This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Thursday, April 14, 2016


About six months ago, we bought a 2015 Ford Focus to tow behind our motorhome. It was an "end of the year sale" and the car came with just about every bell and whistle that could be crammed into such a small vehicle. Although it is a "keyless" vehicle, one must have the remote “fob” in his possession in order to operate the vehicle. The lock is keyless -- press in a code and unlock the doors. Press it in again to lock the doors. The ignition is keyless – press a button to start it. Press it again to stop it. Almost all of the car's systems, such as entertainment, climate control, communications, and navigation are controlled by touch-screen or voice recognition commands.

We also purchased a 2016 Chevy Colorado truck about six months ago and its controls are similar, but different enough not to be the same. It does have a key and I ordered it without a navigation system so those are two fewer things to worry about. 

The Colorado owner's manual is 396 pages long. The "Infotainment" section is covered in pages 148 to 184. Only 36 pages. But there is a second 113-page book that is dedicated to Chevy's "MyLink Infotainment System." Similar to the Ford Focus, it includes touch-screen and voice recognition controls. I have managed to learn how to program the radio station buttons in the Chevy, but I'm still working on the truck's interaction with my cell phone. 

I hate reading technical manuals. Especially when I don’t understand them. Having ADD means that I have a shorter attention span than most people, even though I take some really good medicine for it. At 454 pages in length, the Focus owner’s manual is like trying to read War and Peace, except it is written in technical-ese rather than English.  It takes page 274 through page 400 (only 13 more total pages than the Chevy Colorado) to cover the audio system and two things Ford calls “Sync” and “MyFord Touch.”

The Ford audio system (covered in pages 274 – 290) includes auxiliary inputs and USB receptacles for multimedia devices, CD player, an SD memory card input, and the Sirius/XM/AM/FM radio.

“Sync” (pages 291 – 328) is a hands-free voice-recognition system for the “in-vehicle communications system” (phone, mp3 player, text messaging, etc.).

“MyFord Touch” (pages 329 – 400) involves the touch-screen interactions between the phone, multimedia entertainment, climate control, and navigation systems.

I have two Ford smartphone apps on my iPhone. "MyFord Touch Guide" is a simulation of the car's touch-screen, which allows one to practice using it without crashing into someone. "Ford Owner" is a, well, I'm not sure what it's for. I still haven't gotten past the sign-in page.

The Chevy also has two smartphone apps. "OnStar RemoteLink." I can start the truck using this even if the truck is at home and I am thousands of miles away. Wouldn't that freak out a few people! "MyChevrolet" is similar to the "Ford Owner" app. I have no idea what it is used for.

I got the Ford book out today. I was determined to change the door locking code to something other than the factory default. I also hoped to reprogram the radio stations. I have determined that this is not a vehicle for the computer illiterate. I thought I was relatively savvy in using a computer, but this car has me stumped. It's a good thing I like some of the preset radio stations. 

I am told that this is the direction of the future. Soon, cars will not even require a driver. This is how the younger generations are conspiring to keep us old farts off of the roads.


Bill said...

Some car companies are hiring young techno teens to train new car buyers in all the gizmos. Reminds me of cell phones. My wife has a smart phone (smarter than me) that will do everything but flush the toilet. Mine, on the other hand, rings and I answer it. That's right at my techno level.

Croft said...

I think I will keep my '89 Honda. It needs a key and everything!

Lonnie said...

I like the idea of the way you compared the two as I am more a Chevy fan than a Ford fan. I would still be interested to learn about Ford apps and what they can do in case I decide to go with a Ford when we do car shopping this month so appreciate the comparison to the two.