Car (Buying) Adventures

I started to write an email to Farm Club about my recent car shopping experience and then I realized that I was writing a story.

Today’s adventure is really nothing  out of the ordinary for most people, but for me it takes on epic proportion. Do you know how many cars I’ve had in my life?1973-Camero (1)

1: During the first year of college I got a ’67 Camaro. Too bad I don’t still have that one.
2: White car that I can’t remember right now. (No photos of this one.)

1992-08 camping 1

3: Then there was the big red Ford van. I have many fond memories of that car.

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4: This maroon Safari mini-van was the only vehicle we bought new. I remember that the day I got it I drove to school to pick up Chris and he was shocked when I walked over to this strange van and opened the door. 1998-06-7a

This photo was taken at CNCH (Conference of N. CA Handweavers) when it was held in Grass Valley and Katie and I camped at the fairgrounds.

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5: Although I put about 100,000 miles on it I never really bonded with the ’04 Explorer. I bought it in 2008 and just sold it at CarMax because too many things were falling apart.

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6: I bought the ’02 Ford truck from my son when he upgraded. Dan made the cool box for the back so that I could haul sheep to Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. This is the first (I think) Farm Club road trip to BSG in 2011.

View in the side-view mirror

That trip was memorable for being pulled over to investigate possible sheep-rustling.

DSC_3410We took another trip in 2013 and again in 2015. I still have this truck.

My husband drives my mom’s ’85 Honda Civic and his ’99 Ford truck that he got when his dad moved to Hawaii.

So you can see that we’re not real big car buyers. I needed something in addition to the truck. I mean I really need to have a truck and I didn’t want to keep driving that one because I need it to last. So I started shopping about a month ago and had the proverbial sticker shock. This is embarrassing but we thought that we might spend $10-12,000 on a vehicle. It turns out that would buy me something like I just got rid of . I still need the ability to carry Things and Dogs (3) around with me and we want at least one vehicle with 4-WD so we aren’t limited about visits with our son in the winter or in our own travels…IMG_7976 Explorer stuck…although last Christmas the Explorer wasn’t adequate to get up the driveway. (That could have been because, knowing we were going to sell it, we hadn’t got new tires.)

I revived the hunt two days ago and realized that I needed to keep moving forward this time or I’d have to start all over again. After lots of time on the computer I had finally narrowed it down to a Honda CR-V. I searched through dozens of listings from Sunnyvale and Lodi to Sacramento. Nothing really struck me as the perfect car—what’s with all the black and sliver SUV’s out there? How about a little color? And price was still a big issue—that and the combination of price/mileage. I keep being told that 60,000 miles on a Honda is not like 60,000 miles on a Ford, but still. I wanted to go to the local Honda place to see what they had first. I like to support local business and I don’t like to Drive to The City. There were no 4-WD CR-v’s in the price range, but they asked, “have you tried a RAV-4?” No, I hadn’t. They brought one out and I liked it. But I hadn’t researched it like I had the other. I didn’t know which models had which features, what the extras are, etc. I told the guy that it’s like trying on shoes—even if I think the size 10 fits I need to try the 9 and the 11 to make sure.

So I went home and started researching it. I looked at the photo I took of the specs of the one I drove and realized that it was a 2WD, not 4 after all. By then I was immersed in the RAV-4 world and decided that maybe that really was the car for me. I spent all evening trying to organize the cars I found with year, price, miles, location, and color (still mostly versions of black, white and silver).

I was looking at 2011 and 2012 because I liked those versions. Mileage was mostly in the 50K to 70K range. I really wanted Someone Else to go on this car hunt with me, but that wasn’t happening right now, although my sons both gave me pep talks about bargaining.

This has become a long story. I came home with a car today. Last night I found a 2011 RAV4 with only 21,000 miles within the price range of the others I was looking at. I went to Sacramento this morning, drove it, and made the deal. I got some money off the asking price—maybe not as much as my kids would have but I think that getting 40,000 MILES off was just as valuable. This is not a very good photo but the one I took to show my husband what I bought while he wasn’t there.

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Now I just have to get back to Sacramento to pick up my truck.

 

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4 thoughts on “Car (Buying) Adventures

  1. I have an older CRV that I would have a hard time living without. It’s from the era when the back door opened to the right, not up, and it’s perfect, with a dog grate behind the back seat for hauling sheep of almost any size. Hard to explain that to a mechanic though why it’s so important to keep a car with 250,000 miles on it running ;-). Just imagine trying to hold a sheep in the back with one arm while you try to reach up and pull the stupid back door down (and slowly that that!) with the other :-o. And that’s why they call him Saint Tim ;-).

    • That door thing was one thing that appealed to me with this RAV4. They changed it to the lift-up door in 2013 I think. Although I don’t see myself putting sheep in here for at least a few years, the side-opening door is sure easier on the problem shoulder.

  2. Congratulations on the new vehicle! Love the picture of the old van with Matt, Katie and Chris in the woods!

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