Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sad Days of Autumn

I love autumn in New England - crisp, clear days; slanting light; changing foliage; wood smoke on the breeze. However, for those of us who also love certain convertible, front-engine/rear-wheel-drive modes of transportation, there are sad days in the fall - like the first real frost telling us that soon we'll have to live through another five-plus months of keeping our heads inside the windows, so to speak.

Last week one morning I found the calling cards of cold-weather-driving on my soft-top: frost and fallen leaves. I think the end is near.

(Technical notes: you're not supposed to move the Miata's soft-top when the temperature is less than 45 or 50 degrees - the vinyl gets brittle in the cold and can crack. The soft-top is permanently attached to the car, but for the winter I fold it back into the open position and use a detachable hard-top with better headroom and heat retention, and a significantly larger rear window. I also put on snow tires on dedicated steel winter wheels, which improves my chances in snow and ice to "possibility of survival", and lets me use dedicated performance tires in the summer instead of all-seasons.)

(Procrastinatory note: last year I tried to squeak by on one too many "last nice days", and only got to put on the hard-top and snow tires on the first weekend of January in an unseasonable 60 degrees.)
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