Category Archives: Road Trip

Scenes on Sunday ~ Sand, Sea, and Sun

Life’s a Beach.

~

~

~

~

~

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

arachnids

A Spider sewed at Night

Without a Light

Upon an Arc of White

~

If Ruff it was of Dame

Or Shroud of Gnome

Himself himself inform

~

Of Immortality

His Strategy

Was Physiognomy

Emily Dickinson

~

Unlike a close friend of mine,

I am not a big fan of spiders,

nor scorpions, nor octopuses.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Senior Adventures

There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire inside.

As we grow older, we are justified in taking far more risks, embarking on far more adventures, pursuing far more dangerous dreams, than is someone in their more youthful years.

It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.  ~  Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I read an article in my news feed about a 101 years old great-grandfather who has just taken up skydiving.  You may think that sounds crazy, but what has Verdun Hayes got to lose?  The veteran of D Day has already lived a long life, and if he kills himself doing something dangerous, by how may days, months, or years has he cut his life short?  Not that many I’d bet.

Contrast this with a man in his twenties, who has just started a family ~ just the kind of man we would expect to go skydiving.  If he kills himself, not only has he cut his life short by maybe 50 years, he’s also orphaned his children and widowed his wife.  Maybe that young father should be careful, risk averse, not very adventurous.

I would argue that as we grow older we have much less to lose than we had when we were young, so why not gamble more, take more risks, become more adventurous in our senior years?

A twenty-three years long study in Ohio determined that people who saw growing older as something positive lived a whopping seven and a half years longer than those who didn’t.  ~  Victoria Moran

Later this year I’m flying out to California, picking up a Mustang convertible, meeting up with ‘the girl who rides shotgun’, then driving across California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Monday August 21st.  I think that’s a pretty crazy adventure, but what have I got to lose?  Not a lot.

Taking risks with your wealth, health, and happiness, (not to mention taking risks with your life), is not really for the young.  As we grow older we can afford to gamble more because we have much less to lose.

Don’t waste your life by working another 10 years slaving away in that 40 hours a week job.  Have fun instead, add adventure to your senior years, you have nothing to lose except your unhappiness.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ Santa Monica

~

~

~

~

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

awol

I’ve been awol for a while.  Sorry about that.  I’ll be back soon.

Meantime he’re a song I’ve been playing.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ Rocks and Stones

Is the rock to be moved from its place?

the smooth road teaches us little

give me the hard road to walk alone

strewn with rocks and unforgiving stones

~

~

~

~

~

~

~

words and pictures by jack collier

and the girl riding shotgun

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Mazda M-X5

Sports Car, Cool Car, Girl’s Car.

At a time when mainstream British car manufacturers thought it impossible to go on making small convertible sports cars, Mazda from Japan came up with the M-X5.  The little Mazda carried the torch first lit by classic English sports cars like the Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB, Triumph Spitfire ~ and in particular the brilliant Lotus Elan.  The original Mazda M-X5 could almost have been copied from the Elan, what with its 1.6 litre twin-cam engine, pop-up headlights, and clever longitudinal truss, (Power Plant Frame), that mimics the Elan’s backbone chassis.

The MX-5 wasn’t designed in Japan either ~ it was planned in California by a team led by Englishman Bob Hall.  An Englishman in California is just about the perfect combination when it comes to cars.  Of course what the Mazda team didn’t copy from Colin Chapman’s Lotus was fragility, unreliability, and extreme lightness.

First launched at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the M-X5 was and is a fairly small front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, with a twin-cam engine of between 1.6 and 2.0 litres.  There’s a five-speed gearbox in the middle, double wishbone independent suspension at both ends, and disk brakes, (ventilated at the front).  The original model weighed in at almost exactly ton, (which is a portly 600 pounds more than the diminutive Lotus).  It even looked like a Lotus Elan ~ which was no bad thing.

As well as the looks and layout, what the original design team got right was balance.  The unladen M-X5 has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, which means that the handling ~ the feel of the car when you drive it ~ is just about perfect.  This makes the little Mazda a ‘nice’ and ‘fun’ car to own and drive.

The M-X5 is by no means a fast car.  The 1989 original came with just about the same power as a Lotus Elan, but it weighed a third more, so it was a tad sluggish.  The traffic-light sprint 0-60 mph time was over 8 seconds and it would run out of steam at about 115 mph.  But do you know what?  With the top down, on country roads, with the brilliant handling and roadholding the design naturally produces, the original M-X5 was more than fast enough.

Among older English car enthusiasts the word to describe the way an M-X5 drives is ‘chuckable’.  (It reacts easily, safely, and can be forced into doing things it really shouldn’t ~ it probably won’t kill you.)

The little Mazda is also a great car for a long road trip.  It’s a nice place to sit for hours, rides fairly comfortably and quietly, there’s decent luggage space, it’s economical, and the top comes down.  What’s not to like?

If you are mechanically minded with some practical skills, you could buy yourself an early M-X5 for a couple of thousand pounds / dollars.  The thing is simple enough to allow a complete rebuild, in the same way that one could rebuild an MGB.  But why would you bother?  The Mazda M-X5 is a classic design, but it isn’t actually rare, (unless it’s a really early car in light blue mica or British Racing Green), and a newer car needing much less work is within the spending reach of just about everyone.

A new M-X5 will set you back around £20,000, (or $30,000), depending on the exact specification.  For that you will get a very capable, very over-engineered, and very over-styled car that is so attractively modern-metrosexual it should only be bought by make-up artists, hairdressers, or real estate agents.

At the upper end of the scale a new M-X5, the fastback with a retractable steel roof will cost you about £28,000, (you can get one of these for $35,000 in California).  That would also give you a 160 bhp two-litre engine and six-speed gearbox, all in an overstyled package that weighs in at 2,470 pounds ~ no thanks.

The new M-X5 is so far away from its Lotus Elan spiritual inspiration that it’s not even in the same millennium.  I would not waste my money on a new M-X5.  If I was really in the market for one of these little Japanese / English / Californian sports cars I would look for an early example, pop-up headlights and everything.  In comparison to rebuilding a rotted MGB, working on a Mazda would be child’s play.  The three critical areas for structural soundness are the Power Plant Frame and the front and rear subframes, and all three can be replaced.

Some cars are obvious Guy, some Girl, and a few go both ways.  Why is the Mazda a Girl’s Car?  If you have to ask then you’re either a girl, or a metrosexual male who doesn’t know one end of a torque-wrench from the other.  You wouldn’t expect to spoil your manicure if you owned a new Mazda M-X5.

Would I buy one?  Yes, so long as it does look like a Lotus Elan.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net.

beachcombing

~

if you’re fond of beaches and salty air

pretty seashells found everywhere

then someday I’ll take you there

~

words and pictures by jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

travel broadens the mind

To travel is to take a journey into yourself.

Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat.  Here are some real facts about Americans;

64% of Americans do not own a passport.

In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.

When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.

Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.

More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.

Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.

Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.

The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;

  • ‘the bacon is terrible…’
  • ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
  • ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
  • ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
  • ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
  • ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
  • ‘it always rains in England…’
  • ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
  • ‘British cars are undrivable…’
  • ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
  • ‘British TV sucks…’
  • ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
  • ‘there’s no dress code…’
  • ‘black people are just people…’
  • ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’

SFairportI’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit.  American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.

In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.

The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page.  ~  Saint Augustine

Which is why it does not surprise me that;

  • Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
  • Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
  • More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
  • More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
  • Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
  • 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
  • 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
  • All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.  ~  Lao Tzu

To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit.  Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others.  They need to get out into the world a bit more.

And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.

Have a nice day.

~

flagjack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Scenes on Sunday ~ Sunset

the eventide sun sinks silver

in salmon and soft fuchsia skies

by sleepy peaceful crepuscular lights

casting blue and gold shades in the west

~

P1020867

~

P1020829

~

P1030480

~

P1030092

~

P1030488

~

P1030445pictures by jack collier

and the girl riding shotgun

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

%d bloggers like this: