It’s been a stressful couple of weeks. I’m commuting halfway across the state 2 days a week for a fire academy course. In between, we’ve had our big state ambulance inspection at work. Sebastian’s health is declining, and we fear the end is near. It would be easy to be frazzled or depressed.
The bus is back from the shop however. It originally came to us with a mix CD made up of Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis, and the Eagles. We left it in the player for laughs.
The sun was out Monday afternoon, and the bus needed an inspection. I took it for an errand run with the windows down and 1978 blaring from the speakers. It’s impossible not to smile with this view and sixty-five air-cooled horses clattering away behind you.
I’ve decided to sell the TDI back to Volkswagen. We’ve had 5 good years and almost 80,000 miles together. It’s half as long as I had planned to own it, but the buy-back offer is too good. I will never see as much money for it from any other source.
Many people would use the money as a down payment on a replacement and take out another loan, but not me. I own the VW outright. I intend to pay cash for its replacement, no matter how long it takes. The cash will go in the bank for now.
Without the VW, we will be left with only one winter car. Snow tires for Mrs. Mack505’s Cadillac cost more than a good used car. Even with good tires, I fear the CTS-V would be as nimble as Wile E. Coyote on rocket skates in the winter.
I need a tank. I shopped, and thought, and shopped some more. I started haunting Craigslist, and I found this:
Sherman is a 1996 Volvo 850 with a 5-speed manual transmission. If you account for inflation I paid less for it than for my first car, and I love it! I grinned like an idiot the whole way home.
Sherman reminds me of what we have lost with modern cars. There is no Bluetooth, no traction control, no trip computer. The single LCD display tells the time and temperature. All of the controls are manual. You can turn the DRLs on and off. You have to unlock the doors with a key. (gasp!)
It still features power windows, ABS, airbags, and an air conditioner that works better than our new ones. The previous owner did all of the important maintenance and added an iPod input. I haven’t driven anything else since it came home.
All for less than the cost of a set of snow tires, and it came with an extra set of snow tires!
I had high hopes for my 203-i. On paper it looks like a great camera. My first experience was otherwise, but it got better.
My gripes are small, but they kept me from enjoying the camera. The leather case is thick enough that it casts a shadow on the film windows, making accurate film advance difficult. I did find this to be less of a problem in more subdued light. The lever actually feels odd on this type of camera. I wanted to advance until something told me to stop. Nothing did.
I left the camera partially exposed for over a month. When I took it up later to finish the roll, my experience was much better. I removed the case and had no problem advancing the film properly. The whole experience just felt better without the clumsy case.
This one will be revisited soon.
On October 11, we took the bus for a day with our fellow VW nuts (enthusiasts!) at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. Although named for the iconic buses, VW’s of all stripes were welcome.