Friday, May 1, 2009
1999 Audi Avant
The round trip has been completed. I've returned to Red Mountain, WA where I began my trip south. The grape vines are just starting to bud out, and things are very green, especially the weeds! My carefully selected ride for this trip, Dusty, herself, deserves a bit of a break, or at least a check in with the capable mechanics at Wilson Brothers in Ballard. She performed beautifully, stylishly, while carrying all my stuff and precious cargo safely and without complaint. I am impressed with those German engineers who made such a fine auto. You would be hard pressed to find a car as quiet and solid feeling as this one, that could carry so much stuff while still carving sharp turns on back roads with a little sports car like gusto. Her engine is no monster, its 2.8 liter V6 its nothing like the 4.4 liter BMW 540 V8 that I was considering for a while, but its very quiet, and seamless, and when you push the pedal down far enough you find that you have moved quickly past any car you wish to pass. At 100mph it feels like 40mph in my old car, so quiet and solid, and that German sensation that seems to say, go ahead, run like this all day long, faster if you like. The one complaint I have is the gas milage. I averaged 24 mpg on the freeway, and this was considerable less than I guess I was hoping for. I think the Quattro full time AWD system is partly to blame for this. But the one time that I found myself on very soft sand all the sudden, she did pull right out of it without a thought. On Hwy 78 in SE Oregon yesterday, I was blasting along a absolutely deserted stretch of rangeland with bagpipe music playing on the stereo, the car expertly hugging each curve and hill. And she, the car, it, may be only a piece of machinery, but for a few hundred miles we were perfectly in sync, and I could not have been happier.