Monday, April 16, 2007

#165 - The Deed is Did

Every 10 years or so, we Woodys feel a sudden urge to go out and buy another car, just for the heck of it. Mrs. Woody started it with her '84 Honda Accord that has alternately frozen in the snows of Utah, and baked in the desert of Arizona before settling in the more moderate climes of Southern Cal.

The Accord was our main courtin' car. We went everywhere together in that car that had faux sheepskin seat covers, and felt roof-liner material hanging down in long peels from having been cooked in Mesa's 150° winters. Once upon a time it had air conditioning, but it had been subjected to Manny, Moe, and/or Jack. The A/C died long before Mrs. Woody and I caught back up with each other. This car has served us well for many years.

Once Mrs. Woody and I realized that we would be starting a family with a 10 year old 2-door Honda with no air conditioning, we decided to bite the bullet and go shopping for a practical "starter" car for our new family. The Saturn fit that bill. We bought the Saturn based largely on the reputation it had garnered as a smartly-engineered car that had a terrific service infrastructure behind it. While all of that was true, it was also one other thing: gutless. Another four-cylindered automotive wonder. (I wonder how we're gonna get up this hill? I wonder if this window will ever get unfogged? I wonder why rain water always drips down into the trunk?)

It, too, has served its purpose. I also have to admit that, for all my complaining of its having the energy of a popsicle on a Phoenix sidewalk, it has been a relatively trouble-free vehicle. We have had many wonderful family trips and vacations in that car, and it has long-since proven many of its selling points. For the record, if you're ever driving a Saturn up around the Jackson Hole region of Wyoming, and you find yourself being escorted through a construction zone in the mountains, and a deer comes suddenly bounding up out of a river gorge, jumps a barrier, and body slams the side of your vehicle, the door panel will pop right back into place, just like the sales slug said it would. The deer, obviously on Ford's payroll, was fine.

We have, however, outgrown the Saturn. The Accord is gathering dust in our carport since acquiring some sort of rheumatoid electrical short and hasn't been driveable in several months. So, it was time to go looking.

I've actually been looking seriously into this matter for a couple of months now. It's the Dad in me. If the internet had been around when I was a kid, my Dad would likely never have left the house voluntarily as a result of researching everything he could find on a topic about which he'd already made up his mind. Then he'd go to whatever seller had the item he was researching, make a surgical purchase, and get the heck out of there with a minimum of fuss. That would have been my Dad's way. To that extent, I'm a lot like Dad. I prefer to have as many facts in my grasp as possible before I go looking for something. Thus I've spent nearly two months now researching minivans of all stripes and colors. Dodge, Kia, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, you name it. One fact became crystal clear relatively early on, and that is that the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna have been consistently ranked 1 and 2 on just about every single car survey out there. This is also why the darn'd things are so expensive. Your average Chrysler drops nearly half of its original value after only about a year, and its reliability scores are tanked.

Thus, when I found a certified, 2002 Odyssey with all the features we needed and only a hair under 30K miles on it, I knew we'd found our car. Once taxes were filed and we knew what we could afford, we made our arrangements to test drive it today, and ended up driving it off the lot about three hours later.

Relatively pain free.

So we are now (once again!) proud Honda owners. We have our Odyssey EX with power doors, room for the wheelchair in the back, and extra cargo room for our longer trips. The old Accord will soon part company as it serves some charity or other. I once harbored hopes of using it for a trade-in, but no one wants a 216K mile vehicle with shingles. So, it will probably be taken to a legitimate chop shop and sold for scrap. The charity is welcome to it.

In the meanwhile, we have a vacation to plan. I think I know how we're gonna get there.

Photos of the actual vehicle!

The upper photo is a better representation of its color. A dark silvery gray is how we would describe it. It's also highly reflective paint, which is why it takes on the appearance of the very overcast sky on the day these photos were taken.

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