My car died some months ago.
The precious, precious burgundy 1997 Mercury Sable I had purchased before Napster was even a twinkle in a pirate’s eye.
Many road trips happened in that car. Many moves. Kansas to Minneapolis. Minneapolis to Kansas. Kansas to Columbus. Columbus to Kansas. Kansas to Colorado. Colorado to more Colorado.
It was sheer four-door sedan history. I cried when I sold it. The man who gave me $300 consoled me, but mostly after he told me that it was actually worth $900 and maybe I should do more research before I post things on Craigslist. Never, ever ask me to sell an antique for you.
Anyway, I hadn’t had to make a payment on it in 7 years. It was mine.
I may have had to bang on the steering wheel until my hands turned purple to get the faulty alarm system to untrip, but it worked as soon as that infernal blinking red light went off. And maybe the way it went through right front tires like a kid through a bag of gummy worms wasn’t so great. And, yeah, maybe it squeaked a little at the end.
But it was mine. And I loved it.
Driving it until it died seemed like the most conscious thing I could do, y’know? Maybe it didn’t get gas mileage like a Prius, but it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t care about luxury. Or status symbols. I cared about checking the mail and never, ever receiving a bill for a car payment.
Anyway, it died.
I cried. A lot.
And then we didn’t have a car.
Awesome, right? Now I can really practice being green. Now I can fully embrace simplicity. I can walk to the store (three blocks away). I can take the bus. OR, even better, I CAN RIDE A BIKE. (Note to self: Buy a bike.)
One thing I didn’t take into consideration is that Fiance actually has to work. Five miles away. Uphill. (Both ways.)
And the bus system in Colorado Springs stops functioning at, like, 7:00 pm on the weekdays and they don’t even start the engines on the weekends. Bussing it was not an option.
So, being all poorish (but rich in spirit) and committed to never having a car payment ever again (ever), we did the only thing that made sense: We (why do I keep using this “we” word? It was all Fiance’s fault decision) bought a very old Blazer from one of his friends. For a whopping $1000.
Sounds like a deal, right? A running vehicle for $1000??? That can drive in Colorado snow??? Awesome!
Well, here’s the second part of this story. This Blazer was built when Fiance was 3 years old. This Blazer is from … 1983.
It does run. I’ll give it that. It just doesn’t want to go up steep hills.
No. It REFUSES to go up steep hills. If it sees a steep hill, it plays dead. I’m afraid of even pointing it at the mountains. It would probably just roll over.
And it doesn’t have a working emergency brake.
Did I mention we live in an area with many steep hills? You can see how this would be an issue. All of it.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because I hope you see the irony in the fact that I’m going to the 2011 NAIAS car show and the Ford Driving Green Technology Event.
The good news is: I’ll be stoked to learn all about the cars I should be driving and want to drive.
I will covet. I will salivate. And I will soak it all in.
And, when it’s all over, I’ll come back home and walk to the store.
I was invited to participate in this program by Clever Girls Collective, Inc. in partnership with Ford and Ogilvy PR. Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the 2-day Driving Green Technology event, I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here are my own.
I cried when we sold my first car. It was a 1984 Chevette. Bright yellow. Named Blue Thunder. Yeah, I’m cool like that.
I hope you find something to suit your needs.
You made a wonderful decision to be car payment free!!! We have a 2001 Civic and a 2008 Sienna, both bought new, both paid off and we hope to never have another car payment. Car payments are harsh task master.
I had an ’89 Mercury Sable hatchback in vet school, handed down to me by my parents. Loved that car (even though it looked like an egg). Then, about a month before graduation, some “lovely woman” ran a red light, broke the front axle, and totaled it. I feel your pain. Have fun on your trip!