Dear Jack: Exploring Your Great-Uncle Johnny’s Car Collection During Spring Break

7 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

It was just about a month ago that you had a pretty cool Spring Break. On the way back from Ruby Falls in the Mazda CX-5, we actually had to drive right past my Uncle Johnny’s house near Chattanooga; which is also near Rock City, where our family would visit a couple of days later. So I let him know in advance, and he was ready for us when we stopped by.

He has the largest collection of classic cars compared to anyone else I personally know. I figured especially at your age now, getting to see his car collection would really be an awesome thing to do.

You obviously were amazed with each car Uncle Johnny proceeded to show you; which included several class Mustangs.

But I think your favorite of them all was his 1993 Ford 150 pick-up truck.

But our visit didn’t just consist of a car museum collection alone.

Uncle Johnny was thoughtful enough, and brave enough, to insist that you drive us around in his golf utility vehicle. Granted, I sat next to you and overtook the wheel and brake pedal for much of the chaotic drive, which included us missing a tree by a few inches.

That’s why I took you to my Uncle Johnny’s house, though.

I knew it would create a memorable experience for you at this age. I have to believe that years from now, you’ll say to me, “Daddy, was that a dream that time we were at that guy’s house and he had all these cars and trucks and then he even let me drive this little car across a field, to another garage where there was this truck I got to stand in?”

Then I can say, “No, that was real.” Here are the pictures to prove it.

Love,

Daddy

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Back Seat Space with Child Car Seats in the 2017 Lexus IS 350; Plus, How to Adjust the Driver’s Seat- Videos Included

In case you are considering buying, leasing, or renting a 2017 Lexus IS 350 and are curious as to whether you could fit an adult in the back seat between two car seats, then you’ve come to the right place.

Through my practical and realistic video, I show how I am able to successfully fasten my seatbelt while sitting between a child’s car seat (for my nearly 18 month-old) and a child’s booster seat (for my nearly 7 year-old).

 

I serve as the perfect model human being, as I am 5’9” and around 165 pounds. I am arguable the average sized American; if you combine both men and women.

The results? While I did have to sort of lower my head since it grazed the ceiling, and I did have to either put my arms directly down on my knees, the positive aspect was that in addition to being able to fasten the seat belt without much trouble, I had plenty of room for my legs.

I know sometimes in the 3rd row seat of SUVs, there is barely enough room for my legs, as they hit the 2nd row seat in front of me. But that is definitely not the case with the 2017 Lexus IS 350.

So in the event you are needing to fill the vehicle to full capacity, with two adults up front, 2 children in the back, and still need to squeeze in another adult in the backseat, I am proof it is possible. It is especially possible if that adult in the backseat is shorter and/or lighter than I am.

I also made a video for anyone who is curious to adjust the driver’s seat. There are several buttons and several options to cater to the comfort level of the driver.

 

Thanks for reading and watching today. I hope you found my work to be helpful as you plan your next drive in the 2017 Lexus IS 350.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A WAY-FM Business Impact Partner)

This is NOT a sponsored post. This is simply a passionate testimonial based on our family’s experience. Neither Hyundai of Cool Springs nor WAY-FM were aware of this post until after the purchase of the vehicle.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Our family now has a “new to us” family vehicle and we are all 4 very excited about it! This past Memorial Day weekend, we traded in our 2006 Honda Accord for a 2013 Hyundai Elantra.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Everyday for a couple years now, I have been hearing commercials for Hyundai of Cool Springs on my favorite radio station, WAY-FM (both of which happen to be right around the corner from my office).

By default, my wife and I have been Honda people for as long as we’ve been married; nearly 8 years now. So while I was hearing about the Hyundai brand on a daily basis, I was already set on replacing my wife’s Honda Accord for a Honda Fit.

However, in addition to the radio ads I kept hearing on WAY-FM as part of the Business Impact Partnership, something else magical happened that lead to my conversion from Honda to Hyundai…

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

A couple of months ago while getting both of our Hondas maintenanced, I candidly asked my mechanic of several years now (at Firestone Complete Auto Care in Cool Springs) a question that only he could legitimately answer as a non-biased 3rd party expert on the subject:

“What is the best car company as far as dependability, maintenance, and value?”

This was his immediate answer:

“If you were asking me this question 3 years ago, I would have said Honda. But now, Hyundai has really stepped up their game. The next time I get a new car, I would like to get a Hyundai for myself. Plus, Hyundais are actually more affordable than Hondas these days.”

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

I value his opinion very highly, as he knows exactly which cars have the most (and least) trouble. That was a major turning point for me.

Not to mention, back in 2014 while our family was having our house built, there were 4 occasions where we got to review Hyundais for a week at a time, here on my blog. We drove the Hyundai Sonata, the Azera, and the Sante Fe twice; first in May, then again in December. (To read those posts, just click on the bold red title above the “flashback” pictures.)

Hyundai Santa Fe in May 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Hyundai Azera in May 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

2015 Hyundai Sonata in December 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe again in December 2014

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Then last week, my wife told me she found a great deal on a 2013 Honda Sonata, after browsing the website for Hyundai of Cool Springs. So I drove there the next day to check it out. Within 30 minutes, I was offered a deal that I felt would be foolish to turn down.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

However, by the time we test drove the Sonata as a family a few days later, my wife just wasn’t feeling it. When I turned around to the back seat and asked our 5 and a half year-old son Jack what he thought about the car, he apathetically shrugged off my question with, “I don’t know.”

I could see the Sonata just wasn’t the right ergonomic fit for our family, or for my wife in particular; this was important as the new vehicle would be her commuter car from Spring Hill to Nashville every day once she returns to work from maternity leave.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

My wife then revealed to me she had also seen a 2013 Elantra on the website too. We mentioned this to our sales professional, Corey Carpenter, who was happy to show us the other vehicle. He assured our family he was there to help us choose the vehicle that was truly right for us. We never once sensed any bit of pressure from him, which gave us confidence throughout the experience.

You can imagine how this story ends. Before we even made it to the stop sign as we began our test drive of the Elantra, we all knew as a family that this was our car. When I asked our son Jack this time, he instantly responded, “I love this car!”

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

Based on the fact our month-old daughter Holly remained asleep during the ride and didn’t make a peep, I assume she approved as well.

Obviously, the Sonata that we originally came there for is a great vehicle, I think it’s just that perhaps the Elantra somehow caters more to my wife and me as Millennial parents (both born in 1981). We liked the smaller, faster-feeling, more concise feel of the Elantra.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

My wife keeps saying how nice, classy and clean the Elantra is. She loves the seat warmers, the mocha interior, the rubber floor mats, and the tinted windows.

As for me, I especially love the wheels and the way the car handles.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that like any vegan/vegetarian family, the first place we drove our new car was straight to Whole Foods, from the Hyundai Cool Springs parking lot. Typical.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

And that, is the story of the conversion of our family from Honda to Hyundai. Please keep in mind that neither Hyundai Cool Springs nor WAY-FM had any idea I was going to write this blog post. Again, this is not a sponsored post.

This was no random decision to buy a Hyundai; nor was it a random decision to replace my wife’s vehicle. We had been planning this new car decision for nearly a year, ever since last July when we found out we were going to have another baby.

So financially, we already had the money in the bank. We were just waiting on the right deal on the right vehicle.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

The next move is replace my 2004 Honda Element, which I’ve owned for over a decade. We have our sights on a Hyundai Santa Fe; which is one of the company vehicles of WAY-FM. But first, we must build up enough in savings account like we did for the Elantra. Hopefully in about a year or so, we’ll be ready for that purchase.

I love the Hyundai Santa Fe because while it still feels like a smaller SUV, it has a 3rd row seat.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

To think, it all began in 2011 when my wife started listening to WAY-FM on the way to work, telling me how funny The Wally Show was and that she really liked the music. From there, I began listening to it as well, soon making it the main station I listen to.

That set everything else in motion.

If you have any other questions about our family’s experience, just leave a comment. I’m pretty good at getting back to my readers in the comment section.

We Bought a 2013 Hyundai Elantra from Hyundai of Cool Springs (A Business Impact Partner of WAY-FM) during Memorial Day Weekend

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

During Thanksgiving weekend, I shot this video (below) for my dad; featuring his 1963 Ford Falcon Futura.

This car was originally bought by his grandfather, then passed on to his dad; and then to my dad, in 1990. He has only made a few changes from the original 170 CI 2 speed automatic car he received.

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

The color is Red Fire with white interior and the engine is a  250 CI Inline 6 with stainless steel headers, dual exhaust, electronic ignition, 264/274 -110 Clay Smith cam.

The head is milled .060” ported and polished.

He cut off the log intake and build a custom 4 barrel intake with a 390 CFM Holley carburetor and larger stainless valves. It has a custom handmade polished aluminum cold air induction; as well as an electric fan & fuel pump.

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

The transmission is an automatic overdrive. It has 8” rear end with 17” wheels.

There is no doubt, this is not only a sharp looking car, but it has the power as well.

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

Though I’m sure it was a glorious car back in 1963 when it was made, I think it probably turns more heads now; since you don’t regularly see cars like this one on the road anymore; especially not this well-kept.

My dad is the ultimate handyman and car enthusiast. I wish I had half of his skills and abilities when it comes to things like that.

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

But what I can do is produce videos and put them on YouTube. So between the two of us, we are able to present to the world not only this  official video for my dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura; but this blog post as well, featuring these picture collages.

By the way, I love how at the end of the video, the Falcon leaves smoke tracks like the Delorean in Back to the Future.

In case you missed that video, here it is again…

My Dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (Video and Picture Collages)

I Write Jingles for Toyota (Along with Philips Norelco & Monterey Bay Aquarium)

It’s true. I do indeed write jingles for Toyota.

I Write Jingles for Toyota

Perhaps my inspiration is Phoebe Buffay of Friends when her song “Smelly Cat” was bought out by a major cat food brand.

In the age of YouTube, what can stop me from using my own time and talent to write and record jingles for free, and then promote them on my blog and YouTube channel?

Who knows, maybe I can eventually become a jingle writer full time? I’m making a habit of self-appointing myself as “jingle writer” for Toyota, as well as other brands.

I’ll show you what I mean…

Three weeks ago, our family was sent a 2015 Toyota Corolla to review here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog. One of the things I decided to do with it was to shoot a “homemade commercial”.

So I wrote “Down Low in a Corolla”:

Can’t ya see that we’re Corollin’?

Down low in a Corolla

Gotta keep that family flowin’

Down low in a Corolla

Can you keep up with us?

We’re no Kardashians

But we can lay it down if you can pick it up

Jammin’ to grooves of Walk the Moon

Kids’ car seat in the back

Before that, I recently wrote “Family in a Camry” while we reviewed the 2015 Toyota Camry:

I got my family in a Camry

And we’re happy campers trippin’ to your town

Here we go!

This same video also features the jingle I wrote for Monterey Bay Aquarium:

Hey, hey! It’s Monterey Bay Aquarium

Hey, hey! It’s an underwater adventure

I immediately afterwards wrote a jingle for the 2015 Toyota Avalon:

Come along, in an Avalon, we’re gonna make it great!

In July, Scion (which is part of the Toyota family) sent me to Grand Rapids, Michigan to check out their new Scion iM and IA. Here’s that jingle:

I’ve got my eye on Scion

Try on Scion

Experience what Millennials already know

The first Toyota jingle I wrote was back in May, when my son and I made a homemade commercial for the Toyota Sienna, which doubled as a trailer for our Jack-Man series.

Jack-Man rides in a Toyota Sienna minivan

His getaway car is driven by his dad

I also wrote a jingle for Philips Norelco:

In your face, 9700

In your face, you’ll be glad you found it

It cleans itself like a smart razor should

The percentage display shows the charge is still good

In your face, Philips Norelco

In your face!

We’ll see where this takes me. I enjoy writing and recording jingles for companies, for fun and for free.

You never know when it may get the right person’s attention.

I Write Jingles for Toyota

Dear Jack: Why We Didn’t Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend (& Trade in My 2004 Honda Element)

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Wednesday, as I was driving Mommy’s car back from a work trip in Kentucky, Mommy called me to explain that while she was driving you home from pre-K in my 2004 Honda Element, the passenger side window just rolled down by itself.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

And it wouldn’t roll back up.

Knowing that this upcoming January makes 10 years I’ve owned this car, Mommy and I decided we should heavily consider trading in my car for a “new” used car.

So she starting emailing dealerships. Meanwhile, I went to one dealership in person last Thursday on my lunch break.

Because we are Dave Ramsey followers, we are refusing to “finance” a car; despite those natural temptations that we are exposed to. We will only pay cash for a car. If we don’t have enough cash to afford the car we want, we simply can’t afford it. So we walk away.

We found a 2011 Suzuki SX4 with less than 50,000 miles, in our “cash only” price range.

So I spent my Thursday lunch break to check out the car. It was everything I needed. However, I did some research that night and discovered Suzuki stopped production in America back in 2012, and they have no parent company.

In other words, it’s a great deal on a dependable car that ultimately I would have great difficulty trying to maintain, as there are no shops that readily have proper tools or parts available to fix it.

After that, Mommy and I realized it’s best we hold out until January, when we have that many more thousands of dollars (from ongoing monthly savings) to pay in cash.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

Here’s the twist on this story: Over the weekend when we picked up my Element after they fixed the window, the guy that evaluates the worth of used Hondas there for trade-ins left me a message.

My 2004 Honda Element is worth $5,850, which is about $3,000 more than I had anticipated; nearly double!

That’s because, according to the elevator, “People aren’t trading in Elements- they’re keeping them. That’s why your Element is worth more than whatever it says online. You’re the first person to ever come back and tell me you’re actually interested in trading yours in.”

So in the end, it was totally worth it in the end to pay a few hundred dollars to fix my window.

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

It’s like instantly making $3,000! We’re still planning on holding out until January, when we can have that much more money to buy a “barely used” vehicle for our family, when we trade in my Element.

Something else this experience taught Mommy and me is just how boring and unattractive we are to used car salesmen the moment we begin the conversation with, “I’m a Dave Ramsey follower; I will only pay with cash.”

You can literally see the hope in their eyes disappear once you say that. Because most people are willing to “finance” the car. That means there’s virtually no real limit on price, since the focus becomes on the monthly payment, not what person can actually afford.

That’s something I equate with a magician distracting his audience by waving a pink handkerchief with one hand while he hides the “disappearing” object in the other.

I will make sure you always understand the true meaning of the phrase “affording a car.”

It’s this simple: If you can’t buy it on the spot in cash, you can’t truly afford it. That’s why dealerships are so eager to have you finance the “purchase.”

Similarly, an individual or a family is only as financially wealthy as their savings account in addition to having no debt other than their house; that’s because a home is considered an asset growing in value, not a depreciating liability like a vehicle.

So our family will wait. By January 2016, our savings should be that much higher if everything remains on course; meaning we can pay cash for the vehicle that we really want. And as I mentioned, coincidentally, this coming January will be exactly one decade since I purchased my 2004 Honda Element.

Ultimately, I’m not sure if I’m technically going to be downsizing or upsizing…

My Honda Element is a decent sized SUV, but it only has 4 seats. That’s never been a problem, but I think it would be a good idea to have 5 seats for the next car, even if the next vehicle is smaller over all.

Until then, I’ll keep driving my green toaster and saving green cash.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Why We Didn't Buy a 2011 Suzuki SX4 This Past Weekend

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

4 years, 9 months.

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Dear Jack,

This is the 1st of several entries in my new miniseries, Family in a Camry. In August while on our annual family vacation, Toyota loaned us a 2015 Camry for our road trips around California.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So I decided to compile all our video footage and photos into a narrative to remember our trip.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

After a day of flying from Nashville to Sacramento, you and I set aside a day to spend together; just father and son.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I struggle for a relevant phrase to describe a fun father and son day of activities. In the past I’ve referred to it as a “dadventure,” but “daddy date” is the phrase most people identify.

http://www.toyota.com/responsive/vehicles/2015/camry/#!/Welcome

However, that’s a tricky phrase because it typically refers to father and daughter dates. When you talk about a father and son having a “date,” it does sound kind of weird.

Oh well, I’m committing to the phrase. I don’t care.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

But I should also acknowledge there are critics out there who would say, “Why do you have to call it anything at all? Why can’t a father and his son hang out without it having to be a big deal as compared to if a mother spends time with her child? That’s like when people say a dad is babysitting.”

My reasoning is this: Mommy and I both work full time. It can be challenging enough for us all 3 to have good quality time together; much less just 2 of us at a time.

118Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Therefore, it’s worth celebrating when I can spend a whole day with you. I am very aware of the unique dynamics that occur when you and I get to hang out together doing fun stuff.

So with that being said, once we settled in, you and I had some good times together at the Elk Grove Park; in the midst of a family reunion. We discovered that you and your cousin Scarlet have the same owl toy; you got yours in the Nashville airport on the way there.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

You and I went fishing. It was something you had been looking forward to for weeks. You even especially packed your bug catching net for the event.

Yes, you are a vegetarian and I am a vegan, but we still made it work…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We didn’t have much luck with the fish in the pond there at the park, but you were very successful at “catching snails.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For some reason, there were large, vacated snail shells all around the edge of the pond. So you filled your net with them and you were quite proud of your catch.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Later we went to go a see a movie together. While you were set on going to see Minions, for some reason you changed your mind on the drive there. Actually, I’m glad you did, because we loved Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it, too:

5 Reasons Why Inside Out is the More Feminine Version of Big Hero 6

Who Is the Real Villain in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out?

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

I thought it was funny how you told me your favorite part of the movie was the female character, Sadness, who you told me is “a boy with long hair.”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

For lunch we went to a vegan restaurant, which is a franchise, called The Loving Hut. I let you choose what we’d have for dessert. You chose the orange vanilla cake; we split it 50/50.

I was happy that successfully shot you with the straw wrapper.

Of course, I created a 2 minute video that features everything I just told you. So here it is:

But wait, there’s more…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

We also spent a couple hours together filming the 19th webisode of Jack-Man as well. Here’s that video as well.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

So there’s the 1st official entry of my Family in a Camry miniseries. Still more fun to come…

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

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