Friday, April 11, 2014

Clean Cars

Years ago I was in Anchorage Alaska.  It was a beautiful July day with blue sky and nary a cloud.  You could see the amazing mountains that surround this city almost as if they were close enough to touch.  And every single car I saw was filthy dirty.  Not a little dusty, not a few bugs on it, but filthy.  And I thought, "I should introduce these people to the concept of the car wash."  Then, as we drove through the streets, I saw a car wash.  It looked new and modern.  Well, except for the weeds growing between the crack in the concrete and that the building was empty.  It was obviously out of business.

So I asked my Alaska-born cousin, "Don't people wash their cars around here?"  And she said with a laugh, "Alaskans don't care about clean cars."  This much was obvious.

I do care about clean cars.  I like to keep my cars clean.  But where I live this is nearly impossible.  In the winter there's mud from the dirt on the road mixing with snow mixing with the sand the county dumps to improve traction.  Then the state sprays this brown goo deicer on the interstate.  It's supposed to be better for the environment than road salt.  I consider car washing to be part of car maintenance because you don't want those deicing chemicals eating your vehicle's skin.  So I try to wash the car on a semi-regular basis in the winter.

In the summer we have bugs and dust.  I tend to buy light-colored cars so the dust isn't immediately prevalent.  But I did own a dark blue Camaro.  I would wash it, drive it, wash it, drive it, etc.

But the biggest issue we have around here in the summer is bugs.  For instance, on Wednesday I drove
my car about 110 miles from Spokane to my house.  When I left Spokane the car was pristine.  There wasn't a speck of dirt on it.  When I got home, the front was covered in bugs.  And that's not the worst.  Look at the picture at right.  This was taken in August a few years ago.  I left home with a clean car and drove 140 miles (round trip) and when I got home this is what the front of my car looked like.  And most of those bugs were in the last 50 miles or so.  The bugs were so thick at first I thought it was raining.

So, you wash your car, drive it a bit, wash it, drive it a bit, etc.  You can't keep a car clean here in central Washington State.

But I try.  And for the three minutes it's clean and beautiful, it's worth it.

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