Old Diary

Which Side the Fuel Door?

Fuel Door

Quick: On which side is your vehicle’s fuel door?

Could you answer instinctively?

Did you know that your car tells you what side the fuel door is on?  I didn’t know until just a little while ago that my car does.  And probably yours does too.

Look at your fuel guage.  See that little diamond shaped arrow next to the emoji for fuel pump.  what-side-your-car-is-gas-tankThere it is.  The indicator for which side of your car the filler door is located.

Have you ever pulled to the fuel island to discover you’re on the wrong side? Our CR-V had the filler on the opposite side of the car from our new Outback.  I am regularly driving up to the wrong side of the car to fill up.  (Of course with a larger tank and better mileage we get almost twice the range with the Outback so we aren’t filling up nearly as often.)

Have you ever uttered bad words before or after you said, “Why don’t they put fuel doors on the same side of every car?!?” The answer to that question is complicated, if not convoluted.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, do not mandate side-of-the-car placement for this only-too-frequently-used feature of your car.  I bet we all have been flummoxed at least once having already purchased a new car and then finding out the fuel door wasn’t where we expected it to be.  And you know the power of habit.  Once you become accustomed to a left side door, or a right side door, you’re going to habitually go to that side of the pump until you break your now-obsolete-habit.

Manufacturers who have no legal obligation, nor marketing motivation to make our life easy are free to let their engineers place fuel doors on whichever side offers the easiest packaging.  If something on the new model needs to go where last year’s fuel door was located, hey, there’s no reason not to move it to the other side. And to be sure, there’s no demand for dual fuel doors.

Americans prefer left-mounted fuel doors, a Ford study revealed.  A driver’s-side fuel door makes it easier for drivers to place the car’s left fender close to fuel pump. But, let me ask you, when you bought your last car, did you consider which side of the car the fuel door was on as part of your buying decision?  I bet not!

Drivers in Japan, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and countries in southern Africa drive on the left side of the road and sit on the right side of the car.  It appears they prefer right-mounted fuel doors, given the tendencies of car manufacturers. Most automakers produces some vehicles with left fuel doors and some with right doors.

The bottom line: Fuel door position is not a random choice, but if engineers have a good reason to place fuel doors on the right, that’s where they go.

If you can’t remember the location of your fuel door, don’t be ashamed to look at the little diamond-arrow on your fuel gauge … BEFORE you pull up to the pump. Don’t follow my example, because I’m still  pulling up to the wrong side of the pump about 1/3 of the time!!!!!

Thanks to The Allstate Blog for content and ideas. 

Old Diary, Relationships


To go where no one has gone before?  Or maybe just to retrace one’s steps down memory lane. That is the question of the day.

Actually, it was the question for yesterday….

Because we had been cooped up in the house for a couple days and we were in the mood for a mini road trip; but where to go?

The story may be about modern history but it has roots in our personality and says more about who we are, and perhaps who you are, than might at first be evident.

Back in 2011, before we went full time RV’ing we were faced with a winter where we owned a brand new-to-us RV and had to put it in storage for the winter.  Being new to the idea of owning a motorcoach I was obsessed about keeping the batteries sufficiently charged and the coach regularly moving so our solution to the problem was to “exercise” the coach about once a month on a day when the temps were warm enough that we could start the diesel without extreme measures or jumper cables.

a former employer

We made four or five short trips that winter; each of them fun and interesting in it’s own right.  It had been 10 years since I’d been in a driver for Lamers Bus, and while I hadn’t forgotten all that much about coach-ing you do tend to lose your skills and refresher time behind the wheel is always good. So, those were days to spend time together, talking and sharing our ideas of what full time RV’ing would be ‘like’ when we finally got the chance to do it, and seeing a little bit of the countryside.

Now, 7 years later, we find ourselves returning to Wisconsin and wanting to reacquaint ourselves without home state and just how do you do that?  We’ve always enjoyed a good drive and day trips are one of the more pleasant ways of getting out to see and do what there is to be seen, and done!

One of those 2011 trips had been to an un-memorable county park named Carlin Weld. The “most notable” feature of the park was… it’s name.  For some odd reason the memory of having been there brought back a warm-all-over feeling.  It wasn’t the park. It was who I’d been with when I was there — and not for all that long either — and memories of a time when we were looking forward to new adventures together; after a lifetime of working apart we were finally going to get the opportunity to be together — exploring the world — without interruption.

Today (well, technically “yesterday”) we are at a similar though very different place.  Once again we find ourselves at a crossroad:  new horizons await; new adventures too.  What will come of them.  The best part is that we are still having fun being together all the time. I know that’s not always the case with couples; we know plenty of them that don’t do much of anything together and when they are together they seem to get on each others nerves.  But we’re fortunate.

I guess the important “part” of this blog is that it doesn’t take much to make us happy.  Something to do together. Time to chat idly when the TV isn’t distracting us, or a puzzle isn’t calling our name.  The mindlessness of a drive in the country is the perfect opportunity to commune with each other.  (Next to a leisurely stroll through the woods — but it’s way to cold for me to enjoy that right now!)

So, we drove there again, yesterday.  It wasn’t far.  We stayed on the back roads.  We were reminded of the system of Wisconsin Rustic Roads — a couple of which we passed along the route. And if you aren’t familiar with the system of  Rustic Roads in Wisconsin you are missing out. (The link gets you a download of the Wisconsin Rustic Roads Guide)  You can’t “take them anywhere”; they aren’t contiguous. They don’t lead anywhere; they aren’t purpose built.  They are a glimpse back into the world and the life of yesteryear. Most of them are under 5 miles long.  They wind and twist through Wisconsin — little snippets of historically irrelevancy — but they are fun to drive.

My point being simply that they are opportunities for kismet, for happenstance, for whimsy. You don’t have to have a reason for taking a mini road trip — sometimes you spirit just needs to get out and breathe — and what better way to do it than to see a sign, and respond to it.


That was how we found Carlin Weld in the first place.  We were traveling a highway and saw a sign to a county park.  We said, “what the heck” and turned to follow the sign.  What we found was small, not very exciting, and in the circumstance it was also snow covered and blustery being in January — but it made a pleasant memory and provided time to enjoy just being together.  I never thought back then in 2011 that I’d want to return.  But then I didn’t know in 2011 that 6 years later I’d be back in Wisconsin wanting to travel again the old roads, to remember where this one leads and where that one needs pot-hole filling.  It’s not about great adventures; it’s about little moments of happiness.

These mini road trips aren’t about going places.  They aren’t about great adventures.  They are about the simple act of investing in one’s own future with their spouse.  You may not enjoy time in the car.  For you, the investment in your spouse might be a night out bowling — not so much for the bowling as for the time between balls.  Seeing as you know I dislike baseball — your investment could be taking your spouse to a game — if you’re like me and bored to death by the game — it would just be a perfect opportunity to sit in the bleachers on a sunny afternoon and tell each other stories.   Things like an afternoon on the beach might not be the best way to invest in each other; not if the guy is looking at all the other women and the wife is looking at all the other men.  These kind of investments have to be about a time when the both of you are just sort of coasting mentally, when there is no agenda, no plan, no schedule.  When your mind is free to wander you get to find out how well your minds (both of you) wander in the same direction.

I hear couples say they grew out of touch.  And the question comes to mind, “what have you done to STAY in touch?”

For us, it’s often these little mini road trips.  For you it might be something quite different.  The only proof of the pudding as to whether it’s an effective gimmick, is whether or not the two of you feel closer as a result.  So there’s no cheating here.  You can tell yourself you’re doing it for someone else, but if you resent the time, or the effort, or the expense then you’re only fooling yourself.

For more information about Wisconsin Rustic Roads, just Google the expression.  That way if the state changes it’s website you’ll always go to the right place. 🙂

Old Diary

Watch those fuses

I finally got around to selling my Brake Buddy Classic.  It’s been sort of fun with the few remaining bits and bobs from our time RV’ing that as we have managed to sell them off, one by one, there have been no regrets, no second thoughts, it’s all been a very satisfying experience.

Well, almost all.

You see, after I advertised on Craigslist to sell the unit, and after I had a buyer there remained the singular task of making the final sale.  The buyer (rightly) wanted to see the unit in operation.  And I was silly enough to neglect checking on the fuse size to the accessory outlet in the only vehicle we have:  the Subaru Outback.

Sure enough, I plugged the Brake Buddy into the accessory outlet and with no air pressure in storage the unit worked just fine.  But as the demonstration proceeded and I asked the unit to re-pressurize the air chamber after doing the required pre-trip braking cycles — under pressure the unit pulled more than 10 amps and blew a fuse in the Outback!

I explained what happened to the buyer, showing him the spot in the operators manual saying the circuit needs to have a 15 amp fuse and we closed on the deal with no greater difficulties.  Which is ok.   A little embarrassment from time to time does a fellow good!

Still, it was a good reminder.  Accessories to have needs.  And you need to be careful about fulfilling those needs.

Right now my “need” is figuring out which fuse in which of 2 fuse boxes burned out.  You see after looking up the diagram for fuses in the Subaru Owners Manual for the correct model and year I realized that the Subaru is in fact a non-smoker’s car.  There are ZERO ash trays in the car.  The manual shows you that you can use a cupholder for the resting spot for an ADD-ON ASHTRAY, of which they conveniently show an example.  Furthermore the accessory outlets are not called cigarette lighters, they are for accessories!  And the manual tells you specifically that you should not attempt to power a cigarette lighter from those outlets.

So why is it that the designation on the fuse box diagram says:  CIGAR?

Go Figure!

Still, we sold the Brake Buddy.  I knew I had a supply of fuses somewhere… and a beautiful January morning with 40º temps made it easy to go through the seven tubs of miscellaneous “stuff” that we are storing in the garage — in search for the small plastic tray containing spare auto fuses.  I found them.  Wouldn’t you know it would be in the last of the 7 that I had to open.  I could not have managed to find them in the first or the second tub.  Oh, No!  Look through them all, why not!  But I have a supply of fuses and I did not have to go out to purchase more.  Which would have been my solution a couple years ago.  But, you know, I’m a retiree now, and there’s this thing about retirees that we’re all supposed to be so poor and we can’t afford to buy anything and why would I want to go out and buy more fuses when I had some perfectly good ones somewhere…. somewhere…. somewhere in that last box that I haven’t looked inside of for 5 months.

Whew!  I’m glad that’s done.

Now I just have this big Pelican waterproof case to sell.

Know anyone who wants a great case for camera equipment? 🙂

Old Diary

FedEx Still Amazes Me

fedex-logo-1I’m still amazed by FedEX. Our investment documents arrived from Cincinnati today; we’ve taken care of all the signatures and I’ll be dropping them back in the FedEX box shortly.  There are some parts of modernity which even a semi-Luddite like me appreciates.

I’m glad there are people who like and understand investing.  That is not my forte and even after serious attempts to understand it I am still convinced that while some people may excel at it there are also some who don’t.  But then not everyone can make a portrait, and not everyone can rebuild an engine.  Back in the days when I was working for Inland Diesel as a Dealer Administrator I had to take engine rebuilding classes. Being the clumsy oaf I am I have come to appreciate those who are talented in other ways than I am. After dropping (for the second time) a nut into a partially rebuilt engine I was relegated to the second row of observers and instructed never to participate in any of the actual rebuilding again!  C’est la vie.


We were at 15° this morning.  When I checked in on my bookmarked temperatures this morning and saw that our friends in Chatham IL were sitting at only 6° I almost felt like gloating. It’s pretty rare for them to be 10° cooler than us!  Administrator I was assigned to take diesel engine rebuilding courses.  I understood all the material, got great grades on all the tests but (to be brutally honest) I was clumsy as a drunken horse.  After dropping a nut into a mostly reassembled engine for the second time I was thereafter relegated to the second row of observers and instructed never to pick up a piece of metal in class again.

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In 39 hours we’ll be heading South.  I’ll set the alarm for 3 a.m. on Friday, in hopes of being on the road by 4 a.m.   I’m such a ditz about getting through Chicago before rush hour and there’s no better alternative than Eastbound I-94 if you are going to Florida.  There have been a lot of times when we have taken the Western route and joined up with I-65 in Nashville via Paducah KY instead of through Louisville.  That is a longer route, both in miles and hours — so this time we are going to do the quicker/shorter route.

Thursday we’ll be packing.  Getting all the camera gear packed, and clothing, has always been an art and not a science.  I liked the way our old Toyota Matrix packed, much more than I like the way the CR-V takes on freight.  The dimensions of the CR-V are just a bit off for the camera cases I use and I end up with more wasted space than I’d like.  We pretty will fill up the CR-V to the level of the windows when we travel.  But everything goes into the car at the last minute.  No overnight packing for me.  Even in our safe neighborhood I still don’t like putting all my cameras in the car overnight.

51koEoDtfOL._SL500_AA300_I finally got around to looking for some interesting stops along the way.  We might check in on a couple botanical gardens.  The details are in my map.  This will also be our first trip with the RVND 7720.  I’m curious to see if there are any operational difference between it and the 7710.