Letter from America

Just your normal general chatting in here..

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm

Well, we's back from our epic merrycan road trip. It was a blast.
Flew into JFK on the 18th & collected these 'rentals'

Dodge Durango for me, my son & partners...

Image

A 'stretched' Jeep Cherokee in disguise, 3.6l V6 294 bhp, 8-speed ZF auto
Surprisingly good drive and managed about 30 UK mpg on the highways, (don't ask around town).
Fitted 4 of us + 4 big suitcases and all the other junk comfortably

Dodge Journey for the other 3 family members

Image

A fair bit smaller / slower but no less thirsty despite it's 2.4 4 cyl petrol engine.

Overnight stop in New York, then off to Philly in the morning so I could tick this beast off the bucket list.

Image

USS New Jersey, now a permanent museum / memorial is moored at Camden NJ, the other side of the Delaware from Philly
Always wanted to have a look round a genuine battlewagon, shame we scrapped all of ours. Every bit as impressive as I imagined, even my son was impressed.

View through the windshield.

Image

Overnight in Philly, then a marvelous drive through Pennsylvania and upstate New York, crossing into Canada at Niagara Falls.
The Canadian side is a bit tacky, all casinos & high rise hotels - our room was about the size of one story of our house c/w jacuzzi no less.
Next day spent mainly at Niagara on the Lake, which is much more picturesque and sort of British Colonial-ish.
Lengthy afternoon / evening trudge across Ontario, back into the US at Sarnia, overnight stop in Flint MI.
On to Chicago next morning, passing through Gary IN, the most depressing run-down area we saw.

I'm not a fan of cities, but Chicago was memorable for good reasons and definitely worth a visit. We had sun and 22 degrees, 2 days later they had 3 inches of snow. Mrs Doggy got in some retail therapy and we had a great meal at Chicago's oldest restaurant The Berghoff, which featured great food and this novel sign in the window.....

Image

After 2 days in the 'Windy City' we turned back east, overnight stop just outside Akron OH en route to rural Pennsylvania to visit one of my son's schoolmates who married a local girl he met in London. We spent a great couple of days seeing the 'real America', going bowling, eating in diners, even visited local Amish farms and shops.

Next we went on to Washington DC and I guess did the usual tourist stuff - Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pool, Capitol and past the White House.

Atlantic City next which was disappointing, very quiet, waiting for summer proper or maybe a miracle. Then back to NYC to dump the cars for our final 3 days. 10 days and almost 2.5k miles went without a hitch. Easy going as well with 3 of us sharing the driving between the 2 cars.

TBH I didn't like New York - I'm not keen on cities at the best of times and traffic in Manhattan is the worst I've ever seen. Generally it's quicker to walk than get a cab, but we're not all able bodied enough to hike all the time. World Trade Center memorial is poignant and tasteful, well worth a visit, but the museum needed a 2-hour plus wait in the rain so we didn't.
Fifth Avenue had a surprising amount of vacant shops, (though not up the posh end by Central Park), even the Empire State building had vacant retail space at street level. We tried going up to the observation deck on our last night, but the top half was lost in low cloud so no point, (saved $36 a head)!

Needless to say, Mrs Doggy triumphed over these adversities to score some more bargains*

Was dreading the flight home / jet lag, but had a daytime flight so persuade yourself it's 8:45am when you get up a 3:45 and you're back in sync. Worked for me.

Oh well back to work tomorrow. :(
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
steve_earwig
Moderator
Posts: 19217
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 6:09 pm
Location: Jastrebarsko, Croatia http://www.jastrebarsko.hr/lokacija/

Re: Letter from America

Post by steve_earwig » Mon May 06, 2019 10:22 pm

Hey cool, welcome bacK! Glad you all had a good time.

Yeah, I've not been to New York but it never sounds that good to me, London with bigger buildings, less litter but more muggers.

I loved driving in the US, i can thoroughly recommend it as there's no thinking necessary. The longest trip I did was from Lexington Virginia to New Orleans and back (with my buddy James actually) in a spanking new bright red Fraud Escape. I enjoyed the journey as much as the destination, we camped most of it. I even had the hire car airborne :supafrisk:

My mechanic mate Mika here has family in Chicago and he goes there most years, despite having no English whatsoever. I'd only go there because I'm a ghoul, it's where Herman Webster Mudgett (H.H.Holmes) built his murder castle.

The worst poverty I saw was in Baltimore. Not the poorest people I'd seen but the biggest contrast: Inside Baltimore you've got the marina, bars, restaurants etc. while just outside I saw dozens of people sleeping rough.
Doggy wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm
Next we went on to Washington DC and I guess did the usual tourist stuff - Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pool, Capitol and past the White House.
Wot, no Smithsonian? Mind you, when I was there half of it was closed for renovation :roll:

I did a bit of sightseeing in Canada too, mostly up the other end in BC but also a brief foray into Alberta (where the time difference gave us a bad moment). Also off Vancouver Island in a tiny boat for a spot of whale watching. Marvellous.
Unskilled meddling sin©e 2007

2004 D9 2.0 HDi 110 Estate lhd VF38ERHZF81657352 - sold but being very well looked after.
1991 Yamaha TDM850 - fuel leaks galore!
2008 Toyota Recall4 2.0 VVTI ATM LHD JTMBH31V90D007261 - flimsy piece of crap.
1953 Matchless G3LS - It's alive!!

User avatar
Welly
The moderator formally known as Welton
Posts: 14798
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:52 pm
Location: East Midlandfordshire

Re: Letter from America

Post by Welly » Tue May 07, 2019 8:16 am

Sounds like an excellent and very busy holiday doggy, I are never been to no USA so can't comment other than it must've took a fair bit of logistical planning so well done for making the effort to make it all work out 8) #

How much is a Gallon of Pez over there?
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 German Diesel botherer with new tyre grippage
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions, bizarre gearbox model
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Re: Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Tue May 07, 2019 12:53 pm

My lad did the route planning / car hire and his wife booked all the accommodation. They did a great job.

Reglar 87 Octane varies from about $2.75 - $3.30; Deecell $3.15 - $3.70 per US gallon, (7 pints / 3.8l).
Fuel cost per mile for the bigger beast was about 10p, or roughly the same as running a 50-mpg diesel here.
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
rwb
3.0 24v
Posts: 2563
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:53 pm
Location: Yorkshireman exiled in Salop
Contact:

Re: Letter from America

Post by rwb » Wed May 08, 2019 6:42 pm

Wow! :D

I noticed when I was in Canada that 'gas' is half the price but the engines are twice as big.

Current: 407 2.2 HDi 170 & C6 2.7 HDi.
Former: 406 1.9 TD; 406 HDi 90; 407 2.2 160; 307cc 180; 508 HDi 140.
Map of PeugeotForums users offering PP2k

GingerMagic
3.0 24v
Posts: 3191
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:02 pm
Location: Bournemouth

Re: Letter from America

Post by GingerMagic » Wed May 08, 2019 6:52 pm

Welcome back Doggy and Doggy family.
That seems like quite the adventure - glad you had a good time and you got to see the ship.. 8)
When Mrs Magic and me went to Canada on honeymoon, our first port of call was Niagara Falls, and like you I was surprised how close the hotels were ( we stayed in the Konica tower?) but it wasn't overly busy.
We hired some car for next to nothing, filled the tank with gas for about £16.. :shock:
Then we flew to Vancouver for a week, did the island tour, then got the rocky mountain train through to Calgary via Lake Louise, Jasper, Banff - all very very picturesque.

Back to earth with a bump though I should imagine.
1999 T4 family wagon
2005 Vauxhall Meriva
1998 406 V6 Coupe - Midlife crisis..!
PP2000 user, can help with faults / diagnostics in the Bournemouth area.

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Re: Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Wed May 08, 2019 10:11 pm

Thanks Kelv.
GingerMagic wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:52 pm
Back to earth with a bump though I should imagine.
Kind of, but I retires 2 weeks today. :cheesy:
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
Welly
The moderator formally known as Welton
Posts: 14798
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:52 pm
Location: East Midlandfordshire

Re: Letter from America

Post by Welly » Thu May 09, 2019 12:46 pm

Doggy wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:11 pm
Kind of, but I retires 2 weeks today. :cheesy:
Jammy git :mrgreen:
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 German Diesel botherer with new tyre grippage
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions, bizarre gearbox model
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

GingerMagic
3.0 24v
Posts: 3191
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:02 pm
Location: Bournemouth

Re: Letter from America

Post by GingerMagic » Thu May 09, 2019 12:53 pm

Well I've only got 1,352 weeks until I can retire - I'm sure* it will fly* by..... :(
1999 T4 family wagon
2005 Vauxhall Meriva
1998 406 V6 Coupe - Midlife crisis..!
PP2000 user, can help with faults / diagnostics in the Bournemouth area.

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Re: Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Thu May 09, 2019 1:44 pm

Doesn't seem that long since I was looking at a retirement date 40+ years in the future, I mean well into the next century..
Blink twice & you're celebrating* being 40..
50, 60 and so on

Make the most of every day folks, they're all special.
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
Welly
The moderator formally known as Welton
Posts: 14798
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:52 pm
Location: East Midlandfordshire

Re: Letter from America

Post by Welly » Fri May 10, 2019 12:15 pm

Doggy, may I ask, have you got a reasonable Pension provision? reason being that many who've been working since 1995-ish have a very poor chance of a pension being worth much at retirement.

I'm in that boat myself, I've not had the means to invest into a pension, I'd have to pay about £500.00 per month and it's just not possible :(

Apart from the possibility of family inheritance I'm on a wing and a prayer now at 48 yrs old and facing up to life as Senior_Welly :supafrisk:
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 German Diesel botherer with new tyre grippage
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions, bizarre gearbox model
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Re: Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Sat May 11, 2019 4:36 pm

I was fortunate enough to be in several final salary pension schemes over the years and while they all shut down yonks ago, I managed to amass enough to give me a similar standard of living in retirement once I get my state pension as well, (but that's 2 years away). Jacking in my main job after cutting it down to 3 days a week this time last year makes no financial sense but after nearly 48 years I want and can more or less afford a change.

Been in one of these defined contribution schemes, (which is more or less just a savings account) for the last 5 years or so. The good things about it are:
a) Employer contributes too = free money!
b) Ours is a 'salary sacrifice' arrangement so you don't pay tax or NI on contributions.

If you get the chance to put anything into a pension (and ideally some from your employer too) do it. Every little helps
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
rwb
3.0 24v
Posts: 2563
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:53 pm
Location: Yorkshireman exiled in Salop
Contact:

Re: Letter from America

Post by rwb » Sun May 12, 2019 7:50 pm

Boring stuff but seriously people: take a minute to think about using salary sacrifice to increase your pension contributions.
Because compound interest adds up; £1 in your pension today is worth £2.60 in 20 years time at 5%.

Normally you pay into your pension out of your post-tax take-home pay and the government refunds the income tax (but not the national insurance) by paying it into your pension.

Salary sacrifice is better because you keep the NI, but even better still because your employer doesn't have to pay employer's NI on the salary that you've sacrificed into your pension. The best case is that your employer lets you have the NI they would otherwise have had to pay; maybe you can negotiate to share the saving.

So: instead of paying me £1 my employer puts £1.138 into my pension (the extra 13.8p is the employer's national insurance that they would have to pay on the £1).

(Employers typically implement workplace pension as a salary sacrifice because of exactly this: they use it to reduce their employer's national insurance contributions. Workplace pension is a nuissance for me because my employer keeps the Ers NI on the WP conponent of the sacrifice.)

By comparison, that £1 gross would translate into 67.2p take-home pay after tax and EE NI. So I'm getting 113.8p into my pension for a 67.2p reduction in take-home pay.

Current: 407 2.2 HDi 170 & C6 2.7 HDi.
Former: 406 1.9 TD; 406 HDi 90; 407 2.2 160; 307cc 180; 508 HDi 140.
Map of PeugeotForums users offering PP2k

User avatar
Doggy
Mod with a 2.2 HDi, De-Fapped!
Posts: 10187
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 pm
Location: Northants

Re: Letter from America

Post by Doggy » Mon May 13, 2019 1:06 pm

My employer adds the NI saving to my gross pay. :)
And chips in with up to 10% of my earnings provided I contribute 6% or more. :cheesy:

The other thing to consider as rwb pointed out is:

1. Putting £1 in only 'costs' 67.2p in take-home pay.
2. Even if you pay tax on the money you subsequently take out, 25% is tax free which equates to 85p back for each 67.2p put in, (26.5% interest after tax)
3. It would pay most people to 'sacrifice' all of your taxable income in the final year or two, borrowing enough to live on so you can trouser the 20% or more difference.
(e.g put £20k into your pension for £13,440 less take home pay, get 25% back tax free, [£5k] + £15k - 20% tax = £12k, total £17k).
So you make an extra £3560 which will more than cover the interest if you had to borrow £13,440 over 12 months

Food for thought?
2002 HDi 2.2 Exec Estate, (2008-12)
2003 HDi 2.2 6-speed Exec Estate (2012-19)
2009 Citroen C5 2.0 HDi VTR+ Estate

User avatar
Welly
The moderator formally known as Welton
Posts: 14798
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:52 pm
Location: East Midlandfordshire

Re: Letter from America

Post by Welly » Wed May 15, 2019 1:23 pm

Doggy wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:06 pm
My employer adds the NI saving to my gross pay. :)
And chips in with up to 10% of my earnings provided I contribute 6% or more. :cheesy:

The other thing to consider as rwb pointed out is:

1. Putting £1 in only 'costs' 67.2p in take-home pay.
2. Even if you pay tax on the money you subsequently take out, 25% is tax free which equates to 85p back for each 67.2p put in, (26.5% interest after tax)
3. It would pay most people to 'sacrifice' all of your taxable income in the final year or two, borrowing enough to live on so you can trouser the 20% or more difference.
(e.g put £20k into your pension for £13,440 less take home pay, get 25% back tax free, [£5k] + £15k - 20% tax = £12k, total £17k).
So you make an extra £3560 which will more than cover the interest if you had to borrow £13,440 over 12 months

Food for thought?
Note to self: Try not to sit next to Doggy at the Christmas party.


Only kidding mate, it's easy for me to mock what with having no understanding of pensions and that. I really am beginning to think I'm f*cked :(
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 German Diesel botherer with new tyre grippage
2010 Citroen C4 1.6 HDi turbo de' explosions, bizarre gearbox model
2010 Renner Twingo refreshingly simple

Post Reply