Friday, June 01, 2018

Full Circle

I have come full circle.

I didn't buy my first car for myself until I was 21 years old. Almost 22 for that matter. I got home from Brazil in August 2001, but didn't buy a car right away. I spent some time driving an old truck my grandpa was letting us use, but after a while it was time for me to take the next step.

My best friend was a big fan of Jeeps and I thought I liked them too. As a result, I was looking for a Jeep Cherokee for my first car. In that search my brother and I ended up at this little mom and pop used car lot in Bountiful looking at one. On that same lot was this magnificent beast.

I don't know what it is about Suburbans that has always appealed to me, but this machine had me at first sight. It was a 1991 with a 150,000 or so miles for only $5,000. It was a steal. I loved driving it, but I probably looked a little silly driving around in a 9-passenger suburban all by myself. All the time.

Of course, for a college student working a swing shift job as a courier for a bank, this was a poor decision. I had rationalized it by saying that the cost of ownership of this would not be substantially more than a Jeep Cherokee. This, of course, is not really true. I mean, some things are comparable. Tires would be the same and gas is close (about 15-17 mpg for the Jeep and 12-14 mpg for the Suburban), but I didn't have the infrastructure to service it. Right after I bought it I got to buy a new rear end to the tune of $850.

In the end, my lucrative monthly income of just under $1,000 per month wasn't enough, even though I only had a $150 payment. I remember planning my trips for the week. I was driving kind of a lot. During this period I was attending the Redwood Campus of Salt Lake Community College and my job was at 3200 West and 2100 South. I had classes and work each day and each week I had enough for those trips which only added up to about 30 miles a day. Oh, and I also had some budget for weekend shenanigans. Of course.

Look man, that 33 gallon tank didn't fill itself (at $1.29 a gallon)!

I took only a single road trip in this truck. A group of us thought we could camp for like 5 days in Goblin Valley. We were so under prepared. It was fun though. That's also the only trail riding I did with it, so that's the only time I was able to take cool photos like this one.

You know how long ago this was? It was long enough ago that I don't have ANY pictures of it that were taken with a digital camera. None. These pictures were taken with my little 35mm Canon Owl which I still own because I can't part with camera gear.

So I bought it around December of 2001 and by June of 2002 I could see that I had to make a change. I bought an ad in Autotrader (when it was a magazine) so all the Joe Dirts in the area could check it out. Finally in December of 2002 I found a buyer and traded over to my 1986 Toyota SR5 Pickup.

Of course, that was the beginning of an odyssey that is only now coming to a close, 15-1/2 years later. I had that truck for 5 years, after which I bought my Land Cruiser which I have fawned over (sometimes to my wife's chagrin) for the last 10-1/2 years.

Truly the only constant in life is change. Everything is temporary, some things just take longer to change.

From time to time (actually pretty often) I can be found perusing the Autotrader (now in .com format) or Craigslist trolling for cars. About three weeks ago I came across this:

Now, I wasn't really in the market for a car, I just enjoy Joe-Dirting it up. but I was taken by the rarity of the package. A 2007 Suburban 2500 with many nice features at a reasonable price with very reasonable miles. If there was a truck out there that could sway me from the Land Cruiser, this was it. A true family adventure wagon.

I've continued my pattern of buying old cars that many people consider past their prime. I feel like I can save money doing this since the purchase price is less and I can leverage my own skills and enjoyment of auto mechanics to maintain a car long past when other stop striving. I got 10 years and 88,000 miles out of a 13 year old Land Cruiser and I believe I can do as well with an 11 year old Chevy.

Do you know anyone that might be interested in an older Land Cruiser that's in great shape? I might be able to set you up.