I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

New Car Shopping

We decided it was time for a new vehicle, the old truck is 11 years old and has only 82,000 miles on it. It's starting to need some repairs and we don't think it's worth putting a couple thousand into something that's only worth that much. Some young guy who can fix it himself will have a great work vehicle. I always felt it was hard to garden if you didn't have some way to haul stuff. But time has taken it's toll on the old truck. Vanity about transportation is not a part of our decision even though the truck looks pretty bad with its dents, dings, and scratches. The clear coat is degrading and makes the old black finish look even worse. Right now, it only gets driven a hundred miles a week, so even the high cost of gas isn't part of this decision. This is my husband's vehicle, you need to know that he doesn't take very good car of his truck. It seldom gets washed or vacuumed. When he was cleaning it out in preparation for selling it, I commented that I didn't know the temperature in Hades had gotten below 32 degrees. John got a big grin on his face, our running joke is the truck gets washed twice a year whether it needs it or not. As with all good things, they get used up and worn out. It's been a very good vehicle but its time to move on.
So we began our dance with the car salesmen. Some are really nice and some are really pushy. When we were younger, we once got trapped in an office and they didn't let us go until we bought a truck. That will never happen again. I make it very clear, up front, that we are only looking and test driving to see what is available and what we might like to buy. Our thinking is we should get something practical, good gas mileage, something to use to shop for groceries and to take the dogs to the dog park. Their hair sure makes a mess in my van. They are cream color so we want something with light the dog hair doesn't show . The truck is a Dodge so we went over and looked at the small Dodge wagon, called a Caliber. It was OK but not as peppy as we expected. The Dodge store is close to our house which makes service easier. My work car is a Pontiac Vibe made by Toyota in Fremont, California. The Matrix is its twin and that's one of our options. It's been pretty economical, I've driven it 30,000 miles in a year. I'm doing some highway and some city driving. I actually get between 25 and 30 miles to the gallon. It's done pretty well. The back end is covered with a rubber mat, the seats fold flat and it would work for us. But I want the side airbags and that is a $600 option if you can find one with airbags. Holy cow, I might take my grandchildren in this car and I want it to be as safe as possible.
The other day, I saw something new in the parking lot at work, it was a Honda Fit. I guess they've been selling them in Europe and Japan for years and just started importing them to the US. It's kind of ugly but the floor folds flat and it has a lot of cargo room. I haven't driven one yet but maybe today. It does have the side airbags as standard equipment.

The next stop is the Mazda dealer. The Mazda 3 looks nice on the Internet but you have to drive a car to see if it fits the bill. I've been haunting to see what the various cars are equipted with, what colors they are and the various safety options and gas mileage.

So we're off to do some car shopping. Any comments or recommendations are welcome. It's been over 5 years since we bought a car. We tend to keep them a long time if they are reliable. Any personal experience with this type of vehicle would be helpful. Wish us luck.


Blogger Gary said...

That red Caliber looks nice.

May 16, 2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger Ciardra said...

mmm. nice to know our safety is a priority in your car buying experience. ^.^ good luck in the car search.

May 17, 2006 2:41 AM  
Blogger Ciardra said...

err, Grandma? i was browsing through Aunt Laurels links and found one to John Polianos (sp?) who says he's part of the family. eh? [i go away for _one_ year and suddenly everything happens...] who is he?

May 17, 2006 2:45 AM  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Good luck on your car shopping...I personally hate car shopping because that means a car payment and I could take a wonderful vacation on what a car cost. I drive a 1991 Jeep Wrangler and I love goes anywhere and of course my husband is a motorcycle man...and he drives an old 7 year old Ford Taurus...but ONLY when he has to, like in a snow storm.

Now...if we're talking new motorcycle...that's a different story.

May 17, 2006 7:28 AM  
Blogger Tomas Dennis said...

Write John Polianos and he will give you the details. It is one of those 1950 stories. Your grandma has his email address.

May 18, 2006 8:26 AM  
Blogger Alipurr said...

hope you find a good one

May 19, 2006 6:14 AM  
Anonymous elaine said...

master gardener,

I guess from the comments that Jane is back. Hope she had a great time.

Let me know what car you choose, ours has about 120,000 on it and soon it will be our turn.

Have you hear about Crystal's wedding, ooh, la, la can't wait.

love, cous, elaine

June 13, 2006 4:27 PM  

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