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 email@example.com
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.
Car shows are moving art filled with vehicles of beauty and outlandish design. As a rule, they are held on beautiful sun blessed days in the great outdoors. The colours of the paint sparkle and dance in the sun beams while chrome glistens and shines. A car show is a delightful, stylish social event if you have prepared well but heaven help the unprepared. For those who are unprepared a car show results in sun burn, sore and filthy feet, chapped lips and sore muscles.
Northern Australia and the tropics are my thing. I can give advice on surviving 40 plus degree heat, melting bitumen and managing radiators that threaten to erupt like Vesuvius. I don't enjoy temps below 30 degrees and I protest vigorously any thermometer sporting single digits. I often don a cardigan just to open the refrigerator.
I don't recall who gave me the life saving piece of advice "Righty tighty lefty loosey" but God bless you. Leaving the Avis dealership I was filled with more than a little trepidation as I headed out into Los Angeles traffic for the first time but I kept chanting this mantra at varying volumes and intensities reassuring myself during frequent moments of near death.
Driving in America can be a challenge for an Aussie. Firstly, many of the roads are horrendous with potholes that try to swallow your vehicle whole and settle for spitting you out minus your intact suspension. Secondly I was sitting on the opposite side of the car to where I normally like to conduct battle. Finally, according to my 20 years of ample driving experience, I was steering my red beast down the road in the direction of oncoming disaster.
My heart soared as we taxied from the end of the runway to our gate at LAX. The car parks were filled with trucks. Glorious, glorious pick up trucks. New ones, old ones, huge ones and shiny ones. I had not felt any giddy thrill of excitement in the lead up to my maiden voyage to America but as we taxied along the tarmac I was overcome with joy. Here I was in the birthplace of the cars I love.
Ummm yeah, this is awkward, I know we were in love, but if you could just go now that would be great.
It all began with a Facebook PM as so many good, brief romantic flings do. “Thought you might be interested…” and a link to a car for sale. She was hideous. Bright orange. The worlds dodgiest nudge bar. Cheesy GT stripes – hand painted no less. And $4,000! Ridiculous. I was smitten.