Road Trip, Day 10

(Rivets galore.)

With the Lego adventure thoroughly fulfilled, it was time to move on to ocean liners. Happily, the Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, therefore a visit was in order.

It's worth mentioning that if you do not wish to take the freeway to get to Long Beach, you have to drive through Compton. Yes, that Compton.

Road Trip, Day 9


The first day in Los Angeles started out in front of the hotel room, which has french doors in the back that open up to some lounge chairs by the pool. Like San Diego, it feels like you are in a Mediterranean resort, though in its own way. The thirty-two degree weather helped achieve the effect as well.

Road Trip, Day 8

(Historical Balboa Park)

All things must come to an end, and such is the case with our time in San Diego. We took advantage of this last day and took in an older part of the city, after visiting the automotive museum.

Road Trip, Day 7

(Capitol hill, smaller than it tends to be.)

We went to Legoland.

As you go down Legoland Drive, you pass huge Lego letters spelling out a welcome message, ending at the toll booths. Yes, like San Francisco's bridges, Legoland has toll booths, where you must pay parking.

Road Trip, Day 6

(This bird has over 40 different calls.)

The talk of the town is the new immigration law that threatens to outlaw the hiring of Mexican illegal workers. I see this as contradictory: Americans are saying that the "illegals" are taking all their jobs, yet the same "illegals" are doing jobs that no Americans want to do. The first people that this law would negatively affect would be the Americans themselves! What are they going to do when there is no more housekeeping? Clean their rooms themselves? This could get entertaining...

Road Trip, Day 5

(San Diego, as it once was.)

Things are never as one expects. We woke up in Bakersfield, the second 'stopover city' in this road trip, and a phenomenon has repeated itself: the hotel was exceptional...the smaller towns have a more than competitive offering.

Road Trip, Day 4

(Pelican's Lair, from the hills of San Francisco.)

Funny how things change after a little bit of time.

Having completed yesterday's tour allowed today's touristic wandering to be more decisive. Due to the respective management's thirst for tourist blood, the Pelican tour will have to wait for another opportunity; the rest of San Francisco, however, was all ours.

Road Trip, Day 3

(The pelican's lair.)

When planning a vacation, many people like to find information about their future destination. They 'Google' their hearts out to know what people recommend that they visit, what parts of town are safe, and overall get an idea of what they should do.

Kinda takes the fun out of discovery, doesn't it?

Road Trip, Day 2

(San Francisco's Pacific coast.)

Waking up at the crack of dawn (or what felt like it), we had the very basic continental breakfast and prepared to leave Oregon. What we didn't know was that Oregon was not done with us just yet.

Road Trip, Day 1

An appropriate beginning.)

One would think that an entire day spent behind the wheel would yield no stories, but the opposite is true: you see quite a bit of interesting things as you observe people performing one of the most complex tasks that they do.


As you read this, I will be heading down the west coast on my way to California! Such a detail will result in a change in the regularly-scheduled programming for the time being.

Considering that this is an automotive blog, I will be doing the appropriate thing and driving down to my destination, blogging along the way. Stay tuned...

BMW Innovation Drive, part IV

There’s a reason why cars like BMWs cost as much as they do.

The new 5 Series can park itself: the Automatic Parking Assistant sees if there’s a parallel parking spot big enough for the car, notifies you, and with the press of a button, it’ll take care of the steering for you while you only worry about the pedals as the car parks! It even tells you on the screen how much brake or gas to apply and when.

It’s doors can also close themselves, in a way: if you don’t shut the door all the way, it’ll pull it in the rest of the way, so that you don’t have to unlock the car, open the door, and slam it closed again.

BMW Innovation Drive, part III

Standing under a tent on an unusually hot Sunday afternoon, the group of us was about to embark on the in-no-way-modest final module of the BMW “Innovation Drive:” flooring the 2010 335d (diesel) sedan, 2011 335i coupe, and 2011 135i coupe around another test track.

Now when I say “flooring,” I actually mean, “rolling;” it makes perfect sense, I assure you. Let’s take the 135i as an example: this car has 300 horsepower, but it is about the size of a Hyundai Acc(id)ent. To reiterate: three hundred raging stallions crammed into a small soda can.

Most will assume that so much power coupled with so little weight means it’ll outrun a Bugatti Veyron when you squash the unusually-tall gas pedal between your foot and its firewall.

However, most will be wrong: it’s not that simple.

BMW Innovation Drive, part II

Module two of the BMW “Innovation Drive” was putting the new 2011 5 Series through a twisty track. The six “5-ers” we were given to drive were the only ones in Canada for the time being, as this car isn’t on sale yet. Five of them were 535i models (the six-cylinder ones), and one was the 550i (the ones with the V8) that most of us didn’t get to try out.

Before we began, we were briefed on some specifics about the cars. We learned that the servo isn’t actually on until you turn the wheel, that the car has regenerative brakes even though it’s not a hybrid, and that it’s automatic transmission has eight (!) gears. All in the name of efficient dynamics, you see…not because Mercedes recently came out with a seven-speed 'box.

As one of the instructors in module one quipped after making a parallel with bicycle transmissions, “we’re not planning to make a car with 11 gears, but never say never.”

BMW Innovation Drive, part I

On a nice, warm, relaxing Sunday, most people just take it easy. Some go for a drive in their well-cared-for classic cars, others lounge on their decks at home, and others pay a visit to the pool. Not me though: I went to an airport to floor five new BMW’s through what’s essentially an obstacle course…

On arrival, you enter a tent through glass doors, sign in, finish registration and take a survey on a computer. Then you proceed into the waiting area, featuring light food and drinks, some modern looking half-sofas, and a big-screen TV playing some BMW beauty shots.

The event was composed of three modules, the first of which contained a sales presentation about the new 2010 5-series GT crossover and the 2010 X6 ActiveHybrid ‘coupe-SUV’ (not kidding).