At the end of April, I made my way to Tent Rocks. Located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it’s really a fantastic little park. Volcanic activity and erosion have made for a very interesting landscape and hike. The Canyon Trail is 1.5 miles long, one-way, and finishes at the top of a mesa overlooking the canyon. There’s an isolated outcropping that’s great for resting.

I didn’t find the hike especially difficult, but there are places where the path is only as wide as your foot. Also, there is a 630 foot climb to reach the top of the mesa.

Again, it’s really a great place to go; I’ll definitely hike there again. Going in the morning was ideal since it warmed up considerably by noon, and also became significantly busier.

I learned to drive in a manual ’99 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition. My family bought it new, and we kept it until 2008, when the clutch went out. That year, my mom bought a brand new Honda Civic, and my dad gave me his ’99 Toyota Avalon. Both were brown on brown.

The Avalon served me well. I drove it through the end of 2015, then decided it was time for a newer vehicle: something more reliable and preferably more fun. For years, I had been leaning toward getting a German car – probably a Volkswagen or Audi. But now there were some issues with that.

Bye, Volkswagen

After a terrible few years with her Civic, my mom traded in for a 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s fun to drive, sits high, and has a surprising amount of passenger space. But it also had a serious problem with loss of power, the cause of which took some time to discover by both the dealership and Volkswagen of America. Meanwhile, Volkwsagen’s diesel scandal erupted. So now Volkswagen is out; why will I buy a car from a company who cheated on diesel engines and can’t make a reliable turbo gas engine? Since Volkswagen and Audi are owned by the same parent company, Audi’s out too.

BMW or Mercedes

Frankly, I’ve just never particularly liked Mercedes lines. And if the choice is between the smoothness of a Mercedes and the sportiness of a BMW – the latter it is. Plus, I have at least one friend who loves his Bimmer.

So I started the painful process of searching for a car. As far as I can tell, it isn’t easy to find a well-maintained used car, especially where I live. So I started looking online. Lo and behold, I found a 2008 BMW 335i with only 60,000 miles! And it happened to be only an hour from some family in California that we planned on visiting anyway.

I went to see it on a rainy Saturday. It’s a beautiful metallic black, with a beige leather interior, and in great condition overall. At eight years old, you’d expect it to have minor issues like notoriously bad cupholders that need replaced, or droopy adaptive headlights. Before we left, the car was mine. I sold the Avalon once I returned home.

I’ve always enjoyed driving, but never so much. This car really is a blast, comfortable, and has a great audio system. The stiff steering, tight cornering, and quick acceleration make it lots of fun. I’d take it over a new car of a similar price any day.

Apple Music didn’t tell me about this new self-titled album from the people who put on a great show. I had to learn about it through a co-worker who watches Good Morning America. Shame on you, Apple Music. Step up your game.

Anyway, back to the album. Though some songs are catchy, it’s disappointing. The sound I loved so much in concert and on their first two albums has been whitewashed with average pop. Somewhere underneath is their original sound, but it’s pretty well covered up at this point. Apparently Rolling Stone feels even more strongly about it.

Listen to Fitz and the Tantrums on Apple Music.