Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Crosstrek

Crosstrek Love

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Have I mentioned how much I love my Subaru Crosstrek? It virtually drove itself home yesterday in the heavy snowfall we received. I just pressed the pedals every once in a while. The car plowed through the deep snow easily, holding the lane even when I had no idea where the lane was.

My only complaint was the icing on the wiper blades, but I wasn’t alone. Everyone was having the same problem I was on the last leg, reaching out their window to attempt “thwacking” the blade as it swung near, and pulling off wherever possible to get out and knock off ice.

This was my view toward the end:

There was nowhere to pull over, as each spot I came to was already filled by two or three cars, creating a scary hazard of potential collisions.

When I reached my driveway, I paused to clean my windshield so I could see to stay as close to the center of the pavement as possible. There was no guarantee that I would make it all the way up to the house.

After I parked in the garage, I noticed the back of my car was so coated by snow that my brake lights were hardly noticeable. I had been running with my 4-way flashers on during the craziest portion between River Falls and home, but they probably weren’t making a big difference in visibility.

After dinner, I went out to plow and poked a yardstick into the snow up by the house to check the depth. It was a little deeper down toward the shop garage, but this reading was a solid 8.5 inches.

That melty snow of last weekend is a thing of the past now. We have a fresh dose of the real McCoy. According to the forecast, this batch of flakes was just the warm up. Tonight and tomorrow, we are supposed to receive even more than what fell yesterday.

I’m not sure where I will put it all when plowing and shoveling. The piles are already impressively tall.



Written by johnwhays

February 6, 2019 at 7:00 am

Deer Me

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Seriously? Just hours after posting about things that could go wrong, but might not?


I was barreling along at the posted speed limit on the state highway between Beldenville and River Falls in the pre-dawn darkness around 5:20 a.m. yesterday, when a deer ran right into the side of my car door. BAM!

Little did I know, a different deer running across the road in front of me just after I pulled out of our driveway ten minutes earlier, could have served as a warning. I hadn’t seen any deer on my morning commute for months before this.

After passing plenty of fields and wooded areas where deer sightings could be expected, I reached the outskirts of River Falls, where there was a steel business on the right and a cul-de-sac of houses on the left. I wasn’t expecting this activity as the road made a slight bend to the right, distracting advance visibility. A deer suddenly appeared in my headlights from the left and I reacted by pulling my foot off the accelerator pedal.

Before I could move for the brake, a second deer blasted into the door beside me with impressive force.

That was a fine ‘how do you do?’

The shock left me numb for a second and I coasted a little ways before deciding I should pull over and inspect the result of the impact. I don’t know if there were any others trailing along behind the one that hit me, but I didn’t see any more deer than the first two, and they were now out of sight.

I suspect the deer swung around after the initial contact and then smacked the back bumper for good measure. My door was covered with a fair amount of hair. Shedding season, you know.

Fortunately, no glass was shattered, and the function and seal of the door are still good. It’s going to be almost a month before my body shop can get to me. They are still backed up with appointments from ice and snowstorm damaged vehicles from the winter that didn’t want to end.

The estimator said mine was the first of the spring deer damage incidents they’ve seen this year.

Aren’t I the lucky one?



Written by johnwhays

April 26, 2018 at 6:00 am

Drifted Driveway

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My system of plowing in the middle of big snowstorms to avoid dealing with too many inches at one time doesn’t work so well when you are out-of-town during the snowfall events.

There were two storms while we were in Florida over the weekend.

Mid-morning yesterday, I received a phone call from McKenna. First, she explained that her boyfriend got his truck stuck trying to get out of the driveway. Second, she got her truck stuck trying to pull him out.

It turned out that the assessments she gave us in response to our queries over the weekend from Florida about whether the driveway needed to be plowed, or not, were based on how things looked out on the back deck, not the actual driveway.

The wind blowing across the driveway from the open field at the top of the first hill took the roughly 10-inches that fell in two separate events on Thursday and Saturday and firmly packed it into about a 36-inch deep drift. The deck on the back of the house benefitted from wind clearing a lot of the snow off and sunshine melting what was left.

It didn’t look very intimidating.

The driveway, however, looked pretty darn intimidating, but they didn’t realize that until they had both tried driving into it.

By the time I got home, they had successfully dug through the worst part of the deep snow and were able to get their trucks out. I spotted their tracks and decided to see what my Crosstrek could do.

About two-thirds of the way up the first slope, I could see that the undercarriage of their trucks had pressed on the snow significantly. I knew then I was in trouble. I’m pretty sure my car has less clearance than their trucks.

Luckily, Cyndie was there with a shovel. She had smartly parked her car on the roadside, having arrived when the trucks hadn’t been completely extricated yet. I dug out enough of the snow from beneath the car that I was able to move forward and keep going toward the house.

Being cocky, I forged ahead and tried to back the car into the garage like I usually do. I got stuck again, now spinning on glare ice beneath all the snow.

After a little more shoveling, I got the car into the garage. Then it was time to change clothes and jump on the Grizzly, to see if I would be able to plow all the heavy, wet snow.

It was a trick, and the driveway didn’t give in without a fight. The drift was too much for the ATV. Every time I made a pass, the firmly packed snow would push the Griz out and around. It looked like I was plowing an “S” curve.

I dug out a section to find where the pavement ended, which revealed how much snow was left to move. Much of that volume was moved by hand, with a scoop shovel, instead of with the plow.

While I was plowing down by the road, I paused to pick up the pieces of our mailbox, which pops apart when blasted by snow flying off the county plow. It was easily repairable.

Once the driveway was wide enough to easily fit vehicles, I was able to move on to cleaning snow off the roof near the front door, and then shoveling the heavy, wet snow again, to clear the steps and walkway.

We are definitely not in Florida anymore.



Written by johnwhays

February 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

Unexpected Result

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DSCN4541eI suppose you could say this about most any day, but yesterday did not turn out anything like I thought it would when I woke up in the morning. One thing just led to the next and I ended up driving home in a new car. I credit the wise advice of my sister, Mary, who found several opportunities to urge me toward taking action, combined with Cyndie’s unwavering support.

The ultimate decision happens to be a sure-fire way to fix the check engine light that kept coming on in the old WRX.

The curious trigger that set the whole unplanned chain of events in motion was an exploding tire on the wheelbarrow we use more than any other tool. It is the key weapon in our arsenal for managing manure.

I was turning and reshaping one of the compost piles when Cyndie arrived with a fresh contribution. I took the wheelbarrow from her to dump it on the pile and she noticed one of the tires looked curious. She asked if it might be flat, so I reached down to check it with a squeeze. It burst!

Boom! It was flat now. Guess I don’t know my own strength.

That was going to need repair without delay and forced an unplanned shopping trip. After a brief debate over eating lunch first or heading out immediately, we settled on the fateful decision to eat at home. During that pause, I received a call from my auto repair shop confirming the new exhaust sound I reported on the WRX was because the catalytic converter had busted.

That news quickly confirmed it was time to take action on a plan I had mulled over for months. We altered our destination for finding a replacement tire for the wheelbarrow to a store in the same town as our safe deposit box, so I could get the title of the WRX. That car is now for sale.

It just so happened that I had applied for an auto loan at our bank a few hours earlier in the day, to see how much new car I could comfortably afford. I talked Cyndie into driving a bit beyond the bank and Tractor Supply store, so we could test drive the next Subaru I was considering buying.

DSCN4543eAt the end of the day, I was driving home in a current model Crosstrek. It has been over 2 decades since I had that new car smell.

For a guy who drags his feet making decisions, that was a flurry of significant ones in a single day, one after another. If it weren’t for that exploding tire on the wheelbarrow, I would have likely spent the day wondering what to do about that WRX.

Now that problem will become someone else’s opportunity. I’ve moved to higher ground clearance, so I won’t be busting a performance bumper on critters that jump in front of me at highway speeds, and I won’t be dragging my undercarriage on snow as often, when I leave in the mornings before roads get plowed.











Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2016 at 6:00 am