inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

Route 100

The Region 1 Rally that I attended was fairly quiet and I had only planned to go for an overnight, so after breakfast with my hosts Rick & Sandi, and catching up withe some other friends, I packed up the tent and headed homeward. I could certainly have stayed longer and chatted more, but the sky was brilliantly blue and the air was crisp and the trees were green … and the Route 100 was calling.

Bondville Chuck.jpg
My friend Chuck, surrounded by aluminum

Route 100 runs down the spine of Vermont, and it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and fun roads to drive in this nation. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point. It is particularly scenic, passing through little villages and over small rivers, up and down hills, and past antique houses. There is a bit of every sort of Vermont life set alongside Route 100, and as you travel along it you can be a voyeur of small-town life, and even drop in for a moment on a whim.

With the right vehicle, the driving is fun too, which is why I saw motorcycle and ragtops and a bevy of Corvettes all running down the road, probably going nowhere in particular. The Honda Fit may be an econobox but it is fun to drive, so it was a great “fit” for the road too. I didn’t feel the slightest bit jealous of the Corvettes as I swung around curves and through tall stands of trees and over narrow old bridges on my way home.

This time of year along Route 100 you’ll see Farmer’s Markets, town fairs & festivals, sidewalk sales at the art galleries and antique shops, and people doing their ordinary business at farms, in their gardens, and at the tiny general stories that are the centerpiece of almost every town. In a few weeks, the drive will be even more colorful, as the fall foliage begins to strike the upper elevations around late September. It would be worth doing the drive again — just to do it — but we’ll have to be on our way west by then if we want to see anything in Montana before the snow threatens.

If Eleanor had been with me on this ride, I would have stuck with Route 100 all the way north to Waitsfield, and then cut over the mountains to our parking spot. We don’t often go for drives just for driving’s sake, but Route 100 in the summer is an exception.

Of course, it helps to be driving a fun car that gets 40+ MPG on the open road. That way the trip isn’t tainted by the knowledge that we’re burning $50 worth of gasoline. My trip to and from Bondville, 200 miles in total, cost me just $15. I’ll miss that when we have to say goodbye to the little car in two weeks. However, if I can plan things properly, it will be waiting for us in the driveway in Tucson when we finally arrive there in 2-3 months.

The other reason to get home soon was because the lake was perfect: calm, crystal clear, and reasonably warm. I wanted to get out on the boat again. Steve towed me around on the wakeboard and since I was feeling confident I pushed a bit and tried some new basic moves. It’s easier than I thought and a lot of fun. I was able to reliably cross the wake in either direction, ride the wake, make S-turns, ride out bumps (caused by crossing our own wake), and even do a fakie several times. Of course, there were plenty of crashes too, but I’ve even learned to crash comfortably, so except for water up the nose it was a great time. We’ll try again today.

Our forward Fantastic Vent (of the three we have installed) has suffered from a strange defect since we installed it last year. It’s a 14-speed wireless remote model, and it would occasionally exhibit a “surging” behavior at certain fan speeds. The fan would speed up and then slow down to nothing, then repeat multiple times and eventually shut down altogether. I talked to Fantastic Vent’s representative at the International in Perry about this, and she recognized the problem as an issue that struck some of the early units.

She called me last week to follow up. I told her the problem was still happening and she promised to immediately contact the factory about it. Two days later, a brand new vent “upgrade kit” arrived via UPS. This kit replaces the circuit board and gives me a new remote control.

Talk about GREAT SERVICE! The Fantastic Vent people have always run a top-notch organization, but this level of care and responsiveness really shows their dedication. They are one of the few truly “customer-focused” organizations out there. I’m not basing this just on my experience, but on the reports of many people I know who use their products and have also had great customer experiences.

I’m thinking now of making a minor change to our itinerary and crossing west through Ontario to Michigan. This will bring us right past Imlay City, MI, where Fantastic Vent is located, and in which case perhaps we can arrange a factory tour. I love factory tours, and I’d like to take a look inside their organization to see how they have created their culture of customer service.