Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slip & Slide

When I was in high school, my car was a 1986 Chevy Nova. It sported four doors and a hatchback and had a tiny little engine, but it was reliable, got good gas mileage and could fit a bunch of friends for driving around. It certainly wasn't as flashy or sporty as I might have wanted, but it got the job done.

I took the car with to college starting with the second or third quarter of my freshman year (after my parents realized that driving back and forth to pick me up and drop me off 2.5 hours away several times in the span of a few months sucked). It again did a very serviceable job, especially at hauling my meager possessions back and forth in the fall/summer.

My last year in college the car got broken into and the cd player was stolen. It also started to develop some reliability problems (it was 12 years old at that point). My dad was driving a 1988 Mazda 626 at that point, but a few miles a day and so he was generous enough to trade cars with me.

The 626, despite being only two years newer, was light years better then the Nova. For one thing it had a more sporty engine then the Nova, had a nicer ride, and because it was a slightly larger hatchback even had a bit more room for stuff.

The only problem was that the tires were totally bald and the brakes were shot. Which, in Duluth during the winter was not really ideal. In fact, you could even call it dangerous. Stopping in snow was quite an adventure, and the only reason I didn't have any accidents was from being very conscious about it and through liberal use of engine braking with the manual transmission.

The car was still great, and I liked it, but you definitely took your life in your hands during a snowstorm.

This came to mind today because we got 8 inches of sloppy snow during the day, and I happened to have driven into work in my truck with ridiculously bald tires. So the drive home was a bit of an adventure. Luckily I was able to lean on my months of experience with the 626.

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