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Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
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Suzuki Sidekick

This is our rockhounding / astro / ham radio / knock-around vehicle. It's light, 4WD, 4-cylinder, gets great mileage, can pull that trailer with pretty much whatever on it at highway speeds (65 or so), has plenty of room for two plus cargo (or 4) and is loaded with UHF, modified VHF and HF amateur radio gear for communications to augment cellphones, because a lot of the places I end up in don't have cellphone service. It's equipped for SW reception also. I don't raise the antennas unless we're actually driving in it or I'm parked and sitting inside it. Vandals love to bend and break antennas, little twits.

Its got a GPS, too... that's the ultimate accessory for an outdoors wanderer, believe me. Most of the time you use it to keep you informed as to you where you are; in an emergency, you use it to tell others where you are. Everyone should have a GPS in their car as far as I'm concerned.

This is my 2nd Sidekick (well, the first one was a Geo Tracker, essentially the same thing, though.) It's just a great car. I bought it used, it's a 1997. In Montana, that means I can put a "permanent" plate on it; no more registration fees, taxes, etc. Very economical to own — just fuel and maintenance costs.

See the two electrical cords coming out from under the hood? One is for a battery heater, the other is connected to a pair of engine block heaters. It gets very cold here, -40°f is not unheard of and -30°f is common; these add-ons make starting in those temperatures no problem at all.

Future project: When the engine dies, I'd like to convert it to an electric vehicle. Hopefully, by the time that little 4-banger expires, they'll have nailed down the whole ultra-cap thing; I'm no fan of batteries... too much maintenance, too slow to charge, too heavy, not enough power, too short a lifetime. So I'm prepared to replace drivetrain components, U joints, etc. It'd be a gas (actually not) to have an electric car in this form factor.

This picture was shot with my 40D, using the 18-55 mm zoom at ISO 100. Handheld, late afternoon sunlight.

#car #tracker

EXIF:

Width: 3658
Height: 2436
Company:  Canon
Camera:  Canon EOS 40D
Shot On:  2008:06:25 19:45:13
Aperture:  ƒ/8.0
Focal Length:  27.0mm
Metering Mode:  Spot
Exposure Mode:  Auto
Flash:  Did Not Fire
Exposure Time:  1/60th second
Exposure Program:  Aperture Priority
ISO:  100

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