1.  The original owner was a retired judge in Ottawa who used his Subaru to go to the boat in summer and the Lexus for winter trips to Florida.  After four years he took me to the Ottawa Lexus dealership with him to buy his trade-in while he paid cash for a 2009 es350.  He and his wife repeated this process twice more for his son and daughter.  His widow still claims that the 2005 was the best Lexus of all of them.

2.  Ice fell off his roof in the Glebe and dented the hood on one occasion.  A scrape in a parking lot caused the trunk to be repainted on another.  Though he took it back to Tony Graham’s for the repairs, neither paint job was up to Lexus standards.  My wife and I were about to trade the car in at Kingston Toyota a year ago when we went to a restaurant for lunch to talk it over.  When we came out someone had sideswiped the right front fender, necessitating $1100 worth of paint, including a redo of the non-Lexus paint jobs on the hood and trunk and the left rocker panel moulding which I had partially stripped with a pressure washer.  No new parts were needed for this rather fine local repair.
3. I did routine maintenance in our hoist-equipped hobby shop.  The car uses Pennzoil synthetic and has never been late for an oil change.  Kingston Lexus did the timing belt for the reasonable sum of $835, as I recall.  I made appropriate mileage notations in the service manual for the oil changes and timing belt replacement and likely for the tune up.
4. Brian Madeley is a European car and bike specialist in Kingston.  He took the top off the engine to change the spark plugs and tighten the head bolts as part of the scheduled tune-up.  At the time he remarked upon the superb condition of the car. He also repaired a minor power steering leak about three years ago.  I changed the battery at ten years, and the alternator at 14. This spring I replaced the hood latch and cable with Lexus parts. I replaced rear control arms because of worn bushings two summers ago, and brakes and front lower control arms for the safety check.
When I replaced the parking brake mechanism I had to gain access to the cables which hide above a stainless steel cover above the exhaust system.  Three, 10 mm nuts on studs hold this baffle in place.  In this location after long service, the nuts and studs should have degraded, but these little nuts backed off relatively easily to allow access to the cables, and then twisted back on.  The quality of the components in the original build of this car is quite remarkable.
5. I keep a supply of oil spray cans (the pink stuff from CTC) on my bench.  Whenever a car is up on the hoist I spray whatever looks as though it needs attention, regardless of the car’s age.
6. Our son hauled an 8.5X20 enclosed trailer home from Vancouver with a 2004 Porsche Cayenne S he bought for the purpose to tow his track BMW.  The car impressed me, so I asked him to find me one the next time he was in Vancouver.  He shipped another ’04 Cayenne S home by rail in the summer of 2016, and it quickly became my hobby and our daily driver, with the Lexus relegated to my wife’s bi-weekly grocery runs.
7. No one has smoked in the Lexus, but our spaniel has occasionally joined us for evening ice cream runs, and the previous owners had a schnauzer.
8. After three years with the thirsty Cayenne I wanted a Prius, but my wife wouldn’t consider the idea because of the name.  She also hated the styling of the new Lexus models, but when I found a 2014 es300h on a private sale in Hamilton, she took to it rather well.  The Cayenne is too useful a tow vehicle to liquidate, so the 2005 es330 and the 2002 Tacoma need to go.
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A decorative maple grows near the Ranger’s shed at the farm. Its large, ruby leaves blow off during storms. One of these appeared before us on the grass as we walked toward the main part of the lawn. I held it up to Ada.

“What kind of leaf is this?”

“A big leaf.”

“From what tree?”

“A maple tree.” Ada examined it carefully, but chose to discard it as it was too bulky for her insect jar.

Later she had captured her frog again and transported it in its net to the bird bath for a wetting. She apparently recalled my comment last week that frogs need to keep their skins wet in order to breathe properly.

She looked for quite a while at the frog from the safety of the other side of the butterfly net, then commented to Bet that that maple leaf had two colours, like the frog. It looked like a frog.

She seems to have begun to think about mottled colours, perhaps because she finds it so difficult to see the frog when it is crouched in the grass of the lawn.

Ada will turn three next week.

I’ve found a new way to annoy the world:  hyper-miling in the Lexus es300h.

The hybrid encourages a whole new attitude toward driving.  I have gone from “that jerk in the Porsche passing everything in sight” to “that damned old geezer in the Lexus holding up traffic.”

It’s fun getting to know what uses up the fuel.  I have gotten good at making the round trip to Rosebridge at a fuel burn rate of 5.1 L/100 km.  That’s with the windows and sunroof open, and the a.c. shut off on the dash.

Today because it was raining I needed the fan for ventilation, but I didn’t want to run the a.c. because of the fuel penalty, so I went into the climate settings and shut the compressor off.  The computer showed 4.6 L/100 km.  That’s 61 miles per Imperial gallon on the return leg from Rosebridge.  Not bad for a 3800 pound car.  Almost up to diesel standards.

This question turned up in my Quora feed, so I felt obliged to respond:

The Prius is a very recognizable automobile, but to the extent that the bulk of them end up as battered and grubby urban taxis, it’s hard to attribute the glamour to them that the term status symbol suggests. That is not to say that “Prius” does not have some important connotations. The car’s frugality and long life put it at one end of a choice-continuum which is balanced at the other by a short-life gas-hog like my Porsche Cayenne S.

Would a buyer gravitate logically from one to the other? Perhaps, if the buyer is of a certain elemental nature, determined to avoid the bewilderment of choices in the mushy middle.

If I’d had my druthers I would have bought a new Prius a couple of months ago to replace my Cayenne, but my less radical wife would have none of it. She did find a used Lexus hybrid acceptable, though, so that is what we bought.

But when I am alone in the car it’s a Prius to me, and like Walter Mitty I poke along down country lanes, happy in my own internal dialogue, eyeing the battery graphic and whispering “Pocketta-pocketta-pocketta.”

According to Google Earth it’s 40.2 km from our home to the parking lot of Rosebridge Manor where my mother is a resident.  For most of the route there is little traffic, though there are a number of small, restricted-speed hamlets and stop signs.

Tonight with the 2014 Lexus es300h I got 5.2 L/100 km on the drive.  That’s 4.1808 litres of regular fuel for the round trip, or $5.35 at the current price at the service station in Toledo of $1.279 per litre.

Fuel consumption rates vary from 5.1 to 5.4 for the trip.  This is with air conditioning and headlights off, seat cooler on, windows and sunroof open, fine weather on a summer evening, 80 to 85 km/hr, and using electric power while passing through the hamlets.

On the same route under the same conditions, my 2004 Porsche Cayenne S had a fuel consumption rate of 10.1 L/100 km on premium fuel.  The last time I filled this car the rate was $1.399 but that was a couple of months ago.

Marshall challenged me to repeat this test with the Lexus es300h “while driving it like a Porsche.”  I obliged on a 33C afternoon, glorying in the air conditioning, even leaving the car for fifteen minutes with the air conditioner (though not the engine) running.  I set the cruise control for 100 km/hr instead of 80 and passed on the two-lane roads whenever the opportunity arose.  Fuel consumption was 6.4 L/100 km.

Opening Day

June 15, 2019

Family members and friends find it quaint that I still place great stock in Opening Day of Bass Fishing. I’m not normally sentimental about holidays, but this one sticks with me. Like the time Charlie and I spent the morning rowing all around Don Warren’s Bay on Opinicon Lake in our dinghy and didn’t get a nibble. Then, while I was warming a can of beef stew for lunch in the galley of WYBMADIITY II, Charlie caught a 3 1/2 pound largemouth off the stern, right along the 48 hour dock at Chaffey’s Lock. Before the school moved on, we had caught and released another twenty largemouths, the largest a strapping 5 pounds.

Opening Day of Bass Fishing is the most unpredictable fishing day of the year. Tony Izatt used to host derbies off his dock for about a half-dozen teams. One year young John Steele and a lady friend who had never fished before were able to select their six entries from over thirty fish they had caught while drifting down the middle of Clear Lake. Why the genius strategy? John’s trolling motor wasn’t working and he didn’t want his derby partner to hang a lure up in the trees.

Then there was the time thunderstorms were in the offing, so Les and I spent most of the morning sitting on the deck at Indian Lake Marina, eating ice cream.
When it cleared we drifted down the bay and I caught a single largemouth big enough to win the derby that year. But the trip back to the dock was a challenge on this or perhaps another derby. Memories run together. When we cleared the islands for the final half-mile run to the dock, the rain made visibility the closest to zero I have ever seen on a lake. Les held my parka so that I had a slit of vision, and we made it back in time for weigh-in. Then we stood on the dock in relative shelter while watching the other teams blunder their way up the lake. We could see perfectly well, but they couldn’t. That time, as I recall, Earl and Paul drifted in on plane from the other direction –Pollywog Lake — with a boatful of fish to win the tournament.

This year nothing worked right in the organization, particularly the weather. After determinedly stating that I would not fish before 9:00, I had in fact boated four and was off the lake by 8:00. The promised torrent of rain failed to appear, though it was a wind of biblical proportions which tucked me into my slip at about noon today. The dock was holding well, and by now we know how to tie a boat.

I did manage to catch six plump largemouth bass for Father’s Day Lunch tomorrow. Of course nobody pays much attention to that holiday.

Lexus es300h update

June 11, 2019

As I drive the car repeatedly over routine round trips, I am gradually forming some conclusions about its mileage performance.

1. Mileage is lousy when it is cold. Until it gets three miles from home, it uses from a bit over 9.0 L/100 km to as high as 12.0. A trip to Newboro to bail out the fishing boat, for example, starts at 9.1 and over the 14 mile round trip gradually reduces to an average while coming in the driveway of 5.8 L/100 km. That’s 48.7 Imperial miles per gallon, 41 U.S.

2. Starting while warm, the car maintained that same 5.8 L/100 km average throughout a trip to Kingston for shopping and back today, about 100 miles of heavily travelled two lane and a bit of four-lane highway and assorted city streets and parking lots.

3. From a cold start the trip to Rosebridge Manor in Easton’s Corners, a sixty-eight mile expedition over little-travelled roads and frequent hamlets with speed limits and stop signs, the average steadily decreases from a bit over 9 to a final average as I use battery power through Forfar, up Young’s Hill Road, and in our long driveway, of 5.1 L/100 km. Usually traffic allows me to poke along at 80 km/hr on this stretch, again with frequent coasts through villages on electric. That’s 55 miles per Imperial gallon, 46 U.S.