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I surely didn’t expect to write this, but it’s true.  I’m inspired by my new 4Runner!  It reminds me of who I am.  It helps me visualize who I want to be.  It flashes me back to amazing discoveries, free-spirited friends and exhilarating adventures.  I’m a wild thing!  I like to go back to nature.  I’m fired up to climb mountains, ski slopes and bike wild trails.  I want to do more kayaking, snow-shoeing and sight-seeing.  I’d like to try paddle-boarding and wind surfing.   

I like listening to the sounds of nature.  I enjoy the splendor of a starlit night in the deep darkness of the backcountry.  Escape from electricity!  I love mountain-top views and alpine lakes.  Natural beauty polishes my spirit!

I enjoy college football games on snowy Saturday afternoons.  Go Cougars!  It’s a huge blessing to have a sure-footed vehicle on slippery days.  Modern safeguards like air bags and computerized traction and braking also add to my peace of mind.  

I appreciate having a rig that can handle a variety of conditions.  I’m enjoying the chance to sit up higher.  It’s a new perspective on life.  Exceptional ground clearance and a stiff suspension make my world bigger.  I have room to carry several friends, or a lot of gear.

This ride will help me live fully.  Time to get wild!  ( :

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My summer vacation was fun!  Then it was scary.  Then it was fruitful.  Know what I mean?  I’m sure Annie does.  She looked like this:

Annie in the wild!

Later she looked like this:

WTF?

It was right after she lived through this:

Annie and Frank survived!

Then she saw this:

The little car that could, no longer can…

So, since we survived, she helped me pick out this:

All’s well that ends well!  ( :

This car is fun!  It’s a sports car that’s affordable for many.  It is $25k with a six speed manual transmission and $26k with the automatic.  Almost no options, no haggling, the price is the price.  I drove the six speed automatic, with paddle shifters, and I think it’s the way to go, because the tranny is as responsive as the steering.  Plus the obvious advantages for city driving.  This toy corners amazingly well!  It’s 2.0 liter Subaru Boxer engine yields pretty good power and keeps it low to the ground, allowing the incredible cornering stability. 

I should get a practical vehicle first, I suppose, but I have waited for one to really grab my attention!  ( :

Wow!  I rode this amazing bicycle yesterday.  I really like it!  Quality oozes from it; smooth shifting, twenty-nine inch wheels for an amazing ride, state of the art suspension on the front and the rear, hydraulic disc brakes.  Only two sprockets on the front and ten gears on the back, for better shifting.  The price shocked me a little, but it felt so good!  It’s a Kona Hei Hei 29 Deluxe.  Should I get one?

Well now!  The experts say we can’t get to where we want to go if we don’t know where that is.  Or do they say we can’t get what we want unless we know what it is that we want?  Or is it something like, we have to go after what we want, to get it?  Maybe they’d say my memory lapses make my repetitive “ideas” seem original?  Whatever!!!  It feels right to take a stab at a bucket list, so here goes!  Thank you to Lesley Carter for inspiring me to assemble this post, which may prove to be pivotal in making a better me!  Trying to rank order them blows my mind, so they’re numbered only for reference:

  1. Live happily ever after, deeply in love!
  2. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  3. Run a half marathon with Annie.
  4. Jump out of an airplane AND live to tell about it!  ( :
  5. Help people to smile and laugh every day.
  6. Make a hole in one.
  7. Be an inspiration to others.  Thanks Sherryl!
  8. Watch a PAC-12 football championship game in Pullman, WA.
  9. Watch the Washington State Cougars WIN a Rose Bowl.
  10. Purchase a fun, sporty vehicle.  Thanks to everyone who has tolerated Little Blue!
  11. Snorkel in Hawaii.
  12. Play with grandkids.
  13. Write a story that lives on after I’m gone.
  14. Eat great sushi.
  15. Do 12 pull ups in a row.
  16. Love those who persecute me.
  17. Dance at Nicholas’ (son) wedding.
  18. Swim with dolphins.
  19. Dance at my wedding.
  20. Live peacefully, contentedly, generously and socially connected.
  21. Write a popular blog.
  22. Help Eric solve the obesity problem, inspiring people to better their lives.
  23. Enjoy tea in England.  Thanks Bullu!
  24. See Niagara Falls.
  25. Fly in a hot air balloon.
  26. Do 50 push ups in a row.
  27. Record a great hackysack video of Nicholas & Annie & friends.
  28. See Alaska in person.
  29. Take a vacation in Italy.
  30. Take a Mediterranean cruise or vacation.
  31. Visit Australia.
  32. See Celine Dion sing live.
  33. Live a long, healthy life.
  34. Shoot great photographs.
  35. Hike more of the northern section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
  36. Write a collection of poems.
  37. Collect friends, including five-minute friends – thanks Katie!
  38. Grow fresh herbs & prepare gourmet meals.  Thanks Annie!
  39. Score three or more birdies in one round of golf.
  40. Earn a single digit handicap in golf.
  41. Catch a big fish, say 20 pounds or more.
  42. Visit each of the United States of America.
  43. Add to this bucket list………and get busier on checking things off!  ( :  I welcome any and all feedback, such as critiques and more ideas! 

Infiniti has a 2012 G37x sedan ($46k plus) and Lexus a 2013 GS350 ($61k plus) that both intrigue me.  I like their looks and rumor has it that they drive nicely and are well-built.  They come in all wheel drive.  Perhaps not Corvette sexy, but sporty and classy.  I can’t wait to drive them when I visit a bigger city!  Today might be that day…..

Toyota’s Highlander may be the best utilitarian option for me, if it’s big enough.  It gets the best reviews, from what I’ve read, for mid-size SUV’s.  $40-45k in 4WD Limited version.  $50k for loaded up hybrid version.

Reality:  I won’t get a “perfect” vehicle designed and produced, as I’m not on any Forbes lists.  Let’s try a process of elimination.  I can only afford one, so it should excel in all seasons. I’m in mid-life, so I may as well have a crisis!  Can I have something sporty and fun to drive?  I’ve been spoiled by all wheel drive, so I want it again.  Bam!  Gone are so many choices!  No Mustang or Corvette for me now.  Dang!  Logic suggests that dependability/quality is very important in this investment.  Damn!  It looks like the Charger is out too!  The Hemi V-8 is so fun to drive!  I have a very long torso, so back seats are often too short on head space.  I’d like comfort for four tall people, if possible.  Whoa!  Now more options are disappearing.  Must I sacrifice a sporty ride and settle on an SUV?  Help!

I sure picked well last time!  My 1990 Corolla All-Trac wagon has been awesome.  All of the plastic is breaking off, but it’s running strong after 238,000+ miles.  There are a few tricks, like lifting part of the female seat belt connector, to coax her into accepting the male.  Is that a life lesson?  If you want to add gas without help, you’d better have an old-fashioned coat hanger.  Want to open the hood?  Give the hood release cable a little extra tug.  Adjusting the heating or air conditioning in the dark?  I hope you’ve memorized the controls!  Slide the front passenger seat ahead?  Not any more.  Run the rear wiper?  You’ll be okay without it.  Old cars raise our ability to appreciate things.  I just installed new wiper blades.  It felt like a new car!  Last month’s new headlamps were equally impressive.  Both paled in comparison to the new spark plugs and spark plug wires that Nick and I installed last summer.  It ran like new again!  Yippee!  Every day I drive it I probably save about $20 in new car payments.  I know it won’t run forever.  I like the idea of a new vehicle.  The designers have dreamed up some really cool features!  I probably deserve them.  Yet Little Blue packs a lot of cool memories for me.  I’ve owned her through a wife, a near wife, multiple other girlfriends and all of my two kids’ lives.  She’s taken me on hundreds of amazing adventures, like mountain biking, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, backpacking, snow-shoeing, Christmas tree hunting, camping, kayaking, football games, foot races, family gatherings, etc.  Anyone think I can pick as well again?

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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