New Ford Freestyle

After much deliberation we decided to go looking for a new car to save some money each month on both the car payment and the fuel costs. We found both in a new 2006 Ford Freestyle.

We looked at the Honda Odyssey first. We really liked it. The mid-range model was in our price range. It features a 6-cylinder engine that when it does not need all 6, turns 3 cylinders off to get better gass mileage. Tammy did not care much for the puffy leather seats.

We also looked at the Kia. The Sedona is priced fully loaded similar to the Odyssey. Kia has obviously copied Honda in every way they could. The result was not unlike the ticking motion of a fake Rolex. All the features were there but somehow not quite right. The dealership was really sloppy too. We asked to see a top-of-the-line Sedona. The sales person asked if we wanted to see 2-door or 4-door which is strange since it is a minivan. After seeing the Sedona finally, we realized that it was not right. As we were leaving, the manager stopped us and asked if we would like to see the 2006. We thought we had been looking at a 2006 all along. He makes us wait again while he fetches a 2006. He brings up a stripped base-model. Why would you show someone the base model when they were asking to the top model?

We left that dealership and went to our initial destination, the Ford dealer. We had only looked at the other mnivans for comparisson. We wanted to go through the Ford dealer to get an estimate of trade in on our old car. The estimate came back higher than we expected. We ran the numbers and it made sense to trade it in on a new car.

We looked at the Freestar but did not really like it. It drove like and Explorer. They did not have any 2006 models in. We were only able to see some used 2005s. They recommended we look at the Freestyle. It is what they call a “Crossover” vehicle. It is between an SUV and an a car. It’s kind of like a really tall station wagon. It’s the same class that the Murano and Toureg are in. Ford’s entry is engineered from their purchase of Volvo. From the first test drive we were hooked. It drives like an SUV but with the mileage of a car. It features a CVT (constant velocity transmission) and gets 27 miles per gallon on the highway. Inside it has nearly all the features of our previous car. The body is nearly the same length.

Alliance Conference 2006

I travelled to Nashville for the Alliance Conference. The timing could not be worse because of a big project at work. The information I got at the conference was very good. I spent nearly the entire conference inside the hotel.

The hotel is 58-acres under one roof. It was massive consisting of several smaller themed areas attached to a convention center. The convention center easily handled our 4400-person group.

For the opening reception the center of the hotel called Delta Island was set up with various food tables and bars. They had some local band playing down on one end. The music was a mixture of surfing music, zydeco, and country.

On the second night, the vendors had a chance to mingle. I went to dinner with a vendor downtown. The downtown skyline features a large building that was featured in the original Batman movie. After dinner at the Merchants Restaturant, we went to the Wildhorse Saloon. This saloon featured line dancing. The patrons looked as if they could have been in Texas at a place like BillyBobs if not for the weird plastic looking hats that were prevalent all over Nashville.

The third night of the conference featured a concert with Charlie Daniels and Jo Dee Messina. Charlie played a great set. I am not familiar with Jo Dee’s music but she interacted with the audience and made for a fun time.

After the conference on the last day, I made for the airport. They called for volunteers to get bumped and I volunteered. I made $200 for a 2 hour delay. I have already spent this voucher on 3 tickets to St. Louis later this month.