The Year In Review – 2018

Frozen waterfalls. Miniature villages. An aircraft carrier. A time machine to the 1980s. Mysterious carvings. Majestic birds of prey. A road trip treasure hunt. Lighthouses. An ice rink of miracles. Old fishing villages. Historic parks. The laboratory of a genius. Seaside resorts. And much more.

The past year has been full of adventures, life changes, and new opportunities. Before I begin chronicling my travels of 2019, I thought I would take a look back at the past year by listing the top ten most popular posts of the twenty-seven posts I wrote (as determined by which posts were viewed the most by my readers). Afterward, I will give a brief update on my car, to take inventory of how its holding up after all these miles and journeys.

And now… the most popular posts of 2018:

10. Like, Totally Rad!

Silver Delorean DMC with its doors raised.
RADwood, on its surface a car show, is really a celebration of all things 70s and 80s in pop culture.

9. Minneapolis in a Morning

Nearly frozen Minnehaha Falls. A small channel of water runs in the middle of the falls.
In town for only 36 hours, I managed to visit several sites in Minneapolis, including the nearly-frozen Minnehaha Falls.

8. The Fighting I

Bow photo of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier.
A special birthday visit to the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City.

7. One Hundred

View of Barnegat Lighthouse.
36 hours for my wife and I to tour every lighthouse in New Jersey, a total of 450 miles of driving… challenge accepted.

6. Greetings from Asbury Park

Seaside murals on abandoned building.
A historic resort town beginning to experience a resurgence as a vacation and cultural destination… Asbury Park!

5. Do You Believe in Miracles?

Center ice of hockey rink.
A tour of the Adirondacks and one of the most hallowed spaces of hockey history.

4. Roadside America

View of Roadside American display. A small town is in the foreground.
One of the quirkiest places I’ve ever visited… Roadside America.

3. Treasures of the Twin Cities

Close-up portrait of a head of an eagle.
A return trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin took me to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

2. To Infinity, And Beyond

Snow-covered Marshland in state park new Newburyport, MA.
A visit to historic Newburyport, Massachusetts saw my car cross the 100,000 mile mark.

And the most read post of 2018 was:

1. Eat, Drink, And Be Merry

Landscape photo of a vineyard.
An epic birthday gift from my wife… a road trip treasure hunt that took us to historic towns, wine tasting at two vineyards, great food, beautiful parks, and a retro video game arcade.

Through all of the travels, life changes, and adventures, my 2012 Honda Accord has been a rock-solid vehicle, taking me hither and yon for over 80,000 miles since I first purchased it in May of 2015. Overall, it has held up very well. I save all of my service receipts in a binder, and track all of my maintenance expenses in an Excel spreadsheet. As I reviewed my maintenance and upkeep expenses for 2018, unsurprisingly I found that it was a far more expensive year than 2015-2017, actually totaling more than those three years combined. There were, however, good reasons for the additional expenses.

Excel chart that says 1/16/18 97,274 OIL CHANGE TIRE ROTATION $81.50. 4/6/18, 103/310, MULTI-POINT INSPECTION $0. 5/5/18, 105,719, OIL CHANGE TIRE ROTATION, ENGINE AND CABIN $1,297.08. 5/14/18, 106,307, RIGHT REAR BRAKE CALIPER - PARKING BRAKE IN $403.46. 72/18, 109,259. WINDSHIELD WIPER MOTOR, LEFT FRONT MARKER, 404.01. 8/7/18, 113,110 OIL CHANGE TIRE ROTATION, $80.61. 9/22/18, 114,841, SWAY BAR BUSHINGS AND SWAY BAR LINKS $300.52. 11/2/18, 117,962, TRANSMISSION FLUID CHANGE, REPLACE PASSENGER, $114,67.
A screen shot of part of my maintenance records in an Excel spreadsheet.

My total for 2018 was $3,223.20. By contrast, from May of 2015 through the end of 2017, I spent $3,134 on maintenance. While high, the past year’s cost was not unexpected. Almost $1300 of it was due to the timing belt service, which occurs every 7 years or 105,000 miles. The timing belt synchronizes the pistons with the valves. A broken timing belt can result in the valves crashing into the pistons, requiring a complete engine rebuild, so I view this service as insurance for engine longevity. After driving in the northeastern United States, the car also required about $800 worth of suspension work after being bathed in road salt and brine every winter. Finally, a replacement windshield wiper motor for another $400 was needed to fix an issue where my wipers would not turn off. The reality is that after six years and 100,000 miles, parts are going to wear out and need replacement, and while the costs were high, it is still cheaper than a down payment on a new car. Given the money I have sunk into the repairs, I intend to hold onto my Accord for a while.

Side view of 2012 Honda Accord coupe, in gray ,with buildings in the background.
Despite being almost seven years old and with 121,000 miles on the odometer, the Accord continues to look and drive great.

Thanks for reading through my walk through of 2018. I am greatly looking forward to what new adventures 2019 will bring! I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season, and a wonderful New Year!

And thanks for coming along this journey back in time along the open road ahead!

‘Til next time.


4 thoughts on “The Year In Review – 2018

  1. I really enjoy these kinds of recap posts – they really help illustrate how much you accomplished! You had some incredible adventures and I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for 2019. The maintenance spreadsheet warms my heart too – love to see a Honda that is kept healthy and happy. Here’s to many more miles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the retrospective! As for the Accord, it’s really nice when someone sees the car for the first time and assume it’s only a year or two old! Keeping an older car on the road can be rewarding (and still cheaper than a down payment on a new car!).


  2. Tim,

    As always, really interesting and fun!

    See you tomorrow at the FP —



    On Sun, Jan 6, 2019 at 10:01 AM The Open Road Ahead wrote:

    > theopenroadahead posted: “Frozen waterfalls. Miniature villages. An > aircraft carrier. A time machine to the 1980s. Mysterious carvings. > Majestic birds of prey. A road trip treasure hunt. Lighthouses. An ice rink > of miracles. Old fishing villages. Historic parks. The laboratory of ” >

    Liked by 1 person

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