Hello, my name is Chad and I have an addiction…

I am, quite simply put, addicted to shiny new cars.

It has been almost two whole years since I’ve purchased a new vehicle and the itch has returned, and when it does it’s all consuming until it has been scratched. I will now be obsessing over cars until either I buy another one, or something else takes my mind off of them.

When I drove home from Austin this Friday night, I saw a nice new shiny BMW M5 sedan that I shadowed the entire way. I really wanted one of these when the new generation came out, and in many ways I think it would be the perfect vehicle to replace the two I currently drive. The price for a new one is a bit obscene and used ones are as hard to find as gold, and the 17 MPG freeway rating is worse than my Tahoe, so I have yet to pull the trigger. And yet, I’ve come very close to doing exactly that.

I’ve also always wanted a Porsche 911. Much like the BMW, a new one is so overpriced that I’ve always found other vehicles that were “better” for a much lower price. And yet, I know I need to have one someday just to see. I see several folks locally that have theirs with a bike rack on top, so I could conceivably replace both vehicles I drive today with one. I’ve heard automotive experts say again and again that the base 911 Carrera is the best of all the 911 models, given its relatively simplicity, but it would be so hard to “settle” with just that instead of an S or Turbo. I’ll ignore the GTx models for obvious reasons…

But it isn’t just the super fast expensive cars that get my attention. I’d love to buy a new Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI right now, too. This is a great little machine, and would make an excellent daily driver and bike carrier. VW’s new TDI engine is an outstanding work of engineering resulting some rather amazing real world fuel economy figures. Clearly, from my other choices and current vehicles, fuel economy is very important to me…

One day, I should just give in and buy a used car. I still have never done it. My very first car was used, but it was my parents old beater that I inherited. All of my other vehicles since then have been new – a whopping 9 since 1991, and 11 if you count the two we’ve bought for my wife in that same period. And, if I could really stop being dumb about it all, I should just stop buying vehicles all together. I should really just now be breaking in my 2nd car…

But, oooh, they’re so shiny.

A wonderful sunset

This weekend is one of our pilgramilage trips back to Albuquerque. We try and make it back at least once a year to visit Lori’s parents and to partake in local flavors. I always try and work in some outdoor fun while I’m here too.

On the east side of town are the Sandia Mountains and a favorite hiking trail is the La Luz that follows a very steep route from the foothills to the north crest. I have hiked this trail about a half dozen times now, but this was my first time outside of the summer months.

As it turns out, it was a great time to go. The weather was cool but not too cold (until after dark at the crest itself). The Aspen trees had turned and the parts of the trail through their area was littered with bright fall colors.

It had snowed about the week before and there was still a quarter inch of icy remnants on the upper portions of the trail and near the crest.

All of my marathon training was noticable in the hike, but not quite as much as I had hoped. As usual, once 9,000 feet was reached I was just plain tired. But, afterwards I was not nearly as worn out as on previous hikes.

Once at the top, I stopped by the High Finance restaurant that is next to the ski area and enjoyed a nice pint of Red Hook India Pale Ale and watched the sunset.

IMG_0090

Mmm, blood!

I donated a unit of whole blood today, which I try and do as often as I am able. It used to never bother me, but the combination of being smaller and older appear to be taking its toll. After today’s donation I have been pretty loopy for the rest of the day. Way loopy, like I shouldn’t be driving or using a computer loopy.

I’ve also got this thing for needles. I don’t mean I look away and get faint when needles are near, like most people, I mean that I like watching them go in. It is a little odd to explain, but there is something quite satisfying to know that yes indeed, that does hurt a tiny bit just like it is supposed to. The nurse who drained me today called me sick for watching. 

 

Blood drains slowly...
Blood drains slowly...

Biking in Fredericksburg

This past weekend Lori and I visited Fredericksburg, Texas for some rest and relaxation. I of course took my bike and hoped to squeeze in a couple of rides while there given the natural beauty of the area. I was not disappointed.

On Sunday morning I followed the Luckenbach Cruise route specified in the Best Bike Rides in Texas guidebook. This route went south from Fredericksburg towards Kerrville, before turning east in the general direction of Luckenbach. Unfortunately I got there a bit too early to buy any food or drink so I had to continue the route with what little drink I had left. Luckily the day was still cool so it was no big deal. Once I reached US 290 I had to follow it for a couple of miles before turning back onto country roads – it’s a very busy road but luckily on Sunday morning it wasn’t too bad. The route then continued on a small rural road that came back towards Fredericksburg from the northeast. With a few extra spurs it wound up being 41 miles total with about 1600 feet total ascent.

The next day I went from Fredericksburg up to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area via FM 965. This was one of the best solo rides I have been on today. The trip north was mostly downhill with some fast descents; I reached 48 mph at one point. There was still just under 1000 feet total ascent on the trip up there, so there was plenty of climbing, too. The trip back was intense. It gave almost 1400 feet total ascent and a stiff south wind dropped my average speed from 18 mph on the way up down to 14 mph on the way back. It was a hell of a workout and I lamented my choice of the double chainring on the bike. But, it was so worth it and about 34 miles total of Texas hill country bliss.