Life in the tropics is wonderful. Great beaches, fantastic roads winding along coastlines and through mountains, countless villages offering a selection of local produce and gourmet feasts and for the most part, magic weather all year round. Of course as most of the world prepares for snow and the southern parts of Australia prepare themselves for stinking hot days that could make their world catch fire at the slightest provocation, we in the North prepare for the wet season.
If like me, you love your cars then the wet season can be horrible. That musty smell, mould everywhere, mice using your car as a hotel to keep dry and the frustration of getting in and out in the rain can drive you bonkers. Here are some of my best ideas to care for your car this wet season.
Cars have always been an opportunity for fashionable self-expression. Fluffy black and white cowhide seat covers and frangipani stickers tell us a lot about who you are. Like all fashion trends, there are automotive based fashions which come and go. One such trend is the desire to coat every panel matte black.
Car parks are a thing of nightmares if you love your car. Shopping trolleys, small children with greasy hands, large children looking cool perched on your bonnet with their mates, and neighbours who use your car to stop their door from swinging too far. I shudder just to think of it especially as the Christmas shopping season draws near.
While the average punter will try to get a park as close to the door as possible, you can pick someone who loves their car by their insistence on parking as far from the action as possible. We willingly walk the extra mile when we have peace of mind that our beloved will not be left in bad company. Here are some tips for you if you too have car park nightmares.
Many moons ago I was cruising (as much as anyone can) down the Tanami Highway in Central Australia with a documentary film crew. We had three four wheel drives and one trailer in the convoy. They were laden down with people, spare parts, film gear and all of the equipment we needed to camp out in the desert for two weeks. One of the dangers of traveling on rocky dirt roads is that a rock may go through a window smashing the pane of glass.
For the next 3 nights I will be on a cruise ship scheming and plotting the next 12 months of Wilde Drive. That means for the next 3 nights my car will be parked in a public car park unloved and unprotected. There are a few things you can do to look after your car while you're away. Here are my top tips.
I have always loved tattoos… on other people. Tattoos can be a glorious form of artistic and meaningful self-expression. The courage to choose art that speaks to you and expresses who you are and to commit to that art being on your person forever is beyond me though. I find myself evolving constantly and the art that speaks to me today won’t mean much in a year or even a week.
I do however understand the need for self-expression and I have always considered my car to be one of my primary options to tell the world who I am without speaking. The obvious first choice for automotive self-expression is your choice of car. Then you can explore the world of seat covers, air fresheners and other accessories. Perhaps the simplest and cheapest option to add your own personal touch is a sticker.
This week I have seen a number of articles about how to save money with your car and how to do basic tasks such as change your flat tyre. Tips such as using E10 fuel or sweating in the rain to loosen a wheel nut were all offered up. To be honest they all seemed a bit painful to me.
The Wilde Drive logo leaves no doubt… I am a woman who loves my high heels. As you know I also love my cars and sometimes the two do not go well together. Barefoot, heels, platforms and thongs all present their own unique motoring challenges. Before we begin the discussion let us address the legality of driving footwear.
There I was cruising along the highway when the first signs of disaster appeared. Traffic was backed up and as I crawled along I started to see the wreckage. It was a head on between 2 cars from first impressions. There were cars pulled over here and there and people madly dashing around screaming and wailing. If you come across an accident, what are your go to moves? Here are my suggestions:
What you hear as you drive can be the difference between a great adventure and a sorrowful wait beside the road. My first advice is to become familiar with what your vehicle sounds like when it is happy.
It goes without saying that of the 5 senses, Sight is the most important when driving. Beyond making sure that you are not distracted by mess or the sight of something broken or dangerous in your car while you drive there are 3 key areas to focus on which will make your adventure on the road more safe, simple and stylish.
As I drive my Chev, I often like to stroke the metal of the door. I find the cool steel and the gentle curve to be very comforting. The touch and feel of your car can make or break your driving experience. The moment you sit in a luxury vehicle you can feel the difference in the quality of materials. They feel solid, they are quality, they give you a quiet confidence.
Driving is a tactile experience. The feel of the steering wheel, the gear stick, the dash, the switches, the knobs. Surfaces that get hot or slippery can cause you to accommodate them rather than focus on driving safely. While we don’t always have the choice of a car with good quality finishes, we can make some changes to our vehicle to not only improve the feel but also to make the driving experience safer.
Good taste can be interpreted in two fashions when relating to adventures on the road. One may refer to the choice of tasteful accessories or destinations. That won’t be the one that I refer to today. The other option for taste is the taste that makes your mouth salivate and your stomach grumble. That is the taste I will discuss here and now.
I bought a new dual cab ute this weekend. As I slid into the driver’s seat for the test drive I was overwhelmed. The stench! A headache inducing mix of cigarette smoke, male body odour and rotting food. There was a left over chocolate thick shake spilt in the back, a half-eaten burger and a can of coke with cigarette butts floating in it. The only aromas missing were that of wet dog and the classic pine tree shaped air freshener much loved by teenage P plate drivers everywhere.
Driving a vehicle is a task that uses all 5 of your senses and all 5 can have an impact on the success of your journey. As we all know the scents we smell can have a huge impact on our mental state. The right scent can induce sleep, improve concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and make you crave deep fried foods. "Scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence, and physical and cognitive performance," says Theresa Molnar, executive director of the Sense of Smell Institute, the research and educational arm of the perfume industry's Fragrance Foundation.
I have always considered my OCD to be quite mild but as I spend more and more time with the general plethora of humanity I begin to understand that I am rather a detail orientated control freak. Having things "just right" in a car is not about pride or the desperate need for a hobby.
In a car you are at the wheel of more than a tonne of steel filled with combustible fluids and the bodies of your most loved family and friends as you hurtle down the road at great speed. You might Feng Shui a house but have you ever considered the optimum design and layout for your car?
What will distract you? Will your bag go flying as you bend it like Beckham around the roundabout sending God knows what scattering through your car and under the drivers feet?
Do you have pets crawling around? Do you have an assortment of crystals or stuffed toys? Is there a half eaten sandwich and a neglected cup of cold coffee slipping around?
Having a car that is clean, neat and ready to roll is not only for your personal satisfaction but also for your safety. Sound, taste, sight, smell and touch are all senses that you need to be aware of as you take the wheel. Over the next few weeks I will take you through each of the senses to Feng Shui your ride.
Last weeks blog about car shopping was popular with a lot of people. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send me a note about your experiences and the lessons that you learnt the hard way. One email in particular was very interesting. An experienced new and used car salesman sent in some more tips to help you get the best deal from a car yard.
Buying the perfect car can be a lot like finding the perfect man. Some go to the pub or a car yard for a broad selection on offer in one location. Some rely on the recommendations of family and friends. While those of us who are most brave dip our toes in the murky waters of online dating.
I try my best to be an enlightened person. I do not care what colour your skin is, what God you worship, what gender your significant other is or if you have an apple or an android phone. I will judge you by your car.
For years I have heard tales about the legendary Great Ocean Road. A mythical ribbon of flawless bitumen embracing the water’s edge. The views were breathtaking and exotic sports cars could be given free rein to run rampant with wild abandon. Absolute bloody codswallop.
There are many parts to planning a road trip filled with style, comfort and adventure. This week I am planning an epic road trip.
10,000kms over 4 weeks taking in the only stretch of open highway in Australia with no speed limit, the Red Centre Nats car show (http://www.redcentrenats.com.au/) , the desert, the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne, a whisky tour of Tasmania and then a final cruise along the length of the East coast of Australia to home.
The first step in planning a road trip is to sit down with a map and plot out the route. What towns will you go through, where is the mobile service, where sells fuel, do any of the communities have restrictions such as no alcohol, what are the accommodation options in each town, are any of the roads not sealed (dirt) and have you checked the weather and road conditions for this time of year? Are there any sights you want to see on the way that require a small detour or a particular time for you to be there (you can’t see the sunset if you are driving past in the morning) or do you have a friend you want to visit but you need to check if they will be home?
I headed to the RACQ trip planning website (http://www.free2go.com.au/travel/planning-your-trip/trip-planner) and entered my departure location and destination with a number of “via” locations. The map in the image above is a rough guide to my route but I will likely detour regularly to look at shiny things. Between now and when I depart I will be planning vehicle choice, what to pack, who to visit on the way, where to sleep, snacks and exercises on the road, and making sure the itinerary ties in with events and the optimum weather conditions.
Tune in regularly to learn more about what I plan and why. If you have a specific question let me know. I will be leaving Cairns on August 29th . If you would like to catch up for a beverage as I travel past you drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have ever taken a road trip outside of a capital city you are sure to have seen some big trucks. They come in all colours, shapes and sizes and they all have a job to do. The majority of freight is moved by trucks and that includes your groceries, your fuel, livestock, and building supplies just to list a few.
The life of a truck driver is not something you can understand just by reading a blog. Long hours, unpredictable work schedules and all of the dangers that the road has to offer are a part of their day to day. As a car driver there are a few simple things you can do to make their work day and their rest time a little more pleasant.