Thursday, September 27, 2007

Learning to shift

Well, I did it. It was not the fiscally responsible decision, but I've got no family and nothing to do with my life, so here it is:

I had some trouble shifting yesterday. I'm not good at first gear.

Did much better this morning. I stalled once pulling out of my neighborhood on the way to Reveille Club, and then I stalled once on my way to work sitting in stop-and-go traffic on the 610/I-10 interchange, but that was more because I was playing with the clutch and trying different things. I used to ride the clutch like crazy in stop-and-go on the motorcycle -- just letting it pull me forward a little and then pressing it back in. I guess I shouldn't do that in this car. I guess I should wait for space to let it all the way out when I pull up instead of just riding the friction point a few yards at a time.

The car rides like a dream. The only downside is that you're so low you can't see traffic lights and signs around SUVs and tractor trailors. Big cars pretty much block all view of what's ahead. I can't remember having that problem in the Mustang, but maybe I did and just don't remember.

I'm going to turn on the mpg monitor this afternoon because I've already burned over a quarter tank since filling up yesterday. I'm guessing that my shifting and choice of gears isn't too efficient yet. It's supposed to get 18-25, which is better than the Escape, but to burn that much gas that fast I think I'm getting more like 10-15. Then again, I haven't exactly been taking it slow when the opportunity allows me to open up the throttle.

I keep finding all these interesting little features. For instance, there's rollbars hidden in the rear deck that only deploy if the car senses itself hit a certain angle or lose all contact with the road. There's also sensors in the rear bumper that measure the distance to objects behind you. When you get within a certain number of inches, it sounds a tone, and as you get closer, the tone changes. The windows also crack themselves when you open the door and then roll back up when you shut the door like the Mercedes do. The stock radio has a detachable face, but that really doesn't matter because if you disconnect and reconnect the radio, it won't work without a 4-digit pin number. I'm trying to track that down because it didn't seem to be listed anywhere in my manuals. I may switch that deck out for a bluetooth-enabled deck with an input for my iPhone though. I just have to figure out how and where I'm going to mount the iPhone, so I can still read the Google Maps display, but so that it doesn't cause all that phone interference with my speakers.

The hardtop has a rear window defroster and speakers built into it. It just pops on, and all the electrical is connected through the rear posts that secure it to the car. It has heated seats although I doubt I'll ever need that in Houston.

I emptied the Escape last night, but now I've got to scrub it down. Did you know Target doesn't carry those "For Sale" signs anymore? What the hell is that? All stores used to carry a bevy of pre-printed black and orange signs that ranged from For Sale to Beware of Dog. Now you can't find them anywhere. Surely Wal-Mart still has them -- I hope. I may just have to print my own signs.
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