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

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:


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

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