Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The newest 'baby'

We've been really pokey about posting this month, for some reason. We have had a lot going on, I'll admit to that, but we're almost embarrassed that we've only posted a few times and the month is half over!

One of the latest projects, a mission of Dean's, has been to find a vehicle that we could take to Illinois and leave there. We have found that when we fly to Chicago the greatest expense isn't the airfares, it's the car rental! We drove there, this summer, so we had one vehicle for the both of us for the 3 weeks. When we flew up in September we rented a car - to the tune of over $600. Last year, when we drove to Tucson, we towed my Jeep - which is not really convenient. The car dolly rental was over $400., plus the reduced gas mileage - $$$. Since we are planning to travel to Illinois frequently, we decided that maybe it would be a good idea to find a good, used, car to leave there. The added bonus is that we won't have to tow the Jeep again, either. If we drive the van to Illinois then we will still only have two cars there. All in all, a good move. So, with that in mind, Dean started doing some research. This is the first vehicle that Dean has bought since he purchased his '88 van, back in '94!

Dean's criteria for a vehicle was 1) used but in good condition, 2) reliable - we don't want to have to take it for repairs every time we're in St. Charles, 3) something big enough to haul a 4x8 sheet of drywall or plywood, 4) something that he wouldn't hit his head on every time he entered or exited the vehicle, 5) less than $7000. Numbers 3 and 4 on the list put him looking into SUV's right off the bat. After doing his homework he decided that a 2003 Toyota Highlander was exactly what was need for this "job". He found one at a dealership here, took a look at it (but didn't drive it) and decided that he liked it but would rather buy from a private seller. That took him to Craigslist, where he found exactly what he was looking for! The guy is good! He went to look at it, one evening, when I was at work - and immediately gave the seller a deposit. We picked it up from her a week later and have had no "buyer's remorse" yet! The car met all 5 of his criteria, and in fact I was amazed at home much room there really is! Dean has a full 4" of space above his head when he's driving (no knees against the dashboard, like in the Jeep), and yesterday I brought home a queen size headboard, and a chair, in the cargo area - with room to spare! It has slightly high mileage - 123,000; but that's not much compared to the van which has somewhere in the range of 325,000 miles on it! The car is clean, I mean really clean - and the seller had all of the repair invoices from the time she bought it. It does have a few dings, but nothing that is problematic. We've been driving it all over town with no complaints in how it handles. This weekend we'll give it a road test as we drive up to Cottonwood, AZ (near Prescott) to visit with friends and attend an "astronomy themed garage sale". Dean is absolutely loving driving this thing, though he has generously left it home for me to drive on my days off! It will be so nice to have our own car when we're in Illinois....good bye "Thrifty", "Hertz", "Avis", and "Budget"!!!

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