Monthly Archives: February 2013

  • Are You Thinking Of Taking A Family Ski Trip

    Are you thinking of taking a family ski trip, there are a variety of options to think about before booking your trip. First and most important where are you going to go, and how are you getting there. Every year we have our trip to Vermont. It is only a car ride away so that saves some money. Taking a family trip means a lot of luggage, good thing my husband brought a new truck. Over the years we have come up with two packing list. List one is the ski bag list, this list reminds us to pack things like skis, or snowboard, boots, poles gloves, goggles, thermals, ski suit, and lip balm. The second list is for all your other stuff like clothes and all your toiletries. I have found that a packing list making packing much easier and no worries about forgetting anything.

    Picking your destination really depends upon what you are looking for, as well as your level of skiing. If you are new to the sport you should look for a resort that offers classes and maybe not all that big. Ski resorts that are geared toward the new and beginning skier’s are not hard to find. Most promote themselves as the premier place to learn to ski.  To save more money look at ski and stay travel packages, they typically offer free children's lift tickets, with an adult purchase, as well as free lodging for children. Many ski areas offer multi-day packages with lessons every day, sometimes twice daily. Check to see if the resort has slope side condominiums available. A condo is ideal for a family ski vacation. There are usually two or more bedrooms, a dining room or eating area, and a kitchen, so it isn't necessary to spend time (and money) eating every meal in a restaurant.

    If you have little ones, plan ahead. Review child care options and make your reservations well ahead of time.  Some resorts have an impressive combination of ski, play, and child care programs, as well as the option of arranging a nanny to accompany your child throughout the day.  Remember this is a family ski vacation and you will want to ensure that it's a good one. To be certain, most resorts have your best interests at heart, and can be trusted to provide an excellent product. It's up to you to cover all the bases, and to make sure your family ski vacation is planned, from beginning to end, in advance.

  • 2013 Chicago Auto Show: Ford and Chevy Go Green

    The 2013 Chicago Auto Show ended this week, and one of the big themes this year was green, fuel efficient vehicles. Nearly every major manufacturer had a new vehicle to show. Some featured an upgrade of an already existing vehicle, like the plug-in electric Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius. Some concept cars were also presented, though personally, I would rather see the vehicles that I can actually get my hands on now (or within a few months). Finally, some were promoting brand new cars like the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel. The 2.0L Turbo engine produces 148 hp and 258 lb. torque, which is set to outperform the Volkswagen diesel models. In addition, the Cruze will get 42 mpg on the highway all while emitting 90% less pollution.

    auto show


    For a full-electric vehicle, Chevy is going to begin selling the Chevy Spark EV as a 2014 model. It is only being sold in select areas in California and Orgeon to start, but if they prove popular, nation-wide role out is highly likely. The most complaints about electric vehicles are usually their range, charge time, and performance. Chevy has already answered back to two of these complaints, claiming the Spark can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. In addition, the Spark can recharge 80% of its battery in just 20 minutes with a special connector. Unfortunately, Chevy hasn’t released details on the Spark EV’s range yet, other than to say that it will lead its class.

    2014 Chevrolet Spark EV


    Ford also drew attention at the Chicago Auto Show for its Ford Fusion Energi. Though this model debuted last year, deliveries are finally beginning now, and there is great enthusiasm. This plug-in model has an all-electric range of 21 miles, and when combined with a full tank of gasoline to power its hybrid engine, it reaches 620 miles. When in all-electric mode the Fusion Energi gets 100 mpg! Energy saving LED Lights and recycled-content seating help boost the Fusion Energi’s green credentials.

    2013 Ford Fusion Energi


    Did you attend the 2013 Chicago Auto Show? Have you been following the new vehicle buzz? Let us know what you think in the comments!

  • Getting Ready For Your First Nascar Experience


    So are you getting ready for your first Nascar experience? You might want to know what you need to bring. What are you in for? Is it just watching cars drive around a circle? Each race is different, different type of track, different amount of laps the drive must complete, however they all offer the same experience and there are some things you should bring no matter what race you attend.

    Scanners-Fan Scan are great for keeping up with your favorite driver. They are also helpful to protect your ears from the loud engines. Sunscreen, you are in an open area for the whole day and the sun can really be hot, last things you want is to get burned. Wear comfortable shoes. Grab your camera. If there’s rain in the forecast, some kind of rain gear (but not umbrellas), they will be in peoples way of the race. If it is a hot day, take one of those mini fans that spray a mist of water. If it’s your first or fortieth race I would purchase an infield pass. It’s worth the visit!

    Now that you know what to bring what’s next? GET THERE EARLY. Why, because there is plenty to do before the race.

    Shop -you will be absolutely amazed at the amount of souvenir stands. There is literally a souvenir shop for every single driver in the field.

    It's party time -  Walk around in the parking lot or through the camping lots and you see some tailgaters, don't be scared, strike up a conversation. You'll then realize that you're in their little party, drinking beer and eating some good food. You could end up having a great time you weren't even expecting to have.

    Check out the cool cars on display- This is a really neat thing to check out. Get to see some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars up close, you might even get to sit in one and dream that you're driving at 200mph.

    Autographs anyone? -  You can meet your favorite driver, have a quick chat, take a picture, and get their autograph.

    Feel the rush- Find the fastest spot on the race track, which is usually the entrance to turn one right before the breaking point. Stand as you close to the fence as you possibly can and wait for a car to come towards you at full speed. There is no better feeling in this world than a car going by at high speeds, with the sound of the engine like thunder, only a few feet away from you.

    Your first Nascar experience will be exciting, crazy, and maybe a little scary.  But it will certainly be something they will never forget.

  • Time For Change, The New Commercial Vans

    2014 is bringing change to the commercial vans. Commercial van competition is heating up as several makers are offering lighter models with more fuel-efficient engines as a major selling factor. Today, working productively isn’t about working hard, your van is engineered to do that. For your part, it’s about working smart, so consider a commercial van for your smart working.

    Businesses are doing better, and now they're able to upgrade their fleets. They don't just want a new vehicle. They want a new vehicle that does a bigger and better job at a lower cost. Customers want technology, why, because it's going to make them more money. Featureswork van that the older style van didn’t have like, a fleet-monitoring tool, or something which can display local fuel prices. Think safety like a key which can be programmed that won’t work if the seat belt isn't buckled.

    Manufactures have gone with a more European style, giving these vans more height, a lower load floor, and a light weight vehicle. With the change to the shape of the new vans it allows a company to use the interior space more efficiently.  When we think of commercial vans most of us think of the Sprinter but now there will be more choices along that line. The Econoline, Ford's E-Series van has been the top U.S. contractor van for decades. However, while trying to keep up with competitors as Mercedes' Sprinter, Nissan's NV and the forthcoming Fiat-based Ram ProMaster van, the E-Series' glory days are fading, and it will be replaced by the 2014 Transit. Volkswagen is also joining in our the upcoming change to their commercial vehicles and has announced an expansion of the Caddyvan range, by introducing a Caddy Maxi Crewvan

  • Retro Microcars Are Up for Auction

    rearview mirror

    Bruce Weiner has one of the most interesting collections I  have ever seen. He collects microcars! What are microcars, you ask? Well, Weiner defines them as cars with "engine sizes of 700cc or less and two doors or less". Weiner spent years researching these mini cars, tracking down rare models, and restoring them to their full glory. He set up a microcar museum, where visitors could come and gawk at these tiny vehicles. And now, he has decided to auction off his collection, starting today, February 15th. If you would like to take a look at some of the microcars being auctioned, click here. Among the vehicles for auction are a  1963 Dubble Bubble transporter and a 1959 Coca Cola vehicle. The 1953 Champion 400H looks a bit like a Volkswagen Beetle, but the 1949 Voisin Biscooter prototype looks more like a golf cart.

    If you want a microcar of your own, and don't have tens of thousands of dollars for a retro car (which may not be street legal anyway), you could always take a look at the Smart ForTwo. This is one of the only (if not the only) microcar currently on the market in the United States. In order to pass inspections for sale here in the US, it required 23 different modifications. Smart ForTwo has an MSRP of under $12,000 for the most basic model, so it's a lot cheaper than one of Weiner's microcars, though you have to sacrifice the uniqueness and the cool retro styling. Still with a couple of Smart Car Accessories, you can differentiate your look.

    Would you ever consider getting a microcar like the Smart ForTwo or even a "city car" like the Fiat 500 or the Mini Cooper? If money was no object, which of Weiner's microcars  would you bid on for yourself? Let us know in the comments!

  • Car colors and their meaning

    car colors


    The color of the car you drive may say more about you than you think. Colors have specific affects on mood and emotion, and deliver a message of a specific feeling or personality. Which of these car colors represents you the best?

    Green – traditional, trustworthy

    Blue – alert, faithful, cautious

    Red – energetic, driven, passionate

    Silver – elegant, cool, calm

    Gold – intelligent, warm, luxurious

    Black – aggressive, bold

    Pink – gentle, loving, affectionate

    L.E.D. lights


  • Good Samaritan Pays It Forward


    When Julie Spahn's car battery died while driving home from teaching a class on a cold Michigan evening, she had no idea what she would do. Nobody was stopping to help her, and it didn't help that her emergency blinkers weren't working. Luckily, Good Samaritan Marco Martinez stopped to help. He maneuvered his truck behind Spahn's van, protecting both Spahn, and oncoming drivers by showing the van's location. He also welcomed Spahn into his truck to stay warm, and offered to take a look at the van's engine.

    A short while later, a tow truck arrived. With Spahn in good hands, Martinez left. Then Spahn noticed a set of keys in the snow. She realized that they must belong to her Good Samaritan, but without a name, she had no idea how to reach him.

    She posted messages on both Facebook and Craig's List. She even tried to enlist the help of local police, though they were doubtful that her Good Samaritan could be found. Luckily, Martinez had realized that he lost his spare pair of keys, and when he checked Craig's List, hoping someone may have found them, he saw Spahn's message.

    The pair reunited, amongst many hugs. Along with the keys, Spahn also gave Martinez candy and cookies that she had baked with her children. Martinez said that his actions were inspired by other Good Samaritans who had helped him when his truck had rolled a month before. As far as Martinez was concerned, he was just paying it forward.

    More information is here.

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

  • The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, An Old Name With A New Look

    Chevrolet Corvette

    Chevrolet has introduced the seventh generation Corvette this year, bringing back the Stingray name first introduced in 1963 and used thru 1976.  The big reveal of the new Corvette happened at the Detroit Auto Show, and the auto world has gone wild with excitement. The new Stingray has a redesigned exterior, redesigned cabin, redesigned everything. Aicon name with a new sexy look. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with an estimated 450 horsepower, and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. It is also the most capable standard model ever, able to accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds. It is expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg of the current model.

    The new Stingrays design incorporates an all-new frame structure and chassis, a new powertrain and supporting technologies.  Some of the new C7 highlights include:

    • An interior that includes real carbon fiber, aluminum and hand-wrapped leather materials, two new seat choices – each featuring a lightweight magnesium frame for exceptional support – and dual eight-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens
    • Advanced driver technologies, including a five-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors 12 vehicle attributes to the fit the driver’s environment and a new seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for perfect shifts every time
    • An all-new 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel
    • Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel; composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; carbon-nano composite underbody panels and a new aluminum frame help shift weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio
    • A sculptured exterior features advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability
    • Track-capable Z51 Performance Package including: an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability

    How much, how soon? The Corvette reaches showrooms late this summer, with the company hinting at a base price of around $56,000, which is about $5,000 more than a current base-model coupe, but still a relative bargain for a near-exotic performer with a top speed above 190 m.p.h.

  • 2013 Super Bowl XLVII Car Commercial Preview

    rearview mirror

    Super Bowl Sunday is almost here, when we watch football, pig out on pizza and wings, and actually look forward to watching commercials. And of course, because companies KNOW that we will be watching their commercials, they put extra effort into making them new, exciting, and edgy. It doesn’t hurt that the Super Bowl is the most watched event every year, with over a hundred million viewers. Commercials have become such a big thing that companies now issue press releases telling us about their commercials. Most, if not all, also upload their commercials to YouTube so we can view in advance what commercials we will be seeing on game day. Here's a sneak preview of some of the car commercials you'll be seeing during this year's Super Bowl.

    In “Stuck”, Hyundai is promoting its Sonata Turbo by showing multiple annoying or unsafe vehicles on the road. The Sonata lets you “Turbo” around them, staying in front.


    In the “Space Babies” car commercial, Kia’s Sorento helps get parents out of a sticky situation. When their son wants to know where babies come from, the father concocts an elaborate story. When pressed for further information, the father distracts his son with one of the Sorento’s cool features

    Mercedes promotes its CLA in the commercial “Soul”. The devil tries to talk a young guy into selling his soul in exchange for the new car (as “Sympathy for the Devil” plays in the background, naturally). Willem Dafoe plays the devil, and both Kate Upton and Usher help the young guy live it up in his car fantasy:


    “Wish Granted” features Kaley Cuoco, the RAV4 Genie. She appears and grants wishes after a man innocently buffs his Toyota RAV4’s hood with his shirt:


    And Subaru will be continuing its dog drivers theme. In the teaser “Tailgate”, two dogs show off all the sausage they can store in their Forester’s hatch:


    Which is your favorite car commercial? Please let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to check back in Monday to let us know which Super Bowl commercials got the most laughs or groans at your house!

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