New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

So far so good…the pump’s doing fine, the old one probably can be fixed…

The kittehs have their annual shots, and tags, and are none the worse for wear—we had a little set-to with Shu, who is perhaps just a wee bit spoiled and believes he runs the household…but he has his shots now.

The faithful Forester, 120,000 miles, is in the shop being serviced: we thought we were going to have to do the timing chain this round, but turns out we got that at 90,000 miles, so now it’s all the belts and fluids: it’s running really well, and we just want to be sure while the car is old, the oldness does not extend to its wear-out-able parts. The engine runs great. This is going to be spendy, but it beats paying for a whole car, or fixing it AFTER things have gone wrong. Seems the tires are going to be ok for a bit, but I’m going to talk with them about it—tires are cheaper than fenders if they’re getting iffy about skids. I tend to spring for 100,000 mileΒ  all-weathers that really will affect handling: an extra margin of safety and agility if some ditz ahead of me decides he’s missed his exit at 70 mph or if a badly-loaded table leaves a truck and bounces my way (had both happen.) And we have serious snow and ice up here. Sooooooo we’ll think about the tires.



19 comments to So far so good…the pump’s doing fine, the old one probably can be fixed…

  • ryanrick

    Once upon a time I got Kelly Pathfinders — which I think they still make. They were all weather, all terrain and lived on my little Bronco. Handled fabulously in monsoon rains, snow and the ocassional ice, and were going to be good for 90,000 miles. Engine died before the tires did. For any tires to last that long though, be sure to protect them from too much UV, like garages (not street parking) and probably armor all or some such to keep them from cracking.

  • Spandrel

    Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually interface with the rest of the world (ignoring pushing the air out of the way here… second order effect and all that). Never (NEVER) skimp on tires. Glad you’re aware of them.

    Subies can go a long time if they’re taken care of – hope you’ve got another 120K in there.

  • CJ

    I could have.
    They found one thing in their go-over I’m REALLY glad they found: cracked fuel line up in the engine compartment. That could have been nasty. I’ve seen engines go up in flames…one involving the whole car. Spraying a mist of gasoline across a hot engine block is not my favorite thing.

    I’m still meditating the tires. We’re in Les Schwab territory, a large West Coast company that will, if you run their tires, repair any flat free, always. Of course you have to get them there. But there’s a shop just up the road from us, and not that far from our favorite pub.

    • brennan

      Boy howdy! Been there, done that. The fuel line came apart right next to the carbeurator on a hi-performance V-8. Mucho black smoke. Do not ever, ever open your hood while you have a fire in the engine compartment! It is very hot and very low oxygen in there and if you ventilate it, you are liable to lose hair, skin and a car at the very least. I pulled into a driveway, turned off the engine, got a hose, and shot water up into the hood from beneath. Out in 30 seconds and it was even driveable after fixing the fuel line.

  • Ah, Les Schwab (“I’ll paint any car for just $119.99!”). While many people swear by a particular brand, I try to get some hard data and then form my opinion. Advertisers don’t want to project any negative images about their product, so you have to go into the research with that in mind. I do use Consumer Reports magazine to do my research, as well as what my car’s manufacturer recommends. Like your Forester, my 2005 Civic is at 122,300 miles, and the timing belt should have been replaced at 90,000. I am surprised that a timing CHAIN would need to be replaced, though. My 1994 Saturn SL2 had a timing chain and when I looked up the maintenance schedule for replacing it, it wasn’t listed in the owner’s manual. My presumption, then, is that it doesn’t need replacing unless there’s a major disaster.
    So, I am trying to save money now to get the timing belt replaced ($600), as well as have some spare change for WorldCon this August. I think you are most fortunate that you do have the money to get the Forester back up to speed. IIRC, isn’t it about 8 years old or so? I seem to remember in your other blog that you had mentioned getting another Forester. I’ve considered the possibility of getting one, but then, the price is prohibitive for me if I buy a new one. I am very leery of used cars, having been burned on them before.

  • CJ

    It’s a 2004. It turns out we did the timing chain/belt/thingie last time…but I did spring for new belts, fluids, etc, during which operation they found the cracked hose. I did go for the tires: Cooper brand, 50,000 mile Weather-master or some such…they feel good driving away, corner nicely. The car’s a major ongoing investment, but we figure if we can nurse this car through the great electric/gas quandary—it gets about 25 miles a gallon, so it’s pretty good—we can save up the cost of a new car someday and just lay down cash: between a trade-in that’s been serviced continually by our salespeople–we’ll get blue-book on that if we buy from them—and usually a pretty good deal: knock any interest charges off if we pay cash, knock off the fact we were DRAWING interest on the money for a number of years—it’s little, but it helps—and we just resist the ads and nurse ol’ ‘Tivo on to 200,000 miles if we have to. Subaru makes a big deal of their 100,000 mile club and gives us some (few) special deals, special service packages. Our problem is that they’re making the Foresters look more and more like the Outback, and there’s a big difference. We love the visibility in the Forester. The Outback is a bit massive for us.
    You can’t beat a Subaru for handling the mountains in winter: softer ride than a Jeep and pretty well as sure-footed without resorting to chains or siping. We’ve come through storms more than once where cars were careening into the ditch all around us…our biggest worry being hit by the careening Yukons. πŸ˜‰
    We’ve tended to follow the manufacturer’s schedule for service: about 100,000 miles, time to look at the timing belt. About 120,000 miles, time for a hose/belt replacement. Knock on wood, we’ve had not one service issue with any Subaru, no glitches, no time in the shop, nothing but routine service. We love this breed more than any other—we’ve flirted with the notion of a Prius, but we may get talked into another Subaru, for the safety factors, some day at least 50,000 miles on from here.
    Re the Les Schwab store—always check the reviews on the specific store, but they do things like sell you chains for winter, then buy them back for the same price in the spring. If you drive their tires, they’ll fix flats, do safety checks before trips, check inflation, generally do any little thing you need, and if you’ve got their warranty in the glove compartment and they can’t fix your tire (there are stores all over the western US) they’ll replace it on the spot. So if you’re driving on their tires in the west, you know you’re not going to be stranded dealing with Cousin Freddie who might be able to get something your size by Thursday. This shop is right down the road from us, 2 miles up, and I kind of tested the waters with a bunch of questions half of which I already knew, and got no BS, just an honest assessment how my old tires are, what considerations in replacing them, etc, and got a sane guy who was not going to fling himself in the way to prevent me leaving the store—They passed all my decent-dealer tests, so I think I’m happy with them.

  • kokipy

    We loved our Prius but after about 5 years we gave it up to get 4-wheel drive, which I would think you would need very much in Spokane and in the mountains. We did reliably get 45-55 mpg -more in the summer than in the winter.

  • kokipy

    should also say that some cars ago was a Subaru wagon – not an outback, just a regular wagon – which we liked a lot but gave up when we had two toddlers whose heads I kept bashing as I got them in and out of the back seat/car seat set up. Not really bashing, but I got tired of always being afraid of bashing. Now whenever we are on the highway and we see a car that appeals to our visuals, oddly enough it always turns out to be a Forester. Funny thing about that.

  • CJ

    Definitely a good driver and all-wheel-drive is a good combo on our winter roads. One time we pulled into Casper, our usual hotel, and lamented not having a camera with us: our little Forester looked like an extravagantly iced cupcake: literally, 2 feet of snow on the back of the roof—and the hood was getting to the point if I’d had to go much further, I’d have had to stop somewhere (perilous in a near whiteout) and shove the snow off the hood so I could see. The design of the car kept my visibility going: it was piling up, but it kept flying off the hood to pile up elsewhere. That was a doozie. Cars wheels-up in the ditch between the n and s lanes of I-25, and a lot more that had made it to that ditch upright but sincerely stuck. We were at the head of a long line of cars and trucks, maybe 20, all caravaning to Casper and not being fools. When you’re in the lead, you keep wondering if you’re the leader or the roadblock, but there was nobody behind us who wanted to pass. Those who tried from way back (you know That Guy, driving a big monster truck with attitude) were the ones going into the ditch.

    We also realized there weren’t going to be any hotels in Casper, and we used our cellphone to call ahead to our favorite Motel 6 and get a room, so WE knew where we were going to sleep that night. Anyone who waited til Casper was going to have to try again in Sheridan or Billings, a long snowy ways ahead.

    • paul

      You do know about “Rain-Off”, don’t you? Just checkin’. πŸ˜‰ It’s a water-light silicone oil that makes an invisible molecular film on your silicon dioxide-based windshield. With my windshield treated, I never have to use my wipers at freeway driving. The rain just beads-up and blows off! πŸ™‚

  • chickadee6

    Les Schwab put a store in nearby Rathdrum a couple of years ago. I took my mounted snow tires (for my 1992 Toyota PU) to them for switching with the summer tires.

    They did this for free — costs around $10 per wheel elsewhere — and just said they hope I’ll buy my next set of tires from them. I probably will do that, even though Costco undersells them.

  • CJ

    Yep, Rain-x. And spring for the real thing. We got a substitute once that, once it rained, clouded the windows so we couldn’t see through them—in Seattle traffic. That was exciting.

  • CJ

    It looked rather as if someone had smeared cooking lard over the windows. We had applied it with the same energy we used on the Rain-X, but it was some off brand, and cheaper. Far from better. I’d like to apply some Rain-X. You can also get it in wiper fluid, but not like having a good coat on!

  • WOL

    Well, me and my 1987 Toyota “Crayola” are still beetling along. A tank of gas lasts me at least a month since the only driving I do is pootling around town every once in a while. It’s always fun when the service techs look at the odometer to write down the mileage and ask me if it has rolled over — they can’t believe a car that old only has 48,000 miles on it — and that’s including a trip to AZ and back! When I bought it, I only lived about a mile from where I worked, and 6 years after that, I started working from home. The car I had before it was a Corolla too, and the only reason I sold it was because it didn’t have an AC.

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