Wednesday, December 12, 2007

VW R32: Deja vu - missing wheel center cap

What is it with these caps?! This is the third wheel center cap I've lost this year. Strangely, all three instances have occurred on the rear wheels. ::sigh::.

Last time it took two weeks for the replacement cap (1J0-601-171) to come in. I think this time I'll order a couple of them and stock up. Wangos.

Anywhoo, more information and pictures are over here.




Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Amazing World of High-Definition Television

I've seen the High-Definition displays in the stores and to be honest, I thought the HD television channels looked great, but not awesome--at least not awesome like the examples shown in high-definition DVD format.

I was always worried that maybe spending extra money on an HD PVR to watch just a few shows in HD wouldn't be worth it. We already have a PVR that's been great for us. I didn't think we needed a duplicate.

That changed. I am now converted. I am a true believer....

I bought a Motorola 3416 HD PVR (160 gig) on the weekend and installed it on our 37" LG LCD TV. Connected through HDMI, the picture is really, really good on the standard definition channels. That was the biggest surprise. Reading on the forums, a lot of people complained about how bad SD shows were. I found the opposite. The regular channels are actually improved and sharper looking with the new Motorola.

And the high-definition channels? Just amazing. It looks so real that it seems "unreal." I found an NFL game playing in HD and it looked so realistic that I felt like I could have reached into the screen and picked up one of the players on the field with my two fingers!

So getting the HD PVR is definitely worth it. It also comes with 2 tuners so you can record two programs at the same time. I can't wait to see what it looks like on the 52" screen when it arrives.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nothing is more lonely than empty space

We had a problem with our brand new 52" Sony KDL-52W3000 LCD TV yesterday and it was a doozy: the picture just died. There was no video displayed from any of the inputs: TV (cable), Video1 (STB), or Component (DVD). Sound came in no problem and the menu showed up fine, but the screen was all black.

I did a factory reset and the initial setup, but the problem was catastrophic....

Actually the only way that I could get a live picture was to turn on "Picture & Picture" and watch it on one side of the screen.

In the picture above, the live image is the large one behind the frozen, garbled image. When the P&P size was increased or decreased past the mid-size point, it would freeze and show the corrupted image. The only way to get rid of it was to turn the TV off and on again. At least, the P&P screen was still bigger than our old CRT TV.

It not all bad news, though. I went into Best Buy last night to arrange an exchange and had it scheduled for this Thursday. After I got home I checked FutureShop.ca for their 19-hour "After Hours" online-only sale. They had the same Sony KDL-52W3000 on sale for $2699--the same price that I paid a few weeks ago--plus they were giving away a free Sony BDPS300 Blu-Ray Disc player. That player on it's own costs over $450. Needless to say, I bought it right away because I know that these time-limited online sales offer some pretty good deals that can't be had in store.

This morning I went back to Best Buy I told them I changed my mind about the exchange and returned our old Sony KDL-52W3000. The only thing I didn't get refunded was the $50 delivery charge, but that's OK because I'm getting so much more value with the high definition Blu-Ray player. And that's not the end: there's a promotion right now where you can get 5 free Blu-Ray movies with a purchase of a Blu-Ray player. Since the average price of a Blu-Ray movie is $25-30, that's another significant savings. I'll definitely be submitting my receipt for that deal.

And wait--for fear of sounding like a late-night infomercial--Future Shop also has a Buy 1 Get 1 free offer on select Blu-Ray movies. I went in today to pick-up a couple of movies so that I'd be able to test the player as soon as it arrives.

So, with all the extra "free" stuff, maybe the TV dying wasn't so bad after all.... Now I just have to wait for delivery of the new TV and Blu-Ray player.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Size is Important

A couple of weeks ago we retired our old cathode ray tube television, a 27" Sony KV-2781R that was built over 21 years ago in May 1986. It was still running strong (much better than our old Panasonic) but because this year was my big "four-oh", my wife decided to mark the occasion with a new flat-panel TV....

I went through a very thorough decision process choosing a new TV. I already have a 37" LCD in the bedroom and was looking for a 50"+ for our living room. I was sure that I wanted a plasma, until I did more thinking about what my actual needs were.

Reasons why I wanted Plasma first:
- deep black levels
- vibrant colours
- wide viewing angle
- cheaper than flat panel LCD

Reasons why I changed my mind about Plasma:
- 50" was too small, 58" was too big--nothing in between
- potential reflections on screen (lots of lights in our great room/kitchen)
- going to connect Wii: possible burn-in risk (minimal, but don't want risk)
- not as bright as LCD (lots of windows in the room)

Reasons why I finally chose flat-panel LCD:
- larger screen sizes available
- brighter screen than Plasma--good for daylight viewing
- less reflections on screen
- viewing angle very good
- many 1080p models available
- no burn-in risk for Wii
- sale price cheaper than 1080p plasma

I ended up buying a 52" Sony Bravia KDL-52W3000 that I'm very happy with.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Remembrance Day 2007: And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

I made this video today for Remembrance Day next week. For those of you who don't know, "Waltzing Matilda" is a famous Australian folk song and a “Matilda” was the name given to the pack that Australian farm workers carried on their backs. To "Waltz Matilda" meant to travel the bush with the pack on your back.

The song “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle is about 50,000 Australian soldiers who fought against Turkish troops and died in the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I.

The pictures are of Australian soldiers from Gallipoli and of Canadian troops, past and present.

Friday, November 02, 2007

VW R32: Vandalized

A little over a week ago my R was vandalized. Needless to say, I was and am still not happy. The pictures are self-explanatory.



There's more below the fold.



No need to spell it out, though. The point was made when the vandal(s) carved the R in the first place, unless it's proof of literacy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

First Watch Worn on the Moon


Omega Speedmaster Professional
Originally uploaded by istargazer.
I've always had a thing for wristwatches and the Apollo Space program, so this year I indulged and I bought an Omega Speedmaster Professional as a birthday present to myself.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Speedmaster's introduction and it has had a long history. Click the link below for more information.

The back of the watch is engraved with the Speedmaster mascot and the words:


FLIGHT QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR ALL
MANNED SPACED MISSIONS

FIRST WATCH
WORN ON THE MOON


Omega Speedmaster Professional - back


Apollo Lunar Surface Journal - NASA
The Right Stuff: Inside the Omega Speedmaster Professional - Part 1
The Right Stuff: Inside the Omega Speedmaster Professional - Part 2

Saturday, October 13, 2007

VW R32: Key fob badge

One of the reasons I stop by VWvortex is to get Volkswagen and R32-related news, in addition to seeing what other people are doing with their R32s. I saw a thread about customizing key fobs which I thought was a neat idea.

See over the fold for pictures and information.

This '.:R' badge is constructed of aluminum and fits directly on top of the VW emblem on the fob. Despite being relatively expensive ($10 USD ea.)--life's too short--I ended up buying two. :o)

Sold by NorPacvw.com

The badge has an adhesive backing.

Update 26OCT2007: The adhesive backing is not as sticky as I would like -- I've noticed that my 'perfectly' aligned badge is now askew.

VW R32: Freebies

In what I think was a nice touch, every new 2004 VW Golf R32 came with a R32 ballpoint pen and leather key chain. I was particularly happy to receive mine (although the United States--unlike Europe--didn't get the R32 umbrella ::cry::) because I'd heard some owners finding one or the other 'missing'.

See beneath the fold for more information and pictures.

I received a leather R32 key chain, extra key ring, and carabiner in a nice box. The key chain is marked up because I've been using it since day one. Well, maybe day two.

Part No. 1J0 860 357

Included with the owner's manual was a R32 ballpoint pen, which I promptly removed and use frequently at home. The 'R32' lettering (in black) is much more visible than in the picture--my oft annoying camera flash, again.



VW R32: Post-wax pictures

Last weekend after waxing my R I decided to take additional pictures from a more holistic perspective.

More pics beneath the fold....











Follow this link for more pictures.

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI


2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Originally uploaded by istargazer.
It's been awhile since I took a picture of the STI. Here it is as of yesterday with its latest bobble: the Autospeed License Plate Trim.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

VW R32: Wash and Wax

Normally in October I'm anxiously awaiting the next dry spell so I can wash and wax my R. This year, however, it's been unusually dry and warm. I used the opportunity to wax the R despite having waxed it only 5-6 weeks earlier.

More beneath the fold....

I stuck with Einszett Glanz Wax which while not as long-lasting as sealants is a breeze to apply and looks great.

Using my camera's flash bled out any pictures so I was forced to do without, which bought its own set of problems. Out of 15 pictures these two are the only ones that didn't turn out too fuzzy. ::sigh:: Maybe I shouldn't have had that cup of coffee....




Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sirius Satellite Radio: Starmate 4

One of the best things I did to prepare for our road trip across the United States this summer was to subscribe to satellite radio. It was really nice to be able to listen to clear, high-quality sound no matter where we were. Also, the variety of stations available to us meant that we never were short of something to listen to.

So imagine my concern when our Stratus radio stopped working altogether half-way through our trip....

I started noticing problems when we reached Thunder Bay, Ontario. After we had made the border crossing, the radio reset itself: presets erased, no subscription registration. After a few minutes, it re-registered itself and I was able to listen to music again. While we were in Thunder Bay, I was also observing strange behavior with our GPS so I just brushed off the radio problems to some sort of "satellite Bermuda Triangle phenomenon."

As we got farther from the time zone border, the satellite radio continued to reset itself periodically. The annoying thing was we would not be able to listen to satellite for hours at a time. Finally, when we reached Washington, D.C. the radio died completely and would not display anything on its screen but the Sirius logo.

A call to customer service verified that the radio needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, I couldn't exchange it because I was over 2900 miles away from the store that I purchased it from! I ended up buying a new Starmate 4 radio with a few more features that I found were lacking in the Stratus, including a 44-min replay buffer and a remote control.

The first picture at the top of this post was taken in Chicago (we saw a lot of Corvettes during our trip). I bought the dash pad to mount the satellite radio from Best Buy in Maryland. It's great because it moves the radio closer within reach and doesn't block any of the vents like the way I had it originally mounted. Also, if I want to hide it from view when I'm parked, I can easy move the entire pad to the floor.

I liked it so much I bought a second one, intending to use it in the Subaru, but I discovered that there wasn't enough open dash area. I'll have to find a different use for it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Honda Odyssey: Pinnacle Formula One Tint

One of the things I really appreciated during our road trip to Washington, DC was the ceramic window tint that was installed on the Honda Odyssey just before we left. Ceramic tint has excellent heat rejection properties that made a significant difference in our comfort, especially with the 35° C and above weather.

One thing that I didn't think about was tinting the sun roof....

The way the sunroof is positioned in the Odyssey, any sunshine that came through would feel uncomfortably intense, so much so that I would have the shade closed almost all of the time--even here in Vancouver. I didn't have that problem at all in our Toyota Sequoia.

So when I took my dad in to get his 2007 Infiniti G35 to get tinted, I brought the van in to get the sunroof done also. It only cost about $30 and even though it doesn't look much darker, I can now keep the cover open and let more light in without getting uncomfortable.

Here's my original post about getting the Pinnacle Formula One ceramic tint.

UPDATE: October 19, 2008

Our Honda Odyssey has been sold for a couple months now, but I wanted to give an update about the tinted windows. In British Columbia, it is illegal to have any form of tint on the driver or front passenger windows. I've had very little problems in the past. In the sunshine and with open sky behind, the 35% front tint looked very light. However, this past summer got off to a very slow start and the cloudy, overcast days made the front tint on the Odyssey look very dark. The darkened sunroof didn't help let light in either. With outside reflections, the windows sometimes looked impenetrable. This was dark enough to attract attention from the police. Because of that I received two tint tickets within a month and I almost got a third one from another cop who pulled from an intersection with lights on to come along side me to check me out. I saw him coming in my mirror and rolled down one of my windows, so by the time he caught up he took a moment but changed his mind.

The next time I tint my windows, I'll probably stick to using just 50% in the front. I still would tint the sunroof, though.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hello? Is anyone there?

I apologize for the lack of up dates on this blog, especially since the last time I posted I was somewhere in South Dakota!

We've finished our 6-week road trip across the United States and are now back in Vancouver. It was an amazing trip and we had a really good time. So good in fact that I miss being on the road.

I don't know why I stopped posting mid-trip. I think I sensed that the end was coming and I wanted to savor each moment. Even though our evenings only consisted of trips to the hotel swimming pool and Survivor Man marathons on Discovery, I still enjoyed it. In fact, we got hooked on the Discovery Channel and the Food Network during our hotel stays and we promptly added it to our cable subscription when we got home! :LOL:

I've got lots of new pictures and I plan on uploading them, but I'm not quite ready, yet. That time will come. Hopefully, this post shows that it may be sooner than later :0)

Friday, September 07, 2007

VW R32: Potenza RE960AS

The MkIV R32 came stock with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 225/40ZR18 performance summer tires which were great--good grip on dry and wet--except for the soft sidewalls. I don't have the luxury of having space to store winter and/or summer tires so I quickly replaced the F1s with ultra-high performance all-season Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S tires. Today, after almost 31k miles I replaced the Pzero Nero M+S with Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Positions.


The Pzero Nero M+S had good grip on dry and wet, and for the first couple winters worked great in light snow. These tires still had more than 4/32" tread depth and while they didn't stick as well as they did when new the Pzero Nero M+S still had plenty of life. So why did I replace them, now? My reasons were three-fold:

  1. In the span of 3.5 years and 31k miles I've had at least two flats, the first caused by a nail, and the second, who knows. Recently I noticed that I had slow leaks in both my front tires: within one month I lost 12 psi on my driver-front tire and 7 psi on my passenger-front, compared to losing 3 psi in each of my rear tires, the latter in my experience being normal. Instead of wasting time and money verifying then fixing the slow leaks, I thought I should invest that money on new tires.
  2. I was stuck one day in the snow last winter, to my surprise and disappointment. I know the Pirellis were only all-seasons, and I was on an incline with thick ice beneath snow, and there's no guarantee that different tires would have helped, but nevertheless I thought a change would be nice.
  3. Recently I've noticed the Pirellis squealed during certain maneuvers in which they never squealed previously.

The Bridgestones I purchased are ultra-high performance all-season Potenza RE960AS Pole Positions (225/40R18 88W). I picked these because they were in my affordable range, rated #1 in their category by customers on Tire Rack, I recalled reading positive recommendations on VWVortex, and they were in stock (as I mentioned above, I wanted to get them before being forced to repair my leaking Pirellis).

In addition to having the Potenzas mounted and balanced I also had a 4-wheel alignment. My fronts' "Turning" (see R32 stock alignment specs) were set at -2.3 or -2.4, if memory serves. I was told the only way to get them closer to stock specs would be to install control arms. Anywhoo, with this setting I was informed that there shouldn't be any excess tire wear or changes in handling so I left it at that.

The recommended Volkswagen tire pressures are 35 psi in the front, 44 psi in the rear. For the F1s I ran 40 f / 46 r because I was worried about the soft sidewalls and this carried over for a while to the Pirellis. More recently with the Pirellis, and now with the Potenzas, I'm running at 37 f / 46 r. I'll see how that goes. The 500 mile break-in period can't be finished quickly enough. :o)


Update 18SEP2007: If I judge by how much gunk has been coming off the Bridgestones and dirtying up the Aristos then the break in period was over after 300 miles. Still, I'm going to take it easy for another 200 just to be safe.

Friday, August 31, 2007

VW R32: wiper blades

A short while ago I replaced my wiper blades. They were still useable but I did notice a decrease in their effectiveness.

Part Nos:

driver-side, 1J1 955 425 B;
passenger-side, 1J1 955 426 B;
rear, 1J6 955 427.


Friday, August 24, 2007

VW R32: Lexan headlight covers

I’d decided to use Lexan headlight covers rather than adhesive-type film to protect my HIDs (Let there be light). I preferred the Lexan covers because I disliked the idea of attaching anything permanent to my HIDs, especially if there was a chance no matter how remote that it could turn yellowish in the future. As a bonus, these covers are OEM. I don’t know about now, but at the time Hillside Imports was the only place in the U.S. that sold them.


Bad news—through no fault of my own the driver-side cover was almost immediately cracked after installation. Good news—it was still useable. Despite being useable I would have replaced it if I could have found a place that sold them singly rather than pairs. I took a close look recently and I’m happy to say that although the covers are marked up, my HIDs are still in perfect condtion. The Lexan covers are well worth the cost.

Anywhoo, 29 months later someone contacted me regarding the Lexan covers. To cut the story short, we agreed to go halfsies on a new pair of Lexan covers. They arrived last night and this morning I replaced the driver-side cover.

FYI, the covers were $85 USD from Hillside Imports, part no. VWA0013.



Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wallcome to Wall Drug

Wallcome
Driving from Oacoma to Keystone yesterday was mostly a sight-seeing day with visits to the Badlands National Park and the Wall Drug store in Wall, SD.

The kids are a little distracted in that picture because we were talking to some people who were sitting on a bench outside the store.

Today will be another short-drive day so that we can spend time visiting Mount Rushmore.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On the road again....

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days--they've been quite busy. We are currently on the last leg of our cross-continent trip, back on the road and heading homeward to the west coast.

Here's a brief summary of what we've done. More details and pictures will follow when I get time to upload everything.

Because of the intense heat and humidity in the DC area last week, taking the Metro and walking around the National Mall all day long was not that appealing. Also, the National Museum of American History, one of the museums I really wanted to see, is currently closed for renovations and will not be re-opened until next summer....

So what we did instead was take a side trip (3 hours one-way) to Ocean City, Maryland and taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. We spent the rest of our time shopping at various outlet malls. I liked Potomac Mills the best because it was air conditioned and had a lot of shops. In fact, it was so big, we went again during the week. We also went to the Fashion Center in Pentagon City several times--two times to shop and one to take the Metro.

Taking the Metro from Fashion Center is really convenient. It's more expensive to park than at other park-and-rides but it's always easy to find close parking and cheaper than parking at the National Zoo. We spent our penultimate day doing the tourist routine again and lining up for tickets to tour the Capitol Building in the morning and visiting the National Air and Space Museum at the Mall in the afternoon.

It was supposed to have cooled down by Friday, but it didn't and by the time we walked from the Capitol Building to the air-conditioned comfort of the McDonald's located in the museum, I thought I was going to pass out!

We left the DC area late Sunday morning (Day 34) on the 12th of August. It took a while figuring out how to fit everything in the van because we definitely accumulated a lot more than what we started with. We stayed the night in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Yesterday (Day 35) we drove to Black River Falls, Wisconsin and stayed at the same Holiday Inn Express we did last time. It was a little out of our route, but they had a great kid-friendly pool there and we took advantage of it again. I got to experience another severe thunder storm that came through the area in the evening. If the pictures I took turn out, I'll post them up.

Today (Day 36) we drove to Oacoma, South Dakota and tomorrow will be a short driving day which will give us time to make some tourist stops along the way to Mount Rushmore.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Space Shuttle Enterprise


Built in 1976, the Enterprise was the first space shuttle orbiter but never flew in space. It was used for series of atmospheric test flights including free-flights and landings to test systems and aerodynamic performance.

I have quite a few more pictures from the Air and Space Museum that I have yet to upload, and those will come. However, our time in DC is drawing to a close and we'll be getting back on the road soon.

Yesterday, to combat the 100 degree F weather, we made a 3-hour excursion to sandy beaches of Ocean City, MD and had a swim in the Atlantic Ocean!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Face of Death: August 6, 1945 - Hiroshima, Japan


Sixty-two years ago today, on August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-MO dropped the first ever atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan.

Over 140,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

Find more information at The Official Homepage of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and take a virtual tour.

Cold Metal


The World War II B-29 bomber, Enola Gay.

Enola Gay


The World War II Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Museum of Natural History


The National Museum of Natural History. One of the (many) DVDs that we brought on our road trip was Night at the Museum (2006) with Ben Stiller. Visiting the Natural History museum on the National Mall here in Washington, DC was a lot of fun because (even though I think the movie set was based upon the American Museum of Natural History in New York) so many things looked like it came straight out of the movie. Things like the main rotunda, the cave man exhibit, the Mammals, the T-Rex--they even had a replica Easter Island statue, "Me no dum-dum. You dum-dum. You bring me gum-gum?"

More pictures to come.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lincoln Memorial



The Lincoln Memorial was built to resemble a Greek temple. It has 36 columns, one for each state at the time of Lincoln's death.








Click below for interior pictures....


The statue of Lincoln was carved from 28 interlocked blocks of crystalline white Georgia marble and is 19' high and 19' wide. The south wall of the monument is inscribed with the Gettysburg Address.






It's interesting what you can learn from the back of post cards! ;0)

Inside the memorial, the 12-24 mm wide-angle lens I got came in really handy. I didn't bother to put the circular polarizer on at all because I can't figure out an efficient way to work it.

Washington Monument


While the Honda Odyssey was being serviced at Sport Honda (details to come), we took the Metro down to the National Mall. The new wide-angle lens I bought was perfect in this situation....


This is the view of the Washington Monument from the top of the steps at the Lincoln Memorial.

Day 21: Fremont, Ohio to Washington, DC

Today is a "take-it-easy" day--relatively--so I'm finally catching up with some posts I missed.

The final drive into Washington, DC was relatively uneventful especially compared to the day before (Day 20: Black River Falls to Fremont). Plus, sensing that we were getting closer to our destination--we made up some time at the end.


*** Note: The summary below includes arriving at our destination and going out to have dinner at a local restaurant. Distance and average speed data will be affected.
Day's Summary: Fremont, Ohio to Gaithersburg, MD
Total distance traveled: 682.5 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 6 hours, 21 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 6 hours, 34 min.
Average fuel consumption: 11.7 L/100 km
Average speed: 97 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 30° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 2

Click below for pictures....





Road Trip Day 21 Pictures


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tokina AT-X Pro DX 12-24 mm F4 lens

After some careful research, I decided that a super-wide angle lens would be the next purchase for me (vs. a general purpose telephoto). The Tokina AT-X Pro DX 12-24 mm F4 lens ($500) is almost half the price of the similar wide-angle Nikon ($900) and has gotten good reviews on it's performance. Being strictly a beginner hobbyist, I thought it was a great choice.

New Toys (from Chicago and DC)
I've had a couple of days now to try it out and learn about it's advantages and disadvantages....


...which I'll post more details about in another post--sorry for the tease!

On Monday we went to the National Zoo and I found the wide-angle lens to be very unsuited for the situation. And I got only a couple of acceptable pictures from that day. Here's one of my favorites:

Two and Four at the National Zoo

The biggest advantage of the wide-angle lens is that it allows me to get the entire shot I want without have to step back so far away.

Yesterday we went to see the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and I was much happier with my results. I post more of the them later, but here's one on our way to the Foggy Bottom Metro station:

GWU

Today we're doing the tourist in DC thing again and we're heading out the door right now--see ya!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

VW R32: dogbone mounts

I replaced the EIP Tuning dogbone mount on my R with a mount from BmF Technologies. I’d been satisfied with the EIP mount for 30k miles but for multiple reasons I decided to try something new.


When I first purchased my R I wanted to get an after-market mount to reduce the very noticeable engine thunk that accompanied hard accelerations. I originally chose the EIP mount because it was relatively inexpensive and reported to have a minimal increase in vibration compared to other mounts available at the time. In that regard the EIP dogbone was completely satisfactory. You can find pictures and more information here: EIP Mk4 R32 rear transmission mount.

I wanted to try a new dogbone because recent stories I’d read about EIP made me wonder whether there was something better that would fit my budget. I decided on a dogbone mount from BmF Technologies, a performance tuning shop located in Maryland, because the price was right and I felt it was better constructed.

The BmF dogbone causes more vibration, primarily at the steering wheel and in the pedals, most noticeable at idle in 1st gear. The vibration was no where near what I would describe as being excessive or bothersome. There is also less engine movement under hard accelerations. It’s still only been a relatively short time, but so far I’m satisfied. You can find more pictures and information by following this link: dogbone mounts.


VW R32: Broken brake light

Short and sweet: I had to replace my driver’s side brake light. The brake lights use a P21W (1156 or 7506) light bulb (light bulb replacement list for the Mk4 R32). You can follow the link to see a previous post on how to access the rear light bulbs (VW R32: Broken tail light).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 20: Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio

Welcome to Illinois
If you notice the date of this post, it's obvious that I'm several days behind and I apologize. We arrived in the Washington, DC area Friday night and have been busy with a number of things so I'm just now trying to catch up.

The drive from Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio (just east of Toledo) on Thursday was a long one because we made a couple of extra stops in Madison, WI and Chicago, IL. Also, reaching more populated areas meant the speed limits dropped and traffic increased. Oh, yeah, we also had to drive through a couple of thunder storms.
Day's Summary: Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio
Total distance traveled: 881.2 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 7 hours, 44 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 9 hours, 6 min.
Average fuel consumption: 11.5 L/100 km
Average speed: 97 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 28° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 3

Click below for more details of the day....

Our first big stop was to find a Circuit City store somewhere along our route. I wanted to buy a Sony DSC-N2 digital camera (which got good ratings in Consumer Reports, July 2007) and I knew Circuit City used to carry it. "Used to" because just a couple of days earlier I saw it advertised for sale on their web site. However, the night before when I looked again, it was gone. Simply deleted with no indication that they carried it at all. When I arrived at the store in Madison, I found out why: the camera was on clearance and there was only 1 open-box and 1 demo for sale. I knew the camera was available online at other places, but I wanted it in my hand so I bought the demo for $250. The online Sony store still lists the sale price at $350.

Our next detour was going to be in Chicago but before we got there we had to out run a thunder storm. Actually, we went through it as it traveled eastward and encountered some really heavy rains and visibility was very poor. By the time we reached Illinois we had gotten ahead of it, but it was moving fast so as we finished our lunch at the first rest stop in Illinois, the thunder and lightning had caught up to us and we got back on the road again.

The reason for the quick stop in Chicago was to visit one of 11 Kwik-E-Mart stores remodeled to promote the new Simpsons movie. I was surprised to see that even after almost a month, store was still very busy with people like me taking pictures and buying merchandise. I got my best haul here :0).

We were treated to a spectacular lightning show as we drove into the night in Ohio. There were two storm cells that we seemed to be following and it was exciting seeing huge bolts of electricity light up the clouds and landscape. There was one time that it seemed we were getting closer and we could feel the rolling thunder vibrate through our van. One got so close to us that it sounded like a crack of a cannon that had been shot along the highway next to us.

Anyway, with all that happened that day, we didn't check in to our hotel in Fremont until after 10:00 pm. We were tired, but it was a satisfying day and only slightly annoying/disappointing to find that there was no elevator to get to our 2nd-floor room.

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