I've heard that some things are more satisfying if you have to wait for them. If you make it all the way through this post, you can tell me whether this is one of those things.
When I was 20 years old I decided to move where the need was greater. I decided I would buy a camper so I wouldn't have to worry about where to live. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn't be dissuaded.
To hold my future camper I bought a 3/4 ton pickup truck. It was a Ford, it was 14 years old, it got 6 miles to the gallon, and it developed an exhaust leak that cost me a lot to fix. Interestingly, my motorhome has a Ford chassis and also gets 6 miles to the gallon. The dials and controls look almost exactly the same as they did on my '76 pickup. But I digress.
After about a year I realized that it wasn't Jehovah's will for me to live in a camper, so I sold the truck and camper and cut my losses. It turns out housing was very affordable where I was moving because it was such an economically depressed area.
Those things don't seem all that long ago. I've discovered time really flies if you stay busy.
I don't buy cars all that often. I like to get a vehicle that will run well for a long time and doesn't need much maintenance. Then we usually drive them until they don't run anymore, or are very close. It's my frugal nature. We do take good care of our vehicles though, and of the three or four that we've driven all the way until they died, all of them were in such good shape other people fixed them up mechanically and either drove them or sold them. Digressing again...
Since we like to keep a vehicle for a long time and I'm not overly fond of working on them, we usually try to thoroughly research before we purchase. My last three vehicles lasted us 14 years, 8 years, and 3 years respectively. I hope and believe the last two will continue to run well for several more years for my brother and his wife.
As we neared our destination we knew we would need a vehicle other than the motorhome, but we didn't have a lot of time to shop around and no time for research. We spent the day in Newburgh Monday, since it was the last non-small town we would pass through before we were finished. My advice is, don't buy a vehicle in Newburgh. The prices and selection aren't great. I've heard since that there are better places to buy a vehicle here. But we had just one day.
We started the day early by looking at a vehicle we thought was being sold by a private party. It was a 2005 Camry and it was priced below book. The guy selling it drives a tow truck and it turns out he sells a lot of vehicles. That made us nervous about buying from him, but at least we had something to compare everything else with. Few of the dealerships had anything we wanted and the one that did wouldn't bargain with us. Oh well. But I couldn't stop thinking about the Camry. Toyota makes cars that tend to last a long time. I decided buying an old one might be a risk, but it would be a less expensive risk than buying a newer used car on impulse. It just so happened we found a 2003 Camry online that was only 20 miles away, in a picturesque but much less populated place called Haverstraw. The car had been sitting for months and the price we paid was slightly more than half the original price they'd been asking. Probably because it has an exhaust leak. Did I mention it's 14 years old? But the similarities to my old Ford pickup pretty much end there. For one, this car gets much better than 6 miles to the gallon.
You've made it this far because the headline made you expect something interesting, right? I'll try not to disappoint.
We'd owned the car a couple days and were on our way home from Wednesday night meeting. The girls decided to stop at the store and I waited in the car. Julie realized she'd forgot her wallet and texted me to come in and pay. So I unlocked the door and started to open it. Beep, beep!
Yes, it was the car alarm. I was in the back seat because Jaden likes to drive and Julie likes to ride shotgun, and I don't care where I sit. But my options were limited. I couldn't reach the front, and I'm not sure it would have mattered if I could have, so I got out my key fob and started pushing buttons. I pushed and pushed. Beep, beep!
By this time I'm getting a little worried and wondering what to do next. I couldn't seem to open my door. Apparently the car has some kind of security lock that prevents you from unlocking the doors while the alarm is sounding. I can tell you now, I'm even less inclined to break into one of these than I would have been before.
I'm starting to feel a little unsettled at this point so I start pushing buttons even more frantically. Besides the lock and unlock buttons there are two other buttons that I had no idea what they were for, so I started pushing them too. Suddenly the alarm stops, to my relief....
And the engine starts.
There's something about panic that alters your sense of time, so I don't know how long it took me to realize exactly what had happened, but I do know it took me exactly two minutes to get into the store to pay for the groceries. Because Julie sent another text after the first one asking when I was going to come in, which arrived just as I was walking in the door.
It took me far less than two minutes to figure out what was happening, but in that moment after the car locked me in and yelled an electronic version of "I've got a thief trapped in my back seat!" and the engine started, I very briefly had the feeling I was being kidnapped by a car. If it had gone into gear and started driving me to the police station I don't think I could have been more surprised.
By now you've probably figured out what I realized a split second after I thought my car was kidnapping me. That's right, my car has a remote start capability. On cold days we could start the car from inside a warm house and let it warm up before we get in it. Or we can use it to startle our passengers. In any case, it's a great feature, but normally it's better to know about these kinds of things before the purchase.
Buying used cars isn't the same thing it used to be....