Scott's Car is Dead; Long Live Scott's Van
by Scott Hardie on February 12, 2018
The blue Dodge Caliber that I bought years ago has lasted through a lot. It may have suffered a flat tire at one GooCon and a window that wouldn't close at another, but the only major and long-lasting problem with it was a leaky roof. Unfortunately, I live in Florida, where half of the year sees brief but frequent thunderstorms. Kelly and I had way too many mornings where we had to get out the wet-vac before we could drive to work, lest the puddle behind the driver's seat spill over into the front of the cabin and soak our feet. If I lived in Arizona, it would have been a perfect car. But it started to have more and more maintenance issues lately, so even though I badly don't want to make payments on two vehicles at once, it was time to replace it.
Last summer, we bought Kelly a van. Prioritizing long-lasting reliability over other factors, we opted for a Toyota Sienna, but no used models were available in the area, so we went with our second choice, a Honda Odyssey. (The dealership offered us a brand new one for only a few hundred dollars more than the used one we had our eye on, so we figured, why not.) Kelly is a longtime van afficianado, if there is such a thing. Driving to Amtgard events with tons of people and/or stuff crammed in the back is a big part of her life, so she needed the space. Me, I never figured to love vans, but I have grown to love the Odyssey. On the days when I get to take it to work, it's such a relief to be able to load people up in the back to go to lunch as a group, or to be able to stop spontaneously at Home Depot for something large that I don't have to worry about fitting back there. My only gripe about the Odyssey is the front legroom; I'm over six feet tall and my ankles hurt from bending back my feet when we drive long distances in it.
So, I did something I never expected myself to do: I bought a van of my own. I went with our first choice, a Toyota Sienna, brand new this time. It's a similar shade of gray to Kelly's; we didn't pick the colors because we don't really care, but it's a happy coincidence since we've been decorating our new house in various shades of gray. The Sienna is slightly better and slightly worse than the Odyssey in various ways, but the important detail is the legroom; I'm so comfortable driving it around. I've only had the backup camera for a few weeks and it already was awkward trying to back up without one in a rental car this past weekend. The new car smell and feel won't last for long, but I'm enjoying them while they do.
The creator of Funeratic, Scott Hardie, blogs about running this site, losing weight, and other passions including his wife Kelly, his friends, movies, gaming, and Florida. Read more »