Saturday, September 29, 2007


My remarks earlier today about the first snow on the mountain tops brings back the recurring problem that the Corvette can't reliably get up our driveway--can't even reliably get up the private road that leads to our driveway--when we get six inches or more of snow. My wife's Equinox does just fine--and I don't think it even switches from front wheel drive to all wheel drive as it does so. (Although it is nice to know that it could if it needed to do so.)

I've looked for several alternative strategies to giving up the Corvette. Yes, it's noisy, and the wife doesn't like to travel in for that reason. There are several all-wheel drive high performance sedans that, were I as rich as the billionaire Democrats who are trying to destroy America and capitalism, I would replace the Corvette with in a heartbeat.

The new 2008 Cadillac CTS all-wheel drive sedan is attractive--but with an MSRP above $38,000 for the all-wheel drive version--that's a lot of money for those of us who aren't Marxists. (But it says a lot about how far Cadillac has come that they build a car that I wouldn't disdainfully throw out of my garage.)

There is the MazdaSpeed 6, which has permanent four wheel drive to keep all that power sticking to dry pavement. The price is reasonable--a bit above $30,000, but there's no automatic available with it.

The Subaru Impreza WRX five door
at least has an automatic available, and it looks like it would be slightly cheaper than the Mazda.

Still, I really don't want to give up the Corvette. When the top is off, and I'm driving down a two lane highway with the wind in my hair and sunlight filtering through the leaves, it is about as relaxing an experience as I can imagine. (And I am a hopeless cheapskate. You have no idea the internal struggle I went through to justify buying the Corvette.)

I have considered buying a used 4x4--but my wife is terrified of me buying an unreliable car that leaves me stranded at the side of state highway 55 in a winter snowstorm. At least here in Idaho, there is a pretty hefty premium that any 4x4 carries because of the demand for them--and anything that meets my wife's standards is going to be $12,000 and up.

So I have suddenly started toying with another idea. The state and county do a really good job of clearing Idaho 55 and the old highway that leads to the private road into our subdivision. I've never had a problem getting up either road in the Corvette. If we had conditions so severe that I couldn't get in or out on either road, most all-wheel drive sedans probably couldn't do it either. The problem is Sunburst Road and my driveway.

So maybe, once winter snows start to fall with any regularity, I could just park the Corvette at the junction of Sunburst Road and the old highway--and drive an ATV up to the house. It is only about half a mile. It's a nice walk when it isn't 15 degrees outside, with blowing snow. The entire distance is private roads, so I could legally drive an ATV the entire distance, and just leave it under a tarp at the junction.

New ATVs cost a bit of money--but used ones are surprisingly cheap. I don't need a very powerful one--I'm not going to exceed 15 mph on this road, and it just has to have enough power to climb the 15 degree driveway slope. Unlike a used 4x4 road vehicle, if a used ATV betrays me, the worst that happens is that I need to walk half a mile back to the house under unpleasant conditions.

My impression is that ATVs are basically motorcycles with all four wheels driven by the engine. I am also guessing that at least some ATVs are two wheel drive only. Anything else that I need to know?

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