Along the Apache Trail-Let the Adventure Begin

Jeep’s slogan is “Have fun out there”. We adopted that motto this summer in Arizona.

Last year was spent adjusting to the house, pool, landscape and did I mention the HEAT! 110 degrees at 10am is not normal on the East Coast–Arizona is different.  The theme for our life starting this summer was much like Jeep’s. Our adventures included hiking, running and 4 wheeling in the Jeep. We decided that our website needed to include those adventures. Look for articles and photos as we have more of those adventures.

The first adventure to get included is on the Apache Trail. This is the only scenic highway in Arizona–although even the most mundane roads here have wonderful views beyond the PUDs full of homes. The trail is partially paved but mainly dirt that connects Apache Junction to several lakes and a major dam to the North.  Some sections of this road remind you of the Alps with awesome cliffs just feet from the side of an unprotected road. Most sites will tell you that the road can be traveled by automobile but do not believe them. If you care about your car–go rent one.

4 wheeling Mini Cooper

OPPS–Not all Mini owners care about there babies. Believe it or not we had cars ahead and behind us on most of this trip including a BMW 335 and a Mini Cooper. The cars will make it but will surely suffer rock chips, suspension issues and possibly other horrendous problems.

The road is filled with great views of the Arizona landscape. One narrow portion forces cars to pass on a one lane road hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. Sure enough cars have gone over and can be seen on the decent to a permanent resting spot below.

Narrow Pass

After 20 plus miles of travel you find yourself below the huge Roosevelt dam that was originally built in the early 1900′s as a government project to help provide a growing Arizona region with water. The dam was later heightened and improved to better serve the growing state’s requirements. The dam rises out of the deep valley and dominates the horizon as you approach.

Roosevelt Dam

Once you reach the top of the dam and look down into the canyon below you wonder how different the landscape might have looked 100 years ago. Beyond the dam lies a vast lake for boating and swimming.

Lake and Bridge

Visit the Photo Gallery to see all of the photos from this adventure. Keep coming back to see and experience more of the Southwest through our travels and adventures.

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Hyundai Genesis Driving Event

Hyundai is in the process of trying to move upscale.  No fancy branding exercises like Lexus and Acura.  Just design and build a better car, slap a V8 in it and try to sell it for $40K.

?Hyundai Genesis Sedan
Hyundai Genesis Coupe

To market the car to the population they created a traveling roadshow to let you see it up close and drive it against the competition. The show is down to its last two stops, Phoenix and Chicago. You can visit, Drive Genesis, to get an appointment at the driving event. We have done this type of event a few times before with Lexus and Mercedes and had a good time.

The real question is–Can Hyundai erase my memories of the 1988 Excel that I use to drive to work daily in the early 90′s?

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Vindication on the Jeep Buying Experience!

Within days of posting the story of our Jeep buying experience I found a news story highlighting the Best and Worst cars to purchase based on customer satisfaction.

Jeep set the bar high–they were dead last.

BMW was the second best–no surprise there.

Next time you are thinking about buying something major (like a car) you should visit this website and do some advance research. The American Customer Satisfaction Index only focuses on the customer satisfaction aspect of the product–not the quality.

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Buying American-It’s a Jeep!

It\'s a Jeep!

It is a Jeep. Yes, you read correct a Jeep. Perhaps not the Ultimate Driving Machine, but as Jeep proclaims, one that will allow us to Have Fun Out There. And, fun it has been on a recent trail crawling along at a snails pace and stopping to wave at a caravan of various 4x4s as they passed us. But, hey we’ve been driving Bimmers and Minis now for the past 11 years both on and off the track and its going to take a bit of getting used to this new higher wheel base and dirt.

We always start out by emailing local dealers to see what they can do with regards to price and once narrowed down we make our choice, finalize the transaction via email and briefly visit the dealership to take care of the paperwork and payment and we are out the door. The purchasing of this Jeep took many emails and 12 hours of time at the dealership on a recent Saturday. It should have been simple–the dealer was suppose to honor their advertised AutoTrader .com price of $2,000 under invoice, which did not show two add-ons of $399 each. Instead, I still cannot believe that we had to argue from MSRP down with every Manager at the dealership?not only about the price, but that we didn’t want to use Chrysler Financial because we had our own financing. In the end it did result in $1,200 under invoice, a poor survey response and an immature email from our salesperson stating we were not deserving of another tank of gas promised to us because of our poor survey response to Chrysler. I caught myself laughing out loud as this reminds me of the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld no gas for us.

Ok, so most folks would of told this dealer to take a hike much earlier on in the day, but amazingly in this turbulent economy no other local dealer wanted to move much at all off MSRP. I find this funny because our 1999 BMW E36 M3 was built in the last month of production. The Atlanta dealer gladly sold us our car with seven miles on the odometer for $4,000 off MSRP no add ons. This was an extraordinary deal considering that the E46 M3s would not be released until a year later. In 2006, the newly released unibody pick-up, the Honda Ridgeline, was taking a while to gel with the American public. We were able to purchase one for $6,000 under MSRP at a Charlotte dealer and when we sold it just last year, the cost of ownership was close to nothing.

So in concluding I ask, Is this an American thing? The pricing games and long hours spent at the dealership, or is this a left coast game. We’ve all heard in the enthusiast world that many of our west coast counterparts have far out spent us when buying a car. I almost want to believe it is indeed what goes on in purchasing an American made vehicle and I say this because last year I had a very pleasant Mini Cooper S buying experience with Brecht Mini of San Diego, CA. I even received $500 off MSRP and free floor mats on this top ten seller. But, maybe it’s just a Phoenix thing after all I had to go to San Diego to purchase a Mini.

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