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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Do you ever get too old to own something new?

I don’t mean a new pair of jeans (and why are they called a pair anyway??), or a new purse, or even a new fridge. But what about a new vehicle? I mean off the lot, smells new NEW.

I’m beginning to think Dan and I qualify for being OLD….too OLD for NEW.

We’ve debated about getting a new vehicle. It figures in with our plans for the future….traveling and getting a 5th wheel. I’ve had a wonderful vehicle with my 2004 Ford Escape XLT. The mileage I got with it is unbelievable considering it is NOT a hybrid. Once we managed to eek out 33 mpg. Most of the time it is about 29 or 30. I only had a bit over 27,000 miles on it. EXCELLENT VEHICLE! I hated to part with it just for the mileage but ya can’t haul a 5th wheel with an Escape.

Dan had a 1997 Ford F-150 XLT. It had high miles on it, was 4WD and managed to get about 22 mpg on a trip, but it was not a vehicle that we would want to take on a LONG trip hauling a 5th wheel….and it wasn’t big enough for the 5th wheel we have in mind.

So, we bit the bullet. We now have a 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins diesel engine. It has more buttons and gadgets than we know what to do with. When we want some serious reading we bring in the 5 pound owner’s manual and cuddle up on the couch to figure out the finer points of the truck (like how to open the slider window in the back, what the heck is the EVIC, etc).

And before I go any further, I want to commend the sales staff at Newberry Motors in Newberry, and in particular Kevin Vanatta the owner. When we were in the serious thinking stages of making the purchase, we asked Kevin if he could come out HERE instead of us coming in because we were trying to keep our intentions quiet. In a small town everyone knows your name and the vehicle you drive, so Kevin very willingly brought his pad of paper, his thinking cap and his advice. We told him what we were looking for and what we eventually wanted the truck for. And of course the Dodge incentives were still on at that time too. Newberry Motors found the truck within a few days time and we drove it off the lot about 6 days after our initial conversation with Kevin. So hats off to Newberry Motors.

OK, back to the story.,,,

It has been a while since we had a NEW diesel truck; 1984 to be exact! And Big Red (which was a Ford F-250) lived to a ripe old age of over 200,000 miles before we traded him in on the other Ford that I mentioned earlier in this post. There have been some real changes with the diesels! I won’t bore you with all of that because some of you might not find that as exciting as we have!

But right out of the chute; our first stop was the grocery store. For whatever reason, Dan couldn’t turn the headlights off. WE both were laughing about that while we were in the parking lot trying to get the lights off. We still don’t know what he was NOT doing because it was a simple matter of turning a dial. And as I recall it is the only DIAL in the truck so I don’t have a clue what he was or wasn’t doing.

And I won’t bore you with all the gadgets, etc that are on the truck but I will share my “first time out by myself” experience. I parked along a side street instead of parking in the hospital parking lot today. I turned the key, shut the engine off and tried to take the key out of the ignition. Apparently I had gone just a bit too far because the key wouldn’t come out, so I tried to move the key enough to get it out and the horn starts blaring, the lights start flashing and people within 100 feet jumped into the air. I was so embarrassed! This all took place within a nano-second but within that time frame I couldn’t think what to do to shut it up so I started the truck again and it still kept blaring at me! I finally had the sense to realize I must’ve pushed the panic button and set things into motion.

You should have seen me try to start the truck again without touching that area of the key fob. Talk about a sensitive button!

So…are we too old for new things??

Oh, and remember earlier in this story I told you how everyone knows your vehicle, etc?
Later that same day, Bob Brown (Pres of TASA and a good friend of ours) stopped by and said “Hey, I see Kevin’s truck out here earlier. Are you getting a new vehicle??” HA! Ya can’t win!


  1. Anonymous8:40 AM

    You can't go wrong with a dodge and a cummins diesel. I have an 03 2500 with the CTD and love it. Its great for pulling sleds and gets great fuel mileage. My diesel is the 5.9 liter which is known for great milage. I actually think the new 6 liter CTD gets a little less mileage because of all the new emission rules. Anyway congratulations you made a good choice! If the Ford got you 200k miles the Dodge will get you 350k!

  2. Congrats on your new truck. My husband and I have been considering the same type of decisions. Our current vehicles won't pull an RV.

    We did get a mini van last year and we would drive around with the owner's manual in hand to learn all about the gadgets. It helped that our son and his wife have a similar vehicle and they taught us about some of the bells and whistles. When dealing with technology, it always helps to have a teenager to help you!

  3. Anonymous, it is a 6.6 engine and we won't actually have a GOOD test of it until we take our trip in October. I can't believe how QUIET it is compared to "days of yesteryear"!

    SBW; HA! We've done something similiar only our reading has been in a parking lot while we were waiting for a store to open! Up til about 4 years ago, we had a new Ford Winstar and LOVED it. It even got pretty good milage!

  4. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Cathy even though I work for GM I recently drove one of our competitive vehicles which happens to be an 08 model equipped like your truck. Thought I'd let you know of a peculiar "safety" feature, my Chrysler buddy informed me of and I discovered at the boat launch is that when backing up with the driver door open, to get a better view of what's behind you, the horn will start blaring!

  5. anonymous, Thanks for the heads up! That COULD come as a surprise to an unsuspecting person!

  6. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Turn the lighs off first they will go out, turn key off then lights they delay about 15 seconds then go. Either way is O.K.

  7. Anonymous, Thanks for that info too. We're still learning!


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