America, Land of the Road Trip

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America: Land of Road Trip

It is summer vacation time in the southeast United States, and for many families that mean it is time to load the car and take a road trip. This is nothing new. For decades vacation in the family vehicle has been a quintessentially American thing to do. Have you ever wondered why Americans are such fans of the open road? I have traveled enough to learn part of the answer to this question: Road trips are better here.

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Tips for Enjoying Your Road Trip: Put the Phone Down!

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Your vehicle is in tiptop shape thanks to a check-in with Cassels Garage. The bags are packed for a quick weekend getaway and everyone is looking forward to it. Nestled comfortably in the seats, your family is ready to go. Then, out come the cell phones. Does this scene sound familiar to you?

Driver: “Wow! That’s beautiful.”

Passenger: “I need to put my phone down. I am missing out.”

This happens to us on almost every road trip of any length including every time we drive on the causeway over the Intracoastal Waterway. Road trips through or from Brevard County, Florida offer lots of natural beauty to enjoy, but often we are too busy to notice.

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Travel the Blue Highways

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Here is a recommendation for all of you who find yourselves making the same road trip over and over for years: Vary your route, and see more of the world. In 1982, William Least Heat Moon published a travelogue titled Blue Highways in which he encouraged road trippers to get off of the interstate highways and literally take the roads less traveled.

My wife and I moved eight hours away from her parents and her extended family over twenty years ago. Since then we have made over fifty road trips back and forth to visit our family. For way too long, we stuck to the same route, the fastest one we could find. However, several years ago we embraced a dramatic change in our attitudes toward these trips. We decided that the vacation could start once we pulled out of our driveway rather than when we arrived at our destination.

At first, we took small steps toward enjoying the journey on the way to the destination. We started by taking time to enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant with a server rather than just grabbing the fastest food we could find. We found that routine to be a nice break in the trip that did not add too much time to the trip.

About five years ago, we took our explorations a step farther. We determined to “add to our collection” at least one new place every time we made the trip to see family. Usually our destinations are within an hour of the interstate, and we will spend anywhere from one to three hours exploring before we get back on the road to our ultimate destination. Sometimes we will just pick a new town and walk through downtown looking for an interesting restaurant. We have also taken trolley tours and toured forts on these side trips.

One of the grand things about having family so far away has been our ability to create memories along the way. We have discovered incredibly unique places all by taking a chance and getting off the road. One memory none of us ever wants to deal with is a breakdown on the side of a country road. The vehicle you take on your road trips undoubtedly plays a role in the kinds of experiences you will have along the way to your destination. It is always wise to make sure your car is ready to handle the journey.

At Cassels Garage in West Melbourne, we will be glad to give your vehicle a checkup before your next road trip. We are a family-owned shop well equipped to provide routine maintenance or do major repairs on your car. We have been serving Brevard County since 1966.

Vehicle Fleet Maintenance

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If you are responsible for a fleet of automobiles or trucks, there are many variables to consider as you discharge your duties. What kind of vehicles? Are they sedans or heavy duty trucks? How many vehicles? Some fleet maintenance providers are very attentive if you have a large fleet, but not so much if your fleet is smaller. One of the most important decisions you have to make is who will take care of your vehicles?

Fleet maintenance requires a proactive consideration of preventative maintenance. Everyone knows that prevention is less costly than repair, and it’s also much less inconvenient. The rewards and benefits of prevention versus repair are multiplied if you are responsible for more than a few vehicles. Proper fleet maintenance can save your company thousands of dollars every year.

Consider the hassle that results from surprise breakdowns. Not only is your driver thwarted in his profitable endeavors, but other valuable employees are diverted from more profitable pursuits to addressing the vehicle crisis at hand. Many hours and much money is wasted by vehicle breakdowns.

Regularly scheduled fleet maintenance offers many benefits to your company. From a risk management perspective, well maintained vehicles are less likely to increase your company’s liability from costly accidents. Any breakdown diverts members of your team from more profitable pursuits, so prevention is much wiser than repair. A regular maintenance schedule helps with cash flow because you can budget the costs of vehicle upkeep over the course of the year rather than enduring big fluctuations in repair expenses. Repairs and upkeep are streamlined and simplified if you address them systematically across your fleet according to a regular schedule. Finally, peace of mind for your drivers is dramatically increased if they are confident that the vehicles they are driving are in good shape because of regular, routine maintenance.

In West Melbourne, Florida, Cassels Garage is a family-owned shop that has been serving Brevard County since 1966. Cassels offers an unmatched level of customer care and personal attention. We are ready to help with maintaining your fleet of any size or any style vehicle. Let us help you keep your vehicle upkeep expenses manageable and predictable.

Fleet Management Strategies for Individual Owners

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Fleet Management Strategies

Managers of vehicle fleets have to adopt efficient strategies in order to properly care for the resources that have been entrusted to them. The advantages of proactive maintenance and the cost of neglect are all magnified if you are responsible for many vehicles. Fleet managers adopt best practices because they are indeed better than the alternatives. Would it make sense for the manager of a family’s fleet of two or three cars to adopt some of the same practices?

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Industrial Gratitude

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In the Great Courses lecture series on the Industrial Revolution, Professor Patrick Allitt of Emory University advances the premise that our primary response to the Industrial Revolution should be gratitude. In his introduction, Professor Allitt asserts that in every tangible way, people who are relatively poor in our culture live more comfortable lives than kings and queens from just a few hundred years ago. He cites a few examples to prove his point, emphasizing electricity, communication and transportation.

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Who Invented The Automobile?

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Who Invented The Automobile?

We all learn about inventors and inventions in history class, but it seems that there is some incongruity when you consider the modern significance of an invention and the likelihood that you will know the inventor’s name. For example, history students often learn that Jethro Tull invented the seed drill, but few 21st century Americans have used one. On the other hand, everyone is acquainted with televisions, but few can name the inventor. Automobiles are another example. It is difficult to imagine an invention that had a more transformative effect than the automobile in the twentieth century, yet few can accurately name the inventor.

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Who Could Fix Santa’s Sleigh?

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We teach our children many very detailed things about Santa Claus. He lives in the North Pole and employs elves to make toys for the children of the world, or at least for the nice ones. On Christmas Eve, he magically visits the home of every deserving child delivering toys by sliding down the chimney, even in homes that do not have a fireplace. His magical journey is made possible by eight reindeer pulling a sleigh (and lots of toy cargo). We learned these things from our parents, but where did they and their parents learn them?

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Give Your Car Away?

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Mechanic Brevard County

Here’s an innovative charitable idea right on time for Christmas, or any other time of the year. Next time you upgrade vehicles, why not look for an opportunity to give away the weakest member of your vehicle fleet rather than trade it in? In many families, especially those with teenage or young adult drivers, a vehicle upgrade has a ripple effect of upgrades down the line.

By the time you get down to the vehicle that you no longer want or need, there might not be much left in terms of trade-in value. On the other hand, if there is someone in your church or neighborhood who needs a vehicle, a working set of wheels would represent a major lifestyle improvement.

This is a win-win opportunity without serious loss to the giver. Chances are the vehicle that you are discarding would not produce a big trade-in allowance, so you might reap only slightly lower payments as a result. On the other hand, donating your vehicle to a tax-exempt organization can yield income tax benefits next spring.

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Know Before You Go

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Ken Burns is a world-renowned documentary filmmaker. His historical retrospectives are masterpieces, covering a wide range of topics ranging from the Civil War to baseball to jazz music. Many viewers are familiar with his recent works describing the Prohibition era and World War II, but it is easy to overlook one of his lesser known gems: Horatio’s Drive.

Horatio’s Drive tells the story of Horatio Nelson Jackson’s summer in 1903. The story begins at his club in San Francisco, where Horatio is debating with some of his friends. The automobile was still fairly new on the American scene. Horatio’s friends were convinced that it was a passing fad or a rich man’s playful indulgence, and that it would never catch on. Horatio was quite proud of his new Winton automobile, so he agreed to a wager with his friends over whether he could drive the car from California to New York within ninety days.

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