The Delaware River has been a vital waterway throughout the history of the United States. From the Atlantic Ocean, through the Delaware Bay, the river provides access to the cities of Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington, as well as to other waterways that connect to areas further inland. Beginning with the earliest Dutch settlers, forts were erected to repel attacks and protect friendly shipping. Following the Civil War, and concerned about a potential conflict with Spain, American generals devised a series of fortifications and cannon emplacements at strategic locations along the entrance to the river, including a major base in Pennsville, New Jersey. Fort Mott bristled with 12-inch, 10-inch, and 5-inch guns, the earthwork fortifications containing thousands of artillery shells to hurl at an enemy approaching by water (via Wikipedia).
With plans to visit family in southern New Jersey, my wife and I set off to explore Fort Mott, now a state park, and learn a little more of the history of this massive defensive fortification. After sharing our newest adventure, I would also like to introduce another high mileage Honda owner and give some updates on my wife’s Jeep and my Accord.
Let’s begin with our trip to the southwestern corner of New Jersey:
Before closing, I wanted to share the story of an immaculate Honda Civic that is hiding a secret, along with a few updates from closer to home.
Wait, another high mileage Honda?
Q: Hi Chris! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Which model Civic do you have, and why did you choose it?
A: It’s a 2008 Honda Civic EX-L sedan with the 1.8-liter engine, also known as the FA1 (Editor’s note: FA1 is Honda’s chassis code for the car). It is Taffeta White, with the ivory interior, purchased in May of 2008 at Crown Honda in Greensboro, North Carolina. With a growing family and a recent job change with a longer commute, the Honda Civic fit the need. As gas prices rose during 2008, the Civic, and its fuel sipping 36 miles per gallon highway, was an easy choice.
Q: What’s your mileage at currently?
A: It’s approaching 560,000 miles as of mid-October – about 46,000 miles annually. “To the moon and back,” as my daughter’s artwork depicted in a 2018 post on Instagram.
Q: What do you do that puts so many miles on your vehicle?
A: Just regular nine-to-five commuting, not related to courier or medical services (like many high mileage stories). The thought has crossed my mind to offer courier services to help flip the gas bill, but I’m not sure how to market my available trunk space.
Q: What’s been the biggest repair, to date?
A: As stated on the Civic’s Instagram page, the engine and transmission are original and have not required me to touch even a screw on the valve cover. This is going to anger many “professional” mechanics out there, but it got to the point once it reached 300,000 miles that I was determined to see what this engine could do. It took only regular engine oil and transmission fluid changes, and I finally changed the spark plugs around 375,000 miles in hope of slowing the diminishing gas mileage. At its last fill-up, it’s still getting around 33 mpg.
The first component to fail was the air conditioning compressor clutch at around 375,000 miles. I changed the compressor and condenser, and on the original refrigerant it’s been giving 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the vents ever since. After some sluggish cold morning starts, the original starter motor finally left me in the garage one morning at 536,000 miles.
What minor components have been changed? Amazingly, there have only been a few: the evaporative valve in the throttle body blew, an $0.82 power steering pump o-ring, and one replaced radiator.
Q: With all your time on the road, what do you listen to for entertainment?
A: With probably a year of my life spent in the driver’s seat, I have listened to countless news cycles, podcasts, and audiobooks. I have attempted to learn a new language, as well as preparing for a professional exam, but the need to plug in my phone and keep it in view without it sliding onto the floor has gotten old. I am so envious of new Civic owners who pass me with lane assist on, listening to Sirius XM, while guided by Waze, all on that big display screen!
Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on the road?
A: Countless sightings of strange things going down the road – just lately I saw a Tesla on fire while being transported on a rollback (flatbed truck). Can’t tell you how many times I have seen loose tires bouncing down the road… probably my worst fear, by the way.
Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve with other drivers?
A: Number ONE has to be the lack of cruise control on a spacious, open highway. One moment a drive like this will pass you, but before long you catch up to them, as they cause a logjam on a two-lane highway. Just think of the fuel savings if everyone would use what is a standard feature on most autos!
Generally speaking, I can’t let this topic pass without mentioning the countless folks in need of a retake of a basic driving test. My thought here is that autonomous cars may be a good idea.
Q: What’s your dream road trip?
A: Hmmm… maybe driving a Honda Civic Type R through the Swiss Alps, possibly. The 800 mile road trip to my Civic’s birthplace to the Alliston assembly plant in New Tecumseth, Ontario, Canada, last year was one to remember. Packing up the family for a twelve-hour road trip in a 500,000 mile compact car across the Appalachian mountain range without even thinking twice about a roadside event was fairly exciting and thankfully uneventful!
Upgrades to the Fleet
Although road trips are a bit more challenging these days, there are still plenty of fun, safe locations to explore. Fort Mott State Park, in Pennsville, is open daily from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Park entrance is free, although there is a fee associated with renting the large group picnic area (which includes a pavilion, restrooms, and grills). Seven Steps to Freedom in Salem County is also free to explore, but fortunately, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own couch to learn more about the county’s ties to abolition- you can take a virtual tour on the website!
Thanks, as always, for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead!
‘Til next time.