Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s The Deal ...

I have a “new” vehicle, a 2003 Dodge Caravan that until today belonged to my wife’s parents. It replaces a 1999 Ford Taurus that had seen better days. I never thought I would own a minivan, much less be excited by the prospect, but I think it is going to be a very good fit for me.

Replacing the Taurus didn’t seem possible until a few days ago. It just wasn’t in the budget. But what a target of opportunity! My in-laws wanted to trade in the Caravan as part of their new car purchase but decided to sell it to me on very favorable terms after they saw how little the dealer was going to give them. Resale on minivans is brutal. In a lot of cases you’re looking at vehicles that were owned by the parents of small children. High mileage and hard wear are typical. Mine was a grocery-getter for a retired couple who kept up with the maintenance schedule. They bought it new and then used it far less than is typical for a vehicle of its age.

Working from home for the last three years, I haven’t really needed a car. The Taurus was our backup, a vehicle used only for short trips around town. Our Toyota RAV4 has been very reliable and my first choice—really my only option—when I have driven to a distant cycling event. But the RAV4 is not very big. With its removable second- and third-row seats, the Caravan has a ton of interior space. I imagine taking it to a race and simply sleeping inside it rather than paying for a hotel or setting up a tent. And it will accommodate bikes, extra wheels, tools, etcetera. No more living out of a footlocker; I will have my own mobile service course.

My employer gives me a lot of vacation time, and the job itself is something I can do wherever I find an Internet connection. Because of their work and school schedules, Maria and the kids have more restrictions. I expect the new vehicle to allow for trips that otherwise wouldn’t fit into the family’s plans—cycling trips in particular. WORS and WEMS weekends just got a lot easier, but I also can contemplate more distant venues. Will I head south for a few days of warm weather before the end of the year? Maybe. Will 2014 will be the year in which I finally do the Ride Across Indiana? How about a multi-day rail trail adventure or a spring training camp? There are lots of possibilities now.

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