CC Outtakes: 2023 Driveway Check In – The DougD Fleet

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! The kids were home on the 9th, and all the D family vehicles were together.  That’ll be the last time this year, so let’s check in with each of our too many vehicles!

2017 Caravan: 209,000km

With two in university, there are still many good minivan days per year, moving belongings between dorms, home, and work term accommodations.  Some of our friends borrow the Caravan to move their kids as well, since its cavernous interior holds much more than your average SUV.  The Caravan had a pretty good year maintenance-wise, I only had to do a rear wheel bearing and front brakes. 

One of the discs was SO rusted on that I resorted to cutting it off with a zip disc, what a mess.  Hopefully, I’ll never have to do that again.

2013 Focus: 153,000km

The Focus had a very rough winter in notoriously cold and potholed Sudbury Ontario, and returned home at the end of August when our son’s work term ended.  A quick wash and front brake job, and it was off to Ottawa with our daughter.  Her quote on the Focus: “All you have to do to impress boys is drive a standard transmission.”

2007 Mustang: 163,000km

Yes, we still have the Mustang.  It was intended to be a temporary measure, but one of our plans for this car was to drive east and do the Cabot Trail and we still haven’t done that.  The Mustang needed a new clutch this year which lowered the pedal effort quite a bit.  Usually, it’s Mrs DougD’s daily driver.

This year I did another short road trip with my father, who is now 85 years old.  In this photo Dad is looking enthusiastic about Mustang travel, and about his picnic dinner in Paisley Ontario.

2015 Scion tC: 110,000km

I still haven’t written a full COAL on the Scion, although we’ve owned it for almost a year.  It has been nearly trouble-free, except for a weak 2nd gear synchro.  I changed the transmission oil to Red Line synthetic and that’s made the 1-2 shift happy for now.  Currently, my son has it at school in Waterloo, but once the Mustang goes into winter storage we’ll take it back for Mrs DougD’s winter driver.

1963 VW Beetle:  20,777 indicated miles (but who knows what it really is?)

Still not on the road, but significant progress happened during 2023.  I had the hood and trunk repainted (the match is better in person than in this photo), and just finished rebuilding my front suspension after the “rebuilt” unit I bought last year turned out to be junk. 

So here I am with my orange birthday coveralls and an alarming thin spot on the back of my head, scraping old grease out of the beam tubes.  I would up nearly filling that 750ml yogurt container, what a sticky mess.  The beam got sandblasted, painted gloss black, new bushings and bearings, and unlike last year the suspension actually moves so I have high hopes for this rebuild.

1993 Jayco Eagle 8′

We’ve had this about 15 years, and don’t use it as much as we used to when the kids were little.   Still, we got two weeks of camping in this year, and the trailer earned two new stickers from Windy Lake and Killarney Provincial Parks.

Here’s our camping setup in Killarney, a famously beautiful park (and famously difficult to get a camping reservation).  

2009 Kawasaki Versys: 35,000km

But wait, there’s more!  The 2009 Versys continues to be fun and reliable, requiring only an oil change this spring.  I did an overnight motorcycle camping trip in June, but a longer trip continued to elude me this year. 

1985 Honda 450 Nighthawk: 50,000km

I thought the solution for too many cars might be to balance it out with too many motorcycles.  I’d been looking for a decent and cheap example of a Honda 450 Nighthawk, my first motorcycle as written up here.  This one was 10 minutes away from home and only $800, it didn’t run but after a carb clean it started right up.  Mrs. DougD has indicated some interest in trying it out, and our daughter may as well.

So that’s it for this year!  Isn’t that quite enough?  Sometimes my friends send me online ads for project cars, and I always reply that I’m only interested if it comes with a trunk full of free time and insurance money.  If you made it all the way to the end let me know in the comments the maximum number of vehicles you’ve had on the road at one time.