Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tania's New Ride

After two years of looking and test driving around 15 different vehicles, Tania decided on a car.

The GXP had 140K+ miles on it and after us spending 4K in transmission repairs over the last nine months we decided it was time. If GM still made the Grand Prix GXP we would have bought another in a heartbeat.

We were able to get the dealership to bring ATS in from quite a distance away that had the options we wanted. The only real issue with the car is, the base is around 37k and then Cadillac has around 15K in available options. The way they are packaged together makes it very difficult to get the options you want without just buying them all. Probably the hardest compromise she made was on the HUD, basically its part of a sub 5k options package.

This is a 2.0L Turbo AWD with an intermediate number of options.

The 2.0L Turbo is rated at 272 hp and 260 ft/lb torque, this is at up to 20 psi of boost. This makes the car capable of sub six second 0-60, low 14's in the quarter and up to 30mpg. The car has nearly 50-50 weight distribution, Brembo brakes and 20" wheels.

Its performance is better than the GXP, and is considered to be equal to or better than the 3 series BMW. Will have the next eight years or so to decide if its a good car.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snow Anyone?

Our family got through the first few weeks of snow and winter as we had for many years with standard fare snow shovels and hoping the plow didn't bury the end of the driveway.

The difference with this winter is we were going to set a record for the heaviest snowfall recorded. I did not realize that they started keeping records for this area just after the civil war. Regardless we had over 51 inches of snow this winter and probably had records related to cold etc. Not anything that didn't happen over a majority of the United States.

Once it started snowing a lot we were in denial and after one of our shovels broke we stopped at the local ACE and picked up a "Snow Sleigh".

This thing actually works awesome and is great for digging out the end of the driveway when the plow buries it. You never lift the snow just fill it up and slide it over the drift and dump. The only issue with it is its still a manual shovel.

Just before the heaviest snow of the year we were back at ACE, when we had purchased the shovel they had a Craftsman blower on sale fairly cheap and we decided we were going to take the plunge and get one. At that time we had gotten around 25" of snow for the year.

When we arrived they had picked up a shipment of snow blowers, both Craftsman and Toro. Having read the reviews on the single stage Toro's and how poor the joystick shoot handle on the Craftsman was we went with the Toro.

Thinking that now that we have bought one it will stop snowing was a big mistake as the following day I was thick in it. 

Two weeks later on my birthday this was the scene.

The Carhardts Tania bought me for Christmas got a big workout this winter, I ended up wearing them to and from work many days.

I was very impressed by how well this snow blower worked, anything that fit in the front of it, it would shoot 15'-20' with no problem. The only thing it did not like was slushy snow, it would still handle it just not as well.

This isn't a very good picture but it shows how deep this would go with a single pass through this drift. The snowfall total for this storm was 6.8".

 Two weeks after this there was at least another foot around the edges of the drive.