When it all goes wrong; but safe to say, we can say we are safe!

 

Shattered windscreen; airbags deployed and still visible;
not one panel left straight!

It was just five weeks ago today, Sunday, when we said farewell to our beloved “L’il Pumpkin.” Yes, our orange Range Rover, two door Evoque convertible, was taken away. We watched it dragged up and onto a tow truck little realizing that we wouldn’t ever see the car again. Being hit in the rear while stationary on a highway, at 65 mph (who knows the g’s that were generated) and pushed into the SUV ahead of us, it wasn’t pretty. Throw in how all four airbags inflated (did you also know that four airbags come up at a replacement cost of approx. $15,000) and the subsequent frame and structural damage, it became a discussion about sorting out who pays what.

That part of Interstate 25 (I25) just south of Windsor / Loveland has become essentially a concrete-lined tunnel of destruction. So many accidents over such a short period of time! The state of Colorado is into its fourth year of expansion projects from Longmont to just north of Ft. Collins, with yet another three years projected before completion is in sight. In the meantime, the powers that be elected to line the two lanes north and south of the interstate with concrete barriers with no allowance for emergencies. Enough said; it was a disaster but even then we didn’t realize the impact on our car. It now seems as though we signed the equivalent of “organ donation” as L’il Pumpkin is to become nothing more than a parts bin for the insurance company.


First responders used L’il Pumpkin as site of triage.

You could call it bad luck or perhaps even a case of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This could have happened to anyone, right? However, this still doesn’t take away from the pain that it caused or alleviate the temporary suffering we both went through – Margo for a lot longer than me as she wasn’t fully recovered from the leg she broke just before Christmas, 2020.

When it all goes horribly wrong and you just watch it all unfold right before your eyes then there’s no question about it. We were terribly unlucky that day. Our string of good fortune simply dissipated into thin air. And to think that now, we will not be able to replace L’il Pumpkin as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) stopped selling that car after a short run of about thirty months. No use checking used prices as they have climbed well past initial MSRP.


Red sky at night … say no more!

The again, life simply goes on and with that a sense of normality has returned to our home life. Back to simply trips to the store; the occasional meal out; watching others going about their routines. We cancelled our business trip back to Florida that was about to start in a few days’ time following our accident. We have taken time to catch up on our evening viewing of TV programs. We have learnt a couple of new cocktails.

With the five weeks now truly behind us, it’s back to work. Providing commentaries, posts and articles always has been challenging but surprise, surprise! There is now an additional life event that I can work into upcoming story lines. Did you know how much energy is dissipated when a pick-up towing a caravan travelling at 65 mph is unable to stop, but rather slams into the back of your vehicle?



Bears a striking resemblance, doesn’t it; Pumpkin II

1200hp – who knew? Over the course of a couple of weeks, we have laid down deposits on two cars that combined, provide close on 1200hp. Well, truth be told, we laid down the deposit for one of these cars what now seems a long time ago but we only just finalized what model it would be. With the demise of the Evoque, we returned to our local JLR dealer and after a couple of visits, chose a replacement. Starting with the ending first, there is the potential for one vehicle arriving in about a year whereas the other will probably not find its way into our garage before late 2023 or even later.

There just isn’t any inventory any more of vehicles you really would like to drive. That is, if you are Margo or me as we do like our cars. And we like them when they deliver a fully engaging driver experience. Fortunately as readers of this blog will already have realized, it’s indeed fortunate that we share such an interest.

Not THE Z06, but just the ‘Ray; color will be similar

We chose to be on the list for a new eight generation Corvette (C8) performance model – the Z06. As for the second car that will arrive well and truly before the C8 Z06, we chose a 2022 Jaguar F Pace SVR. All up, a little over 1180hp at sea level. Do we need such levels of performance? Well it’s not a new experience for us as back when we lived in Niwot, Colorado, we had nearly 2300hp spread across four cars. Then again, isn’t the general public fleeing from big horsepower conventional engines and embracing electric vehicles (EVs)?

Think again as even though the uptick is slow, the power on tap from many of these new EVs goes well beyond these numbers. We are definitely in a transitional golden era for all motor vehicle enthusiasts. And before you make further inquiries, we are keeping our relatively tame Jaguar F Type with its tepid, supercharged, three liter V6 just as we are keeping our backup SUV, the recently acquired 2008 Infiniti EX35.



How can you say no to this beauty; will be a keeper.

It all may seem a little strange for a family that has retired from attending track days, spending weekends away from home at dusty, hot and mostly desert road courses – Buttonwillow, Big Willow, Spring Mountain and High Plans Raceway – now just history. But our desire to continue driving back and forth across America, looking for roads way less travelled, has both of us relishing the thought of getting back behind the wheel.

Our decision therefore to cancel our upcoming drive to Florida wasn’t one we took lightly, but rather, out of a need to sort out our post-Evoque situation. Then again, we have time and with the arrival of fall, we are looking forward to taking a couple of trips up into the mountains to check out the aspens as they change color.


With no cars to sell our local dealer put on his own car show;
mostly Vettes, of course.

What has really stood out in all this back and forth is just how big an impact the deteriorating supply chain is having on almost everything we do of late. Could our Evoque total loss situation have been driven by the lack or parts more so than the actual damage? Could the empty car showrooms be with us for much longer than we are being told and is this the beginning of a new era for North American car buyers? Will they too be approaching a new car purchase in much the same way as I remember doing in Australia and even Canada a couple of decades or so ago? In all seriousness, not being able to drive the car we want off a dealer’s lot and instead simply booking an allocation slot well, it’s un-American! I guess it is now a case of welcome to the real world of car buying, my American friends.

Supply chain miscues are beginning to affect us all. A walk this week through our local Costco only to find empty spaces where paper products used to occupy. Talked with the checkout attendant – the one who counts the goods in our cart where this time we had only one item – and yes, they are expecting a truck to arrive shortly. Hopefully, by end of the week! All said and done, while there is no apparent synergy between slow arrivals of new cars and the absence of paper towels but there you have it. Blame it all on the transportation industry and the slack in the supply chains that shows no sign of tightening. Blame it too on the shortage of truck drivers and yes, blame it on those super container ships sitting idly by ports that are likewise short-staffed or in some cases, even closed for the time being.


In this case, no family connection but the only place to eat south of I70.

To grab a little down time we spent an evening up in the mountains. It was the last day of the Labor Day long weekend and we chose to overnight at a Hilton rather than mix it with the holiday traffic navigating Interstate 70 (I70). The wait for the room was excruciating but we finally got there. However, as for a meal in the restaurant or a drink at the bar, no such luck.

Seems all those in support roles at the hotel had returned to Europe for the start of the school leaving a huge shortage of staff. As the lone front desk attendant explained it to us, the supply chain of human resources is just as broken as it is for products. Ouch; the flip side is that Margo and I will be spending a lot more time at home and as we shook another martini we looked at each other, smiled, and said “that can’t be all that bad, right?”


A filet medium rare and our regular request …

When everything seems to be going horribly wrong and the world looks as though it has turned upside-down, there is still no shortage of one component. Here I am talking about the return to localization. If you can’t make it or fix it or find it nearby, its importance becomes seriously discounted. We will get back on the road even as favorite hotels open the doors to their restaurants. We may even get a new car or two. But getting to know the names of our neighbors has been a pleasant surprise – my neighbor Dave turns out to be really called Scott. Go figure! There is now a lot more waving as we pass each other even as we stop to chat on occasion, something we rarely did in the past. And when we do venture to our favorite restaurant in Ft. Collins, the waiters invariably know what we like to order.

As I close this post it’s worth noting that the overnight temperatures have begun to drop. We are turning on the furnace with regularity if only to drive out the night’s chill; the air conditioning is still needed for the rest of the day as the temperatures continue to toy with the 90 degree mark. However, that chill in the air is a reminder that this time last year and following a day of 90 degrees, it snowed. We will be scheduling sprinklers turn down before the end of this month. It’s perhaps a sign that the beginning of nights spent by the fire is not too far away. Bring on the autumn colors of fall and let’s just those images of our own L’il Pumpkin begin to fade into the past. Another season is about to start and I have to admit, there’s nothing horrible about that!   



Stop the presses! Our good friends Brian and Jan were at Laguna Seca to see their grandson Colton repeat the success of father Bryan to come away with a huge win. This track is now the House of Herta as between father and son, they have won four times. Anecdotally, at such a your age, Colton has now one more Indy victory that his dad - achieved in just his third year!

I guess it all comes down to Grandma Jan's racing genes:


For more on this year's achievements, wait for the post following the last race of the year at Long Beach, CA!

 


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