Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


What a difference an inch makes (for packing astro gear)

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 gnowellsct



  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15725
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:00 AM

Due to the totaling of my 2014 Honda Accord (vehicle was parked, I wasn't in it) I have purchased a new one (2019).  It is one inch longer than the 2014, and has 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space instead of 15.8.  


I just packed my astro gear in the new wheels.  It doesn't sound like much but this extra cubic foot (almost) makes a HUGE difference over the 2014. No grunting and struggling to get stuff in.  


From the astro point of view I'm very glad I went with the Accord rather than the Camry.  From the mpg point of view, and probably maintenance, the Camry had the advantage.  But the extra trunk space over the Camry (15.1 cubic feet) was decisive, and good lord, since the 2014's 15.8 cubic feet was always a bit of a struggle imagine how I would have been with 15.1.  To be fair, I used to get all this stuff in my Corolla (13.6 cubic feet), but a fair amount of stuff ended up in the passenger space.  


I am not one of those people who buys a vehicle completely around the astro gear (which would suggest a van or crossover).    Two or three times a month is pretty much what I can do for astro, and often less. I don't want to have to drive an empty 20 mpg vehicle around for the relatively infrequent occasions I have astro stuff.


My totaled 2014 Accord was a smooth and satisfying 6 speed forward manual and I really dreaded moving to a CVT, which I had to do if I was ever going to get my girlfriend to take the wheel on long trips, etc.  But now that I'm in the car with CVT I have to admit it's pretty d*mn good.  The car feels light, drives well, has plenty of power and pickup from a dead stop.  (At least for my needs.)  192 horses seems insane.  I remember drivcing across the country in my 1984 Toyota Tercel, humping across the Rockies with the 60 horsepower engine.  My running around mpg seems to be about 33 mpg, that old Tercel was around 35.  That's amazing considering the Accord weighs about 1300 lbs more.  On a long stretch of highway from Binghamton to Albany with my kid's college gear stuffed into every nook and cranny we got 40.1 mpg which is above the sticker EPA highway of 38.   I'm not going to believe 40.1 till I see it again.  It is true that we had rain the entire trip so we drove 60 mph, which I've heard is optimal speed for maximizing mpg.   When the road is dry I'm known to go faster.   


All in all it's a nice car but I dread the day something goes wrong with the electronics, which you get whether you want them or not.


Greg N





  • StephenW, deepwoods1, rockethead26 and 1 other like this

#2 OldManSky


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1937
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Valley Center, CA USA

Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:41 AM

Sounds like a good upgrade!


I *hate* Honda's CVTs.  Have one in my daughter's 2015 Civic.  Can't stand to drive it.

I went with a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback.  Lots more room for astro gear, golf clubs, you name it.  And a wonderful 6-speed non-CVT manually-shiftable AT :)  In Soul Red, of course...

Enjoy the new ride!

#3 Knasal



  • *****
  • Posts: 1226
  • Joined: 15 Sep 2014
  • Loc: Wisconsin, USA

Posted 21 May 2019 - 12:10 PM

Congratulations on the purchase! Looks like you really thought it out and did what’s best for you. Glad the increase in trunk space is a bigger plus than you thought!


I’d think the electronics are pretty well tested. And these days, so much can be done with firmware upgrades that tinkering with the electronics might not be needed.


Again, congratulations!



#4 gnowellsct



  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15725
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:48 PM

Sounds like a good upgrade!

I *hate* Honda's CVTs. Have one in my daughter's 2015 Civic. Can't stand to drive it.
I went with a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback.

Now you're making me feel bad. :( well not so bad. I test drove a CVT in 2014 and didnt like it. This one surprised me. But the main consideration was the girlfriend. And the space amounts to more than a cubic foot in the trunk I think.

The reason is astro gear has odd dimensions. A little extra space and stuff fits more efficiently. Anyhow I put 92 mm and w 130 mm apos, observing table, toolbox that serves as eyepiece case, accessory box, G11, Berlebach tripod, counterweights,big honking marine battery, observing chair, folding chair, binoviewer in case: all that in the trunk. That's never happened before!

Greg N

#5 JMW



  • -----
  • Posts: 3630
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Nevada

Posted 21 May 2019 - 09:34 PM

I guess I should feel bad about the gas milage of my GMC 2500HD that I purchased to safely tow my Arctic Fox 22G. Fortunately I don't have to drive it far to work. I only fill up the tank once a month when not using it to tow my trailer on trips.


I put a Leer cap on the back and the 78 inch long truck bed keeps my astronomy gear safe and out of my trailer on trips.

#6 Phil Sherman

Phil Sherman


  • *****
  • Posts: 2860
  • Joined: 07 Dec 2010
  • Loc: Cleveland, Ohio

Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:01 PM

Your post reminded me of a long gone car I purchased many many years ago. When my wife and I were looking, we took all of the suitcases we normally took when traveling and verified that they would fit in the trunk. As I recall, we rejected a couple of nice cars because we couldn't fit the luggage in. Ahhh, the joys of being young and childless. Now we're old and childless and I need to get the astronomy gear in the car instead of suitcases.

#7 luxo II

luxo II


  • -----
  • Posts: 1075
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:00 AM

Yup... this was one factor (not the only one) that pushed me to upsize from a Mazda3 to a Mazda 6 wagon. Now all my rig fits in the boot.

Edited by luxo II, 22 May 2019 - 07:01 AM.

  • OldManSky likes this

#8 denny-o


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 555
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2015
  • Loc: hemlock, mi

Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:56 PM

Hmmm, spend big dollars on a vehicle and worry about a couple mpg difference.

The wife drives a car with a 6 cylinder engine. I drive an 8,000 pound tank with a 400hp diesel engine. Now, on a long run (like 2700 miles to Fla. and back) there should be a huge difference in fuel burned.

We went to Fla in December for 6 weeks, with her car. I drive things like I stole them. So it is 80mph as much of the time as I can. (she mostly has her eyes closed while mumbling the Lords Prayer over and over)

The car got 20.9 mpg. Not bad - shrug. (she just rolled out of the vehicle and began kissing the ground)

We went back for another 6 weeks in March, with my truck (taking the new cupboards and cabinets I made for our place - see the old, bald man driving like a maniac in a big red truck :) 

Guess what - 19.9 mpg.      

(miles turned divided by fuel burned for both trips)

#9 cuzimthedad


    Just Be Cuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 5608
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Nampa, ID

Posted 22 May 2019 - 05:48 PM

Congratulations on the new car! You could have posted this in the "You know you're and amateur astronomer thread..." in the OTO forum...


You know you're an amateur astronomer when you buy an Accord over a Camry based on astro gear hauling capacity over anything else!


I bought my '07 Tacoma based on tail gate height for loading my Meade 12" LX200R. You are not alone sir!

Edited by cuzimthedad, 22 May 2019 - 05:49 PM.

#10 OldManSky


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1937
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Valley Center, CA USA

Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:32 AM

Just don't leave your astronomy stuff in that newly-spacious trunk...:)

#11 WadeH237



  • *****
  • Posts: 4757
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Snohomish, WA

Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:34 PM

You are not alone sir!



When I bought my motorhome, a hard requirement was that a Pelican 1650 case would easily fit in the basement cargo area.  At the time, my primary telescope was an Ultima 2000 in said Pelican case.  Fortunately, over the years as I changed my gear, the basement storage area continued to work.  My C14 in a JMI case also fits easily in the basement, and it's the single biggest item.


Unfortunately, I've not only upgraded gear, I've added gear.  A couple of years ago, I bought a cargo trailer for carrying astro stuff.  I mainly bought it for when I use the truck and camper, but it makes packing and unpacking so much easier, that I often use the cargo trailer with the motorhome, even though I can pretty much fit what I need into the motorhome still.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics