Wordless Wednesday: Taylor’s New Ride

2013 honda civic lx

My 2013 CRV Honda Test Drive

nicole with 2013 CRVAs mentioned in some previous posts, I was selected by Ken Garff Honda of Orem to test drive a 2013 Honda CRV for a bloggers promotion called the Honda Test Drive (or #HondaTestDrive on social media).

I’ve been a Honda fan for my whole life. My parents owned Honda vehicles all through my life. They were driving a CVCC when I was born, they have a Civic and an Odyssey in the garage, and they’ve had several other Hondas in the 30+ years in-between. I learned to drive in a 1995 Civic. Personally, I’ve owned a 2000 Civic, 2001 Civic, 1997 Accord, and a 2006 Fit (and a 2000 Acura Integra, which is essentially a Honda). We currently drive a Toyota Camry and a Scion xB, but we made hard decisions against Accords, Elements, and CRVs in the past.

The folks from Honda of Orem brought the 2013 AWD Honda CRV EX-L to my office on February 4th, the day before my birthday. They came with a vehicle with 300 miles on the odometer, with a full tank of gas. They showed me all of the special features of the vehicle, set up my iPhone to sync with the BlueTooth system, signed some papers, and I was given free reign to enjoy the car. As tempted as I was to take off from work then and there, I had to stay at work a few more hours.

taylor in the CRVThe first thing I did once I got off work was drive home, pick up my family, and go for a joyride. We stopped by the 7-Eleven for a family #PDR, and drove around until we went out to dinner with my parents. My mom came in the car with us, and her comment about the CRV was “This seems just a little too nice for you.” Because she’s used to driving a 1995 Civic with windows that can no longer be manually rolled down, I could tell she was impressed by how posh the CRV was with all of it’s features.

During the week, whenever Taylor was with me, he took the driver’s seat. That meant that I had time to sit in the passenger seat, and the backseat…and was pleased with how comfortable every part of the car is for passengers. I’m 5’10” and very leggy, and didn’t feel squished at all.

2013 honda crv awd ex-l

Some of my favorite features about the CRV are as follows:

    • Bluetooth hands-free link: It was awesome to have my iPhone synced up for calls, navigation, and streaming music. The downside is that Bluetooth streaming is killer on your phone battery, so I kept my phone plugged in every time I was in the car. Bluetooth is only as good as it’s connectivity, so calls and music would drop out randomly…but that is more of a function of Bluetooth, not the system in the Honda.
    • Heated leather seats: The weather was below freezing for almost my entire week with the CRV, so it was nice to have the heated seats. The seats got warm a lot faster than the rest of the car…so I didn’t have to freeze when I went out to my car on frosty mornings.
    • Eco Assist: There’s a feature that helps you maximize your gas mileage, and you can adjust back to full-power at the touch of a cool green button
    • Beverage holders: There are EIGHT cupholders in the CRV. I typically have 2-3 drinks with me in the car (water bottle, protein drink, etc) so I never had to fight over cupholders with my family
    • Sound system: I’m a music junkie, and I always crank up the tunes in my car. The 328-Watt AM/FM/CD Audio System with 7 Speakers and subwoofer kept me rocking out in style as I sang along to my tunes in the car.

nicole bullock in crvI had the car for a total of 8 days, and drove approximately 500 miles. I started out with a full gas tank, and needed to fill it up after about 290 miles. I put in $65 worth of gas on my fourth day, around 18 gallons, and I was almost back to empty when the car was returned. Most of my driving was on the highway, and I averaged about 17 miles per gallon (95% of the time on Eco Assist). I know that new cars needs some time for the engines to wear in, and that fuel economy is compromised in very cold weather, but I expected slightly better gas mileage.

honda crv collage

2013 honda CRV and 2011 Scion XBI really loved the chance I had to try out the CRV and get to know the staff at Honda of Orem. It was tough to go from the the super cushy CRV back to my Scion, but I didn’t miss the CRV’s gas mileage when I filled up the Scion’s tank the next morning (I average about 28 MPG) in it. Breaking up with the CRV was hard to do, but I’ll always have the memories of my the magical week of my 33rd birthday.

FTC Disclosure: I was selected for this promotion by Ken Garff Honda of Orem and was given a 2013 Honda CRV to test drive for a week. I was not compensated beyond the free use of the vehicle for 8 days. All opinions are my own.

My Ride This Week: 2013 Honda CRV #HondaTestDrive

honda test drive nicole bullockI’m a car junkie, and I especially love Honda vehicles.This week I’m driving a brand new 2013 Honda CRV…how cool is that? Honda of Orem selected me as one of the local bloggers to participate in the #HondaTestDrive. I’m reviewing and sharing my experiences driving a top-of-the-line 2013 AWD Honda CRV EX L. It’s the posh model with the upgraded stereo and rear entertainment system. Here are my first impressions of the CRV.

The car was delivered to me at work on Monday, and I got the full run-down on all of the CRV’s features. I was given the EX-L RES model, which has just about everything you could ask for: heated leather seats, Bluetooth, moonroof, all-wheel drive, Econ Drive, and the rear entertainment system. It’s a 4-cylinder model, but with 185 HP, it’s got a lot of pep.

The guys from Ken Garff Honda of Orem helped me set up my iPhone with the Bluetooth system, which enabled me to make and receive phone calls, stream music, and get turn-by-turn navigation. I was given the keys and a full tank of gas, signed some papers, and was told to enjoy myself for a week.

honda test drive

Part of the agreement for the #HondaTestDrive was to share my experiences over social media. I have been posting pictures to Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook. I have mostly had positive things to say about the experience. I realized that I hadn’t done any sharing on YouTube yet, so I recorded this video while I was on my way home from work yesterday. Forgive me for the poor lighting (very bright drive home) and for taking the video vertically…I didn’t have a great place on the dashboard to secure the phone.

One thing I’m not thrilled about with the CRV is how long it takes for the windshield to defrost. When I left for gym at 5:30 am, it was about 16 degrees. There wasn’t enough frost on the windows to use an ice scraper, so I thought I’d wait for the windows to defrost. When I’m driving my Scion xB, I usually have a melted section of my windshield within about 2 minutes. I sat in the car for a few minutes, and enjoyed the seats as they heated up, but the windshield looked exactly the same. I tried playing around with the buttons for the heater, both fresh air and recycled air, and it still took 10 minutes to have the windshield about 90% cleared off. In my book that’s not cool, because I really am a stickler about having a clean windshield.

Sidenote: I think it’s funny that picture shows Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good” playing when I snapped the picture. Frosty windshields are no good!

So far I’ve driven about 200 miles, and I’ve got about a quarter tank left. Even with having the Econ button pressed for most of the time I’ve driven it, the fuel efficiency hasn’t been as good as I’d expected. I watch the dials on the dashboard to see if I’m driving at the most efficient speed, but I still don’t think I’m getting as high gas mileage as I should. But…it is a new car, and I’ve heard that engines need some time to be broken in to get the most efficient gas mileage.

So…all in all…I’m having a great experience. It’s been fun to get to know the folks at Honda of Orem, and also to spend some time in a really classy vehicle. I’ve had fun showing it off at social media events and to extended family members and coworkers. I’m a little sad my #HondaTestDrive is already halfway over.

Wordless Wednesday: My New Ride

2011 Scion XB in Stingray

2011 Scion XB

Any brilliant ideas for a name? So far I’m calling it the Silvery-Blue Toaster.

Camarillo the Cali Camry

I’m really attached to my car.

Last week, Camarillo the Cali Camry (Or Cami for short) hit 150,000 miles. I felt that it would be an opportune time to give an ode to my dear vehicle. We met in 2007 in Orange County. I’d been a Honda Girl who went to the lot originally scoping out Accords. After an unimpressive test drive, I decided against purchasing a particular Accord, and decided to browse the lot a bit more. Tried a Jetta with a shimmy. Quickly played with the idea of a small SUV….and then I saw a pristine looking Camry. I quickly knew it was for me, it drove well and was exactly in our price range. We signed on the dotted line and drove her home to La Verne. I was a little nervous buying her so quickly, as I hadn’t sold my other car yet, but things quickly worked out with the sale of the Fittle.

Her name, Camarillo, comes from a town in Ventura County, near where Taylor and I went on our honeymoon. When he was in his flight training, we took a day trip and flew out to Camarillo for dinner. It was such a fun experience to fly over southern California and point out the freeways and landmarks, and have the sun set behind us over the ocean on our way back.

Cami and I have traveled much of the country together. In our two years, we’ve driven through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. She’s worn license plates for California, Michigan, and Georgia (and possibly Utah soon.) She’s driven through temperatures from -15 degrees to +115 degrees, through wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, blinding frozen fog and scorching heat. She’s seen gas prices from $1.43 to $4.80 per gallon. She forgives me when I don’t wash her often enough. She’s taken me to stores, churches, concerts, schools, parks, restaurants, family and friends’ houses… as well as many, many trips to airports. She’s been filled to the gills as we moved from California to Michigan, then to Georgia, then to Utah. She kept me comfortable and safe on my commutes to Montclair, Ann Arbor, and Emory. Her speakers have blasted my favorite music through them. We’ve spend a LOT of time together. Over 40,000 miles in 26 months.

Of course, she isn’t without her quirks. When I purchased the car, I was only given a valet key, which means I can’t open the trunk without popping the latch. The brake light on the dash has been wonky since the day I started driving it to Detroit. The cigarette lighter adapter has been broken for months. It has a rusty scar by the rear driver side wheel from when it was wounded in a Good Samaritan attempt. And last week the moulding on the passenger side started coming off. But I love her still.

Here’s to another 150,000 miles!

The Damage


I had a hard time getting a shot that accurately shows the damage. The headlight and grill is displaced about 6 inches, and the side headlight fell off (I stuck it back on for the picture) The bumper is amazingly completely intact, and only slightly scratched. The hood peaks up about 4 inches. It could be a lot worse, but it’s still a bummer…a $500 deductible bummer.

Picked up the paper, it was more bad news…

Now that I have a bit of time to blog, I’ll give you the gory details on my last 24 hours. I got to the sleep center at 8:30, registered, filled out questionnaires, and told the sleep tech that I’d like to get to bed around 10:30. She said that it wasn’t likely, but she’d get me to bed as soon as she could. I sat around for a while and enjoyed the hospital’s sporadic, yet complimentary wifi. I watched a terribly outdated video about sleep apnea, and was told by the tech that she’d come to hook me up around 11:00. I wasn’t happy about this because I remembered from previous sleep studies that it takes over a half hour to get all hooked up to the monitors and electrodes. When she came back in, she took a sharp red marking pen and marked a variety of spots on my head and neck. Then she roughly scrubbed cleanser over these spots to take the natural oils away so the electrodes would stick. Next, she put freezing cold gobs of sticky electrode gel on each spot, and jammed on each electrode with her thumb. Each electrode had a colored wire that connected to a control box.

After the head, neck, and face electrodes, she repeated the process on my abdomen and calves (luckily she let me guide the wires through my clothes myself). Then she clippped two different monitor bands around my midsection. Once I got in bed, the two sets of nasal cannulas were stuck up my nostrils, and I was told that I must sleep on my back for at least 3 hours. I know that my doctor ordered a CPAP test, but the paperwork confused the tech and she decided to be “safe” and go with a baseline study (which I’ve done twice already) I allowed to go off into camera-monitored dreamland around 12:00 am.

Six hours of sleep time was required for the full study, but I was wide awake just around 4:00 am (just like usual). I sat up, streched, and was told that they needed at least 90 more minutes of sleep time. I layed around for about 30 minutes before dozing back to sleep. I dreamed that I was having my sleep study in a high-rise hospital in California during an earthquake, and it made me fall off of my bed. I nearly choked to death on the cords around my neck. Luckily, Chandler from Friends (and I don’t even watch Friends) saw the whole thing happen from the car wash next door to the hospital, and he came to my room to save the day. Bizarre.

At 6:00 am, my Blackberry alarm clock went off, despite the device being turned off. It was across the room, so I couldn’t reach over and turn it off. It blared on for about two minute before the tech came to the room to turn it off for me. At this point, she said I needed 15 more minutes of sleep time. Luckily, I fell back asleep immediately, and I got up around 6:45. The tech removed all of the wires, monitors, and electrodes, and then scrubbed all the spots with acetone to remove the electrode goo, and I was sent on my way at 7:40.

I was driving home from the hospital down LaVista, and the sun was blaring in my eyes. I was driving in a school zone at about 20 MPH, and the lady in front of me slammed on her brakes when the crossing guard walked into the croswalk. (My guess is that the driver I hit wasn’t paying attention, and had to brake immediately) Even though I was going an acceptable speed with an acceptable following distance, I skidded into a shiny new Volvo. Her hard plastic bumper had very minimal scuffing on the bumper, but the whole front of my hood was crunched (although my bumper remained completely intact) We pulled into the neighborhood to exchange information, and she was a lot more difficult with me than she needed to be. She asked if I worked for Emory, and I told her I did, and she told me people she knew from my division. She repeated, in a menacing tone, “I really want to trust you” about 40 times. She wanted to leave so she could drop her kid off at school, and threatened “If you try to throw this situation around, and make it seem like it was my fault, my attorney will be after you.” I’ve tried to call her twice today to give her more of my info, but she hasn’t returned my calls.

So now I have a car that needs to be repaired, and a $500 deductible I honestly can’t pay. It will drive, but I know it won’t pass the state inspection that needs to happen before my Michigan car registration expires on Thursday (happy birthday to me). And since I haven’t been able to get in touch with the “victim” of the accident yet, I can’t complete filing my claim nor get my car repair started. At least I opted for the rental car reimbursement.

To top off the horriblenes of the day, Taylor and I had a meeting with a credit counselor today. We have been drowning in our student loan debt and wanted to see if we had any options available to relieve our financial stress. The rep checked our credit scores, reviewed all or our monthly expenses and consumer debt. We were told that they have no pull with the student loan companies, and we were basically left on our own to try applying for more consolidation loans. As for our consumer debt, he offered a credit card consolidation plan that would RAISE our monthly payment. And as for the deficit of our income vs bills..he suggested we both look into supplementing our income with part time jobs. We’re screwed.

Should I scream or should I cry?

The sleep study was frustrating. Details to follow.

On the way back from the hospital, a lady in a shiny new Volvo slammed on her brakes and I rear-ended her. Her bumper has a little scratchy ding, but the front of my Camry is smashed in.

And I’m so broke I have no idea how I’ll pay the $500 deductible.

WALL-E and BBs

Today started out so great..slept in with Taylor, ate some yummy french toast for breakfast, watched a beautiful rainstorm, and then saw WALL-E with Rosie, Taylor, Mike, and Erin. As we walked out to the car after the flick, I noticed seven bullet holes in the side of Taylor’s Civic!!!

I just came back inside from talking to a police officer who took the police report. A few silver BBs were in the cracks of the asphalt at our apartment, so it didn’t happen in the parking lot of the theater. The officer said that two other people had filed reports in our neighborhood for BB vandalism. I guess that I didn’t notice the holes in the car when we left for the theater because the car was still covered in rain from the storm.

This is the third incident with Taylor’s “new” Civic since he bought it in March. First was the drivers side rear fender, then it was the rear bumper….both hit-and-runs in the airport parking lot. Now BB’s at our apartment?

At least WALL-E was wonderful. I totally loved it and suggest you see it.

Requiem for the Silver Bullet…a.k.a. Taylor’s Lament


Last week, we decided to take Taylor’s ’97 Accord, the Silver Bullet, into the shop for a tune-up. It has been running rough for a few months, and was starting to be super noisy on the freeway. On Wednesday, Taylor got the word from the repair shop, saying that it would be approximately $7000 to fix all the problems. The engine was fouled up from a bad piston, and would need to be replaced. There were other issues with the electrical, exhaust, and spark plugs. With a diagnosis like that on an 11 year old car…we made the decision to let it gracefully “bite the dust.”

Taylor loves the Silver Bullet. It has been his road mistress for the last year. It’s driven from the Pacific Coast Highway in California, to the A1A in Florida. He passed within miles of the Mexico border, and up close to the Canada border. He got pulled over by a trooper in Texas for breaking the state speed limit. He upgraded the stereo this year, and had fixed the radiator and other systems recently. But even with all the hassle, it was worth it for the Silver Bullet.

This morning, Taylor and I IM’d back and forth with links to car websites for cars we liked. I found a 2002 Civic LX with low miles, within the price range we were looking. He went to the dealership, test drove it, loved it, and the dealer offered $1000 for the trade (on the pretty defunct car). He drove home with it today and it’s his big “gift” for Valentines Day!

Here’s our new car!