In Memory of John D. Hubach

As it’s Memorial Day Weekend, we at the Kicker would like to take a moment to remember a friend and mentor to our staff. John Sr. was not only a purple heart veteran but a veteran of the automotive industry working having a major influence on Subaru of America in the PCNW.

Please take a moment to remember your loved ones this weekend, and also get out their and have some fun–it’s ultimately the best way to honor them.

In Loving Memory…

John D. Hubach

(John Sr./Papa John/Farmer John/Big John)

4/30/1947 – 4/30/2022

Born in California to J. Alma and John D. Hubach, John moved with his family to Buckeye, Az where they became acquainted with the Jagow family that attended the same church. There he and his sisters and brothers attended a one room church school, as did the Jagow kids, which is important because he would later marry Peggie Jagow.

When his parents moved to Washington State he attended Auburn Academy in Auburn, WA – graduating in 1965. His family had bought a 10-acre berry farm in Monroe, WA. After high school John bought a berry farm of his own in Sumas, WA.

September 1967, John was drafted into the Army. He served as a medic in his tour in Vietnam. He had some interesting stories to tell about his time in the Army, and received a purple heart for wounds he received.

Upon his return to Washington and his farm, he took employment at a car dealership in Lynden, WA. where the owner sponsored him to go to mechanic school. When he completed mechanic school he worked at the dealership. In 1970, he married Peggy Jagow. They had two sons – John M. and Aaron E.

John began working for Subaru of America. In 1981 he moved his family to Vancouver, WA. and in September of 1983 the moved to the legendary home here in Battle Ground, where he lived until he passed.

John worked for Subaru for over 35 years. Major projects included promoting the rally racing program and running the Subaru displays at auto shows. John made friends at the shows and became passionate about cooking—especially outdoor grilling.

When his sons were in school, John enjoyed having their friends over on Saturday evenings, etc. He enjoyed cooking for them and having them out. The guys of the group continued to come over for occasions, or just to hang out so they could soak up his John’s advice and eat his great cooking. Now as adults they brought their own families, and Papa John’s continued to be the gathering spot all the way through this last year.

Over the years John opened his hospitality to coworkers, neighbors and acquaintances. He invited all to come and enjoy his famous breakfasts by a roaring fire with a view of nature.

John’s great joy was feeding people and conversations by the fire. He also enjoyed gardening and grew corn and berries as well as flowering bushes and trees depending on how busy he was each year. It’s plain to see how much John enjoyed hosting visitors, even erecting a full-size teepee on the property where grandkids and friends would sometimes spend the night.

John retired in the fall of 2018 after working for Subaru of America over 35 years. He is survived by his wife, two sons, six grand children, as well as a brother and sister.


If there was a theme to John Sr. life it was Truth and Integrity, but above all Love. Integrity John showed through being himself. He showed up as the man he’d decided to be no matter the circumstances. Love he showed through hospitality, and when he would defend the underdog. He didn’t like it when one of the ladies in the group was getting talked over.

There is a saying among professionals, “clarity is caring.” John modeled this to a T. He spoke directly and simply which built trust. He delivered communication, even if it was a hard thing to say.

Grief Recovery Method

In Grief Recovery Method we call it, staying emotionally current. You are free to feel your way, but this is how I see it.

Following that example, I want to speak to a couple of stupid things people say to each other when we’re grieving.

Lie #1 “Time heals all wounds.” I want you to picture John’s face as he says, “no it doesn’t.”

What if you got a flat tire? Should you sit next to it until it re-inflates?

The Truth: it takes time AND actions.

We need to take actions if we want to recover from the loss of John Sr. We need to talk about him, and about how we feel being without him. That’s the kind of tough conversation John would not avoid.

Lie #2 “Don’t feel bad.” People tell you not to feel bad, because they don’t know what to do to help you.

The Truth: Grieving is normal and natural. Being in pain from a loss doesn’t mean you’re broken so you don’t need to be fixed. You need to be cared for.

John would say, “even when you can’t fix everything, do what you can.” What we can do is sit and listen. We can be a heart with ears, and we can give out hugs.

Lie #3 “He’s in a better place.” That’s great, but we still hurt.

The Truth: I’m entitled to miss him. I give God full authority to give and to take away, but this still sucks.

I am grateful that I had him as long as I did. I’m not going to let his death steal away everything he added to my life. I’m going to remember his smile and his advice, and his wit and his corn chowder. I’m going to celebrate a life well lived by living mine more.

If you are grieving a loss, please don’t hesitate reach to a qualified Grief Recovery Sepcialist in your area, in a pinch you can use the contact form through this blog and we’ll point you to someone who can help.


Uncovering the Little-Known Relationship Between Cinco de Mayo and Classic Cars

A Comprehensive Look

One common misconception in the US, is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, which would actually be September 16th. In reality, May 5th became a big deal in the US 1st as a way of celebrating hispanic heritage among the descendents of immagrants. Even then it didn’t take off until the Alcoholic Beverage Companies started putting marketing dollars behind it. That creates some controversy as many people feel it’s culturally demeaning. It’s not an exciting association for us at the Kicker Blog either as drinking and driving don’t mix.

So is there a better connection between Cinco de Mayo and Vehicles?

Cinco de Mayo Celebration comes from the historical events that occurred during the Battle of Puebla. This battle, which took place on May 5th, 1862, marked a victory for Mexico over the larger French forces.

Many believe transportation played a significant role in the Battle of Puebla because One of the key factors in the Mexican victory was the use of transportation. The Mexican army was able to quickly move their troops and supplies to strategic locations, which gave them an advantage in battle. This was due in part to the fact that they had access to the newly constructed railway system, which made transportation more efficient and allowed for faster movement of troops and supplies.

However, it’s unlikely that trains played a role in the conflict as they don’t seem to have completed the line between Mexico City and Puebla until 1866, four years after the battle.

Regardless of whether vehicles played a role or not, it remains an amazing military victory for the Mexican Army. The French army, led by General Charles de Lorencez, was moving towards the city of Puebla in May of 1862. They had a superior number of troops and advanced weaponry, which made them a formidable force. However, the Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, was able to successfully defend the city, despite being outnumbered and outgunned.

Where we do see a possitive connection to between cars and Cinco de Mayo is the annual tradition to celebrate this victory in Mexico and other parts of Latin America by parades and festivals featuring classic cars. The relationship between Cinco de Mayo and cars is one that reflects both Mexican pride in their country’s history as well as a celebration of automotive culture.

Mexican parades are unique in their celebration of cultural heritage and history. Unlike other car parades, Mexican parades often feature classic cars decorated with traditional Mexican colors and symbols. These parades are an important way for Mexican Americans to showcase their pride in their heritage and their connection to their ancestral roots.

In addition to the classic cars themselves, Mexican parades often include music, dancing, and other cultural performances. These performances may feature traditional instruments like the mariachi or the guitar, and traditional dance styles like the jarabe tapatío or the cumbia. Participants in the parade may wear traditional clothing, like the sombrero or the charro suit, adding to the festive and colorful atmosphere.

However, the most significant difference between Mexican parades and other car parades is the underlying cultural significance of the event. For Mexican Americans, Cinco de Mayo is not just a holiday, but a celebration of their cultural heritage and their ancestors’ resilience in the face of oppression. The Battle of Puebla was a crucial moment in Mexican history, and its celebration with classic cars and cultural performances reflects the deep pride and connection Mexican Americans feel to their roots.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car (Car maintenance)

The New Year is a great start, including your car, to start fresh. Whether you resolve to save money, be more environmentally friendly, or keep your vehicle running smoothly, there are a few easy things you can do to make it happen.

1.  Check and Change Your Oil

One of the most important things you can do to keep your car running smoothly is to change the oil regularly. Over time, oil breaks down and becomes less effective at lubricating the engine and protecting it from wear and tear. That’s why it’s essential to check your oil level regularly and change it when necessary.

Many carmakers recommend changing the oil every 5,000 miles, but it’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual to see what interval is advisable for your particular model. And if you’re unsure about how to change your oil, you can always take it to a qualified mechanic.

2.  Learn How to Jump-Start a Vehicle

This simple skillset can come in handy if your battery dies on the road. Jump-starting a car is relatively easy and requires only a few tools you probably already have in your garage. All you need is a working vehicle with a good battery, jumper cables, and about 30 minutes. Once you have those items, follow your car’s owner’s manual instructions to jump-start the dead battery.

3.  Check Fluids & Follow the Maintenance Schedule

This may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in the health of your vehicle. Checking the oil level and tire pressure regularly helps to keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs. In addition, following a regular maintenance schedule can help extend your car’s life by keeping it in good condition.

4.  Learn How to Change a Tire

It’s a relatively straightforward process, and it’s something that could come in handy if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Plus, it’s a great way to show your car some love and keep running smoothly.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll need to do: first, you’ll need to find a safe place to park your car. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to loosen the lug nuts on your wheel using a wrench. Next, you’ll need to jack up your car and remove the flat tire.

Finally, you’ll need to put the spare tire on and lower the car back down. Once you’ve tightened the lug nuts, you’re good to go.

5.  Become More Eco-Friendly

This means keeping up with regular oil changes, tire rotations, and other scheduled servicing. You can avoid more costly repairs down the road by keeping your car well-maintained. You can also save money by being a smarter driver. Avoiding hard starts and stops, driving the speed limit, and using cruise control can help improve your gas mileage.

New Year’s is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming one. For your car, that might mean putting a resolution to keep up with maintenance. This can help prevent expensive repairs down the road and keep your car running smoothly. A few simple steps can make a big difference.

Best SUVs to Haul Your Christmas Gifts In

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can haul all your Christmas gifts this holiday season, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, consider the size of the vehicle. You’ll need enough space to fit all your presents, plus any luggage or other items you might bring with you on your trip.

Second, think about the type of terrain you’ll be traveling on. If you’re driving on snow-covered roads, you’ll need a good traction and stability vehicle. Finally, make sure to factor in the cost of fuel. With so many gifts to transport, you’ll want to ensure your SUV has good gas mileage. With these things in mind, you’re sure to select the perfect SUV for your Christmas travels.

SUVs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. They offer ample space for hauling around your family, your gear, and all your holiday shopping. And with their higher ground clearance, they can easily handle snow and ice. The list below is helpful if you’re looking for an SUV to haul your Christmas gifts in.

1.  BMW 5 Series Touring

It has a spacious interior can easily fit all of your presents, and the seats are comfortable so you won’t get achy on long trips. The car also handles well in snow and ice, so you can be confident in your driving even if the weather is less than ideal. And with its powerful engine and agile handling, the 5 Series Touring is up to hauling even the heaviest loads.

2.  Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial

With its strong V8 engine and four-wheel drive, the Land Cruiser can haul a sled full of presents across even the roughest terrain. And thanks to its spacious interior, you won’t have to worry about squishing everything in – there’s plenty of room for all your holiday haul.

3.  Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers more than just high-class luxury – it’s also a great SUV to haul your Christmas gifts in. With its spacious interior and large trunk, the S-Class has plenty of room for even the most significant holiday haul. And thanks to its powerful engine, you’ll have no trouble getting all your gifts up those hilly roads. Plus, the S-Class has all the latest safety features to help keep you and your skills safe on the road.

4.  Audi RS 6

The Audi RS 6 is a great SUV to haul your Christmas gifts in because it’s spacious, has much horsepower, and is an all-wheel drive. Spaciousness is essential when pulling gifts because you want to fit everything in the car without having to pile things on each other.

The RS 6 has 144.4 cubic feet of space with the seats up and 58.5 cubic feet with the seats down, so you’ll have no problem fitting all your presents in. Additionally, the RS 6 has a twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 600 horsepower, so you’ll have no trouble getting up to speed when merging onto the highway. Finally, the RS 6 has all-wheel drive, so you can feel confident driving in winter weather.

5.  Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ford Ranger Raptor is a versatile SUV that can handle all terrain, whether driving on the highway or taking a backroad shortcut. The Ranger Raptor is also built for efficiency, so you won’t have to waste time or fuel while hauling your holiday haul. And if you’re worried about fitting everything in, don’t be – the Ranger Raptor has plenty of space for all your gifts, plus extras like luggage and sports equipment.

Perhaps you’ll buy one of these SUV’s as your Christmas present. Who knows.

5 Holiday Road Trip Hacks

Road trips are a great way to explore the country and spend time with family and friends. But they can also be stressful, especially if you’re not prepared. These hacks will help make your next road trip more enjoyable.

1.  Research and Plan Ahead

Once you’ve decided on a destination, the first step is to do some research. This will help you map the best route and find attractions and activities along the way. It’s also essential to plan when it comes to food and lodging.

If you know where you’ll be stopping each night, you can book your hotel rooms in advance and avoid searching for a place to stay at the last minute. And if you pack your meals, you’ll save money and time by preventing restaurant stops. By taking the time to research and plan, you can make your road trip more enjoyable and stress-free.

2.  Take Your Car for Maintenance

Taking your car for regular maintenance is one of the best holiday road trip hacks you can do. Not only will it help keep your vehicle running smoothly, but it can also prevent costly repairs down the road. Before heading out on a long trip, inspect your car with a qualified mechanic. They can check for potential problems and advise you on how to prevent them.

Getting your car serviced before a big trip is also a good idea. This will ensure that all the fluids are at the right level and that there are no potential issues with the brakes or tires. Including an pre-trip inspection.

3.  Pack Extra Essentials

It’s always a good idea to pack extra essentials, just in case. For example, an extra phone charger is always a good idea because there’s nothing worse than a phone with a dead battery. If you’re traveling with small children, it’s also a good idea to pack snacks and drinks, along with some activities to keep them entertained. And if you’re traveling during the winter, pack a first-aid kit, blankets, and jumper cables in case you get stranded in the cold.

4.  Print Out Maps

Most cars have GPS systems, but relying solely on GPS can be stressful (what if you lose signal?) and can rack up data charges. A physical map you can refer to is a much better option. Not only will it help keep your stress levels down, but it’s also a great way to teach kids about geography. So, before you hit the road this holiday season, print out a map of your route. It’ll make the trip that much more enjoyable!

5.  Travel on Off-Peak Days

By definition, off-peak days are weekdays that have lower-than-average traffic. That means you’ll spend less time sitting in traffic and more time enjoying your trip. In addition, off-peak travel days are typically cheaper than peak travel days. So if you’re looking to save money, consider traveling on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of a Friday or Saturday. Of course, the best part about off-peak travel is that it’s often less crowded.

So there you have it – our top tips for making your holiday road trip go as smoothly as possible. Following these simple hacks can avoid some of the most common pitfalls and ensure everyone enjoys the journey. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!

Checklist for Prepping Your Car for Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and food. After indulging in a big Thanksgiving feast, many people hit the road to visit loved ones. If you’re planning on traveling this holiday season, it’s essential to ensure your car is in top condition.

Here is a checklist for prepping your car for thanksgiving travel:

1.  Get a Car Wash

A thorough car wash will remove any dirt and debris that could damage your paint job or affect your driving visibility. In addition, a car wash can help to prevent rust and corrosion, keeping your car looking its best for years to come.

2.  Check Engine Fluids and Filters

You can avoid any potential problems during your trip by checking engine fluids and filters. This includes ensuring that your engine oil is at the correct level and checking your coolant levels and engine air filter. In addition, it is also a good idea to have your vehicle’s battery and tires checked before embarking on a long journey.

3.  Inspect the Tires and Brakes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget these crucial components when busy preparing for the holiday. After all, you don’t want your car to break down in the middle of your road trip! Checking the tires is important because you want to ensure they’re appropriately inflated and have enough tread. You don’t want to get a flat tire or blowout while driving. As for the brakes, it’s always a good idea to get them checked before a long trip. You don’t want to find out too late that they’re not working correctly.

4.  Check the Wiper Blades

With all the rain and snow coming this year, good wipers are essential for seeing clearly while driving. A smeary or streaked windshield can make it challenging to see headlights and taillights, which can lead to accidents.

5.  Heater and Defrost System

A properly functioning heater will keep you warm on those cold winter nights, while a well-working defrost system will ensure that your windshield stays clear and frost-free. So before you embark on your holiday travels, give your heater and defrost system a little TLC.

6.  Cooling System

The cooling system in your car comprises several different components, all working together to keep your engine at the right temperature. Unfortunately, these components can wear out over time, leading to leaks and other problems. That’s why it’s important to check your cooling system before going on a long road trip. A few simple preventive maintenance measures can go a long way toward preventing problems down the line.

7.  Check Lights

As any experienced traveler knows, one of the most important things you can do to prep your car for a long road trip is to ensure all the lights are in working order. This includes the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. After all, you don’t want to have a blown a fuse in the dark or be stranded on the side of the road.

8.  Check Your Battery

A dead battery is one of the last things you want to deal with on Thanksgiving, so it’s essential to check before you hit the road.

9.  Check your Air Conditioning

Checking the air conditioning is especially important when traveling in warm weather. Nothing is worse than feeling trapped in a hot, stuffy car for hours.

10.  Consult a Professional

A car professional can help you inspect your car to ensure everything is in working order before hitting the road. They can also give you tips on how to avoid common problems like flat tires and dead batteries.

We’d recommend our sponsor, TireKickers but we’re biased.

Veteran’s Day Can Be A Great Time To…

Okay, we know the core purpose of Veteran’s Day is to honor the brave men and women who put themselves between citizens and danger. At the Kicker we go out of our way to honor and thank our vets every year. So above all, it’s a great day to thank a veteran.

It also happens to be a three day weekend and a great excuse to go car shopping so lets look at why it’s a good time to buy a car, even if you aren’t a vet or don’t have great credit.

Veteran’s Day Sales Can Be A Great Time To Buy A New Car

Many car dealerships offer special sales around Veteran’s Day. It’s a great time to buy a new car because you can often get a good deal. The sales are usually for both new and used vehicles, so you have many options. And, since many people are busy with holidays and family commitments this time of year, there’s less competition for the best deals.

List of Major Incentives Offered by Automakers

As Veterans Day approaches, many automakers offer special deals and discounts to veterans and active-duty military personnel. Here are some of the best deals currently available:

·      Chevrolet

It offers a $500 discount on all new vehicles, including the popular Silverado pickup truck. Additionally, it’s waiving the $1,000 destination charge on all new cars.

·      Ford

There is a $500 military appreciation bonus cash offer on all new vehicles, including the Ford Explorer SUV and the F-150 pickup truck. Additionally, you can expect a waiver of the $995 destination charge on all new cars.

·      Jeep

The company offers a $500 rebate to all active-duty military personnel and veterans. The rebate applies to any new Jeep vehicle, including the Cherokee SUV and the Wrangler off-road vehicle. Jeep also waives the $1,195 destination charge on all new cars.

·      Ram

You can expect a $500 rebate for all active-duty military personnel and veterans. The rebate encompasses any new Ram vehicle, including the 1500 pickup truck and the 2500 HD heavy-duty truck. In addition, you won’t pay the $1,295 destination charge on all new cars.

These are just a few of the many Veterans Day car deals that are currently available. So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, check with your local dealership to see what deals they’re offering. And thanks for your service!

How Do I Qualify for a New Car With Bad Credit?

Bad credit can make it tough to get a new car, but there are some special deals for veterans. Veterans Day is a great time to buy a car, and many dealerships offer special financing for veterans with bad credit. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new car with bad credit:

  1. Look for dealerships that specialize in bad credit financing. These dealerships will be more likely to work with you and help you get the best possible deal.
  • Get pre-approved for financing before you start shopping. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a car.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many dealerships are willing to work with buyers with bad credit, so don’t hesitate to ask for a better interest rate or other concessions.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to find a great deal on a new car this Veterans Day. So don’t let bad credit hold you back – get out there and find your perfect car today!

One Final Note

One of our Sponsors is Tire Kickers, a veteran owned business that comes to you to inspect a vehicle you’re thinking of buying. No one at the Kicker Blog would ever buy a car without having it inspected, pre-purchase. This is a great time to support a veteran-owned business and save yourself money and heartache on your purchase.

We know every car dealership says, “we performed our SUPER-AMAZING inspection on this vehicle.” Of course they did. What they’re indicating is that they believe in pre-purchase inspection and do it themselves. So, you shouldn’t? What if the grocery store told you they washed their veggies before they put them out, would you think, “Oh good, I don’t have to now?”

Why do we call it a Hearse?

The fall holiday season is upon us and its time to acknowledge how creepy the fall is. The leaves are turning, the wind is blowing and the days have grown short. If you live in the Pacific NW like our editor, this is the beginning of the rainy season, although this year the weather has been nothing to complain about.

We kick off the holidays with Halloween and in the spirit (pun intended) of the season, we grabbed a topic we really couldn’t cover any other time of the year.

Why do we call it a Hearse?

Well for starters, not everyone does. In some countries they call it a funeral car or funeral coach. A hearse is a vehicle specifically designed to carry coffins or caskets, particularly coffins that contain human remains.

Side Note: a Casket is a box for human remains and can be any shape, a Coffin has the traditional shape with five sides, narrower at both ends (foot and head) and wider at the torso.

The practice of transporting human remains, naturally, goes back before we had cars. Originally, horse drawn wagons were used. There are many examples of carriages made specific for the purpose, which were no doubt only owned by undertakers.

Ancient Hand-drawn Hearse

Before they were horse drawn, they were hand drawn or carried, which is about the time period the name Hearse originated. The word originally referred to an apparatus that raised above the body to hold candles. The device sat atop of pals, which were poles under the body which allowed the living to transport the dead without touching them. The whole contraption looked like a Harrow, or old school plowing device used to remove rocks from a field prior to planting.

To the modern eye it looks more like a hair brush but in the 1600’s they prepped their fields more than they brushed their hair. Long story short the French term for a harrow was herse, which gives us the modern term Hearse.

Side Note: Latin for Harrow, which would likely be the term behind any of the romance language countries, is herpex, so we can be glad that the term stopped by France on it’s way to modern USA.

Burial traditions vary widely around the world but in modern times most industrialized countries employ a type of Hearse. They fall into two basic styles, those that use tinting and/curtains to obscure the casket and those that have large clear windows displaying the casket.

In the US the limousine style with curtained windows are the most popular. We say popular not because the bereaved choose them, but because the owners of funeral homes pick what they think will work best and grieving people tend to just go with what’s offered.

Most funeral homes can’t afford to buy a vehicle that will sit around most of the time, so most funeral homes in a city will rent from a common motor pool, perhaps owned and operated by a third party. It’s not uncommon for that provider to be a limousine company since they are familiar with luxury vehicle maintenance and the rental market.

Interestingly, You can make a Hearse out of Any Vehicle!

Here are a few varied examples of alternate Hearses.

Here are a few varied examples of alternate Hearses.

Mercedes-Benz hearse with large rear windows
Chevrolet Silverado Hearse in Indianola, Mississippi

One of our favorites is this Hearse made from a motorcycle. Now this example uses a side car but same thing can and has been be accomplished with a trike or by pulling a trailer.

A hearse is seldom sent to pick up remains from a place where someone died. In many cases an ambulance is sent to transport someone to a hospital first as a person is not considered dead until a doctor declares them so and signs paperwork. Then the body is transported downstairs to cold storage to await instructions on who will claim the remains and which licenced funeral home will pick up the corpse.

In many cases, like when hospice has been visiting a person at home, a doctor may visit and declare a person dead prior to transport. In these cases, the kind of vehicle that would take remains from a hospital to a funeral home is sent to someone’s home. This is called a “First Call” vehicle and is generally a kind of van with very little markings.

Final Note

In large cities like London, Sydney, or Chicago a special train car takes remains and mourners from the city to the outskirts where graveyards are located. Some of these trains operate 3 to 4 times a week, but nearly all are operated by a special service that liaisons with the normal train service.

Hopefully this was a ghoulish enough post for your Halloween.

Memorial Day at the Kicker

Many things in America have become more about their celebration than their meaning. With Christmas, for example, we’ve heard folks complain about the crass commercialism of it for decades. Likewise many holidays have become simply a four-day weekend. Since Memorial Day is clearly about not forgetting something important, let’s take a shot at remembering what it means.

Originally celebrated May 30 regardless of the day of the week it fell on, Memorial Day is now pegged to the last Monday in May. It’s a day set aside by act of congress to honor Military service men and women who died in active duty.


A few decades ago, historians and cultural anthropologist were almost annoyingly accepting of different cultures and different eras. They got very clinical when discussing cannibals or more violent times in the distant past of Easter and Western culture. Now days, we rush to judge those who do things in a manner other than our own. We deem it unenlightened.

This intolerance of other cultures and our own past has made many holidays “problematic.” Is there potential for controversy with Memorial Day? Sure is. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial day was born after Civil War (war between the states if you’re my grandma).

As early as 1860, people had begun to visit the graves of fallen soldiers in the spring to decorate them with flowers and say a pray over them. When the war ended in spring of 1865, it had claimed more American lives than any other conflict in US history, so it seems natural that the tradition took hold on both sides of the conflict. It was the Civil War that caused the first federal cemetery to be built.

Decoration Day

The practice of mourning solders in the spring seems to have sprung up spontaneously around the country in towns and cities of every size. Earliest recorded celebrations were in the south starting as soon as a month after the wars end. One in Charleston, South Carolina, was organized by a group of former slaves. In 1868 General John A. Logan called for a Decoration Day. There are records showing that Northern Cities embraced the practice by 1890.

Warrenton, Virginia, Savannah, Georgia, Jackson Mississippi, Columbus Georgia and Columbus Mississippi all began decorating graves in Spring around the same time in the America South. Of course Gettysburg lays some claim to the practice since Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most moving speeches of all time when he commemorated the graves there.

It was likely World War 1 and 2 that generalized the practice to include all armed services personal who died during war time and not just specific to the civil war.

In 1966, the fedral government declared Waterloo, New York the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo had celebrated May 5th consistently since 1866, including the modern practice of closing business for the entire day.

Recent History of Memorial Day

It didn’t become a national Holiday until 1971. Many Americans observe the holiday by visiting cemeteries or memorials, gather as families, or participating in parades.

Side Note: It’s the unofficial beginning of summer.

The official remembrance part of memorial day is at 3 PM in each time zone, often marked with a moment of silence.

Memorial Day is for remembering those fallen in battle (or at least during active war.) There is also Veterans Day on November 11, which honors those who served–living or dead. Then there is the lesser known Armed Services Day which unofficially honors those currently serving in the military.

Most years there are Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery dating back to 1868. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is more often a location of ceremony on November 11th Veterans day. There are also ceremonies most years at the Vietnam War Memorial.

Memorial Day and Cars

This site exists to provide useful information to car enthusiasts and commuters, but we’ve been huge supporters of veterans since the beginning.

If we ignore the obvious Memorial Day connection to cars–the massive sales that go on that weekend–we are left with parades. You can ride a horse or march in a procession down a parade route but one of the most stylish, and easy on the feet, ways to participate in a parade is to ride in a convertible car with it’s top down.

Many parades involve floats which are motorized vehicles built onto a frame and motor. Some floats are decorated tractors, trucks or even golf carts. Most are purpose built. Most parade floats are self propelled although some are towed, usually by tractor or horse. Of course the goal of a float is to give the illusion that it’s floating on the surface street like a ship on the sea (hence the name). Therefore the vehicle is entirely covered by some kind of decoration.

Regardless of the base vehicle inside the float it must be heavily modified. For one thing, floats don’t need to go fast and do need to go very slow without stalling for long periods of time. So extra gears boxes are often required to make first gear smooth at 2.5 miles per hour. Extra radiators are added so the engine doesn’t overheat running low and slow for several hours. Finally the tires are filled with foam so they wont’ get a flat during the parade.

Many floats are large enough to require a second driver in a second cockpit to steer around blind corners. Also most floats are two level so a deck must be built by welding together steel tubing.

If there are animatronics, like arms or elevators, then hydraulics are employed to make the motion smoother. That means cylinders and pumps all driven off a second engine. You’ll also need a complex array of valves and a computer to control them. You’ll need gauges, manual controls, and of course monitors to see what the animatronics are doing.

Floats are considered moving sculptures and receive permits to use roadways that are event by event specific. Floats must gather in a location near the beginning and end of the route which takes a lot of logistics. Most parade organizers hire professionals to inspect floats prior to their use to avoid injuring an operator, passenger or observer along the route. Of course almost as bad as injury is a breakdown that causes a delay mid route.

As a rule, parade floats aren’t used more than once, although parts are salvaged and reused in future designs. Often floats are viewed before and after the parade in special display locations, before being towed back to the place they were built so they may be dismantled.

There is a National Memorial Day Parade that takes place along Constitution Ave.

April Fools & Cars

Andy Bunch

We take cars very seriously around here, but the rest of life we take with a grain of salt if at all possible. 

So on April Fools Day we need to dig deep and find some ways you can prank each other without wrecking someone’s pride and joy…and if possible avoiding any bodily harm is also a bonus.

Invisible Box

This first one comes to us from and requires a touch of acting ability. It’s called the invisible box.

Creepy Rear View

Valley Honda has something at least as new as back up cameras. You get a creepy photo and tape it over the back up camera. Not directly on, you need enough space for light to get in and get a little of the image into view. The picture below is Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. 

Selling their Car

For this next one we go back to the crazy’s at Lets watch them put for sale signs on someone else’s car. 

You Got Wrapped

There are a dozen variations of this next prank, it’s not too original but sometimes the best pranks are when you take an original and make it your own. Here are some fun pics of people’s cars that were wrapped or covered in various materials (because these days who’s going to use TP, right?). Brought to you by

Overflow brings you another classic, especially if you’ve seen Jimmy Kimmel. It’s called overflowing objects, and the idea is to fill your friends car with gold balls, ping pong balls, or packing peanuts. Whatever you can get your hands on that won’t stain or break anything. The goal is to put your friend in a position to have to open the door and let it all flow out. 

Here’s your Sign

Another Classic Category is to write something on the car, or create a bumper sticker (preferably magnetic) that says something clever. If you take on one of these that’s been done a lot, put your own spin on it. Make it new or don’t waste your time. Here’s a few examples.

Forgotten Coffee

This prank is a little newer foam cup of coffee (empty obviously) to the roof of your car, and go for a ride. The trick is finding a way to glue it on without making it permanent. 

The Prize for Best Harmless Car Prank 

But the prize for best new harmless prank in a long time goes to Rayme Sciaroni

on pinterest for this rainbow view. The trick here is to get access to the inside of the car long enough to turn on the window wipers. Then you can simply unwrap some old crayons on a warmish day and watch for the fun when your friend turns on their car. 

As a Bonus

Here’s one you probably need some technical know-how to pull off, but it’s harmless and clever. 

One Last harmless one

Fill some balloons with helium and put them in your friend’s trunk, so that when they open them it all comes flying out. 

What NOT to Do!!!

From Love to Know, here are some great suggestions about what not to do. 

To keep things safe, stay away from the following pranks:

  • Never mess around with a car’s exhaust pipe. The exhaust system is sensitive, and plugging the exhaust pipe can lead to equipment problems or dangerous gas exposure.
  • Don’t put anything but gas in the car’s fuel tank. Foreign substances will damage the vehicle.
  • When pulling pranks on the outside of a vehicle, be careful what you put on the paint. Sticky substances and acids can damage a car’s paint job.
  • If you do anything with the car’s interior, be sure it won’t cause permanent damage or stains.

Okay One Last Bonus

If you have extreme technical knowledge…