2020. A year that was like no other. While counting down to the New Year has, for many of us, seemed like a tired and cliched tradition, this year I was truly glad to see the clock cross midnight on the First of January. I welcomed 2021 with open arms.
Yet, the beginning of the new year is a good time to stop, take stock, and see where we have been, what we’ve experienced, and where we hope to be heading in the future. So as I’ve done every year since starting this blog, it’s time for the “year end review,” where we’ll recap the most popular posts from the past twelve months, do a status check on the vehicle fleet, and share some updates about this blog.
Let’s begin with the ten most popular blog posts from this past year, as determined by the most individual visitors to each post:
The Top Ten
10. Fort Mott
The Honda and the Jeep
Despite pandemic restrictions that severely curtailed my driving for much of 2020, the Accord still managed to add over 19,000 miles to the odometer this year. Now sitting at 165,000, the Accord remains as fun to drive as the day I bought it. A safe, comfortable long-distance cruiser, the Accord transforms into a fun vehicle for carving up mountain roads once you mash the gas pedal to the floor. Although for the most part the Accord only required routine maintenance, one large repair this summer significantly inflated the cost of ownership this year.
Just… ouch. Overall, maintenance was pretty affordable, aside from the significant repair incurred in late June. The primary seal on the oil pump was leaking, necessitating not just that repair, but also a new timing belt, as oil had spilled onto the belt, beginning to degrade it. On the positive side, the car will not need a new timing belt service (typically a $1200 job) until it has 250,000 miles on the odometer. Looking back over all my years of ownership, the cost of ownership for maintenance and repairs is $0.08 per mile, which is less than the average reported by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2019 (the most recent year that data was available). Repeat after me: it’s still cheaper than a car payment.
With my wife working from home for the past six months, the Jeep saw even less time on the road than the Accord, only accumulating around ten thousand miles by the end of the year. That said, the times we did use it made up for all the time in the garage: several trips to the Adirondacks, drives down muddy trails, and plowing through snow-covered roads.
2020 represented the cheapest year of maintenance costs for the Jeep. The Jeep spent a little time at the body shop at the beginning of the year, as a misaligned tailgate was causing a small rust spot to form on the bottom of the panel. While overall these costs look affordable, there is one important outlier: in July, the Jeep required a new power steering rack. Fortunately, this was covered by the extended warranty my wife got when she purchased the vehicle. Otherwise, we would have been looking at a repair bill of $2,200. I like our Jeep a lot, but in approximately 60,000 miles, it has needed new lug nuts for the wheels, an oil pressure sensor, an oil filter housing, a software reprogramming, and a new steering rack. Hopefully, these early repairs are only outliers, and the vehicle will roll big mileage without any further issues.
Since March of 2016, this blog has existed to chronicle my road trip adventures. 2020 was, by far, the year that saw the greatest amount of traffic to the site. The site was viewed over 4,500 times – a 36% increase from the previous year. There were 2,004 unique visitors to the site – a 31% increase from 2019. During the past year, there were thirty-five blog posts over the past twelve months. Since the blog began, over 5,000 people have stopped by to check out our adventures, and the site has been viewed over 14,600 times. To everyone who has taken some time out of their schedule to read these writings… thank you! I hope you continue to find this blog enjoyable as periodic entertainment.
And thank you for coming along on this year-end-update on the open road ahead.
‘Til next time.