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Jul 03, 2006

Alfa Crunch -- Alas, Not a New Italian Breakfast Cereal...


Last Monday, eastbound on Mt. Sinai Rd.  A downhill curve, a little too much speed, and a wet and bumpy spot right where I started braking.

My gratitude list is long: no one was hurt, many people stopped to offer help, a nearby jogger gave me a hug, I had orange pool floats in the trunk that turned into nice substitutes for pylons, and I had a cell phone to call the wrecker.  The wrecker guy was nice and the troopers were sympathetic (even as they gave me a ticket for driving too fast for conditions). I have an extra vehicle, some funds to fix the Alfa (enough, I hope!), and a good and fair mechanic.  I'm self-employed (with a flexible schedule for when stuff like this happens) and have a cool self-employed friend who gave me a ride home from the mechanic's.  I have friends who have been most sympathetic.  Yep -- plenty to be grateful for.

Oh, and please pardon the fuzzy pic: some condensation got stuck between my camera lens and the skylight filter.

11:57 PM in Weblogs | Permalink


Oops -- sorry. Been there, done that -- no fun. I think I even know more-or-less where you had the wreck, and I can say I've put my foot in it more than once back there. My favorite place is just after leaving Allen & Son headed back toward Durham. Those were the days. :/ Anyway, I'm glad you weren't hurt.

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Jul 4, 2006 2:40:13 PM

Ohhhhhhh . . . sorry about the Alpha! But glad you are okay!

Posted by: Lisa | Jul 4, 2006 3:32:21 PM

You called me about it, but seeing it in the picture ... (sniff)

Posted by: Tarus | Jul 5, 2006 11:26:17 AM

Joe -- you crunched vehicles in the same spot or nearby? More story, please?

Lisa -- thanks!

Tarus -- I learn more about cars and driving, each day. Two days ago I read a Roundel (BMW club) magazine article that mentioned "most new cars are deliberately built with understeer for safety." My guess is that this technique makes it more likely that people will realize that their car isn't doing what they want it to and slow down *before* the car goes somewhere wrong. As opposed to cars with oversteer where talented drivers can control (or power out of) funny situations, but where other people (like me, say) lose the car PDQ when the rear suddenly goes somewhere else.

In my defense, I think I could have regained control by steering into the skid if the road were wider and/or with a shoulder. However, the road was very narrow and there was no shoulder so I didn't have room to feel and steer out of my mistakes. Hennyway...

I may get the suspension adjusted to make the steering closer to neutral. I'll also make a priority of putting more horsepower into the vehicle so I can happily accelerate out of curves after I've slowed down (rather than trying to maintain speed through the curve because I don't want the annoyance of slowing down and then sloooowly getting back up to speed on the other side).

Posted by: Phil | Jul 5, 2006 11:49:07 PM

I crunched my 02 on Duke Street about a year and a half ago. But I used to like driving it fast on the way back from Allen & Son. The 65 has never been wrecked, just repeatedly vandalized. :(

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Jul 6, 2006 11:33:58 AM

Joe -- 02 what? 65 what?

Posted by: Phil | Jul 6, 2006 3:27:20 PM



So painful. Phil - I'm so sorry about that. I've been daydreaming about getting Krause and England to hook me up every since you let me drive the Alfa. I hope you're able to get it back on the road in time for the perfect driving weather of fall.

I had a friend who wrecked his Ferrari in a similar fashion although more spectacularly. (hint: massive free fall) It's funny how bold driving the Impreza with AWD computer controlled magic can make you. I think back to driving my Mom's 85 Buick Regal - 5000 pounds of RWD always heading in the wrong direction. Taking a turn at high speed was always an adventure in trying keep the rear end behind you.

Here's hoping everything works out ok!

Posted by: Mr Pinky | Jul 6, 2006 11:11:52 PM

Mr. Pinky -- thank you for your heartfelt comments. FYI, I've got a bead on one or two other Alfas for sale. In fact, I'm holding onto one right now -- a 1987 (or 1988, I'm not sure) in good shape for ~$4,900. Can show you when I get back to town (I'm in Denver now). Or maybe you're looking for slightly older? They are about. I will gladly help you fill up your garage with more vehicle .

And yes, I'm cheering for Italy on Sunday.

Posted by: Phil | Jul 6, 2006 11:37:58 PM

yes, because what we need are MORE decade-plus old vehicles at our house!

Posted by: pinky | Jul 7, 2006 9:01:36 AM

Grrr. Someone just pointed out that the title should be "Alfa Bits" cereal instead of "Alfa Crunch" cereal.

Posted by: Tarus | Aug 22, 2006 6:36:32 PM

Not yet fixed while waiting for cheaper parts, but Tarus -- tell the whomever that there were no "parts". Only a little radiator fluid on the ground.

Posted by: Phil | Aug 23, 2006 7:53:23 PM