Friday, January 4, 2019

Rootless: A New Vehicular Mate, Part 1

Having said goodbye to my 1995 Camry, yesterday I brought home my new vehicular mate.

This marriage didn't happen under ideal circumstances. 

One: I was on the road, on the first leg of an extended travel itinerary to my next year's stay out west. This meant:
  • I didn't have the luxury of time to look at all of the area's inventory among dealers and private sellers; 
  • Once I left the area, I'd lose easy access to the seller to rectify any problems that cropped up shortly after I bought the vehicle; 
  • There was an uncomfortable squishiness about knowing/deciding in which state - and how - to title and register the new car - yikes

Two: It had been close to 20 years since I'd bought a car! I was a born-again virgin.

Three: I entered into the marketplace alone, a different experience than I had when buying my used Camry. So no personal advocate, "bad cop," or doubt-soother.

Four: And to speak plainly about it: I didn't bring a dick with me, my own or someone else's. I didn't have a man with me. And, yes, I think that still matters in the car-purchasing world.

Five: In my perfect world, my Camry would have lasted me until the point when I'd decide to live outside the US for a year. This would mean I could defer the purchase of any new vehicle indefinitely.

On the other hand: 

One: I had a past relationship with the dealership I chose to buy my car from. My experiences with the dealership had been positive. Based on my travel patterns in recent years, it is likely I'll return to the area in the future. Furthermore, I have friends who live in the same community as this dealership. I shared this information with the dealership. Consequently, I felt some reassurance that the dealership would deal honorably with me.

Two: In the past 12 months, knowing my Camry's life with me was entering its twilight years, I'd done some research into my next vehicle. My main criteria were:
  • Camping-friendly. In other words, I could sleep comfortably in the vehicle.
  • Good gas mileage. 
  • Hybrid engine - for mileage, but also for interior climate control while camping.
  • Generous cupholders! 
  • Large-capacity cargo space for my annual relocations.
  • Higher ground clearance than the Camry, thus reducing the worries about undercarriage scrapings, etc.
  • Reliability, of course.
  • Affordability.

I dreamed of a Ford Transit for a future life as a full-timer, but ..... maybe some day.

Grounded in more immediate realities, a Prius wagon topped my short list, which also included wagons or SUVs such as Subaru or Toyota RAVs.

So I didn't start my vehicle search totally at ground zero.

Three: Notwithstanding Point Five in the bummer section above, an envie to re-do a road trip to Alaska in the summer of 2020 has been ticking in the back of my mind. To make that happen, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it in my Camry. (Note: My daughter and I took a road trip to Alaska in the early 90s.)

Four: Notwithstanding - again - Point Five in the bummer section, I've come to enjoy my recent pattern of living for a month out of the US as an intermission between two US-based resident years. (See Antigua here and Mexico City here, for example.) Therefore, I felt OK about investing in a car at this time.

Next up: Rootless: A New Vehicular Mate, Part 2

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