Month: September 2017

Essential ingredients for a fantastic fall road trip

Fall is the best time of year for a road trip. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. The days tend to be bright and sunny, with crisp mornings that beg for a really good cup of hot coffee (or cocoa), just before you begin your trip. Whether you’re destination-bound or just out for a Sunday drive, there are a few things that can make your road trip ever more delightful. Check out our short list here. 1. A car-mounted GoPro If you’re driving, you miss seeing so much! Sometimes, even as the passenger, things pass you by. But, if you have a GoPro catching all of those moments, you can relive them when you reach your destination. The best part – you’ve got editable footage to use as you like once you get back home. 2. Car food Even if you have planned stops along the way, every good road trip must have car food. And it needs to be the good stuff. Healthy eaters can splurge on some ranch dressing or peanut butter to dip the crudités you will inevitably pack. (That would be me – apple slices, carrots and celery are my go-to items.) Not-so-healthy eaters … well, you have a plethora of prepackaged items to choose from, so take your pick! 3. Water Because, well … Read More

2016 FIAT 500X – Autoblog editors share their thoughts

I (almost) always enjoy reading reviews of the FCA US LLC brand vehicles. There are some with which I wholeheartedly agree. Some, of course, with which I don’t. But most provide a perspective I either hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize. Recently, I ran across Autoblog’s “2016 FIAT 500X Long-Term Wrap Up | Exceeds expectations,” and I found some of the editor’s remarks amusing. So I’ve decided to share them here. Let’s start with Executive Producer Adam Morath who wrote, “I wanted to love this car, but it just wouldn’t let me.” When someone starts a vehicle review with a sentence like that, I am compelled to read on. So I did. As it turns out, while the vehicle was parked outside his house, the alarm started to sound for what seemed to be no reason at all … at midnight. He encountered other problems related to the wiring during his time with the vehicle as well. The dealership was able to correct the issues, but the damage was done. While Morath conceded that he could appreciate the vehicle’s style and spaciousness, his love for the FIAT 500X had waned. (You can’t please everyone, right? I mean, did that mysterious fifth dentist EVER recommend Trident?) On the complete opposite spectrum, a seemingly hard sell going in to this long-term test … Read More

Laws that make you go, “Huh?”

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a “bizarre road rules” post. So, with all the news going on in the world, I thought it might be time to take a look at the lighter side of life again. Enjoy. Sometimes, as I’m researching these, there are items I read that still cause me to pause, ponder and then give my head a good shake to remove the visual. For example, in New Hampshire (the state I proudly call home), any cattle crossing a state road must first be fitted with a device to gather its feces. I would like to say I only have one question about this, but in fact I have several, so let’s just move on. Ordering “prank pizza” and having it delivered to a friend’s house is never a good idea. It’s a really BAD idea if you live in Louisiana. But if you do and you did, hopefully you didn’t get caught. Doing so results in a $500 fine. That’s some expensive pizza! In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, if a police officer approaches a parked vehicle on foot and suspects the occupants might be involved in what we used to refer to as “parking,” the officer must return to his vehicle, honk or flash his lights and then wait three minutes before re-approaching. Now, who do … Read More

Six essential ingredients for a fantastic football tailgate

I love football season. I also love tailgating. But unless you’re somewhat of a professional tailgater, it can be a lot of work. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather get out there and have some fun than be cooking and/or running after things. So, after a few learning experiences of my own, here are a few key items that I’ve learned can really add to the success of a tailgate. Preparation Nothing will spoil tailgating fun faster than the dreaded phrase, “We need to run to the store.” Um, no. A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to tailgating. Make a list of everything you will need and pack everything up the night before. You may even want to consider loading anything unperishable into your vehicle. That way, you’re only grabbing the fresh items as you’re running out the door. Food and drinks There is no tailgating rule that says you have to suddenly turn into a gourmet grill chef to impress everyone you have invited to your tailgating party. It’s a tailgate, which by definition means burgers, hot dogs, chips and beer. If you feel the need to splurge, buy all-beef hot dogs, fancy chips and craft beer. The grill Unless you’re eating cold, raw burgers and hot dogs, the grill is pretty important. … Read More

A Ram 1500 AND a FIAT® 124 Spider – why not?

Nearly a year ago I bought my Ram 1500 Sport and I love it. It’s roomy. It’s comfortable. It has Uconnect, which I love. I could go on and on about why I love my Ram truck. But there is something missing. Why? Because while I love my truck, we live on some fun, windy roads that beg for a small, sporty, fun-to-drive car that weaves through the twists and turns with ease. Particularly now that autumn is here and the leaves are changing – the sun-filled, warm afternoons are begging for a top-down, Sunday afternoon drive through the mountains. And that’s exactly why I think our next vehicle should be a FIAT® 124 Spider. I happen to have a friend who owns a FIAT 124 Spider and he loves it. He’s one to jump in his car and drive two or three hours to the coast for lunch, only to turn back around and head back home. So, while it’s not altogether necessary, having something that gets decent gas mileage is good. Being able to put the top down and enjoy the fresh air is a bonus as well. Not long ago, I happened to be following him as we were maneuvering up a particularly windy road – him in his FIAT and me in my truck. Most of … Read More

Chrysler brand and National PTA team up to help schools win

Recently the Chrysler brand announced it has become a national sponsor of the National PTA. “Across the country, PTAs work hard to support their school communities and increase family engagement in education, which has been proven to improve student and community outcomes,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA is pleased to team up with the Chrysler brand to help PTAs support their schools and get more families involved in their child’s education.” For those of you currently or previously involved with your local PTA, you know that fundraising is a big part of the association’s activities each year. To help, the Chrysler brand created a “Cars 4 Classrooms” fundraising program. Through Cars 4 Classrooms, PTAs and schools can set up test drive fundraising events, featuring the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Each participant who takes a test drive can earn the school $10, up to $2,000, donated by Chrysler. Local, participating Chrysler dealerships will provide the vehicles for the events. “The Chrysler brand and its dealer network have worked with families and educators on test drive fundraisers in communities across America for more than 25 years,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT®, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America. “Through our partnership with National PTA, the goal is to give every … Read More

Before cell phones we called them car phones

There are so many things today that, while prevalent during my formative years, don’t exist anymore – floppy disks, cassette tapes and coin-operated payphones, to name a few. These are all items that, when mentioned at the dinner table, cause a look of confusion on our 11-year-old daughter’s face. Let’s take a moment, now, to remember the car phone. Ah, the car phone.   Do you recall when it was actually a phone in your car? You couldn’t remove it. Best case scenario, you could stand next to your car and talk on it with the cord strung through an open window. While there is some debate over who created the first car phone, the first service was developed by the Bell System and used in St. Louis in 1946. The phone that connected to it weighed in at a whopping 80 pounds. (Of course back then the cars were just as overweight, so what’s another 80 pounds?) Initially, only three channels were available, so if three people were talking you had to wait your turn to make a call. Imagine the frustration people would have today if their smartphone told them they were fourth in line to make a call! Slowly the car phone developed into a more useful device. By its 1954 appearance in the movie “Sabrina,” when … Read More

2018 Dodge Durango SRT® named to Wards Top 10 User Experience list

These days there is much more to owning a vehicle than just driving and maintaining it. Test driving a vehicle includes also testing all the “extras” that go along with the vehicle. From how difficult it is to program the navigation system to pairing your smartphone, technology and easy-to-use features are becoming ever more important to today’s driver. So, Wards created a Top 10 User Experience (UX) list. Now, in its second year, the Wards 10 Best UX list was recently released. “The focus of the Wards 10 Best UX competition, which is a microcosm of Wards 10 Best Interiors,” wrote WardsAuto Senior Editor Tom Murphy, “is to identify driver interfaces that are user-friendly, navigation systems that are easy to program, collision-avoidance technologies that are dependable and smartphone integration that is simple, allowing drivers safe access to text messages, emails and phone contacts while on the road.” Enter the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT®. Am I mistaken, or did I just hear a collective, “Huh?” I know. When I think SRT, the first thoughts that come to my mind are not collision avoidance and smartphone paring, but rather speed, muscle and a beautiful, throaty exhaust. But the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT has all of that and so much more. Equipped with the easy-to-use Uconnect system, now in its fourth generation, … Read More

Football season is here!

September is the start of fall, fall means football and football is BACK! Tonight kicks off the 2017 season and I could not be more excited. (Well, maybe if my team were playing, but I digress …) That means it’s time for some lip-smacking, tailgating fun along with some good-natured smack-talk between fans of rival teams. It’s time for armchair quarterbackin’. It’s time for yelling at the top of your lungs from the middle of your living room as your dog looks at you like you’ve lost your mind. Yes, people, it is football time in America. The. Wait. Is. Over.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Labor Day!

In 1894, Congress officially made the first Monday of September each year a legal holiday that celebrates the American worker. Over the years, it also has come to signify the official end of summer. Today, we join you in celebrating the American workforce and we hope the summer of 2017 brought you tons of fun in the sun. Happy Labor Day everyone!