Winter has officially begun.
The car’s thermometer has reported its lowest temperature so far at -1°C.
Now that’s it’s practically illegal to operate a vehicle without pneumatics that suit the current weather, fitting winter tires seemed like a sensible and necessary precaution. Co-inciding with the opening of a local A.T.U branch conveniently located down the road from home and some 400€ later, it’s a set of Continental 195/65 R15 91T WinterContact TS 810 ML “takkies” that’ll provide the necessary traction through the coldest of seasons.
What amused me was that the sales guy initially tried to flog me another, very similar set of Continental tires that cost more than the ones they had on offer. When confronted about the justification for the hefty price difference, the answer was that “the ones you’re getting are only rated up to a speed of 190km/h”.
Erhmmm, OK? It’s not exactly like I was planning to zoom along the autobahn in snowy conditions at anything above 140km/h in any case…
In further exciting news, the GPS device is turning out to be a real boon to anyone travelling outside of the regular commuting routine. Becker may have recently released their Traffic Assist Highspeed II (with an improved screen and other features I don’t care to remember) but my trusty “old version 1” device has been doing a marvellous job guiding us through the beautiful and mountainous terrain of Baden-Württemberg, the Swabian Alb and Black Forest areas. Surprisingly, the city of Stuttgart itself is punctured with tunnels, and it is there that the navigations skills of the prim lady on the dashboard go haywire when she loses satellite synchronisation and requests you to make U-turn (“if possible”) upon U-turn before getting her bearings straight again.
Nevertheless, we did find the very impressive and educational Mercedes-Benz Museum, and thoroughly enjoyable we did find it, too!
As for the sound system: MP3 capabilities are simply a must in today’s world.
The degraded, less-than-CD quality of lossy compression is almost offset by the convenience of not having to change discs every hour or so, and the setup competes well enough with the noisy environment called car. It still lacks that certain OOOPMH, though!
And today’s a beautiful day… blue sky and sunshine.
Photo credits: hmvh DOT net