Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hasta la vista, baby.

The great sage once noted that life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. This was going to be the spring we went to Spain, tracing my sephardic heritage through Cordoba and Sevilla and peering upon Cadiz and the shores of Morocco. But the old Chrysler van said, "Nay Robert, not so fast..." And after this week, I will be lucky to scrape up enough pesetas for a café au lait.

My Chrysler has a hard 162,000 miles on it. It has been a noble steed and forced to go on many a march beyond its pedigree and any semblance of good judgement on my part. But it has endured with nary a complaint. Lately I have been getting the distinct feeling that it has finally had enough.

I could see the writing on the wall, if I wanted to continue to date the old gal, things were going to start to get expensive. On the heel of last month's pads and rotors I was now looking at a head gasket, broken motor mount, broken manifold screw, possibly warped head, a three thousand dollar transmission module, inoperable left turn signal, power doors that stopped working, etc., etc.. The final straw was the little check engine light that brightened my morning the other day.

Gary, my mechanic delivered me the bad news. Catalytic converter. Chrysler still hadn't released the aftermarket specs. Over a grand without the labor, dealer item. The die was cast. She had been great but she was now long in the tooth and it was time for me to find a new ride. I wasn't putting another four k into this tired old beast, no matter what good times we may have once shared.


I got on line. This model van, with its stow and go seat technology is a must for my business. The Dodge packages were about 5k under their commensurate Chrysler counterparts so I started looking in that direction.

Color was a factor. Living way out on a dirt road, I was not going to do blue again. I get enough crap about having Fallbrook's dirtiest car. I thought about a gold or tan color. Well guess what the worm has turned, Rip Van Winkle. Today's vast color palette offers you a choice of carbon, graphite, charcoal, silver or basic gray. Plus one or two others quite inconsequential. Gold is outré passé. Who knew?

I found a car I thought I wanted at Bob Baker in Carlsbad, about 4 g's under the competition and started crunching numbers with Kurt. Sorry, he tells me, no rebates on the AVP or American Value Package which stands for totally stripped down. The Sx ( read sex?) package has a nifty minivan trade in and another dealer rebate bringing the thing down another $2250.00. We shaved a bit more off and I bought the upgrade with the power doors and other more worldly accoutrements befitting a man in my position. Hope they last longer than the last one.

Truth be told I didn't like how the AVP car drove, seemed to pull and tug a bit. The battery was dead in my car so I couldn't get it until this morning, like the way it drives, nice bluetooth and Sirius package, bit nicer than the Chrysler and a tad more headroom. Engine and tranny supposed to be better as well.


I asked the man about the absence of the cassette deck and the eight track and he laughed at me. He told me that CD's are on their way out as well, this is probably the last ride. Now it is a USB plug in in the glove box and find a twelve year old to explain how it all works. Sigh. Still not totally up on the ipod thing. Have one and never use it.


So when you decide to ask me about the trip to Spain, don't look at me strange when I point to this silver soccer mom wagon on the curb, there's my trip to Spain. Adios. And if you need a Dodge or Chrysler, don't hesitate to ask for Kurt. Pretty square egg and a painless deal.


Anonymous said...

Two words; Consumer Reports.

Anonymous said...

hah, now that youre in a dodge van, children cant be far behind. heheh

Blue Heron said...

Hey killjoy, maybe you didn't get my drift. I loved my van so much I bought another one. I wasn't the van's fault that I brutalized it.