Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End of the Caravan

The car I have been driving was forced on me but I have become somewhat dependent on it. Eight and a half years ago in May, 2000, I moved to Utah and gave my car to my son in Virginia. I knew I would not walk voluntarily and I knew I needed to walk for the sake of my health. I was moving to a home in a neighborhood where groceries, church, and transit were close enough that I really didn't need a car.
A year and a half passed and I was doing very well. I handled my various transportation needs by riding buses, although now and then I borrowed a car from a family member. In late summer of 2001 I began to care for my parents. My mother still drove, but she was having problems. My sisters decided that it would be better for me to have my parents car instead of taking a couple hours by bus and train to get to their home on Monday mornings after spending the weekend at my home. For their convenience, I agreed to accept the car.
Six years have passed and the car has cost me several thousand dollars in repair including a new transmission. In addition to insurance, registration, property tax, and fuel, I spend a lot more money because I could drive to stores and pick up random items without considering the task of carrying them uphill for a half a mile from the bus-stop.
I expanded my participation in activities including artist groups and I did a lot of home improvements that required a long back deck to carry plywood and other items. I had a hitch mount installed for several hundred dollars so that I could pull a trailer from Virginia.
An accident about 4 years ago did damage to the undercarriage, which quietly propagated as the years rolled by.
Yesterday I took the car into a dealership to have them fix the heater that they have charged me 700 dollars to fix, but never really solved the problem. I also asked them to inspect the car.
They got back to me and said it would require $4000 in repairs to pass safety inspection.
That is more than what the car is worth.
I took an alternative route and had another business inspect the car. There were problems that could be fixed with an expenditure nearer $400. Then this morning my son discovered a rear shock absorber tilted down in such a way that the car couldn't be driven. He said it was a sign.
I finally agreed. With the shock wired to the frame I can drive the car to the salvage yard.


JeejandDinda said...

Oh,that's harsh.
Jeej:Cars often live for so long that we forget that one day they're going to give up on us.
Dinda: We have good memories of going places with you in that car. It's had a good life. You do need something other than a bus to get to Duchesne. But you'll figure it out. Some friends of ours had a tow hitch on a Geo ;)

vtricia said...

Keep us posted on your intended outings and I'm sure we can support your carlessness. I owe you several many favors after this summer anyway.