General Motors and the Hydraulics

May 10, 2001

The other day I got a call from my car salesman, which in and of itself is not that unusual, except it wasn't time for him to call. The way it usually works is that when my lease is up, he calls and if I like the terms, I end up with a new car.

I trust Eric, and he knows how to deal with me. I tell him what I want, he tells me the price, and I tell him my best price, and if he beats it, we have a deal.

The transactions have been simple, straightforward, and quick.

Eric works at a dealership that is about 150 miles away and after we have an agreement, the car shows the next day up either at my office or my house.

So when his call was announced to me, I frowned, thinking that my SUV must have some type of problem and I was going to be off to the dealer for a recall.

"Hey NSR, GM has a deal for you."

Eric also knows how to get my attention. He used the word DEAL in the first sentence.

"Deal? No Recall?"

"No, No recall." He relayed the offer to me, and I told him to price out two different vehicles and get back to me. As I hung up the phone I reached for my financial calculator and began to puzzle about the whole idea.

"K, I yelled out into the next room, "GM is in really big trouble."

"What's up?" she asked.

"If I have a lease that expires anytime from September through March of next year, and my car is under the total miles that it's supposed to have at the end of the lease, GM will forgive the lease if I take any new vehicle off the lot between June 1 and July 15."

"No penalty if you are over pro-rated miles? No penalty to terminate the lease?"

"Nope, sounds like GM is robbing Peter to pay Paul. They must be desperate to show Wall Street that they are moving inventory. In my case, seeing how I prepaid the 2 year lease, GM will write me a check for the months that I don't use."

I like my vehicle, it's big and safe, and great for throwing in a bunch of hockey bags and stinky teenage boys. However, since the price of gas has risen here about 70 cents since early winter, each time I fill the thing up, I get a little more irritated.

So I'm seriously considering the offer, especially since I used the Tahoe to drive to Miami, and then to my son's hockey tournament up in the land of Gitchegumee. I am way way over on miles, but still under the total that is supposed to be there at the end of my lease.

So you ask, what's all this have to do with hydraulics?

I get to blame this one on my son. It was his fault (idea) that we ended up on a cruise ship, and this time it's his fault we will have to deal with the hydraulics.

I told him I was thinking of pitching the big ol'truck the other morning on the way to school. The first thing that popped out of his mouth was, "What, no more road trips in the truck?"

I pondered for a moment, and after I dropped him at school, the wheels really started to turn.

By the time I had finished swimming, wisps of smoke could be seen drifting from my ears.

Normally when someone mentions Hydraulics, I think of things like brakes, or the systems in airplanes that put the landing gear up and down or move the ailerons.

But, if you look in the dictionary for the definition of hydraulics, you find the following: hydraulics \Hy*drau"lics\, n. [Cf. F. hydraulique.] That branch of science, or of engineering, which treats of fluids in motion, especially of water, its action in rivers and canals, the works and machinery for conducting or raising it, its use as a prime mover, and the like.

There we go... Water, and its use as a prime mover...

Yeah.. Oh Yeah...

"Big waves, stopper hydraulics, and rock-dodge drops will quench the thirst of even the most discriminating whitewater enthusiasts."

The New River drops approximately 240 feet in 15 miles and contains Class I-V whitewater. The season begins in March and extends into October with early season flows offering some of the largest volume whitewater rafting in North America.

The New River, the oldest river in the Western Hemisphere, has over the course of millions of years produced a thousand-foot deep gorge amidst the scenic foothills of southern West Virginia. The New River Gorge is an incredible combination of large volume whitewater rafting, striking scenery, geologic and cultural history.

Running deep within the New River Gorge this section offers outstanding rapids containing some of the biggest holes and hydraulics in the country! With rapids such as Upper Railroad, The Keeney's, Double Z and Greyhound Bustopper the Lower New abounds with excitement.

Now we are talking - water, and lots of movement. They call em "hydraulics" and it all became clear to me, just because the boy mentioned a road trip.

Mrs. NSR will be gone to California attending a conference over the Memorial Day weekend, and since the boys and girls have an extra day off.... why not drive down and experience some fluid in motion, up close and personal.

We will.

We leave Friday night the 25th and have our first river trip on Saturday morning at 10:30.

I offered the raftees a choice. We could take a two day trip that included a camp out on the river, but the first day of rafting was mostly a slow float. Choice two was to ride the lower bigger rapids on Saturday, and then again on Sunday.

Which do you think they chose?

Their mother suggested that they might enjoy the contrast between the peaceful float, and the more raging river.

Her suggestion was met with mirth.

A whole lot of mirth to be truthful, but their laughter was somewhat polite.

The trips are booked and paid for, including one nights lodging at the Eagles Nest State Park Lodge.

Yes we will try and take lots of pictures.

Yes we will try and experience the hydraulics to the best of our ability.

Some people might think that rafting the same river twice would lose the sense of adventure on the second time around.

Well, just to make matters a tad more exciting, instead of a discount on the price of our second day, I booked us a "premium raft" for a more intimate experience with the water. Normally a raft holds 8 adults and an oarsman, but on day 2 we will ride in a half sized raft, with room only for 4 adults and the oarsman.

Does that make the waves twice as tall, or do they just seem that way?

At any rate, if we get bored, we can always take a flying leap off a tall rock.

This will be my third and 4th time down the river, so I guess you can say I think it is worth the ride.