Back in 2012 or so I started watching a goofy YouTube show called Roadkill, about two guys who would drive somewhere remote to find a junky car, fix it up, do some burnouts, and drive it somewhere else. It was pretty popular, and eventually the two hosts—who then were both editors of Hot Rod magazine—quit their jobs and hosted Roadkill full time. A couple of years ago it was put behind a paywall at MotorTrend, and I missed the show.

Last week, deep in Week 3 of working from home, I was actually on the “buy” screen for a year’s worth of MotorTrend On Demand, but for some reason I never pushed the button.

This afternoon, I got an email from Hagerty announcing they were giving us members a free year of MotorTrend On Demand as part of our membership. I’m looking at several days at my desk making edits to WRI’s Annual Report, so this gift could not have come at a better time. Bravo, Hagerty, you just made my quarantine 100% more bearable.

Date posted: March 31, 2020 | Filed under cars, entertainment | Leave a Comment »

On Jalopnik, Andrew Collins (fellow Scout owner) writes an appreciation of The Second-Gen Honda CR-V. Because Jalopnik’s commenting system is such a giant bag of dicks, I couldn’t log in with one of the four accounts it’s made me create over the years to add my opinion, but my love of our CR-V is well documented here.

Date posted: January 31, 2020 | Filed under cars, honda, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

David Tracy of Jalopnik undertakes and writes about hare-brained wrenching trips on a regular basis, and his latest one is a hoot to read: he flew 1,500 miles to buy a manual Jeep Cherokee (a rare option), fix it in a donated garage, and drive it all the way home.

Date posted: January 9, 2020 | Filed under cars, general, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

A 4-door 1961 Pontiac Tempest just popped up on Barn Finds in pieces, but it reminded me of this 2-door from last year in beautiful shape: there’s something perfect about how the designers moved away from tall fins and folded layers, sculpting more subtle shapes in this era of cars; this particular style is one of my favorites. The split grille is Pontiac’s design language, and the inset behind the front wheels merging into short fins is perfect. Blacked-out dog dish hubcaps are the finishing touch. This would be in my dream garage.

Date posted: December 15, 2019 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Oh, man, this sucks: Jessi Combs, a television personality, fabricator, racer, and speed record holder, was killed yesterday trying to break her own land speed record in Oregon. I used to watch the 4×4 show she was on about 15 years ago, and then was pleased when she did a stint on Mythbusters. She was doing a bunch of other things since then, including setting the Women’s Land Speed Record of 398mph in 2013 and winning in her class in King of the Hammers. There aren’t enough positive female role models out there, and she was one of them: someone who could design, build and race her own stuff. RIP.

Date posted: August 28, 2019 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

We’re scrambling to tie up loose ends and pack for the trip; with all of the curveballs we’ve been thrown this week it disrupted our plans to get ahead. The tree guys came back on Tuesday and hauled off the large logs they felled, which were sitting in the middle of the driveway. To do this they had to use the big grapple truck, and to get that in the driveway they had to prune one side of the tulip tree way back, so now it looks like someone with half a moustache. There’s a huge pile of chips where the tree once stood, and they ground out all of the roots that were surfaced in the middle of the driveway. When we get back from vacation and it cools off some I’ll have to figure out what we’re doing with that mess, and spend an afternoon spraying the east side of the house in one uniform shade of blue.

It’s also easier to see how shitty the garage looks now. The two sheets of plywood serving as doors have never looked good, so I have to think of some ideas for how to pretty them up. Now that the tree is gone I also want to dig a trench across the driveway to send runoff from the gutters into the neighbors’ yard and not directly into the front of the garage.

* * *

Jen texted me Wednesday, in the middle of the 100+ heatwave, to tell me the A/C in the CR-V had died. Given that we’re going to take it on vacation next week, we couldn’t defer this maintenance, but I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap to fix. Our local mechanic agreed to fit us in Thursday (god bless him) and looked it over first thing in the morning. The bill wasn’t cheap but it had to get done, so we pulled the trigger. We got it back last night and it is cool again, thank GOD.

Meanwhile the Scout is in Essex for what I’m assuming will be a substantial repair to the transmission while we’re on vacation. All of this happening at the same time sucks, but the fact that the average age of our vehicles is 20 years old means they’re going to need maintenance (this is somewhat tempered by the fact that we put a total of less than 10,000 miles on all three of them yearly.)

* * *

I set up the drip hose and timer in the greenhouse Wednesday night so that it runs for 15 minutes every morning at 6AM. We’ve got a bunch of nice tomatoes coming in (and we’ll have to pick a bunch and bring them to the beach) so I want to keep them alive until we get back. I did the same thing last year and it saved everything in there while I was stuck in the hospital, although it all grew out of control in our absence. I also collected one dead mouse from the traps I put out on Tuesday evening; someone was nibbling on two of our low-hanging fruit and I decided it was time to seek vengeance. Also, the tomatillo is gone, because Jen read up on them and found that there need to be two plants to cross-pollinate each other.

Date posted: July 19, 2019 | Filed under cars, greenhouse, honda, house | Leave a Comment »

Our CR-V is now 13 years old. Far from being worn out, it’s only got 130,000 miles on the engine, and after some careful maintenance, it still looks pretty good. One place its age was showing, however, were the headlights. Our Honda has plastic housings like most other manufacturers, and ours fell victim to the same affliction many others have: they yellowed and fogged over with age. When we drove up to Syracuse for my father’s service earlier this year, part of the journey was at night, and it was frightening how dim the lights had gotten, even with the highbeams on.

Jen has been asking me to get after this for some time, and I did some research for the best possible solution. I bought a 3M kit on Amazon last week, resolving to improve our situation. In about a half an hour, I went from this:


To this:


You can really see the before and after difference in the next picture:


It’s really pretty simple. With a standard drill, you start with a fine sanding pad and go finer and finer until you’re wet-sanding the plastic, and then finally you apply a buffing compound to clean up the plastic. Both lenses took me about an hour in total to finish (I went back and cleaned up the right-hand lens after I took the picture above).

Date posted: July 13, 2019 | Filed under cars | Leave a Comment »

Honda announced today that it’s going to close its plant in Swindon, UK in 2021, and that this decision has nothing to do with Brexit, even though the plant accounts for 1/10th the auto output in the UK. Why do I care? Our trusty CR-V was built in the Swindon plant and shipped here.

The loss of such a major employer in Swindon, which backed Brexit in the June 2016 referendum, risks a further 10,000 jobs in the supply chain, which could have knock-on effects for other carmakers due to the interconnected nature of the sector.

I guess voting against your own self-interest isn’t exclusive to the Colonies.

Date posted: February 19, 2019 | Filed under cars, honda, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

ERP. If I had a couple million dollars laying around…

Date posted: January 2, 2019 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »


I saw this Pro Street Cougar in a parking lot the other night while Finn was at karate. Pro Street means you’ve made modifications to the engine and maybe the driveline, and most likely put a rollcage inside; everything else is supposed to be stock, which explains why this is still street-legal. 

Date posted: December 20, 2018 | Filed under cars, photo | Leave a Comment »