There's nothing that says auto enthusiasts can't make New Year's resolutions, too, along with everybody else. So I'll weigh in with some resolutions of my own as 2012 parks itself in our driveway.
First and foremost, I'm resolving to enjoy this hobby of ours even more in the new year. We must remember that old cars and trucks are supposed to be fun; if your part of the pursuit isn't fun, don't do it. Pick up stamp collecting, hiking or something else if old cars are no longer fun.
I'm also going to make a renewed effort to enjoy what I have in the old car hobby. That means digging into my library of old car books and magazines, as well as a sizable model car collection. It's always nice to acquire more books or models but I'm pretty well fixed when it comes to transportation mementoes and am going to be satisfied with what I have.
In 2012, I'm going to make more of an effort to attend swap meets, cruise nights and car shows. I'd like to scout out more auto museums and car collections in the area. That's where the enthusiast's flames are fanned and kept alive.
This also would be a good time to resolve to enjoy the hobby more with fellow enthusiasts. We are drawn together by the vehicles we admire -- but it's the people who bring the hobby to life. Share your feelings with like-minded enthusiasts; it adds a whole new dimension to the old car hobby. I'd love to take more "test drives" with old car owners in the year to come. And I want to thank these people more for sharing their prized possessions with us.
Actually there's an ulterior motive to getting out and about more in the coming year -- I need the exercise. I need to walk off all the Christmas goodies I enjoyed during the holidays. The massive auto swap meet at the end of January covers the entire Stanislaus County Fairgrounds complex in Turlock and you can easily walk several miles without even trying hard. The same holds true for some of the indoor car shows coming up, along with the cruise nights. Besides talking the talk, I need to walk the walk.
Another great 2012 resolution would be to continue the philanthropy we've seen with recent car shows. When a particular cause benefits from our participation in a car show, everyone wins. Let's keep it up.
I'm also resolving to take better care of our rolling menagerie, the faithful sport utility vehicle that's celebrating its 10th birthday in 2012, and the smaller sedan that's turning 25 years old. They deserve more frequent oil changes, lubrication, fully aired tires and a bath now and then.
Taking care of our cars also means renewed efforts to be a better, more responsible driver. Driving isn't getting any easier and it pays to be more respectful of the motorists sharing the road with me.
Let's hope 2012 is a rewarding, fulfilling year in the old car hobby. Keep the shiny side up and enjoy the ride.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.