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Showing posts from July, 2007

VW R32: dogbone mounts

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I replaced the EIP Tuning dogbone mount on my R with a mount from BmF Technologies. I’d been satisfied with the EIP mount for 30k miles but for multiple reasons I decided to try something new.


When I first purchased my R I wanted to get an after-market mount to reduce the very noticeable engine thunk that accompanied hard accelerations. I originally chose the EIP mount because it was relatively inexpensive and reported to have a minimal increase in vibration compared to other mounts available at the time. In that regard the EIP dogbone was completely satisfactory. You can find pictures and more information here: EIP Mk4 R32 rear transmission mount.

I wanted to try a new dogbone because recent stories I’d read about EIP made me wonder whether there was something better that would fit my budget. I decided on a dogbone mount from BmF Technologies, a performance tuning shop located in Maryland, because the price was right and I felt it was better constructed.

The BmF dogbone causes mor…

VW R32: Broken brake light

Short and sweet: I had to replace my driver’s side brake light. The brake lights use a P21W (1156 or 7506) light bulb (light bulb replacement list for the Mk4 R32). You can follow the link to see a previous post on how to access the rear light bulbs (VW R32: Broken tail light).

Day 20: Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio

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If you notice the date of this post, it's obvious that I'm several days behind and I apologize. We arrived in the Washington, DC area Friday night and have been busy with a number of things so I'm just now trying to catch up.

The drive from Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio (just east of Toledo) on Thursday was a long one because we made a couple of extra stops in Madison, WI and Chicago, IL. Also, reaching more populated areas meant the speed limits dropped and traffic increased. Oh, yeah, we also had to drive through a couple of thunder storms.
Day's Summary: Black River Falls to Fremont, Ohio
Total distance traveled: 881.2 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 7 hours, 44 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 9 hours, 6 min.
Average fuel consumption: 11.5 L/100 km
Average speed: 97 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 28° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 3

Click below for more details of the day....

Our first big stop was to find a Circuit City store somewhere along our route. I wanted …

Day 19: Thunder Bay to Black River Falls, Wisconsin

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We ended our lay-over in Thunder Bay today and continued our road trip to Washington, D.C. Two years ago we did this leg of the trip in one night and got to Indiana before we stopped for the night.

This time we took it easy: we left late and stopped early in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, about an hour south of Eau Claire. Last time, Eau Claire made such an impression on me because the highway suddenly disappeared and a large town suddenly popped up. I had never heard of "Eau Claire" before and having to drive through it I thought it was very quaint and wholesome. We even stopped for some ice cream cones at the time. I remember it well, because it was my great idea to take the cones outside so the kids could enjoy the sunshine--and consequently watch their ice cream drip like leaking faucets in the 30° C heat.

This time, however, we drove on a newly completed expressway and it cut a swath right through Eau Claire. We must have saved 15-20 minutes of driving time.

Kind of sad, r…

Road Trip Day 19: Kum & Go

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We stopped at this Cenex station in Rice Lake, Wisconsin for an emergency bathroom break. Luckily enough, it was the first gas station I found that carried NOS energy drink in a bottle.

Needless to say, I bought 3 bottles (and a bag of Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds) for the road :0)

Day 6 to Day 18: The Thunder Bay Photos

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I've taken lots of photos while we've been here in Thunder Bay. You can find most of them here on my Flickr Map. However, not all of them are geotagged, so check here for my complete Thunder Bay set. I've got lots more to add (the most recent ones) and I'll do that as soon as possible.

We spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday enjoying the hospitality of some family friends who own a beautiful lake-shore camp. The girls had a blast cooling off in the water and it was the perfect way to end our time here in Thunder Bay.

Tomorrow we will be leaving TB and heading back on the road south to continue our trip to Washington, D.C. Our next stop: Wisconsin!

Thunder Bay Museum

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We went to the Thunder Bay Museum earlier this week. On Tuesdays they offer free admission--which is an awesome deal for a family of six. It's home to the Albertosaurus, a cast skeleton that was found in the province of Alberta....



No, no, no--not that one! This one:


Rocksville Amethyst & Gift Shoppe

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While in Thunder Bay we visited several amethyst gift shops, and this one by far had the best selection and quality. It's located east of the Terry Fox Memorial on the Trans Canada Highway and well worth the extra drive.

Click below to see a picture of the kids outside the shop....


*tee*hee* (>* p*<) *giggle*giggle*

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Brainerd. Really. Brainerd, Minnesota.

Strange GPS/Satellite Behaviour in Thunder Bay

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Update: Sep 27, 2007 - Our Stratus radio died when we got to DC. After talking to customer service, I bought a new radio from Circuit City. I went with the Starmate 4 because of some additional features I wanted. I also bought a new dash pad to mount it--which I love. It's working great now.

We've been in Thunder Bay, Ontario for almost two weeks now and I've been noticing some really strange things happening with our Honda GPS navigation system and our Sirius satellite radio.

Thunder Bay is near the boundary of the Eastern Daylight Time Zone in Canada, even though it's hundreds of kilometers west of the EDT boundary in the USA. So when you go across the border from Minnesota to Ontario, you change immediately from Central Daylight Time to Eastern Daylight Time. You can see what I mean on this time zone map of North America. I feel like because we are so close to the boundary between two time zones, our satellite dependent devices like the GPS and radio are going bonkers…

Four Houses

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On Algoma Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Our Duty Done

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City Hall, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
I really like the way this one turned out.

Tension at Fort William

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Fort William, Thunder Bay, ON.

Interestingly enough, Fort William Historical Park can NOT be found anywhere in the Honda's navigation system, but we had no problem finding The Persian Man on the map.

Eye on the Street Video Surveillance

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Eye on the Street Video Surveillance
The Eye on the Street Partnership is a community public safety initiative in the City of Thunder Bay.

In November 2005, the City of Thunder Bay established a video surveillance program with 16 cameras in 12 locations in the Downtown areas.

Port Arthur Stadium

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Port Arthur Stadium, Thunder Bay, Ontario, home of the Thunder Bay Border Cats.

Thunder Bay: Superior by Nature

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We've been in Thunder Bay for a number of days now and I've taken lots of pictures. I took the one above when the van was getting detailed yesterday. I occupied my time (4.5 hours!) by walking around exploring the area. Lot 66 is a tapas lounge in Thunder Bay that apparently has really good food--I haven't tried it myself. If you click the link and know the artist and title of the song that plays on their web site let me know--I love it!Click here to see the map where this photo was taken.

*Update* I found out that the song is called "Shadows of Ourselves" by Thievery Corporation. *End update*

I discovered that Flickr will automatically place my geotagged photos on the Flickr map so I don't have to host my own images. So I'm going to change the links in my earlier posts to point to the Flickr pages, instead of my own. It should be more reliable and I'll be able to upload higher quality pictures. Also, when you look at the pictures in Flickr, you can ch…

2006 Honda Odyssey - 12993 km - Washed and waxed by Auto-One

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I got the van washed and detailed today at a shop in Thunder Bay on Court Street called Auto One. I looked them up in the phone book and by a matter of coincidence, the manager there used to live in BC and had a auto shop at the corner of Barnet and St. John's.

It felt good to get all the bugs off. The shop uses Autoglym products and did a great job on making the black paint look awesome again. They even touched up a rock chip I had. Now the paint surface feels as smooth as silk!

Unfortunately, bugs are unavoidable here, so I had to whip out my bottle of Meguiars Quik-Detailer and clean up after the drive home. I did have time to take some pictures in front of an old closed-down restaurant. This place has been closed for a long time--it was just like this two years ago when we last visited. It looks like it's from a time long past....

Review article: MkIV R32 vs. MkV R32

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It's not often I see a new article on the VW MkIV Golf R32 so I was pleasantly surprised to come across one. This article published in Evo compares the Euro-spec MkIV R32 with the new MkV R32. I think it's a safe assumption that comparing the U.S.-spec versions will be much the same.

What struck me the most about this article was the author's description of the MkIV:
"Jumping from our R32 into the original, the difference is much greater than I had been expecting. On paper there’s not much between them – their bhp/ton figures differ by just two points – but the earlier car is much more organic feeling, communicating exactly what’s going on through beautifully weighted controls, the boomy V6 all the while making its considerable presence felt in the well-appointed cabin and leaving you in no doubt that you’re driving something hardcore.

The new car is much more the shy, retiring type. Seeing the two together really highlights how discreet the current R32 is, looking onl…

Road Trip 2007 : Honda Odyssey Fuel Consumption

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Here's the data on our fuel consumption for the first part of our trip from Vancouver, BC to Thunder Bay, ON.

Fully-loaded with 2 adults, 4 children, roof-top box, electric cooler, clothes, and gear, our best mileage so far has been Day 5 where we got 24 mpg (9.7 L/100 km).

Total fuel consumption for the Odyssey is here.


Day 5: Detroit Lakes to Thunder Bay

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Click here for MAP of Day 5: Detroit Lakes to Thunder Bay, Ontario

Click here to see all the pictures from Day 5.

We completed the first leg of our road trip on Wednesday, 11 July 2007.

Day's Summary: Detroit Lakes to Thunder Bay
Total distance traveled: 632.6 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 8 hours, 8 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 7 hours, 2 min.
Average fuel consumption: 9.5 L/100 km
Average speed: 91 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 17° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 0 (Note: Radar detectors are illegal in Ontario.)

We had the best fuel economy during this leg because we were well into the flats of the prairies for most of the trip and once we reached Minnesota, we were on a smaller highway with a lower speed limit.

It was extra nice once we got to Duluth because I had driven this section two years ago. I really love seeing the beautiful, classic homes that line Lake Superior. And being a West Coaster, it's especially nice seeing a large body of water again.

I'm a little behind....

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Obviously, we've finished the first leg of our road trip. We arrived in Thunder Bay, Ontario on Wednesday. The 5th day of driving from Detroit Lakes to Thunder Bay was the longest and I haven't had a chance yet to post up the details. That's coming next.

What I've been doing is getting the pictures from Day 3 ready. That day had the most pictures so far because we stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to do the scenic drive and encountered a herd of bison crossing the road. I finally updated that post with those pictures and the map, which you can find here: Day 3: Billings to Dickinson. These are some pictures from Day 3:



Click below for some more pictures. The rest are on the map.






Bison and Buffalo

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Bison and Buffalo

I was curious to find out what the difference between Bison and Buffalo was, since I've heard both terms used. I figured it must be something like how alligators and crocodiles are different. I found this site that explains it: Bison and Buffalo and realized that North America is home not to the buffalo, but to the Bison.

That means that instead of seeing the "World's Largest Buffalo" yesterday, I was really looking at the the World's Largest "Bison" and that the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, ND should have been called the National Bison Museum.... I feel deceived!

Day 4: Dickinson to Detroit Lakes, MN

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Click here for MAP of Day 4: Dickinson to Detroit Lakes.

Click here to see all of today's photos.
Today's Summary: Dickinson to Detroit Lakes
Total distance traveled: 568.5 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 5 hours, 14 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 5 hours, 42 min.
Average fuel consumption: 10.3 L/100 km
Average speed: n/a
Highest observed outside temp: 26° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 1

Today's drive was relatively short because last night we decided to change our plans and instead of staying in Duluth, MN we stopped at Detroit Lakes. The severe thunderstorms had moved on ahead of us, although the winds were still very strong. It was really interesting watching the wind blow over the grass fields like waves on the ocean. It was a pretty quiet morning until I saw in the distance what looked like a huge cow standing on a hill-top. That's when we discovered Salem Sue.

This is Salem Sue:


She is the World's Largest Holstein Cow. Little did we know that North Dakota was home …

Day 3: Billings, MT to Dickinson, North Dakota

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Click here for MAP of Day 3: Billings to Dickinson

Click here to see all of today's photos.

We finished day 3 of our road trip yesterday. We're taking took the northern route on the I-94 through North Dakota because we're heading to DC via Thunder Bay, Ontario. I'll upload pictures and GPS map data as soon as possible. Today (Day 4) is going to be a long drive!


Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Today's Summary: Billings, MT to Dickinson, ND
Total distance traveled: 569.5 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 4 hours, 25 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 6 hours, 13 min.
Average fuel consumption: 11.2 L/100 km
Average speed: 93 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 28° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 4
Interesting Observance:We had lunch at a McDonald's in Glendive, Montana and noticed that they accepted personal cheques as a form of payment. What was most interesting was that I watched some guy write out a cheque, hand it over, place his order, and then the c…

Day 2: Spokane to Billings

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Click here for MAP of Day 2: Spokane to Billings

Click here for all of today's photos.


Sorry for the late post. I had some issues with the geotagging when we crossed time zones. I'll update this post tomorrow night with a summary of details. For now you can find the Google Map of our progress and a few pictures. Our day ended with a little twist when we arrived at our hotel and found it to be surrounded by water and inaccessible!


Today's Summary: Spokane, WA to Billings, Montana
Total distance traveled: 912.8 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 7 hours, 43 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 8 hours, 16 min.
Average fuel consumption: 11.5 L/100 km
Average speed: 123 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 30° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 1
Grateful for:The "Grade Logic Control" on the Honda Odyssey avoids gear-hunting on uphills and descents, and downshifts for added engine braking. Because today's route took us through mountain passes, this feature was really handy. I had the…

Day 1: Vancouver to Spokane

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Click here for MAP of Day 1: Vancouver to Spokane.

Click here for all of today's photos.



07-07-07: Road Tripalooza begins!

Today we started our road trip to Washington, D.C. :0)

I bought a GPS data logger so I'm tracking our progress on Google Maps and geotagging the photos I'm taking during the trip.


Today's Summary: Vancouver, Canada to Spokane, WA
Total distance traveled: 666 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 6 hours, 20 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 6 hours, 30 min.
Average fuel consumption: 10.8 L/100 km
Average speed: 117 km/h
Highest observed outside temp: 32° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 2
Tip of the Day:Avoid long border lineups by going into the Duty Free shop and buying something, anything. We shortened a projected 1+ hour wait to about 15 minutes by buying a $7.50 mini-bottle of Absolut Vodka. When you exit the store, the attendants direct you to merge back into traffic at the front of the border line. That was $7.50 well invested :0)

Cool gadget: Sony GPS-CS1 data logger

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When I was at Best Buy on Monday, I noticed that they were selling a very interesting camera accessory from Sony that announced very excitedly on its box in four different languages: "Map your memories! Expand your viewing pleasure with the online map! Let's go shooting with Cyber-shot & GPS unit!"

I've heard about embedding geographical data into digital photos but I didn't know much about it. The box only talked about using it with Sony cameras, so I put it back on the shelf. Then yesterday, I saw this explanation of Geotagging on the [daily dose of imagery] and got very excited. I spent the rest of the evening reading and researching....

Today I bought the Sony GPS-CS1 because it was readily available and half the price of the Globalsat DG-100 (which would have to have been shipped overnight by air from Calgary for an extra $35). It works as a simple GPS data logger and it's really easy to use. The RoboGeo software I bought allows me to embed GPS locatio…

2006 Honda Odyssey - 9390 km - Formula One Pinnacle Series Ceramic Tint installed

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Update: added pictures and additional info


Advanced Window Tinting (on Westwood in Port Coquitlam) did an excellent job tinting the rear windows on our Odyssey today. Just in time, too, because today's high was around 30° Celcius! The heat rejection with ceramic tint is excellent and the difference was very noticeable. It will definitely make the van much more comfortable during our road trip.

Click below for more pictures.


I was worried about putting metallic tint on the front windows because the owner's manual specifically warns that it could affect GPS reception (the antenna is under the dash). I was going to put Huper Optik ceramic tint (like the Subaru) but the shop I went to doesn't do automotive tint any more.

That's when someone on NASIOC recommended Advanced Window Tint in Port Coquitlam. They carried Formula One Pinnacle Series ceramic tint which, unlike Huper Optik, is designed specifically for automotive use. That's good news because when I installed Huper …

Kwik-E-Mart opens in Canada

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Update #1: Locate a Kwik-E-Mart


To promote the upcoming Simpsons' movie, 7-Eleven converted 12 of its stores into "Kwik-E-Marts" and the only one in Canada happens to be not far from my house :0)

I went there this morning just in time for the ribbon cutting and got some pictures as well as some Kwik-E-Mart specials like Krustyo's cereal, Buzz Cola, and Sprinkilicious donuts!







Update #2: CBC News, "Oh Canada, D'oh Homer" (You can see from the picture in the article that the CBC photographer was just a couple of feet away from me).







David Kincaid (CTV News):








Erin Cebula (ET Canada):



My haul :0)