Tuesday, 10 September 2019

60 Days with an Audi A5

So it's been roughly two months with the new A5 and I have these eight observations:

1.  It drives like a tank.  Yes, it feels like some tank on an open road.  Over-sized and with plenty of pick-up-and-go....it's got the feel of some cruise boat in terms of maneuvering.  It's not negative but it's just the feeling you don't get with most vehicles.

2.  This cut-off-engine-technology-stopping.  Frankly, I would deem this a total waste.  Luckily, there's a button on the dash, and you can flip it off.....but you have to do this each time you start the engine.

3.  Parking is a pain.  It has to be backed into the carport parking spot, and you end up with three inches of space on the passenger side, and maybe 18 inches on the drivers side.  Even with the video-assistant, it's just too big for the carport.

4.  Perfect passenger seat.  You can lay the seat as far back as you desire, and snooze easily.

5.  Crappy gear-shift-assistant.  It wants to tell you when to shift up to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gear.  If I'm not paying stringent attention, the wife wants to gaze over and remind me that it reminded to shift up a notch.  At various times, it'll even tell me to skip shifting to 3rd, and go to 4th gear instead.

6.  Always looking for the cellphone connection.  Once you get into the car, and it sees that your cellphone is almost dead....it's talking to you and wanting the phone charged because that's its way of communicating back to Audi HQ.  What kind of data is being shared?  I'm never quiet sure.

7.  Clearly, the map and update function is superior to anything out there, and it updates your path ahead....minute-by-minute.  So when it suddenly tells you to exit the autobahn and take a winding piece of country road for 30 minutes....it's doing that help you avoid some accident on the autobahn and traffic jams.  I have to admit, it's a major plus-up.

8.  I would easily compare it to a Crown Vic in terms of handling and feel on the road.  I think you could drive 600 miles a day in this car, and never feel tired.

Congress and Hotels

The Air Force had to go and get a investigation going over how their folks got the idea of staying at a Trump hotel.  They were on a cargo plane mission....landed in Scotland and then used a Trump hotel there.  Yes, it is a bit silly.

After looking at the facts, the two key things to look over....was it the lowest priced hotel within a certain distance of the airport.....and did the aircrew pick it or was it an independent authority?

The pick of the hotel?  It wasn't the aircrew, but a contracted person who is responsible for mission planning.  So far, you don't know if the person did it to trigger some mess, or if it was legit. 

As for the lowest priced sequence?  Right now, it's proven that with the government-rate....it was the lowest priced one.  Now I will admit this.....hotels in Scotland generally cost an arm-and-leg.  They aren't cheap.  Add to this....a fair number of hotels in Scotland are fairly old, in marginal shape, and may charge a chunk of money.  You don't want to put some aircrew into a crappy place where they get zero rest for 24 hours. 

Years ago, I was sent TDY to Italy for seven days.  My job was training and installation of a hardware system.  The base hotel was full.....the local hotels around town (six of them) were also full.  So the base folks went down the list (this is at 8 PM), and eventually gave me a reservation for a hotel.  Accompanying me was a contractor who had about a hundred words of Italian in his vocabulary. 

As things were set, then came the directions to reach this hotel.  I was driving and the contractor was reading off the instructions.  It bothered both me and him that this was three-quarters of a page long.  That was our first problem.

It was dark, late October, and none of the instructions made sense.  Over the next 50 minutes of driving....we must have made at least sixteen turns.  At one intersection, we sat there for three minutes....there were twelve signs and none really agreed with our instructions. 

We eventually reached this hotel, to find it being a 5-star deluxe hotel.  Breakfast was included with the deal, and it was outstanding.  I added up the cost level and this was near $200 per night.  I questioned this, but figured we'd go and re-confirm this in the morning. 

The next day....the base hotel folks said there was no problem.  This was the only hotel within an hour's drive that still had open rooms.

So as the Congressional demand for an investigation concludes, I think it'll all turn out without any problem.  However, it does bring up this issue.....when Senators and Congressmen travel.....are they staying in five-star hotels, and what are they paying?