Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beep Beep Ribbey Ribbey

After a brief but thorough search, I have a successor to Stella.  I picked up a 2008 Subaru Impreza hatchback this week.  While it is used, it was never sold - it was the dealer's, a "corporate fleet" vehicle.  Not sure exactly what that means, but it has under 10,000 miles and is in great shape.

It seems they've made real strides in automotive features since they built Stella in 1996.  The car is quieter, rides smoother, and the radio even tells you the name of the station you're listening to.  What an age to be alive.  All jokes aside, it is a great little car, just the right size - my kayak will fit on top once I get new adapters for the roof rack, and my groceries fit perfectly in the back.  Also, the engineer in me gets a kick out of the opposed pistons in the flat-4 or boxster style engine.  Much cooler than the more common V or inline arrangements.  Too bad it isn't a rotary...

Jane was good enough to help me when I went to test drive, and then again when I bought the car.  That proved invaluable, as I had never actually bought a car before.  While I did test-drive Stella back in '99, my folks took a look the next day and made the purchase.  They said "We bought it; if you liked it, you can pay us back, but otherwise we like it so much we're keeping it as our second car."  So I never haggled over a car price, never had to assess financing (since the Academy car loan was also taken care of for us, for the most part), never took care of title transfers and such.  I've been getting by on luck and good looks for too long, maybe.

So the new car is in the garage, and Stella was towed to the wreckers this morning.  I've moved all my maps and such into the Subaru, and set my radio stations.  Pretty soon it will actually feel like my car.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Le Car est Mort

The days have been just packed.  I enjoyed two day long meetings down at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren this week, which was awesome.  Well, the part where I heard them test-firing the guns was.  Everything else was somewhat less fantastic.  It ate up all my time, and driving back and forth ate up even more time, and my other project is stuck in the mud, and whine whine whine.

Also, Stella has passed on.  After just over ten years of faithful service, my Saab 900S is no longer viable.  Panamanian running lights, so to speak.  Her transmission is shot, and it would cost twice her blue book value to repair.  So she's headed out back like Old Yeller.

Stella was my first car, and most of the work of buying her actually fell to my parents.  So I've never bought a car myself, really.  I'm concerned I'm going to get taken.  So I'm doing all sorts of research, and trying to figure this out without taking a lot of time - I'm picking up a rental tomorrow, and I'd rather not be in the kickin' Hyundai Accent longer than I have to be.  Though I should keep an open mind - Ryan & Bethany have an Accent, and it seems to be working out for them.

I figure I need something that I can car-top my sailing kayak and load up with my groceries.  It would be nice to have something with a tow hitch, since I already have a hitch-mounted bike rack.  so I'm spending lots of time on the Carmax website.  And USAA, figuring out what kinds of loans I can get.  Super fun, mostly because I love have to deal with things where I have no clue what I'm doing.