Retro Family Road Trip Games…No Electricity Required

family road trip hands It may seem hard to believe but back before the Dawn of Digital, parents kept their kids entertained on long drives to Disney, Yellowstone, Ocean City, and Sesame Place without the assistance of built-in DVD players, cell phones, iPads, video game consoles, and the like. Impossible, you say?

It’s not only possible (after all, our parents and their parents managed well enough), but we highly encourage it as a way to unplug from the constant electronic stimulation in our lives and engage with loved ones.

Why not use your vacation trek as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your family – instead of as isolated icebergs who just happen to all be sharing a vehicle?

Here are 10 ideas to keep your kids occupied en route to your destination – no electricity required.

  1. I Spy: So simple, yet so entertaining. One person picks something from their surroundings and the other people in the car has to guess what that thing is. The person picking the object says to the group “I spy with my little eye something” that’s a certain color (e.g. “I spy something with my little eye something that is blue”). Whoever correctly guesses what the other person spies gets to go next. You can limit the items to what’s in the vehicle or make things a bit harder and play I Spied, selecting items that you’ve already passed.
  2. The Car Next Door: Take turns inventing stories about the people in the car next to yours. Where are they from and where are they going? What do they do for a living? What’s their favorite food? Get really specific, giving them names, hobbies, pets, and so on. Take a vote on whose story is most fascinating.
  3. License Plate Bingo: Every passenger gets a bingo card with different state license plates (check Pinterest for some free templates). Players cross off a square when they pass a state license plate; whoever gets 5 in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally first wins the round.
  4. 20 Questions: One player thinks of a famous person, place, or thing (you can pick a theme for the group if you like, e.g. famous rock stars). Everyone else getsto ask the player 20 questions, which the player can only respond “Yes” or “No” to. Whoever guesses correctly gets to go next.
  5. Hum that Tune: One person hums the tune to a song of their choice, and the rest of the group has to guess what that song is. If you guess the song correctly, the turn passes to you.Globetrotting car holiday vacation
  6. GHOST: Player 1 says a letter out loud, followed by Player 2, Player 3, and so on, alternating letters to spell out a word (for instance, Player 1: C, Player 2: L, Player 3: 0, Player 1: S, Player 2: E). Whoever cannot avoid finishing off the word (Player 2 in the above scenario) gets a “G”, followed by an “H”, and so forth. The player that spells out “GHOST” first loses.
  7. Alphabet Game: Players try to see if they can find letters from highway signs (excluding license plates). Whoever can complete the alphabet first wins.
  8. I’m Going on a Picnic: This alphabet-based memory game starts when the first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” followed by something that begins with the letter “A” (e.g. apples). The second player must repeat what Player 1 said and then add something that begins with a “B”. The game continues through the alphabet with each person repeating everything that has been said in order alphabetically. If someone forgets, they are out. The game ends when the alphabet is completed.
  9. Spot the Car: This is a fun version of a scavenger hunt for families with older kids. Instead of looking for different license plates, see if you can spot different car models. You can find a printable game sheet here.
  10. Journey Journal: Buy cheap journals (or use plain notebooks or create your own journal easily using construction paper, a hole punch, and yarn) and have your kids draw pictures of what they see on the drive toward your destination. You can even bring along some magazines, glue, and scissors, and let them cut and paste pictures into their journals illustrating what they’ve seen along the way (e.g. cars, horses, trees, etc).

So pack your cooler with some yummy snacks, load your luggage, strap your kiddos in, and take this list of fun road games with you. You’ll be in vacation paradise before you know it!

Hoffman Auto Group Sponsored Fidelco’s Ride for Independence

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Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation hosted its 4th annual Ride for Independence on Sunday, July 20, 2014. Hoffman Auto Group and many other caring sponsors, vendors, volunteers and Fidelco staff helped to make this day a tremendous success with over 760 people in attendance.

The Ride celebrates the freedom and independence that Fidelco Guide Dogs bring to men and women who are blind across North America.  Retired Air Force SSgt Michael Malarsie and his “wingman”, Xxon, 2014 Hero Dog Award winner, joined the excitement for the day. Learn more about Michael and Xxon’s story HERE.  His story is one of many lives enriched through Fidelco’s charitable mission of hope and independence for men and women who are blind.

10513531_10152593056438746_2070782851119281075_nOn Sunday, riders and their families met at Fidelco in Bloomfield. Attendees were treated to a K-9 demonstration, great music by the southern rock band SHOVELHEAD, creative Caricatures by Christopher Eastwood and so much more. There were adorable puppies, beautiful Fidelco Guide Dogs in training and highly skilled Fidelco dogs for all to see.

Riders enjoyed a scenic escorted route through the beautiful Farmington Valley in the beautiful summer sunshine. Be sure to check our video showing all of the riders as they departed. If you were riding you are in the video!

Hoffman is proud to support Fidelco, an internationally-recognized leader in the guide dog industry.  They have matched over 1,400 clients have with highly trained guide dogs so far.  It takes two years and $45,000 to produce each guide dog. Fidelco provides life-changing canine partners to its blind clients at no cost. Fidelco also provides 24/7 lifetime service to clients with annual follow up visits. Please visit Fidelco and see how you can become involved and help #ShareTheVision.

Thanks again for a great day! Looking forward to an even bigger event next year!

Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org on Facebook

Photo courtesy of Fidelco.org on Facebook


Stop by the Hoffman Auto Group Facebook page to see photos from the event. More photos will be added over the next couple days so check back frequently and feel free to tag and share any you like.

 

Time to Drop the Top, Connecticut!

2014 Nissan convertible32014 Nissan convertible2

Tis the season to soak in the summer sun and enjoy a scenic drive with the top down, the music up, and your sunglasses on!

Today’s Convertibles are Better than Ever

Not your parents’ convertibles, today’s models offer great highway mileage, a variety of hard-top and soft-top options, improved safety, better durability, season-round comfort, and additional luxuries, like sleek iPod interfaces, keyless start systems, and convenient Bluetooth capability.

 

2014 porsche boxsterAccording to Consumer Reports, modern convertibles “come with fewer compromises than the ragtops of yore”. Hardtop models now offer better insulation from the noise and weather, increased interior security, and improved visibility, while soft top options boast better insulation and now come with a durable glass rear window, instead of (once popular) “flimsy, scratch-prone plastic windows”.2015 audi TT convertible

Present-day convertibles are more rigidly constructed and can shift from open to closed (and vice versa) in the space of 25 seconds – so your driving experience isn’t dampened in the event of a rogue summer shower!

Comfort All Year Long

2015 Audi convertibleFord Mustang Convertible CTToday’s convertibles also offer features that make them more attractive for both top-down driving and year-round travel. Edmunds.com reports, “Many convertibles now provide wind deflectors that are placed behind the front seats to help keep turbulence down to a minimum while driving”. What’s more, almost all convertibles come with heated and cooled seats to keep passengers comfortable through the sun-kisseddays of summer and into the cooler months, as well as sun-reflective leather upholstery to prevent interior wear and tear.

Blue, black, grey, white, or red – one of our convertibles will take you where you need to go in style, comfort, and safely. Check out our full inventory list of convertibles and cabriolets – then take a cue from The Cars, and let the good times roll!

See the Cabriolet convertibles at Hoffman Auto

See more convertibles available in CT here

 

 

 

 

Protect Your Pet: Avoid the Perils of a Hot Car

We all know our cars can heat up something terrible in the summer months, but it might shock you to learn just how quickly a parked car’s internal temperature can skyrocket to hazardous levels.

You may think that it’s safe to run into the grocery store for just couple minutes, leaving your pet poodle Roxy in the backseat with the windows cracked, but think again. A few minutes in a hot parked car can spell peril and even death for your beloved pet.

This Vet Simulates Conditions for Dogs in Hot Cars

In 2012, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, posted a video on YouTube personally testing how quickly a parked car heats up on a typical summer day. Within 30 minutes, his car shot up from an already sultry 95 degrees to a dangerous 115 degrees. Though all four windows were cracked an inch and the outside breeze shook the trees around him, the air inside remained still.

Dr. Ward was almost instantaneously drenched in sweat and feeling sick from the intensely stifling heat. However uncomfortable he was, as a human he still had two big advantages over, say, a dog trapped inside a sweltering vehicle:

1. Dr. Ward was not covered by a thick coat of fur

2. Dr. Ward had the ability to regulate his internal heat through perspiration.

What Happens to Dogs in Hot Cars?

With only the ability to pant, your pet can suffer from heatstroke or death in the space of mere minutes in similar conditions. A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees, and can therefore only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage, or even death (RedRover.org).

In fact, even on a seemingly mild day, an enclosed car can have fatal consequences. In a Stanford University study, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees in less than an hour on a 72 degree day. And other studies have shown that cracking car windows in reality has little effect on internal temperature.

Small Dogs have Bigger Risks

According to PETA, every year dogs die from heat exposure, though there are no exact statistics because most cases go unreported. Though small dogs and those with compromised health are at greatest risk, even the healthiest animals can suffer from the effects of a sizzling summer day. An estimated several hundred pets suffer this slow, unbearable fate every summer – due to owners’ lack of forethought and understanding of inadequate ventilation in hot parked cars.

If you see a pet in a hot parked car, get help right away. Take down the car’s color, model, make, and license number, and have the owner paged in the nearest buildings, or call the local humane authorities or police. If the animal appears to be in imminent danger, or is exhibiting any of the below warning signs of heat stroke, take steps to remove the suffering animal from the vehicle, find a witness to back up your assessment, and wait for authorities to arrive.

Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes. Don’t risk your pet’s safety for even the smallest errand– the consequences could be deadly.

Heed the warning signs of heat stroke:

Restlessness
Excessive thirst
Thick saliva
Heavy panting
Lethargy
Lack of appetite
Dark tongue
Rapid heartbeat
Fever
Vomiting
Bloody diarrhea
Lack of coordination

hot car infographic

 

Travel Accessories for Dogs

Connecticut driving with dog, parks

“Let’s GO already!”

Dogs make great companions for traveling.  But it’s important that they are secure in the vehicle before you set off.  In addition, to be able to enjoy the trip with abandon, a seat or cargo cover will protect your vehicle from unwanted mud or dog hair. Check out these great accessories that will make the trip more fun for all involved.  And, if you are looking for someplace special to go, check out this post on dog parks and dog friendly destinations in Connecticut.

Before you can begin your journey with your dog, you need to get them into the car:

Dog Ramps  

Is your dog too large to pick up?  too small to reach the car ? too old to make the jump? Consider a dog ramp to assist in getting them safely in and out of the car.  Dog ramps  help pets, generally, to maintain quality of life if suffering from dog arthritis.  Pet owners alike appreciate the strain it takes off them when handling a pet.

For maximum value, look for these features:

  1. Easy handling - Remember, you’ll be toting the dog ramp before setting it up. It needs to be lightweight enough for you to work with easily. Also, make sure it has a handle. It may seem like a simple feature, but it ensures single-hand, convenient carrying.
  2. Strength - Look at the dog ramp’s weight capacity. Make sure it’s rated for your pet’s size. If the ramp is not rated for at least a couple hundred pounds, it’s probably not constructed very solidly.

  3. Safety - Safety features are an absolute must, for you and your pet. Look for front and rear stabilizer lips or non-skid feet to dogramp2keep both the dog ramp in place and your pet secure. Look for side railings to stabilize the ramp and prevent falls. 
  4. Traction - When loading a pet into a vehicle in wet or icy conditions, the dog ramp must have adequate surface traction to prevent your pet from slipping. This ensures confidence when your pet uses the ramp. Keep in mind, if he begins to slip he’ll be reluctant to cooperate. 
  5. Compact Storage - A telescoping or folding model is ideal. They slide open easily without hardware and fold back just as readily for space-saving storage in the cargo area of your vehicle or in a small closet in your home.

Seat Belts

Everyone needs to buckle up, and the dog is no exception.  A restrained dog keeps everyone in a moving vehicle safer.  There could be some pretty horrific injuries resulting from a dog being unsecured in a vehicle when an accident occurred. Using a safety harness is a relatively cheap and easy way to protect dogs and the human occupants of a car in the event of a sudden stop or accident.  When considering a harness system, make sure the one you are looking at has been tested specifically for your dog’s weight and size.  Also, make sure there is adequate restraint to prevent the dog from being propelled into and causing injury to an adjacent human occupant.  Lastly, look for one that has an adjustable tether so that the dog may be properly restrained.

sleepypodAccording the Center for Pet Safety, the 2013 top performing harness brand was Sleepypod Clickit Utility.  It solved multiple functional performance issues identified in other harness brands.  Specifically, it:

  • prevented the launch of the dog off of the seat for all 3 harness sizes tested.
  • substantially reduced rotation of the test dog during testing.
  • offers a 3 point connection, improving the overall functional behavior of the harness.

Additionally, the Sleepypod Clickit Utility design includes planned energy mitigation elements to help absorb energy from a crash and reduce the forces on the dog.

Seat Covers

Seat covers can serve a dual purpose, they can make the ride even more comfortable for Fido Fidelco-2012-Fundraiser-Hoffman-Auto-dog-hammock-winnerand they can help keep your seats and/or cargo area clean from excessive unwanted fur.  Car seat covers are an excellent investment if you want to retain the value of your vehicle and keep it looking clean. Mud and dirt on your pet’s paws are less of a problem when you can simply remove the cover and shake it off or throw it in the washing machine.  They come in a variety of materials, including quilted suede or faux leather.  If you live in a cold climate, consider this microfiber suede hammock with a thermal core that reflects your pet’s body heat back to warm without electricity.  Cargo covers similarly allow your pet to ride in your SUV’s cargo area with full reassurance it will stay clean and dry. Select a durable cargo cover to protect the cargo area from pet hair, muddy paws, dirt, odors and more. Without it, you’ll spend hours trying to keep your pet’s riding area clean. With the protection of a cover, however, you simply machine wash it to remove dirt and odors