My recent blog entries have chronicled the various cars that I have owned. This entry brings us up to date.
I was hesitant about buying this car. I, however, looked, and liked. The model we bought was a top of the line CRV with all sorts of goodies. It was good on gas mileage. It was comfortable. It also had the driver sitting up fairly high. This was actually a type of car that Vanessa wanted (a small suv). The only thing that I did not like about the car was that there was a good deal of road noise at highway speeds, and we did take many long trips in our cars. It was also nice to get a car that could haul a lot of stuff around. I eventually gave this car to Emma when she became a mommy and needed to learn how to drive and get around on her own. Before that I put about 75,000 miles on the car with few problems. So, once again I needed a car. This time it was a slightly used BMW.
The BMW was a very nice car. It was luxury on wheels, and actually fast luxury on wheels. Everything was well designed and ergonomically placed. It had a great sound system, and very comfortable seats. And, did I say, it was fast? The brakes, speed, and handling, got us out of at least two accidents that would have otherwise happened. I bought the car as a preferred vehicle. That meant that I got an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty for up to 100,000 miles or three years, whichever came first. This was my car until the 100,000 miles was approaching. I was pretty certain that I could not afford maintaining the car after that point. It was time to enter the world of hybrid transportation.
We ventured out to the Toyota dealership in New Holland, PA, to look at the Camry Hybrid. I was quite surprised to find that the car, in the top of the line model, was every bit as comfortable as my 5-series BMW. It also ran on regular (87 octane) gas as opposed to the more expensive gas recommended for the BMW. Finally, the Camry got in the neighborhood of 40 miles per gallon on the highway and about 36 miles per gallon in city driving. At the time we were making numerous road trips, both to our house in Maine, and to visit with Emma in Lynchburg, VA. Being a new vehicle it came with a new car warranty, and free regular maintenance for the first two years, or 25,000 miles, whichever came first. As I put miles on the car, I discovered a few flaws. First, the front end has a plastic bumper that hangs so low that it catches the curb with some frequency when you are pulling in front first. This has led to a set of cracks on both sides. Second, after about 40,000 miles I noticed that the, at first, very comfortable front seat has now lost some of its support. Otherwise, this car is a keeper, even though I tend to get bored with my cars after a while. New it cost somewhere around $32,000, and I still don’t own the car, but rather share it with the bank.
To settle down my automobile wanderlust I, once again, bought myself a toy. Since I liked my first Miata so much, I decided to take some of my retirement bonus and buy a second car for my “fun” usage. This time, however, I was careful to seek out one with an automatic transmission. This was in response to the “request” from Vanessa that she have the ability to drive the car in the advent of an emergency.
In May of 2013, I took advantage of a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education system wide buyout offer for retirement. I was 67 years old, and had noticed that I was losing the ability to remember the names of all of my students. In addition the Administration kept bumping class sizes, so that we were now often up to 50 students per class. I had in excess of 100 student advisees, and was by this time Chair of the Management-Marketing Department with over 500 majors. The offer was a generous one that included accrued sick days (I was rarely sick during my 25 year tenure), a fixed price healthcare continuation, and an additional payout in excess of $30,000. I searched on line for a Miata with low mileage and an automatic transmission. I found the car in Maine, not that far from our house up there. It was everything that I wanted. We had purchased a new old house in Lancaster, and I created a parking pad in the back yard accessed through the alley that ran behind the house. Vanessa did drive the car from time to time, but never really when by herself. Once again, I did not put many miles on the car. In 2015, Emma was engaged to marry Phil Campbell, and he had taken a job as a rural mail carrier in Lynchburg. He was borrowing her car for his work, and this was not a good situation. It is for this reason that I went car shopping for Phil for a used Honda CRV or Element. Both of these cars had the automatic gear shift on the dash, and this enable the car to be driven from the passenger side (necessary for access to mailboxes along the road). I found a decent 2005 CRV with low mileage and traded the Miata for the CRV that I gave as a gift to Phil. Shortly thereafter they broke up (after six years and three kids). No Miata… No future son-in-law. The parking pad in the rear yard has since been reclaimed for a garden and new fence.
So, that brings to a close the listing of cars that I have owned to date for my personal use.