Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just one more twist in my plot before hitting the road.

Part 2 of a 5 part travelogue.
I am composing this text on April 6th (when I should be doing my taxes) a full 3 weeks after my last Wasco run. My body clock is still running upside down and backwards but with the fatigue going away I am well on my way to getting my bearings. The whole world is seeming different.
On March 17th, and the month or three before, I was running on instinct only I think. I spoke about my spiritual side briefly in a February post but that topic really needs it’s own blog. Long story short I allowed my long cultivated rapport with gaia or the universe or whatever you call it to guide me. Like any relationship, my relationship with the universe is a living moving thing. It was happy I was finally moving on and presented me with many options and that feeling that everything that had come before was leading me someplace. Most spiritual practices have stories like this, why should my dogma free one not have one too?

When I bought the 2012 Scion xD in 2012, In the back of my mind I knew it was a temporary arrangement. It was just a feeling. In 22 months I had put 83,000 miles on it. I knew from a few years before when I owned a retired police car that most departments sell them at around 72,000. This is the tipping point when high mileage and wear and tear begin to take bigger and bigger bites out of resale (or trade-in) value. If your particular car is prone to breakdown this is when the breakdowns start to cost more. This is one of those things you get to know from being a middle aged guy who has owned and seen many cars over the years. 

My xD still looked fine. Bright red and shiny. (the right side of the roof was a bit less shiny from having newspaper slid over it a few hundred times, but I kept it well waxed)
I got xD because Scion is a subdivision of Toyota and Toyota is known for their quality. My little car while having a little more style and trim than it’s cousin the Yaris was cheaply made and right away had minor problems. 

  • Little interior lights and knobs and pieces began to break.
  • Little exterior lights too. 
  • The warranty lasted up to 35K. At 37K the knob directing air into the cabin to recirculate or come from outside broke. Taking apart the dash to fix it was going to cost hundred$. It didn’t get fixed. 
  • At less than 10K the brakes started doing the thing where you press the pedal and the whole car shakes. The service manager told me it wasn't covered but fixed it anyway because he felt bad. I just smiled. It wasn't the time to tell him he was a lying sack of . . . Car dealerships, especially that one, don’t give things away. 
  • It happened again at 50K and I paid a shop to install new rotors and pads. 
  • 6 or 8 months ago the fuel gauge stopped working. It read something different every time I looked at it. The sensor, the sending unit, the pump were all one $384 piece. I told the dealer that it might be that something was just dirty or shorted out. The dealer said, even if it was, it cost $87 to diagnose and $200 something to drop the gas tank. They don’t really fix things, mostly they just change out parts, so besides hitting it with an air hose what is it they would do? Install the part. My mechanic is a great guy but the choice was $500 or $600 to fix the #$%^ fuel gauge. Instead I reset the trip odometer every time I went to fill up. A full tank (11 gallons) would get me exactly 330 miles. I found that out the hard way, but only once.
  • Not a problem for me but, 83K mi. means that I put the windows up and down about 50K times each doing delivery. 
The prospect of paying $333 a month for 3 more years for a run down car that was too small to have a smooth ride, did not appeal to me. That thing where you press the brake pedal and the whole car shakes started again. So I went back to the Toyota place and traded the xD for a new Corolla. I didn't tell them about all the xDs little problems. They didn’t ask. I got more for it than I thought I would. I wanted the 40+ MPG version of the Corolla with the 7yr/100K mile warranty in pearl white and a non-black fabric interior since the black fabric of the xD showed everything and stained easily. I’m not a fan of white or silver cars but I wanted to opt for practical this time. They didn't have one. They did have a green one with a black leather interior I was assured was stain resistant. I told the sales guy I had seen it there a month ago and that since he was having trouble moving it that I should get a a few bucks off. It had all those pesky extras like a sunroof that I didn't want.

Ta Da! a new car for my trip. And I am loving it. Even the sun roof. Good thing too at $433 a month for 7 years.

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