The cat’s meow

Miss Mia Sopaipilla recharges her batteries with a dash of solar power.

After a week of rain Miss Mia Sopaipilla was delighted to find some sunshine pouring through the back door this afternoon.

Me too. I got soaked during three rides last week, and not with sunshine, either. The kind of drenching that leaves you peeling off soggy kit in the garage and lubing the squeaky bits.

On the bike. The squeaky bits on the bike.

I managed to stay dry today while cycling home from Reincarnation after dropping the Subaru off for its semiannual health check. But I was not exactly toasty.

It was 40-something downtown when I rolled away from the shop, and I was wearing wool socks, tights over bibs, two long-sleeved jerseys, long-fingered gloves, and even a Sugoi skullcap under the old brain-bucket.

Happily, it was all uphill from there, so I wasn’t generating any wind chill. And the Russians weren’t rocketing my area of operation, though I found out later that Reincarnation had scored a direct hit on my wallet.

This is to be expected when your beater is old enough to vote. Also, it’s cheaper than a car payment and just might save me a long walk home at some point. I don’t always have a bike in the back and my cold-weather kit on.

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34 Responses to “The cat’s meow”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Reincarnation is the right name if a shop caring for your Subie. Your carbon footprint continues to shrink. Good on ya mi amigo!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Trying to keep the old Beast rollin’, Hoss. These consarned modern newfangled horseless carriages has too goldurned many bells and whistles and comosellamas for an old feller like me. If’n God wanted me to drive a computer, why, he’da had Steve Jobs invent a Mac with wheels and a FM radio.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I’d like to find a good independent I fully trust up here in the People’s Republic. I was a little miffed last time around when I used an indie. The two Subies in the driveway are supposed to get 0W-20 full synthetic and I generally go by the book as I drive these things till the wheels fall off whenever possible. The guy put in standard dino 10w-30 and said naw, it doesn’t matter. We were headed out for a 1200 mile trip but fortunately, it was hot as Hell so it didn’t probably matter. Soon as I got back, I changed the oil myself to the spec stuff. Maybe he was right, but to me, ignoring the owner’s manual didn’t sit right, esp. as I am not adverse to putting in the extra dead presidents to do it by the book. Shit, even Costco sells the Mobil-1.

    • Shawn Says:

      There’s quite a difference between 0W-20 synthetic and conventional 10W-30 and I’m surprised the mechanic you visited indicated that there wasn’t. The difference is especially true anywhere the ambient temp drops down below 40F. Not only does the synthetic flow much better at the lower engine start-up temps, but the actuator passages of modern engines are precise enough that the lower viscosity lubricants are necessary. Honda has a VTec solenoid in their engines that operates in the oil stream. If a higher weight oil (even synthetic) is used, that solenoid and it’s associated oil screen can become restricted enough to trigger an engine code error and cause an engine to run poorly. Considering that it might cost $10 to as much as $20 more every six months or so to keep that engine happy, I’d definitely spend the money. There is a chance with older / higher mileage engines that you may get oil seal drips with the lighter weight oils, but drips are not detrimental to an engine running so long as you maintain the oil level.

      With a community the size of yours, I would think that there might be at least one Subaru wrench genius / enthusiast that would roll out a shingle there. You know, because of all those rich Subaru owners around to fleece.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yeah, an ounce of proper prevention as they say…

        This is about the first time I depended on someone other than Yours Truly to do an oil change. Up in Bombtowne, I could take the old oil over to the county recycling center easily and for free, so I did,and it gave me the opportunity to get under the car and look for any weird shit going on, like the time I found a torn CV boot. I have a full set of ramps, pans, and all the tools.

        Here, I have to schlep the old oil to the recycling center on Saturdays and pay to recycle it, so it is a PIA as everyone and their dog is lined up at the recycling center on Saturdays. So I let this shop do it. Not again.

        • Shawn Says:

          With the reasonable cost of oil changes by shops and even some dealers, it’s not a bad idea to save your back, knees and sometimes knuckles to let others who do it more often, to change your oil. Just as long as you can stipulate the lubricant and filter. I change my own oil because I like to have a reason to crawl around under the car and discover the signs of any other problems that may be cropping up such as CV joint boots as Carl mentions below.

          Regarding the old used oil, I just dump it out in the rear of my yard where I want the vegetation to die off. The oil works well for that and it’s downhill to the neighbor’s house below us….. Of course, you know that I am kidding. Our local transfer station accepts the used oil that I pass along to them.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      I chatted up my neighbor a few years ago on a flight from Chicago to Tucson. He was an engineer at the Toyota plant in Indiana. I had just bought a Sienna van that used synthetic oil changed every 10,000 miles. I asked if that was legit. He said absolutely, and to use any other kind of oil, or to change it more often was a waste of time and money. We stopped unnecessary oil changed in the Army by using an unit level oil analysis program to see when oil changes were really needed.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hoo, you boyos know a lot more about oil than I do. My Forester is rockin’ 5W30 semi-synthetic, but I’ll confess I don’t remember what the owner’s manual called for when the Beast was young.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Our 2002 and 2009 Imprezas with the 2.5l flat fours didn’t spec synthetic. I put full syn in my WRX as it was a hotter engine and had the turbocharger, so I ended up putting it in the Imprezas, too, just to avoid having more than one type of oil in the garage. The newer Subies spec full synthetic. Since I retired, we barely drive enough to do more than one oil change a year.

  3. carl duellman Says:

    I’m approaching 160K on my 2008 Sienna. It’s a fine ride. I’ve been changing my own oil since I got it a few years ago. I’m probably not saving much money but it’s a kinda fun. I think I’m due for some new CV joints or axle assemblies or whatever the part is called and I may attempt that if I can find a good Youtube video on it. The shop we use is way across town. It’s bikeable but not fun especially at rush hour. When this whole supply chain thing gets worked out I’ll probably look for something a little newer but I really hate spending money on a car. Especially since new bikes are $5K.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m at 145K on the Furster, and I wanna hold onto it as long as possible. It’s not a sexy machine, just basic transpo’, but it serves my meager needs. Gonna need a bit more work than it gets this time around, but I drive it so little that I think I can afford to put some of its surgeries off a while.

      Reincarnation is about 15 miles from El Rancho Pendejo, and while I can make some of the trip on off-street bike trail, I have to rub elbows with our automotive brethren and sisthren on short(ish) stretches of Mountain, Odelia, Indian School, and Osuna. It’s a crapshoot, but what isn’t these days?

      Anyway, these guys have been good to us ever since we came to town, so it’s worth the trip.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I looked at where Reincarnation is down on 2nd, I think, and thought holy crap, you ride those damn roads on a bicycle? I’d be mounting a miniature CIWS on a bike’s rear rack to ride down there.

        Wish we still had the old Subarus. The 2002 got pounded silly during the 2009 hailstorm we had in Los Alamos, with baseball size hail, so we got the insurance money, donated my old Ford Exploder during the Cash for Clunkers deal, and bought the ’09 Impreza. The ’09, about as reliable a car as one can be, was sitting parked in front of the house in Santa Fe and was totalled by a clueless driver careening down our street. So we ended up with the ’17 Impreza. I hated to part with the WRX as it was fun and paid for, but with two surgeries and a broken foot in 2016 I couldn’t drive a standard for months so traded the hot rod for the ’17 Furrister after my better half got tired of me stealing her wheels. Damn….but I figure these cars should last as long as we do. And compared to the older models, they get terrific gas mileage.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The trip is not quite as bad as it looks, K. I can take off-street bike trails (Tramway-Bear Canyon Arroyo) all the way from EL Rancho Pendejo to just past the Arroyo del Oso golf course. Then I have to deal with a short stretch of Osuna past San Mateo to get to the bike-ped bridge over I-25, where I pick up off-street trail again.

        Then it’s down the North Diversion Channel Trail to Indian School, which is where the riding gets a little hairy. I have to deal with the debris-strewn bike lane along Indian School/Odelia to Edith, where I hang a left and then a right onto Mountain and take that to 1st. Right on 1st and a quick left and boom, I’m at Reincarnation.

        I feel a little better about cycling home from there than I do about coasting down to pick up the ol’ rice rocket. It’s easier to dodge all the broken bottles, discarded syringes, full diapers, single shoes, staggering homeless, and psychos in Civics when you’re climbing at 12 mph.

  4. Shawn Says:

    Speaking of oil changes in climate modifying machines, I hope that you’ve been receiving a fine share of sunshine through the windows the last couple of days to please that fine feline of yours. We must remember the important things in life.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The weather took a turn for the better, Shawn, and Miss Mia was as happy as we were to see the sun return and sauté the free-range mushrooms growing in the yard.

      Lucky for her she doesn’t read the climate news. We all like the sun, but a little drinking water comes in handy now and then, too.

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Me? I love me some new car. My 2017 Rav4 is fine except for the damn black interior. It turns the thing into a solar oven in the summer. Thinking Prius or maybe a Corolla Hatchback for the next ride, but they can’t be found around here. I see Toyota has some plug in hybrids on the horizon, so I think I will resist temptation for now.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My sis likes her RAV4 hybrid. So much so that her husband sold his Highlander. They figured they didn’t need two cars. Smart peoples.

      I still like to have one of my own in case the wanderlust takes me by surprise. Which in the Plague Years and the early phase of retirement seems to be happening less often. Still, y’never know. Plus I can’t say I’m all that fond of Herself’s 2WD Honda CR-V, which is six years younger than my Furster and would be the one we’d keep if it came down to that.

    • khal spencer Says:

      One thing I learned after buying the ’17 Forester? NEVER buy a black car in the Southwest. Duh…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      When I lived in Tucson back in 1980 I had an orange 1974 Datsun pickup with black stripes on the hood, a black dash, and no air conditioning. Had to drive about 20 minutes to work every day around 3 p.m. Stop-and-go traffic. It was Death.

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Ah oil changes….will soon be like landlines once the auto makers go full bore with e-vehicles. And they are balls to the wall on getting to market for a number of reasons but the BIG one is they will be so profitable for the automakers. I do wonder about the battery life when one has multiple days of temps around 10 degrees or less. Tried to buy a Chevy Bolt EUV but bailed off the waiting list since the tax break parameters have everyone confused including dealers. Plus I’ve been burned before being an early adopter.
    Shawn had me going for a bit about dumping his oil in the backyard….pays to read entire threads!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Goot thinkin’ there, Herberino. Let the other dudes be the guinea pigs and bug-check the engineers’ notions.

      I’ve been a late adopter of just about everything. And once I do take the plunge, I hang onto a product like grim death. The Subie is a 2005. My MacBook Pros date to 2014. I only gave up my original iPhone SE because Verizon offered me a free iPhone 13 Mini for switching over from AT&T (I wanted the better camera).

      I’m not interested in an electric or hybrid auto quite yet. I don’t drive enough to justify the expense. I might consider a cargo e-bike for grocery runs and what have you, as a car replacement if need be, but not until things shake out a bit. When the dust settles, if ever, I don’t want to be the guy who has the e-bike you can’t find parts for.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’m putting my money on the minerals used in those big e-car batteries being the next environmental disaster area. There is no free lunch for 350 million Americans all wanting the good life, which includes seeing the USA in your Electric Chevrolet.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          Lithium mining is environmentally problematic at best as we have discussed before. I don’t know if lithium battery recycling is possible, but like other recycling, if no one is buying the stuff, it ends up in the landfill. Trying to figure out a life cycle carbon footprint for a car is damn near impossible. It could be a small and high mileage gasoline car is better overall for the planet? So, the Corolla hatchback is still on my radar.

          • Herb from Michigan Says:

            What if….we find a way around the current issues for battery disposal and creation? I think we will since there is SO much big money riding on it. Meanwhile the adoption of “E” this and that should be done if only to jab a stick up the oil weasels’ arses. Transporting fossil fuel hither and yon is in itself as big an issue of air/water pollutants as the engines that use them. For those who fight against renewable energy-I say let the oil weasels put a fracking well in your yard and see how you like them apples.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            New lithium mines in North America, alternatives to the lithium-ion battery, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Mister Google has a wealth of info on the rush to stick a battery in everything from your bike to your Buick to your … no, let’s not go there.

            There’s gold in them thar e-hills, boys … can you dig it?

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            I hear you Herb, especially after the Saudis told us to fuck off after their latest production cut. The Saudis claim to be stabilizing the oil market. Right, that seemed to work well after the Ukraine war started. Putin is making more gas and oil money than before the war. So, he is also telling us to fuck off. We are a divided nation and they have lost whatever respect and fear they had of us. Trump is their buddy since they have cash, and he has the laundromat. Saudis using Colorado river water to grow alfalfa in Arizona to ship home to feed their cattle. Their aquifers are almost dry, so stealing our water was the solution. We be stupid, heh?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Where and how the go-juice is acquired will be the sticking point. Hey, just like today!

    • khal spencer Says:

      Shawn had me gasping, too. I recall back in the sixties we lived in what was then far from Buffalo, especially with late fifties cars, and actually did dump the oil in the back 40. I recall flipping the lawn mower over every now and then at the back of the property, which went about 700 feet from the road edge, to empty the oil and put in fresh. I think the statute of limitations has passed on getting arrested for it, though.

      • SAO' Says:

        Careful! Officer Obie might still cite you for littering and/or creating a nuisance.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        I remember when folks living on dirt roads sometimes sprayed the stretches near their houses with used motor oil to keep the dust down. Might be fun to see the response that would generate now….

  7. SAO' Says:

    We hit that time of the year where the difference between the sunny and the shady side of the room might be 20°. Now that my working memory and short term recall are conspiring against me, I should be thinking about getting a cat to point me towards the solar radiation.

    (The indoor variety, that is. Thanks to the unfiltered version, I’m currently sporting some 26 stitches on my back and shoulders from the dermatologist’s latest efforts towards saving my pelt my slowly and systematically taking bits and pieces of it.)

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