08 November 2009

Back in the saddle, again...

Wow... I can't believe it's been almost TWO months since I last posted something about my Mini-E #339!!! When I first started this blog back in June (when I picked up #339), I knew there would be times like these when I just didn't have anything interesting to post—or even time to post any thing!!

Still... Has the entire month of October passed already?

Hmmm... Let's see... The Yankees won another World Series... Bloomberg has been elected Mayor of New York for another four years... All the tree leaves in Queens are dying and littering the streets... Yeah, I guess October has come and gone!

So, quick recap!! Since I last posted back in September....

  1. Mini-E #339 went back in to have a faulty battery module replaced. The "Flying Docs" did their job and repaired everything for FREE under this "pioneer" program! And it seems like the Docs did it right. Haven't had any "bad experiences" (yet) with 339's over-night battery charging or driving range—although that last spate of "cold" weather in New York back in late September and early-October... (More on that later.)

    The best thing: I had some major problems in getting 339 towed (flat-bedded, really) to BMW/Mini of Manhattan. But once again, this pioneering program really stepped up to the plate. I got several calls from BMW corporate on the day my 339 had to go back to the dealer for repairs. And the day after, I got a few calls too. Every call was to apologize for my unfortunate situation and "to re-assure" me that BMW/Mini strives "for the most excellent service" to their customers: ME!

    Just "customer service" talk, you'd think, right? More "public relations" spin? Keep up a good face? Maybe... But one of the reps (I forget his name, now) ended his call with, "Well, Paul... We want to thank you for being so understanding over this whole ordeal, so please expect something in the mail soon." I didn't think much of it because...

  2. I went on vacation the day after they finally flat-bedded 339 back to HQ in Jersey to fix her battery.

    Vacation. For 10 days. To Hawaii!! Via cruise ship! From Vancouver!

    Needless to say, that's why I didn't blog at all after my last post, "My Baby's gone..." Being out at sea for five days from Vancouver to Hawaii... I didn't really think much about "driving." (Although I did spend some "quality time" with her owner's manual.)

    And when I did "land" on the Hawaiian islands, I really thought of--and deeply missed--Mini-E #339 on one particular occasion. On the island of Maui, I took the "Road to Hana" in a rented Mazda 6 sedan and let me tell you... The Mazda 6 is a nice car, BUT...

    The Hana Highway is just a 68-mile long, two-lane road (one lane each way) with 59 bridges (49 of 'em ONE LANE only!) and 620 curves and switchbacks that passes through some of the most awesome scenery of waterfalls and coastlines and mountain rock faces...

    It takes over 3 hours to drive that highway end-to-end because it's so twisty and narrow and steep up and down the old extinct Maui volcanoes!!! In other words, it's the perfect twisty, bendy to take a Mini Cooper or (better yet) a Mini Cooper Convertible! OR best still, a Mini-E Cooper convertible!!!! (Nothing like driving on a curvaceous, narrow road through some absolutely stunning natural beauty... in a tight-handling, fast, fun and eco-friendly, open-topped car!! At least that's what I was dreamin' of while working the Mazda 6's electronic gear shifter up and down during my drive! Nice!)

    Seriously... If you're ever in Maui and you really really really REALLY LOVE driving... And I mean driving as in NOT "got to drop off the kids, pick up the dry cleaning, get to work, go grocery shopping, then pick up the kids" kind of driving... But real driving...

    You MUST "do" the Hana Highway!!!!

    I'm not one to spout deep philosophical thoughts, but... I'm convinced that whoever said, "Life isn't about the destination but the journey," must've come up with that gem after a trek on the Road to Hana!!! :-D

  3. When I finally landed home in NYC after my high-seas and Hawaiian adventure, I picked up 339 at the dealer... Drove her home fine... And waiting in that pile of mail at home was an envelope from BMW/Mini "Roadside Assistance." Inside? Nothing but a $150 check!!! Thank you, BMW!!! Thank you, Pioneer program!! I see we're of the same mind-frame: "Talk is cheap. Action costs!" (And I didn't even ask for any type of "compensation" for that miserable tow experience!)

  4. The first few weeks "back to reality" after that Hawaiian adventure, the weather in New York turned unseasonably colder!! As such, my battery and driving range took hits. There's no way to protect 339 from the low over-night temperatures (they fell to the 20s and 30 degree Fahrenheit at times!) since her charging station is located at the side of my house next to the driveway and NOT in a garage like many others', I suspect. Some mornings, I got in and her driving range read only "84 miles."

    Another "fun" cold-weather dealing... Her TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) went off during one of my morning commutes. At first I thought I got a flat tire! (Great... and I didn't take the $300 insurance against the run-flats!!) But co-workers who own the conventionally-powered Minis said the cold temps probably affected the tire pressure.

    After topping off all her tires to the correct PSI ratings and resetting the TPMS, all is well again. So far.

    Winter should be fun! (Stay tuned!)

  5. I met with and got "permission" from the facilities manager(s) at work. I can now park 339 and jack her into the 120-volt outdoor outlets on the lamp posts in my company's outdoor parking lot! So while I "slave away for The Man," 339 can get topped off with the juice being paid for by The Man!

    Of course, it means I have to remember to switch 339's charge setting to "12-amps" when I get to work. (Last thing I want is to "blow" the work circuits... Or 339's portable "emergency" charger... or damage 339's internal circuitry!) And it means I have to remember to "switch back" to the "32-amps" setting once I get home, otherwise I won't have her ready to go in the morning!

    So far, that's been going well, though. (More on that in future posts.)

    And finally...

  6. There's going to be a meet-up with other Mini-E owners today. One of the other "pioneers" has an Italian restaurant in Montclair, NJ. I apparently missed the first "gathering of the East Coast drivers. So, this should be fun! Stay tuned!
That's it. Sorry for the long post. But you're now all caught up.

I think.

1 comment:

  1. A new post! You did Road to Hana in 3 hours. We did it in 13 hours! I agree that it would be amazing in a mini-e. Oh Hawaii, we miss you...

    -Lauren :)