Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another life skill achieved!

This weekend I had a driving test of sorts.  Over the summer and fall I'd been learning to drive stick on someone else's car, mostly in large, empty parking lots and back-roads.  Last Friday, though, I picked up my final GM rental vehicle - a white, manual Sonic LS.  While this vehicle didn't have the 40k+ price tag that my other rentals have, I think the Sonic looks great and has been a perfect opportunity to prove my stick driving skills.

Nice, don't you think?
The LS is the base model sonic and runs $14,200.  It does not have cruise control or a power windows; it's got a smaller engine, but it has a CD player, AUX port and back seats that folded down for quite a bit of cargo space.  I also have a personal soft spot for hatchbacks.  Sonic is also made in a sedan version, but if I were to get one it would be a hatch for sure.

The wheel, dash and...gearshift!
Friday afternoon was the first time I went on the highway for an extended period of time with a manual, which should be fantastic if you can get up to cruising speed and stay there, but is a much more challenging experience in heavy traffic.  I made it home though with no stalls, no honks at me and both the Sonic and me intact.  I drove around for other errands - going to Trader Joe's, getting takeout - and so was able to add things like maneuvering in parking lots to my list of accomplished stick driving tasks.  In case you can't tell, I was super pleased with myself for being persistent in learning and finally driving a manual transmission car... in real life... by myself.  Yay!

Other things - the cider mill this weekend was good, though cider prices (except it seems at Trader Joe's) have skyrocketed.  The cider at the mill, made from only Michigan apples, was >$12 a gallon!  Darn dry, odd summer weather.  This week, I returned the Sonic with no problems and yesterday took my regular car to Dearborn (Ford territory!) to where MIT Sloan was having a Sloan on the Road (SOTR) event.  SOTR is an admissions outreach event, so people can learn more about the school before applying without having to travel to campus.  While a campus visit is definitely worth it to help seal the deal, I can understand people not wanting to pay for flights and take time off during the week at this early stage.  I was able to provide a current student perspective and got to meet two alums I had not run into before on our Q&A panel.  Cool!  One other thing that was nice was that a MIT undergrad I had met at GM's summer Jumpstart events was there and he remembered me, so we did a bit more catching up.

Last night, I listened to some of the debate on the radio, checked in on the Tigers game on the internet (take that Yankees!), but overall ended up having a relaxed evening when I came back home.  That was nice.

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