June 21, 2008

A Sea of Hostas

Filed under: travel — origamifreak @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , ,

Yesterday Deb and I went on a long drive (3-hr each way) to visit a hosta farm. While I only have two of them (and I only recently inherited those from a neighbor), Deb has a lovely shady patch of them under the pines next to her house. I’d run across references to Glenbrook Farm online last year, and it sounded like it would be a neat place to visit.

The farm is in Fultonville, which is just west of Albany. To get there you have three options: via the Thruway to the north, via 88 to the south, or via old highway 20 between the two.

I left Romulus about 7:15am, and after getting gas (41.6 mpg), made my way to Freeville.

We took the scenic route to Fultonville. Old highway 20 is sort-of a northern counterpart to Route 66. Unlike 66 (which stops in Chicago), 20 actually goes coast-to-coast (OR to MA). Along the way we saw sheep farms, tiny old towns, a committee* of 7 vultures congregated in the road on a knoll, a barn roof with a portion of the metal twisted back and completely flattened as if it were paper, and had sandwiches for lunch in a tiny deli/bookstore/dry goods/grocery/convenience store.

We arrived about 12:30, and Viktoria came out to greet us. The website says they have about 1200 varieties of hostas there, with around 700-800 for sale. And I believe it. There were giant monster hostas, and teeny doll-sized ones. There were all colors of the hosta rainbow, and just about every variation on striping you can imagine. There were upright ones and mounding ones. There were smooth veins and puckered ones. Shiny leaves and matte. Ruffled edges, pointy tips, cup-shaped leaves, broad leaves, and narrow ones.

This staggering buffet of greenery was planted out in large gardens under trees.

There was a pond, with a frog sunning itself in a pot on the edge.

Some of the hostas were speckled, rather than striped!

There were lots of interesting shrubs and trees in the plantings, too. The tour ended at a shadehouse where we waded happily among thousands of plants for sale, organized alphabetically by name and also by size.

I brought home two, Striptease and Fragrant Bouquet. Deb brought took home many (with goading by me and Viktoria). I don’t recall all of them, but they included Victory, Liberty, Niagara Falls, Praying Hands, Dream Weaver, and Reptilian.

To save time we took the Thruway home and on an impulse picked up takeout at Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. We encountered a fierce downpour along the way, as well. We stopped to get gas in Tully (35.3 mpg), and finally arrived back in Freeville at 6:30pm, where we ate with Deb’s family.

After that I spent the evening helping Kathie pack for the two trips in both cars we’d do this morning, taking things to her mom’s new apartment.

I have no idea why the mileage was so bad on the second fill-up. The difference could be due to a few things: there were two of us in the car all day so it was more weight, the terrain on old 20 was vigorously rolling – which required going up many short steep hills, we ran the AC part of the time because of fog on the windows from the rain, we left the car in defrost mode for about 100 miles, and driving on the thruway meant going so fast that even in 5th gear we were well over 3K RPM. I teased Deb that it was because she’d driven 122 of the 305.9 miles.

I think the real answer might be to keep the defrost mode OFF, except when absolutely necessary. Apparently all cars, starting about 15 years ago, are required to cycle the AC periodically while in defrost mode. You can supposedly decouple this at the switch by disconnecting the appropriate wire. I might have to look into that, as I would prefer to handle the AC myself, thank you. Mileage really takes a hit from AC.

*Yes, this is supposedly what a group of vultures is called. And they did sort of look like they’d been discussing things.


June 15, 2008

That’s more like it!

Filed under: transportation — origamifreak @ 10:11 pm
Tags: , ,

I bought my third tank of gas today. 338.5 miles, on 8.249 gallons = 41.03mpg

OK, maybe the Honda engineers HAVE been doing their job over the past 17 years, after all.

And that’s with the windows down most of the time, causing turbulence.

Take THAT, you gas-guzzling SUVs!

Heh, Heh.

June 9, 2008

Mileage report

Filed under: transportation — origamifreak @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , ,

Well, I’ve finally got a mileage estimate on the Fit, since I’ve now put gas in it twice.

It went 316.8 miles on 8.76 gallons of fuel. That works out to 36.16 mpg. I’m a bit disappointed, since my Civic got 37.5 mpg, and hoping this is due to the fact that most of the driving the past 5 days has been with the air conditioner on.

I guess I could learn to enjoy sweating while driving, so that I can bump that mpg up where I want it. I’ll be tracking it at the EPA website, so I can compare with what other people say they’re getting:

There are data on 31 manual 2008 Fits, both base and sport. These owners claim anywhere from 27.6 to 42.1 mpg; the average is 34.6 mpg. 10 people are averaging more than I got (I’m in the 67th percentile). The person claiming >42 mpg is in TX and says they have 40%/60% city/highway miles.

To be fair to the new car, I should also mention this little tidbit from the EPA site: “New vehicles will not obtain their optimal fuel economy until the engine has broken in. This may take 3-5 thousand miles.” There are barely 600 miles on it, so far.

Also, I’m wondering how I’ve managed to drive an average of 63.36 miles per day, over the last 5 days? That seems kind-of high, somehow.


  • 6/4 drove to Geneva for work, plus a detour to water aerobics on the way home (49.7)
  • 6/5 drove to Geneva for work, plus a detour to water aerobics on the way home (49.7)
  • 6/6 drove up to Geneva for work, then home (28.6), then to Ithaca (36.2), then around downtown Ithaca (?), then up to Cornell (?), then back to downtown (?)
  • 6/7 drove around downtown Ithaca (?), up to Cornell (?), back down to downtown (?), then up to the mall (?), then back downtown (?), and then home to Romulus (36.2)
  • 6/8 no driving
  • 6/9 a trip to Farmington to the doctors office this morning before work (37.4), then to work (24.8 ) plus a detour to water aerobics after work (34.1)

296.7 mi is accounted for, which means I drove about 20 mi around Ithaca. I guess that’s about right. It just sounds like so much, when you add it all up!

I suppose I could investigate doing water aerobics in Geneva, so that my daily round trip will be closer to 30 mi, than 50! Yeesh.

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