reliable one.

We could rent a second car; this would be the cheapest solution and possibly alleviate some of this summer’s driving. We could throw money into Anne’s car and make it more road worthy. Or, we could buy a car. One of my co-workers just returned to work, after a week’s vacation on the east coast. He returned in a rental, after leaving in the family mini-van. It broke down on the way back and now he has to retrieve it. This is something that I would like to avoid this summer. To this end, Anne and I have been talking about buying a car.

Talk started out with buying Dave a car, just like we bought one for Dan, but we kind of lucked into buying that used car and I don’t see a repeat of that luck just now. If we do buy another new car, Anne wants to buy a Prius, while I would be satisfied with another Corolla. I could give my old Corolla to Dave. Does anyone have a used car they want to sell?  Preferably automatic and low MPG.

There is about an $8K+ surcharge for the Prius over the Corolla, but that could be recouped if gas prices continue to rise. If gas tops $5/gallon, it would repay itself in three years. $10+/gallon returns the investment in about a year. Complicating this equation is the 2012 Prius. It offers plug-in recharging and a limited all-electric range of about 16 miles and then there are the all-electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf. Anne could easily commute back and forth, gas-free, with the 2012 Prius and I could make to work and with a charge, back home again. Summer travel would be done by planes, trains and rental cars. We would be just so stinking green then. Maybe, we really do need macros and pivot tables.

7 thoughts on “Summer Days, Summer Nights

  1. Happy Anniversary to Bubs and Harry! Even if Dad says he’s only sticking around because Mom still owes him $1.50 for her share of the license — we know differently. Love you both.

    — Pooh

  2. I vote Prius. Our payback was figured at much longer than 3 years (although I do believe we made it up more quickly than we anticipated). I have never regreted the purchase. It runs nicely and does quite well on long trips. In my mind it has a larger interior than the Corolla. (Carl thinks the Corolla can carry more luggage, but the ability to fold 2/3 and 1/3 down has been handy.)

  3. I’ve planted the seed in Val’s mind that she might consider taking my 2005 CR-V with 112,000+ on it, handing back the 2002 Accord (120,000-ish) so I could spiff it up and trade it in on an Insight or perhaps a Fit or Civic (although I *do* like Honda’s hatchbacks….), because that would at least get her AWD and road clearance that the Accord just does not have. Plus, the CR-V has been in this family from The Beginning, whereas the Accord was purchased with 78,000 already on its clock. Downside is that the CR-V isn’t the greatest for mileage…. and she does need to get to El Paso later this summer…..

  4. Keep in mind that sun spot activity has been predicted to drastically decline over the next decade or more, leading to a repeat of the Maunder Minimum which coincided with the Little Ice Age in the late 1600’s to early 1800’s. The current desire to reduce green house gases to reduce global warming may be OBE. On the other hand, peak oil theorists believe the world is on the precipice of incremental oil discovery lagging incremental demand. With oil scarcity, gas prices will skyrocket. My conclusions are: 1) increased burning of coal and natural gas to heat homes in the next ice age will help mitigate global cooling so you needn’t buy a gas guzzler to do socially responsible polluting and 2) a Prius purchase will mitigate peak-oil-induced gas price increases, provided it can be outfitted with chains so that you won’t get stuck in the coming ice age blizzards.

  5. I could have had nekkid women in the spreadsheet for all that Le Marquis has actually looked at them. until today (6/16) that is. Although, he did come up with a potential plan for moving all our stuff around.


  6. @Don Say What?!?

    I did hear that the Prius does not do well in the snow

    Maybe with all this great free advice, we should hire a professional car shopper?

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