March 22, 2009

Down the Oregon Coast

Well, despite the Hit-and-Run, we managed to make it on our trip, thanks in a huge part to Andrew Ma at Park Collision (604-279-5545). My insurance estimate was moved to Tuesday morning, the day I had planned to leave for our trip. I called Andrew explaining the situation, and he offered to order me a replacement mirror for next day delivery on Monday, before I even handed him my paperwork. He told me as soon as the mirror arrives, he'll put it on immediately so that I can make my trip without worry that my taped-up mirror would fall off on the highway. We'd worry about the superficial damage to the rest of the car after I come back.

And that's exactly what he did. After I finished with the insurance estimate, I dropped off the car and paperwork at Park Collision and went out to have a quick bite. Within 30 minutes from the mirror's E.T.A. of 12:30pm, I get a phone call from Andrew telling me the car is ready to go. I walk back to the bodyshop, and we were off on our vacation right on schedule.

We spent the first couple of nights at a friend's in Renton, WA as they just had a baby boy. It was fun playing with him and his two year old sister. I also visited a Renton Motorcycle Company, which can only be described as a Costco for motorcycles. On Thursday, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend arrived at our friends place, and we headed down towards Astoria, OR for our first night on the coast.

That night we met up with Sandy, someone I met on the forums. He was very kind when I posted about my hit-and-run, and offered to meet up if I still made it down. He offered some good tips on lodging and dining in the area, and we met for coffee and had a great chat that night. Of course, I totally forgot to take a photo.

The next day we had breakfast at the cafe Sandy originally wanted to take us, but was closed as we arrive to town kinda late. Then we set off down 101. We had borrowed a GPS unit from a friend, and for some reason it took us on a detour off 101 for a short bit. It wasn't too bad though as the detour was a bit of a winding affair and even if my tires couldn't grip the wet roads too well, my friend in his modified Audi 225TT sure enjoyed the drive.

We stopped by the Tanger Outlet in Lincoln in the afternoon, then continued to Newport for the night at a beachfront hotel. The rain was just terrible at some points during the day. But the beauty of the coast was worth it. We must have looked so funny being the only people to get out of our cars at some of the lookout points in the heavy rain and wind, just to take a few photos. Still, I'm sure we missed a lot of views due to the weather. I think this trip is definitely worth taking again.

Due to the limited number of days we had, Newport was as far south as we went this time around. In the morning, we woke up and went down to the beach by out hotel for a nice walk, which ended up with wet shoes and socks (boys being stupid). Then we visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. I really enjoyed the Oddwater and Passages of the Deep exhibits. We spent a bit more time in the aquarium than I had originally planned, but it was well worth it.

We then cut across 20 to get to I-5, then followed it north until Woodburn. Why, for the Woodburn Company Stores of course. Outlet prices and no tax. Because we left the aquarium late, we went back the the outlet the next morning. I scored myself two pairs of sneakers before calling it quits and heading back up to Vancouver.

Thanks to everyone who made this trip wonderful.

March 14, 2009

The Worst Day for Me and My Fit - [Hit and Run]

This is probably the worst day for me and the Fit since I purchased it.

So last night, the wife and I had a late dinner, and since I didn't have to work this morning, I stayed up late, and was playing around on the laptop a bit in bed. I'm not sure what time it was, but I heard a car alarm go off. I went to the window to have a peak, and a BMW 5 was flashing and blaring. It was parked two cars back from me on the street across from my building. My alarm didn't go off, so I thought nothing of it as I didn't really see any major damage or broken windows on the BMW.

A bit later, as I was finally going to sleep, I heard some talking outside. I took another look out the window and there were a few police vehicles on the street. One of the started shining it's spot light on parked cars as it slowly drove along. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I went and found my small binoculars to have a better look. Turns out several of the parked cars had their driver side rear view mirrors broken, including mine. I figured since the police was already on scene, and it was really late, I'd wait 'til morning to see how bad the damage is.

Did you think I was going to get a good sleep with this on my mind? Of course not. And so I woke in the morning not rested at all, and went downstairs to see how bad the mirror was...

It wasn't just the mirror. The side of my car was scraped up as well, then entire length of the car, and even my front wheel. I looked up and down the street, and there are still 3 other cars parked with similar damage, and I know there were other cars parked there last night (later on, my friend told me when he came to pick me up, that cars that were parked on the cross-street were also hit, one with it's bumper hanging off even).

I called the insurance claim centre, and reported the hit and run. The lady suggested I call the police to see if they'd have a police report # as well, and sure enough, they did. However, unless they catch the guy(s) who did this, I, along with all of my unlucky neighbors, are out at least $300 deductible each!

The damage looks deliberate. The mirror at least looks to be smashed from the front center of the housing, not hit along the edge. Maybe a bat or something. And that's what really makes me mad. It wasn't an accident. It was someone's idea of fun.

This couldn't have happened at a worse time either. The wife had booked her vacation days off for next week, and we were going to drive down to Washington State to visit a friend who just had her 2nd baby, and then head down to the Oregon Coast for a few days of relaxation. Now, I'm going to be out the money for lodging, and I'm seriously doubt the car can be fixed in two days in time for the trip since most places require a vehicle to have a driver side rear view mirror.

And of course the estimate centres are closed for the weekend. I'm going to have to wait 'til Monday to take the car in before anything else can be started.

This sucks!

March 13, 2009

Oil Change #7 (35665km)

Another oil change time. It was done at 35665km even though the receipt says 36665km. I yelled out the wrong mileage to my mechanic as he wrote it. Oh well.

Standard affair once again with the OEM filter and 5w20 oil. No surprises this time around. Even remembered to reset the service reminder right away. I had just checked the tire pressure and so that was ok. Everything else looks good. The Fit is go for another 5000km.

I know the factory doesn't call for such short oil change intervals, and every time I do the oil change the service reminder usually still say 40%-50% oil life left. But with the timing chain system, oil pressure is used as hydraulic fluid to ratchet up the timing chain tensioner. If varnish forms in the timing chain tensioner bore then this system can fail and the chain will become loose and eventually break. The advantage is that if well maintained, the timing chain will never need replacing, saving you the $800 or more timing belt replacement every 100,000km or so.