Saturday, May 15, 2010
Meet our new family member
Well, I suppose she's not actually a member of the family, but she'd sure as heck better be in it for the long haul.
Background: We have a 7 year old van that has served us very well. It has 150k miles on it. Before we left for this long treck we spent quite a bit of money getting our Pontiac Montana running well so it didn't end up breaking down on our trip. Our plan was to drive it back to Washington and then sell it there before flying to Alaska. We hear the trip down the Alcan highway is pretty brutal and we didn't want to subject ourselves to that just yet.
Well, as we have discovered oh so well in this process, our plans really mean nothing and we need to be flexible. On Monday, the van started acting really weird in the Wal-Mart parking lot (does anything good happen at Wal-Mart?) and I didn't even think we'd make it 1/8 mile back home. We had it towed to a local shop where they declared the transmission needed to be replaced. The bid was $3,200. The van is hardly worth that. And since we were planning to sell in 3 months anyway...
Bring on the car shopping! It's fun in theory, until reality sets in. We were heavily disadvantaged being in Oklahoma and searching for an Alaska worthy vehicle that could hold enough kids. I looked and looked for an AWD full size van or used SUV. We would need remote start for sure and the ability to insert a block heater. We quickly discovered that those were not to be found used. I couldn't even get a new van in AWD unless we were willing to wait 3-4 months. We couldn't afford a brand new full size SUV, and the gas mileage is so bad.
After much research and talking with numerous dealers (even up to 3 hours away) about availability of awd or 4wd, they pointed us toward an 8 passenger GMC Acadia. The local dealer here found one available in Texas. We went ahead with getting it and got to pick her up last night. The car drives awesome! It's so responsive and cushy. Not at all like the van. I had to have an instructional talk with the salesman so I could learn how to work the high tech gadgets it came with. It was interesting for sure.
Besides having to purchase a car early, the other change we have to deal with is that we're going to have to make the drive from here in OK all the way to Alaska instead of flying. If we stop in Washington, that makes the trip approx. 4,700 miles. That's a long drive. We're in it for the adventure right??
I think she needs a name since she's not a car, van or truck. What do I tell the kids to go out and get into? Meet the new woman in the family. She'd better be faithful, we're going to put her through the ringer. Our very first new car...