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Entries in mileage (14)

Sunday
Jan012012

Mileage for 2011

toyota odometer at 220,992 to start 2012

I didn't keep such a detailed monthly, quarterly, or even semi annual tally this year. It's a bit ridiculous, and I figured that I wasn't going to beat the 1,546 mile record from 2009. And I didn't beat last year's tally either. I wasn't really trying to. And there is also the matter of the two rather extensive trips I made during 2011. Having decided to do even the first one, I realized I was simply not in the running for much of any prize this year. The New Mexico journey was good for about 1,807 miles on its own. Death Valley with Kelli was a bit like the year prior but longer at 1,326 miles. Another smaller trip to Big Bear and Palm Springs didn't add too much at 507 miles, but was no help in reducing the overall count.

Total mileage says I backslid a good deal, but take away the major trips and once again I was pretty disciplined with my daily driving. So what was the mileage breakdown for 2011?

I started at 215,401 and ended at 220,992. That's 5,591 miles for the year. It's still rather reduced compared to if I had a commute. Take away the trips and their 3,640 miles and you have 1,951 miles of general use travel. Still pretty respectable.

Not working much of the year, I was doing a lot of computer based work from home. So in a lot of ways, I barely left the house. I didn't bike much since I was without a commute, and in some ways I was in retreat from certain social things or obligations at church for example. I got rather sedentary, and I'm not happy to report on that. I feel it. Other transportation was by carpooling with Kelli, or sometimes with someone from church or others already on their way to some shared experience. There is some walking, but that isn't so much in the name of getting things done but for local errands.

Now, the absurdity of Kelli's commute and general day's driving probably nullifies any gains I might have made. But she's the breadwinner now, so that's legit, and her work requires a great deal of criss-crossing the territory. Having two such jobs multiplies that somewhat. She's had a good year in the "opportunity" department, and two jobs is nothing to laugh at in this economy.

Saturday
Sep172011

140,165 Miles on the White Donkey

The White Donkey is always ready to rollThat's how many miles I've driven my Toyota truck since I bought it this day 15 years ago. Taken as a simple average, that's about 9,345 miles each year, but I think the devoted readers of TAPKAE.com know that the trend has generally been a downward one since about 2002. I have to say though that this year I am keeping only skeletal records for the year, and certainly my trip to New Mexico cast another 1,800 miles into the mix. Again though, disregarding that trip and the exceptional stuff, the daily discipline is still there. Even still, this year, even with those road trips, is only 3,547 so far. A bit more than recent years, but still pretty confined to about a third of the 15 year average.

I'm missing two hubcaps (as of this year, just before I left for New Mexico). The radio is a hit or miss thing, and even on hits it seems to distort at what to me is a listenable level, but gets worse above that. The headlights are rather dim from moisture inside the lamps. The back bumper is a bit warped from the time when a postal truck accidentally was let to roll down a slight incline and used my truck as a barrier. The bumper up front is dented from letting my old man talk me into pushing a car into his back yard. The right side door lock hasn't worked for a decade it seems. The back fender is dented some from an unfortunate early era (within the first year I got the truck) pizza delivery mishap. I haven't washed it but once in the last five years. The bench seat has been replaced with a reupholstered version. No one would confuse it for anything but a work truck.

I bought it in the midst of a disaster. My grandfather had squirreled away about $12,000 in stock for me when he died, and only a month and a half later when I was also squeezed out of my childhood home by the deeds and attitudes of an increasingly unbearable old man, I was also faced with needing to get my Ford Escort fixed. (I had shopped for a Totota truck two years before that when I was given a $10,000 gift/inheritance in 1994. Some of that went to the Premier drum kit I still have, some went to a trip to Alaska to see Shelby, and some was just squandered between jobs. But the stock was the last hurrah. The money that wasn't used to buy the truck was left alone for some time until I heard about Roth IRA and put it there in 2001—just months before 9/11 caused the economy to crash and my IRA to go with it. While watching that money plummet I was also racking up a student loan bill at AIC. Years later, I paid that off with the rebuilt stock money that I had since withdrawn from the IRA. Possibly foolish, but it got me out of debt which I regard as wise.) 

Digression aside, the truck was a crisis decision that worked out. I sold about $8,000 worth of the stuff and put in about a grand of my own money to but it outright. My girlfriend at the time even put in about $500 to buy the Lo-Jack system that mercifully never had to get used. (But I used to fret when it was a pretty new vehicle.) The Ford fetched me $150 of trade in value, in part because I did not prepare it in any way but also because it was nearing the end of the Ford lifetime, at 95,000+ miles. I had already replaced the head and done numerous other fixes with the "help" of just about anyone who I could afford or not. The last repair I had was to get the timing done by a real mechanic with a real shop, after having tried to let my grandmother's new housemate Bill Francis work on it, and during which my old man decided to terrorize me some by taking it off the working ramps and causing the system to get all out of sync. That last repair bill—about a week before I traded it away—was for $300. I only got half of that in trade! It was a basket case that I was glad to see go.

When I bought it, I had barely had much experience driving stick, so it was a bit of a learning curve at first. I did have a job the year before that had me drive a similar truck, but I was rather sloppy with it and sometimes abusive of it as I learned to drive it. When Robin and I left the dealership rather late that September 17th, 1996, I had sweaty palms from just closing the biggest purchase deal I have ever made (even to this day). We went to the ARCO at Genesee and Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to buy gas. The tank was pretty empty so I filled it up. Cost all of $14 and some change! (That seems so quaint now just like people and their $0.12/gallon tales from the 70s.) I was sort of living at Robin's in La Mesa. I was in an odd place. I was barely working for Rockola around then, just got ousted from home, was unwelcome at my grandmother's place, and on top of all that, Robin and I were in the middle of what I called an eight month breakup that lasted from about April till the end of that year. But I had a new-ish truck! 

I anticipated it would cost me less to operate since it probably wasn't going to be problematic. And it generally wasn't. I had bought it from the dealership that had used that very vehicle as its parts truck. That's how it got its 78k miles in just two years. That's about 39k each year! Far more than I use it, you see. What I did realize, given my situation, was that I needed to get some work that had some potential to change things some for me. I was feeling quite devastated in that state. Living at Robin's was testy, given our relationship that was in an off-on-off-on state for so long. It was at her parents' place anyway and that is awkward on any day of the week. Rockola (Bob, mainly) was washing hands of me, and even though there were a few things that turned up as other musicians in town discovered my availability, the need for my own apartment space was clear, and taking care of my new ride was key to enabling me to work as an assistant and cartage guy. But since music related work was not so empowering then, given the network I had, I turned to Pizza Hut and got that gig in La Mesa at the start of October. I was quite delighted the day I got the call while at Robin's place. It was the first time in a year or so since Advance Recording Products that I had a "real" job. All the time since I was just doing music tech work and getting paid what little I was worth then.

After about a month at Pizza Hut, I was looking in the San Diego Reader for apartments or rooms to rent. For the first time ever I was feeling empowered enough to do so. I looked at just one or two and ended up at a place in Clairemont (with my job now in La Mesa, about nine miles away), where I got one bedroom for $270 for the first year or so. I moved in on Halloween and was invited to some fun on the town with one of my new roommates, Art Pacheco, and his girlfriend. We went to the Red Fox Room in University Heights, and listened to some torch singer and watched freaks in their costumes. It was a plunge into a new world where the characters were unfamiliar. The lock on my door, flimsy as it was, was all that kept the world at bay but since we all paid our shares and were strangers, I do not know of any intrusions like I was getting familiar with at home. The bills were legit and shared. It was kind of scary, not least of which because I was in an apartment with people coming and going all the time in the area. I used to check on my truck a few times a day and night. 

Working at Pizza Hut did not require a new vehicle and in some ways I'm bummed that I used the new truck for that because within a year I got it dented upon one ill-considered backing up. But aside from that, I was able to drive it confidently and reliably report to work where I got what seemed like a king's ransom over well over a thousand dollars a month. That was epic. I used to dream fancifully of getting $800 from Rockola back in 1995. This led me to wonder why I bothered with them, but I did have an attitude that was rather self aware that I had no business doing this work if I was to ever seek happiness. 

Just about as quickly as my life seemed back on track, with new truck and new apartment, I was at Wal Mart one day. (November 13th, one of the extremely few dates I ever set foot in there and about one of three or four that I bought anything at a Wal Mart.) I was buying a new phone for my room when I got a page from an 818- area code. I had no idea who that was so I blew it off till I was rid of Matt and Robin for the day. When I got home, it was on the answering machine...a call from none other than Mike Keneally. The message he left offered me a crappy paying gig doing drum and bass tech and driving on his tour that was to begin soon. In FIVE days it would be starting. At that time, I was a drooling fanboy and almost took no time in saying yes. It meant that I basically would have to quit the Pizza Hut gig, park my truck somewhere (ended up at the old man's back yard under covering tarps), and to be gone from Robin for five weeks, which eventually turned out to be just what the doctor ordered to finally put the distance between us that we were not able to achieve. I basically dropped everything to work for about $37/day for each day gone. It wasn't much but for a few weeks' work, it was stable and no less than Pizza Hut. And it was gonna be fun like nothing else I had done for work!

After getting a wishy washy word that I could come back to Pizza Hut when I was done with the tour, I basically just got ready to go. Parked the truck under the tarps at the old man's back yard. That took some doing because one of his strategies in getting me to move originally involved game playing with ripping my keys off and holding them hostage. I have a hard time understanding his motives, but once in a while it makes sense to trust him more than the world around. 

Skipping ahead the better part of these 15 years, I reiterate one more time that this was a purchase well made. It's odd but it was only with my trip to Arizona early last year that I actually started driving it across country. No kidding. Prior to that trip, as far as I had ever driven it was on day trips that generally did not ever top 300-400 miles at a stretch, and even those were rather few and far between. Trips to the LA area, Palm Springs, El Centro and Salton Sea are about as far as I ever took the truck. Then last year I decided to drive to Arizona. And then to Death Valley. And to Joshua Tree. The thing runs great. So I went to New Mexico (after replacing the radiator though, and some other work), and then off to Big Bear. Now Kelli and I are cooking up other plans for more such travel. It's just a reliable little donkey I got here.

Friday
Dec312010

Mileage for 2010

  • January 1: 211,401
  • July 1: 212,694
  • October 1: 213,267
  • December 31: 215,380

Okay people, the year end mileage tally for my personal transportation in the Toyota is 3,979. Loyal readers will notice that this figure is quite higher than the estimated mileage of 2,300 for the year, a guess made in October. I have to put a little qualification on the tally here because this was not a normal year, particularly in the 4th quarter; Kelli and I went on not one, but TWO trips this year. We planned to rent a car for the first one anyway—a trip to Death Valley during the Thanksgiving weekend that at nearly the last minute, I decided to save a bit of expense but an even greater hassle by driving my own truck. The next trip, up to Joshua Tree Park in the days after Christmas, was shorter and was pretty much a no-brainer after the Death Valley drive worked as well as it did. So I present to you my year's mileage, but with some qualifications.

Yeah, the total was 3,979 which is still pretty lean for living a modern American life, but take away the three trips I drove this year (totally 2385 miles) and the remaining number, one that reflects my local driving habits, is still quite an exceptional number that tried hard to keep to 2009's record 1,546 miles driven. So my trip-adjusted local mileage is 1,595 miles. Okay, so I overshot by about 50 miles because of the rainy last two weeks of the year and the general running around and holiday hubbub that comes with the season. Still, two years of driving less than 1,600 miles is a worthy thing.

The 2,385 miles that were given to travel were mostly in the name of seeing nature's grandeur. It was a central part of the mens' rites in Arizona, and on the trip to Death Valley, we tried to take in as much natural scenery as possible by taking obscure roads when possible and keeping off the freeways. There was more possibility for that on the trip to Joshua Tree, winding our way out of the San Diego County area by backroads I don't remember ever driving before, and up along the Salton Sea. And on return, coming along the CA-74 from Palm Desert and up (even in the dark it was beautiful) into the San Jacinto mountains and over toward Temecula. Yes, Kelli and I needed a soul-refresher this year, and a couple trips helped out a lot. One day I shall get pictures prepared. Of course I've been saying that about our wedding for years now!

Thursday
Jul012010

Mileage, January-June

Keeping up with this on a month to month basis is a little silly, but on a quarterly basis, it isn't too bad. So here we are, halfway through the year of 2010 and I've done a pretty darn good job of refraining from use of my truck. There is one exception, and that is the trip to Arizona that added about 740 miles or so to the tally. Even still, the numbers are good. Drum roll, please...

  • January 1: 211,401
  • July 1: 212,694

That makes 1,293 miles for the first half of the year. I'm pretty sure this year isn't going to improve upon my record for last year, 1546, but even without the trip to Arizona, the average is coming in on the lean side, less than 100 miles a month. Nothing to be ashamed of. I've only been to the gas station seven times this year, and four of those trips were connected with the Arizona trip. Not bad at all.

Friday
Jan012010

Mileage for December/Final!

  • January 1, 2009: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675
  • September 1: 210,873
  • October 1: 210,919
  • November 1: 211,038
  • December 1: 211,246
  • January 1, 2010: 211,401

Here is the first post of 2010, and the moment all the fine readers of TAPKAE dot com have been waiting for with bated breath. Finally, we get to see how many personal miles I was able to reduce my driving to for one year while adopting biking as my main mode of transportation, augmented by carpooling (planned and opportunistic), walking, and the occasional use of public transportation. It was a year ago when I started this thing, and back in July I called it as a 1,700 mile year. I'm quite pleased to announce that the final tally is 1,546 miles. By comparison, mileage for 2008 was over twice that much at 3,688. Year 2007 was more than that, so each year for a while now I have seen the record fall.

I don't expect I shall be able to repeat this in 2010. I have one planned trip to Arizona that, if I drive it, will pretty much make this kind of thing impossible. Still, I am committed to keeping off the road in my truck as much as I can. Still, I feel that this progressive reduction has been a good display of what I knew needed to happen back in 2004-2005 when peak oil was my concern. I've not bothered to keep up to date on peak oil issues in any depth, but I know enough to know that this effort is required still more than ever. Furthermore, I have been an advocate of biking enough lately, and maybe have done a part to provoke others into increasing their biking and decreasing their car use.

All this has made me rather resourceful. Combining trips is still a leading way to keep the mileage low. I opt to do errands when I can cruise with Kelli on her planned runs. (We're looking at bikes for her.) There are some days when I utilize a few options to get around. I bused to work one day, which was pleasant but took vastly longer than biking, which itself is about as fast as driving anyway. I often draft people from church or work into the occasional ride home or to the bike shop if maybe I had a flat or planned service and took it in before work. Some quick errands can be done while on the clock since most of my work is in highly urban areas. (But you didn't read that here. Actually a couple have been okayed by the powers that be.)

The point I like to emphasize is that even though most of my life is lived within a far smaller radius than ever, my quality of life is no worse, and I have to say that I think it is far better than ever, particularly if we're just comparing modes of transportation. A lot of pushback comes from people who are convinced their lives will be parochial and boring if they can't exercise their automotive "freedom." I beg to differ. My experience has been that I feel more freedom while biking or carpooling. Most of my day at work I am behind the wheel and in traffic with that suffocating feeling of being trapped. The last thing I want to do is spend another minute in at the wheel. By contrast, other modes offer freedom, and even real, fresh air. Some of them draw upon my own power and are for solo travel, but some upon another person's car, but even those trips offer a bit of community time that add a quality you don't get while sequestered in your own two ton mobile sardine can. I find that there is an interesting dimension to biking in particular in that two things happen at once. In one way the trip can be slower than with a car if car travel was not regulated by so many lights and signs and the presence of long lines of other cars. But cars are slaves to all that and—just watch—a bike can move from light to light faster with less interruption and so the biker's trip is more unbroken. What that feels like is that time passes faster on a bike because it flows more consistently than the stop and go of car travel, often a few feet at a time. Yet, despite the feeling that things move faster, it is at a pace where you can enjoy the surroundings and maybe even greet people. One of the guys from the bike shop commutes in the opposite direction from me, and from across the boulevard we greet each other as we pass each other at about the same spot most mornings. There are some other chance meetings like that too that sweeten the deal as I pass other bikers I may know from the social rides, or even some people from church or work. The quality of life does seem to be greater when you can travel and sort of feel not totally disconnected from your surroundings.

Church and related groups, work, grocery runs, ATM, bike shops, going to friends', riding for the sake of riding, eating out—the options seem greater now. All kinds of things that used to be fun to do when I was a kid or teen are available to me again in some form. I felt it was like being in exile from a lot of things while thinking that driving was the only viable option; that it took a ton or two of metal to move me around. Most of the time, you see, that just isn't the case. I've delighted myself in not only getting on the bike back in 2008, but moving to (freewheel) single speed riding and its inherent "limits" to one gear, to fixed gear riding, which paradoxically feels less limited despite one gear in constant rotation. My city isn't flat and I wasn't fit to begin with, but somehow this has all worked out. There are plenty of you fence-sitters out there. Park that car and bike it some!

Tuesday
Dec012009

Mileage Through November

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675
  • September 1: 210,873
  • October 1: 210,919
  • November 1: 211,038
  • December 1: 211,246

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. Just one more month to go, and I don't have big plans for December so this may not change much. It looks like we have 1,391 miles so far this year, with an uncharacteristic 208 miles for this month just completed. That is because Kelli and I took a joyride to Mt. Palomar a couple days ago. We didn't reach the top because it began to snow at elevation and we were there with no chains and it was dusk. So once I found the truck to be poorly footed on the pavement, I turned around. It made a nice bit of a getaway. Stopped for Dudley's bread and had a nice day away from the usual environs.

I finally passed my recommended oil change mileage interval on this trip—it took a year and a half to drive 3,000 miles! The oil looks good so I may do it sometime next summer or fall.

Thursday
Oct012009

Mileage Through September

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675
  • September 1: 210,873
  • October 1: 210,919

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. This month has been the leanest of all at just 46 miles in my own vehicle, with a total of 1,046 miles since the start of the year. Obviously the biking is working out, but it is right to say that I catch a few rides from Kelli when needed, and occasionally I can do quick errands along my work routes.

I am still waiting for the 3,000 mile mark to roll around since last year's oil change. That will be coming up "soon" in 300 miles or so. Maybe in December I will have that to report. I've gassed up only four times so far and I predict only two more fills at this rate. I'm sure this blog is getting boring by now, eh? Paint dries faster and is more exciting to watch.

Tuesday
Sep012009

Mileage Through August

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675
  • September 1: 210,873

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. You read right folks—that is only 1,018 private miles in my truck for the first eight months of this year. So far this month has been the "worst" of the year in terms of miles driven, but still, it was only 198 miles or so, which is still about 2/3 of one tank of gas. It's looking good. Just four more months to go this year. I will predict a total of 1,700 miles for the year.

As you can see, I broke the 1,000 mile mark this month, and it took all of eight months to do it! As I mentioned before, I withheld a bit of biking at the start of the month to not complicate my dental work. I got a bike rack for the truck and have used it a couple times to get to different neighborhoods or to include Kelli on some rides. There has been a bit more of my charitable driving, as I am ever more on the lookout for produce or dairy goods that I can get from work and pass off to Special Delivery or to meet a more immediate need if I find it. My Monday errand and volunteer days are still the most common driving days, otherwise I really am parked the better part of five or six days each week. I still haven't gotten a car wash, even after three years. Maybe next year.

Saturday
Aug012009

Mileage Through July

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. You read right folks—that is only 820 private miles in my truck for the first seven months of this year.

Most of the news is about the same: a few loose errands, a couple Special Delivery routes, and one or two Mondays that fill up with lots of things to knock out at once. Other than that, the Toyota stays parked most days. I finally got to the gas station last week for its fourth fillup this calendar year. Still have many miles before the oil change due at 211,215. It is quite something. I was debating on whether to take it to a car wash and then bother to clean it up with a wash and wax. I don't recall doing so since summer of 2006, and I guess a triennial car wash is no crime, is it?

Were it not for a couple days of lowered activity to help let my tooth sockets heal, I'd be kicking around on the bike more this glorious four day weekend. But I can enjoy naps just as much.

Monday
Jun012009

Mileage Through May

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. You read right folks. That's only 512 private vehicle miles I've driven this year. I apparently drove only 58 miles in May.

I had to fill up my tank again. It is only the third time I have done so this year. The last was in March or so.