Monthly Archives: January 2013

  • Tonneau Covers are Essential in Icy Wintery Weather

    Lately we have been having some crazy weather in some areas of the country. Ice storms have taken their toll this year. And when these storms hit, unprotected vehicles are left iced over. Scraping and thawing are never a fun way to start the morning, or any time, really. However, these ice storms do double damage if you happen to own a pickup truck. Not only do your windows and doors freeze up, but your truck bed gets covered by a sheet of ice too. If you were storing anything in that bed, it also gets damaged. That’s why it is important to keep your truck bed and its content protected with a tonneau cover.

    Lund is well known for manufacturing superior tonneau covers. They have five different designs to choose from, so you are sure to find the perfect model for your specific circumstances. Two of the more popular models are the Roll-Up Tonneau and the Tri-Fold Tonneau. Both tonneau covers use high-quality double-sided, tear-resistant fabric to offer superior protection. The fabric is black matte and matches the black rails and bows for good looks too.

    The tri-fold model folds into thirds, securing with easy-to-use clamps. This design allows for great flexibility in using your truck bed. For starters, it allows easy access to the rear of your truck bed without having to lift or remove the entire tonneau cover. In addition, you can choose how much of you truck bed you want to leave exposed. For example, if you are carrying long cargo, like lumber, you can leave the last third open, giving the lumber room to stick out. With a traditional truck tonenau, you would have to remove the entire to accomplish this. With the tri-fold, however, you can still leave two thirds of your truck bed covered and protected.

    tonneau

    Lund

    The roll-up tonneau expands this flexibility by allowing you to roll the entire tonneau. This leaves your truck bed completely open, providing you room to haul appliances, machinery, or other large cargo. Because the tonneau rolls up, you do not need to remove and stow the tonneau, and it’s ready to unroll as soon as you unload. Similarly, if you are constantly climbing into and out of your truck bed, this tonneau can be rolled up quickly and easily, allowing you full access when you need it, and full protection as soon as you don’t.

    rollup tonneau

    Lund

    As you can see, you may want to think through exactly what sort of uses you most use your truck bed for, so you can find the right kind of cover for you. Tonneaus are available in multiple materials, both hard and soft, in many different styles, and from many different manufactures. It’s important to pick the right cover so you can get the most out of both the tonneau cover and your truck bed.

  • Retro Carhops Are Still a Cool Way to Dine

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    In the 1920s, as automobiles began gaining prominence, the way America dined started changing. Founded on the principles of laziness, carhops became an alternative way of "eating out" with waiters and waitresses bringing your meal right to your car! In our age of fast food drive-thrus, this does not seem like  a very big deal. However, at the time it was a revolutionary way to run a restaurant.

    carhop

    A&W claims that it opened the first carhop all the way back in 1923, but plenty of local restaurants challenge that claim. Either way, these restaurants started catching on as convenient way to serve and eat. Individual restaurants started choosing various themes to help distinguish their restaurants. Carhops were required to don some elaborate costumes that fit with the theme and drew attention to their specific restaurant.

    As carhops grew in popularity, various inventions and new ideas were adopted to help keep profits high. For example, the traditional carhop trays that fastened outside of the vehicle were invented for easier eating and to prevent drivers from taking off with restaurants' trays. Roller skates also became a popular way for carhops to get around, helping them take and fill orders more quickly. Walkie talkies were also adopted as a way of speeding up business. Sadly, it was McDonald's that ended the vast success of carhops. McDonald's popularized a self-service model which was cheaper and attracted more and more families.

    Carhops still exist today though they are more of a novelty in our fast-food climate. National restaurant chain Sonic, as well as  small independent restaurants still employ carhops. In fact, Sonic actually hosts a national carhop competition called the Sonic Skate-Off, where its employees compete against each other both in "carhop skills" and general skating expertise.

  • Newest Car Technology Makes Driving Easier

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    I remember how amazing the new car technology of power windows seemed after years of manual windows. Rolling and unrolling with the push of a button was a million times easier than hand cranking, and far less distraction too. Of course, at the time quite a few people complained about the power windows, wondering when we had all become so lazy that we couldn't be bothered to crank open our windows. Little did these detractors know that power windows were just the beginning?

    In recent years, the number of new technologies in vehicles has skyrocketed. Door and trunks now open with the push of a button. Cars start via smart phone apps. Hands-free technology allows us to make phone calls and request songs without lifting a finger at all. Is all this technology making us lazy, or is it merely allowing us to get the most use out of our vehicles to make our hectic lives easier?

    For example, Ford recently introduced the power liftgate that opens not with the pull of a handle or a push of a button, but with a gentle kick beneath the vehicle. Operating under the assumption that many times liftgates need to be activated when hands are full, this Ford invention allows for complete hands-free access. Two sensors in the rear bumper detect the presence of your foot as well as the kicking motion to pop the liftgate up.

    Ford Liftgate

    Toyota also uses sensors, but of the ultrasonic wave variety, to assist you when parking your vehicle. Each bumper corner contains a sensor that can detect the vehicle’s distance from surrounding objects and alert the driver when the vehicle is getting too close to its surroundings. Combined with an IPA (Intelligent Parking Assists) system, these vehicles can park by themselves as well. They go so far as to manipulate the steering wheel to help position your vehicle perfectly into a designated spot.

    Toyota Parallel Parking

    Hyundai recently debuted their gesture-based technology system at NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit earlier this week. This technology called HMI or Human Machine Interface is still in the concept phase and would allow drivers to interact with their vehicles various functions using gestures and eye tracking. This change would hopefully allow for a safer driving environment, as no buttons or screens would need to be pressed. Because of this, drivers could theoretically keep their eyes on the road, while still using all of their car’s features.

    If you have recently bought a new car, what new technology feature is your favorite? If a new car is not on your horizon, what new car technology do you wish your current car had? Let us know in the comments!

  • Good Samaritan Seeks Good Samaritans

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    Two weeks ago, a Good Samaritan did the right thing and helped reunite a mother and her two young sons. Now he needs his own Good Samaritans.

    It all started on December 22, when two young brothers from Suwanee, Georgia left for an overnight trip to Chattanooga with their father. They were supposed to return to their mother on December 26th, but the boys and their father never came back. Their mother went to check on the boys at their father's house, only to discover that an empty house and disconnected phones. The distraught mother went to police, who issued an Amber Alert for the brothers.

    Almost 1,000 miles away, in Austin, Texas, John Lacy saw the boys' photographs on CNN. Lacy saw two boys who looked similar to the photographs of the brothers and also spotted a pickup truck with Georgia license plates. He used his phone to lookup the news story he had seen, and checked the accompanying photographs to the boys he saw.

    He thought he had a match, and after a quick consultation with motel staff, he called 911. His eyes had not deceived him. The boys in the missing pictures were the two boys in the parking lot! Their father was arrested, and their drove out to Austin to be reunited with her sons.

    A happy ending for sure, but less than a week later, Good Samaritan John Lacy faced some troubling news himself. An electrical fire started in the home he shared with his girlfriend and sons, burning the house down.

    It is often said that no good deed goes unpunished, but hopefully a group of new Good Samaritans will come to John Lacy's aid, just as willingly as Lacy himself did.

    More information is here, here, and here.

    Do you have any Good Samaritans you’d like us to mention on the blog? Let us know in the comments!

  • Hot Wheels Cars for Fun and Profit

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    Many men (and some women) remember Hot Wheels cars as a relic of childhood. These miniature cars were one of the greatest toys ever because you could roll them around, crash them into each other (always a favorite), and they were small enough to slip in a pocket to take with you practically anywhere.

    Hot Wheels cars

    Like many other childhood toys, these little Hot Wheels cars are now a serious collector’s item. Not the actual cars you crashed together, of course, but mint condition models, preferably still in the packaging. In some ways, collectors are surpassing the young child users, and Hot Wheels itself has begun catering directly to the collector market. In 2001, Mattel (the owner of Hot Wheels) launched HotWheelsCollectors.com to market to and connects all of its collectors from around the world. They even have a special club, the Red Line Club, which requires a paid membership and allows members an exclusive annual car just for them, as well as first access to other cars in the Hot Wheels lineup.

    Just about everyone collects something, and as collectibles go, Hot Wheels cars are fairly cheap, often costing less than a dollar in the store. You never quite know which of these cars is going to rake in the big bucks. Reportedly, the highest selling Hot Wheels was the Volkswagen Beach Bomb, which sold for $72,000 in 2000. It seems unlikely that any of the current years’ models will ever achieve these prices, but just in case you want to hedge your bets, you would need to buy nearly 250 cars to have a whole year’s collection.

    Volkswagen Beach Bomb

    Volkswagen

    So were you a past lover of Hot Wheels cars? Are you a current collector? Or did you shun Hot Wheels in favor of Matchbox cars? I loved Hot Wheels, with my favorite being an orange truck that came with a detachable snow plow.

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