Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mini Ketchup? Catsup? Catch-up?

Ah, catch up it must be.  Just a few things to share, most of which pre-date the THMMC Club Blast held last weekend.  Getting ready for and then attending that and then going through all the pics, getting them uploaded, upgrading Wordpress, writing the post, etc., sucked up all my time.  Plus, as we move into August, the kids activities have started back up.  So, just a big "splat" of stuff of no particular importance.

The first thing to mention is a new Clubman that I spotted a couple weeks ago.  Noteworthy in that it belongs to Bland Landscaping.  I don't know anything about Bland Landscaping except for the fact that I had seen an R53 Cooper on I-85/I-40 three or four times while I've been traveling up and down the road that is "decorated" as a Bland Landscaping vehicles.  It is(was?) a white Cooper with graphics on the sides and back advertising Bland Landscaping.  Always thought it was interesting in being a Mini placed in commercial service.  On the way to work a couple weeks ago I thought I spotted it, but something seemed different.  Indeed it was different as it was a new white Clubman with the Bland Landscaping graphics on it.  I should say already as it still had the 20-day tag on it.

Speaking of the daily trip to work, on August 7th there was a tanker truck that overturned on I-85 right where it splits (or joins depending on your direction of travel).  It spilled a bunch of latex paint and several lanes of the Interstate were closed most of the day.  It must have happened only shortly before I got to that point.  Several emergency vehicles were already on the scene, but traffic had not backed up too terribly much.

That night I took my family to dinner at a new Japanese steakhouse in Mebane.  Normally, I rarely see other Minis.  Until spotting the Bland Landscaping Clubman earlier the same week, it had probably been 3 weeks since I had seen another Mini during my commute.  So what happens as soon as we get on the Interstate?  We spot three Minis headed east (where were y'all going?).  And I'm stuck in the minivan.  Then when we get off the Interstate we see another Mini, a nice Chile Red and Black (looked to be pretty new).  Just my luck.


The week before I decided I would go ahead and take a stab at rotating my tires myself.  In my youth I did quite a bit of work on my own cars, but it has been close to two decades since I've done any of my own work.  Kind of interesting what this Mini is doing to me.  Even back then, I didn't really do anything on my own as far as tires.  But, with Mini Wuf reporting 9,000 more miles to a service, and learning I'd be charged for a rotation as part of that service, I figured the time was right to tackle this on my own.  Of course, that meant purchasing a torque wrench, a jack, and stands, all of which I picked up at AutoZone.  The jack and stands are pretty cheap, but I got a good sale price on them.  The torque wrench I'm not sure about quality-wise, but I got a great deal on it as it was the last one in the store while they waited on some new ones to be delivered with AutoZone packaging.


Of course, rotating the tires was pretty basic.  I made it a little more of a major project when I decided I want to clean the insides of the rims.  This meant getting all of the brake dust off of them and applying some Wheel Armor.  And yes, my wife thought I was (am?) crazy to be cleaning the insides of the rims.  Whatever.  As you can see though, it was quite a difference before vs. after.  Now if I only knew how to change my own brake pads, I could probably save some money on that maintenance item as well.  And more money saved on maintenance via DIY is more money for mods and motoring.

Finally, today on the way to Meet the Pack Day, I spotted the Red Bull Mini on I-40.  It was heading west on I-40 between Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

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