Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Bat and Other Mobiles

My husband, Len Wein, was indeed on Batman Unmasked on the History Channel last night and we expect him to appear on Batman Tech next Monday night at 9 p.m., also on the History Channel. Len created Lucius Fox, the character who is Batman's "Q"-equivalent and who runs Wayne Industries. I don't think there could be a better bit of casting than Morgan Freeman.

We're getting ready for the trip to San Diego, so the car went in for servicing today. I love the vehicle--a 1998 Honda Odyssey. It's the four-cylinder model built on the Accord chassis. It seats 6--4 bucket seats and a bench seat that folds completely into the floor. The two back bucket seats come out, so I can put a whole lot of shavings and hay into it when I need to. Or, I can pretty much cart everything I need for a big photo shoot with lights into it.

Unfortunately, I'm pushing 140,000 miles on it and it's starting to show. There's hesitation when I step on the gas and some clunking in the front and squeaking in the back. It's got scrapes and dents. The mileage isn't as good as it used to be and Honda has never been able to fix the phantom reason the brake warning light likes to come on some mornings. I hate the idea of buying a new car, since this one's been paid off for five years, but when you start paying more in upkeep than a year's worth of car payments, it is probably time to bite the bullet. We'll see how much damage the service comes to. I'd like to get another Odyssey, even though I don't like the sliding back doors, making it more like a van than a tall station wagon. The new version is six cylinders and the bench seat in the back seats 3 small people, not just two. Having a vehicle that comfortably seats six adults is a real plus for carpooling to events, I must say, and I don't want to give it up.

This time out, I want a towing package as well. I didn't own a horse when I bought my current vehicle, and I'm still not crazy about the idea of towing a trailer myself, but I'd like the option. Also, the Honda's bike rack goes into the towing apparatus, and I am constantly dropping my son off with his bike somewhere. It would be more convenient. Especially since my bike doesn't fit in my Odyssey very well at all--the handle bars are too high.

I think Len would prefer to replace his car first--it's about 18-24 months older, but it has about half the mileage of mine. That's because mine gets taken on all the long trips because it is more spacious and comfortable. His really doesn't need replacing yet.

My previous high-mileage car was my beloved standard transmission Volvo 240 DL wagon. We bought it in 1983 and I drove it for over 200,000 miles, including a number of cross-country trips, until I plowed it into the back of a 1977 Volvo sedan at about 15 mph on Magnolia Avenue in Burbank about 11 years ago. The light at Hollywood Blvd. was green and there were no brake lights on the other Volvo, so I didn't realize it was actually stopped. He was able to drive away. My insurance company totaled my car. Sniff. That one, I'd still be driving.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like you get a lot of mileage out of your cars. If I were you I'd get the next one with a towing package, you never know, you might get a trailer some day and trailer to parks and what not. It's always nice to have.

M. C. Valada said...

Yes, I'd definitely like the option of towing, and the time to do it is at purchase.

The service wasn't as bad as I feared it might be, but the clunking is still there. It may relate to something that can be fixed the next time the break pads need replacing, which is not yet, and it will be less expensive to do both things at the same time.