Happy New Year! As I do at the beginning of each January, I want to take a timeout from new posts and look back at where this blog has gone over the past twelve months. This “year end review” has become one of my favorite posts to write, as I enjoy diving into the blog statistics to be able to recap which posts were the most popular with my readers. I will, as always, also share a status check on my 2012 Honda Accord and my wife’s 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Last, but not least, we’ll wrap up with some fun updates about this blog.
Let’s begin with the ten most popular blog posts from this past year, as determined by you, dear readers! These rankings are determined by the most individual visitors to each post.
The Top Ten
7. Around NJ
During 2021, I added another 23,000 miles to my Accord’s odometer. Every so often, I’ll get the new car itch. Despite being very happy with my car, the desire for the something new and shiny hits me once in a while. The cure for wanting a new car? I’ll simply get in my Accord and drive. Despite approaching 10 years of age, the V6 engine in my car still offers plenty of power, and is so smooth and quiet at idle that I sometimes need to check the tachometer to make sure it is still running. The suspension remains poised and settled, perfect for attacking twisting back roads. With some TLC and elbow grease, the exterior still looks good. And fortunately, the maintenance costs remain reasonable.
While 2020 saw abnormally high maintenance costs for my Accord, 2021 brought a return to far more reasonable prices. The biggest repair was a frozen brake caliper, which necessitated a new caliper, along with associated hardware. Everything else was simply routine maintenance. According to AAA, maintenance and repair costs for vehicles averages 8.94 cents per mile. I ran a calculation recently, and my Accord has cost 7.7 cents per mile. With annual interest rates on car loans climbing, and with the average annual cost of owning a new car now climbing over $9,000 per year, I think I’ll keep my Accord on the road for a while longer yet.
The Jeep continues to impress me with its cargo capacity, comfort on long distance cruises, and ferocious all-wheel drive system. From smooth, flat highways, to cracked and crumbling city streets, to rutted and muddy trails, to snowy and icy roads, the Jeep takes it all in stride.
The Jeep continues to impress in the maintenance and upkeep department as well. The most expensive outlay for was a new set of Nokian WR G4 SUV tires. Twenty-inch rims are not cheap to equip with fresh rubber! That said, the tires proved their worth over and over again during last week’s winter road trip (stay tuned for more information in a coming post!). Overall, things are looking good for the Jeep joining the Accord in the high mileage club!
When I look back to when this blog began, I thought it would be a fun way to share some road trip adventures with my family and friends. I had no idea that six years later, I would still be writing posts and enjoying it now more than ever. 2021 saw significant growth in usage, including a 37% growth in views from 2020, a 3% increase in visitors, and significantly more engagement from my readers in terms of comments and likes. Since 2016, over 7,000 people have visited The Open Road Ahead, and the site has been viewed over 20,000 times. Dear readers, please accept my sincerest gratitude that you continue to find my interests worth your time to read! I will keep the posts coming – there are many miles yet to explore, countless sites still to visit, and plenty of adventures to share. Keep the comments and likes coming – I appreciate hearing your feedback!
And thanks for coming along on yet another end of the year journey on the open road ahead.
‘Til next time.