TodayApril 15, 2022

Honda dream garage on Driving the Nation

When Honda brings out all its products you not only can drive them, you can run your whole house and yard with them.

Besting Daniel in the go-kart, ready for F1
Besting Daniel in the go-kart, ready for F1

Yesterday we went to the adult playground called Pacifica Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe. A ranch is a misnomer; Mansion is more like it. It’s completely at home in Ranch Santa Fe, next to all the other “ranches”. What is lovely about this place are the owners. The owners also own Lake House Resort at Lake San Marcos.

Talking to some of the people on the property I found out that they had adopted eighteen children from around the world and were not at the ranch because they were in Mexico building an orphanage.

But Daniel was there. Daniel is a young kid, who with his Father Brian ran the go-kart track for us. Honda even put a $20 spot on the table saying that there was no way that we could beat Daniel at go-carting.

That was fine, I didn’t think I had a chance of beating him anyway, but I hopped on the Honda go-kart and Brian pulled the line like a lawnmower, and the engine started. Daniel was in front with his low-slung lawnmower, I mean go-kart, and I followed behind. A couple of warm-up laps around the track and I’m sticking right behind Daniel thinking I’m so cool, knowing that any minute he is going to start pulling away, but then he pulls over, “something is wrong with my go-kart. Go ahead and keep going around.”

Now, I’ve watched F1 races, something else Honda is in, long enough to know that if you start a race and your car fails it means the other guy is on the podium. So, I’m thinking somebody owes me the $20 they bet that no one could beat Daniel. Just saying…

Honda sells the most engines of any company in the world. In 2015, Honda sold 28 million engines globally! At the Honda Dream Garage, I could have bought one of everything Honda had on display! My favorite was the fuel-injected 7000 generator that you can start with a key. It is so much quieter and more fuel-efficient than my old generator it’s embarrassing. Thankfully the 7000 is $4,499…a bit out of my budget, but certainly an item worth keeping my eye on as a future buy.

I turn the corner, and there’s a lightweight four-stroke weed whacker.

Honda's four-stroke weed whacker.
Honda’s four-stroke weed whacker.

It was only $349 which I thought was very reasonable. I have an old rag by my weed whacker because it’s a two-stroke, and you have to mix the fuel and oil at just the right ratio.

I already have a Honda-made self-propelled lawnmower. I’ve owned it for five years and love it, though it took some coaxing from my husband to give up my old Briggs and Straton because I loved that engine and could practically take the whole engine apart by myself.

Half the time I’m not really mowing my lawn, I’m vacuuming it. In the wintertime, there’s not a lot to mow, but the leaves are so thick on the ground I get my mower out and start vacuuming them up in the bag.

The one mower I wouldn’t get is the Mimo. Mimo cuts the lawn for you. You put a line down, similar to the dog property line that keeps dogs in their yard without a visible fence. Mimo stays within that parameter and acts like a Rumba vacuum cleaner. When Mimo is finished, it goes back to its base, a plugless charger. I’m old-fashioned though I like to get my steps mowing my lawn. There’s something therapeutic about walking my property looking for gopher holes.

Honda's Mimo - somewhere between a lawn mower and a Rumba vacuum cleaner
Honda’s Mimo – somewhere between a lawnmower and a Rumba vacuum cleaner

Lots of automatic-start entry-level motorcycles to ride including the cute little Grom. A snowblower that people in California just don’t need. I mean, really, I need a generator more than I need a snowblower.

But my favorite was the unicub. Completely frivolous, but so much fun. Think of a Segway where you move your body to indicate which way you want the machine to go, but you are sitting down. Here’s a video of Stretch doing doughnuts in his biker leathers on a unicub.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.