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DayCreek Journal

March 9 , 2003

Life's A Gas

Yes, I am still alive. It's been a couple of weeks since since I have been up at the house. As a matter of fact, I just arrived this afternoon. Between bad travel weather, family commitments and rising gas prices, I've had to reschedule my life a bit. The biggest headache of late is due to our country's propensity to wage war. I don't need to tell you how expensive fuel has gotten, especially since diesel is tied to the price of home heating oil. My round trips are now costing me over $60 and forcing me to make changes in my schedule.

It's hard to say at this stage of the game how long gas prices will stay at or above their current levels, but it has gotten us to think about doing a bit of shuffling with vehicles. Jo has been driving her Subaru Legacy for 12 years now and although it still runs fine, the body is slowly rusting away. My vehicle is a 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 turbo diesel. I usually get between 17 and 20 mpg and it makes me cringe. I would much rather be driving a hybrid, but they're quite pricey new or used if you can find one. Plus, the pickup truck is a necessity. I use it every week to haul things that I couldn't haul with a regular car.

If I could get a good deal on a hybrid, I would use it as my primary vehicle and use the pickup truck as our workhorse whenever the need arises. But, they're not giving them away at the moment and I wonder about their life span—remember the Wankel engine?

We have gone for a few test drives. I test drove a Honda Insite last year and really liked the car even though it is very small—definitely a two-seater. For all of the highway driving that I do, getting more than 60 mpg sounds good to me. Since then, I have also considered the Toyota Prius and the new Honda Civid hybrid. But none of these cars come cheap and living on a single income makes the decision a bit more difficult.

I think if anyone needs a car, it's probably going to be Jo and for her, the best car to drive during adverse weather conditions (in my opinion) is a Subaru. If we were to do this, I'd use Jo's beater to drive between here and Illinois. The two big advantages to the Subaru is it's proven track record of dependability and the all important full-time, all wheel drive. Jo's Legacy has great traction, better than my pickup truck in four wheel drive and I want to make sure that Jo feels comfortable behind the wheel. Our county road here in SE Minnesota is plowed regularly, but there's been times when it's icy. Subaru's are top notch when it comes to driving in adverse weather conditions. It would be great to see Subaru come out with a hybrid, then life would be complete!

One thing is certain—every trip I make I see higher pump prices. Changing my work schedule to longer work periods will ease the pain on the pocketbook but make the time away from Jo that much longer. We'll just have to see how this all plays out during the coming weeks.

It's really, really cold up here
! Temperatures today reached a balmy 10°F (only 30° below normal!) and it looks like it's going down to 5 to 10 below zero tonight. It has been a much colder winter than previous winters and dryer too. But it looks like the temperatures could be up near 50 by week's end. I've just about burned all of the one face cord of wood that I purchased back in November and I'll probably purchase another face cord this week to round out the heating season and then some. I would imagine that had I been up here through the whole winter, I would have used a full cord. Once the heating season is over, I'll be sure to give a full report on exactly how much it cost to heat the house.

I guess I better go do some work since it's been a couple of weeks since I was last up here. I don't want Jo to think I'm just up here typing on the computer.