Goodbye, Old Paint - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

February 5, 2021

Goodbye, Old Paint

I omitted a small detail from yesterday’s post.  On the freeway about five miles from home, one of the dashboard indicators lit up - one I’ve never seen before.  Worrisome.

When I got home I immediately looked it up, and became more concerned still: 

That’s not good.
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Not the best news, with us due to leave town in five days; but better here than out in the desert somewhere of course.  I start calling around.  The top two VW shops on the list are well backed up - the earliest I can get the car in for a diagnostic test is nearly two weeks out.  I call Firestone next, and am happy to be able to schedule a test for early tomorrow morning.  A few minutes after hanging up, they call back to tell me that they aren’t authorized to perform diagnostic tests on VW’s.  We need to go to a VW shop.  Not good news.

While this has been going on, Rachael has been researching away on her own, and finds a third VW dealer I hadn’t noticed: Larry Miller Volkswagen.  I’m not hopeful, but when I call up they say they have a slot available in the morning and tell me to bring it in.  Good news after all.  Who knows what the problem is with the car and how soon a repair will be possible, but at least we’ll learn soon.

In the meantime, Rachael has moved on and is now researching vehicles. I’m not interested in hearing about this, and not thinking about new cars yet.  She persists though, and finds a vehicle she wants me to look at.   And she’s right - it does look like it could be a candidate.  It’s a VW Golf Sportswagen, a car I’m unfamiliar with but that looks very similar to our Jetta.  It’s hard to find a decent small wagon any more, and we definitely wouldn’t want something larger like an SUV.  The reviews on this car are very good, and this specific car seems reasonable - a 2017 model with 30,000 miles on it.  Coincidentally, it’s sitting on the lot at Larry Miller VW.  It almost feels fated.

This morning I start north for the appointment.  It’s 7:30, and cold.  I’ve got the bike in the back, thinking I’ll take a ride on the Loop while waiting for test results.  It’s still too cold out though, especially since annoyingly I’ve misplaced my warm yellow jersey somewhere in the last few days; so I decide to sit around in the lobby while the car is diagnosed.  While I wait, an email from Rachael arrives suggesting I take a look at the Golf as long as I’m here.  We discuss the situation, she authorizes me to use my best judgement on what to do once I know more, and then takes off on a ride southeast along Julian Wash.

Say aah!
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To make a long four hours short, the diagnosis finally comes in at around noon.  I never do go out for that ride because I’m engrossed by the book I’m reading (until I drain the battery on my iPad), and I’ve grabbed a sales agent and gotten a brief look at the Golf.  It looks fine, and although I haven’t measured it yet it looks like the bikes should fit fine - the essential detail.

The news, when it finally arrives, is definitive:

Good news, if you look at it the right way. It’s clear enough that there’s no question about the decision. Goodbye, Old Paint!
Heart 2 Comment 3
Mike AylingYes, time to walk away from it.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonIt’s really nice when the evidence is so clear like this. No anguishing over what to do.
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3 weeks ago

I’ve loved this car, the best I’ve ever owned; and it’s painful to think of jettisoning our Jetta after so many years and miles of faithful service.  A different household might come to a different decision and keep investing in it, but we aren’t really car people - we just need something reasonably green that will get us safely to the middle of nowhere and back again.  As it is, we’ve been finding ourselves getting a bit anxious lately about getting stranded on some very remote road.  After almost 20 years and almost 200,000 miles, it’s time.

And, it will be nice to be able to open the glovebox again, and not worry about whether the strapping tape will wear through so the front bumper drags on the pavement again.

We’ve had the glovebox strapped closed with an old bike tube for about eight years - ever since the night we arrived home from Europe late one night and couldn’t get to the keys to our condo that were locked inside. We had to call a service man to come out and break it open.
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Ron SuchanekI guess this is appropriate again...
https://photos.app.goo.gl/wXep131LCzN7EtxC7
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekOh my gosh, cowboy! How did I forget this?
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3 weeks ago

So, to make another long story short, I measure the dimensions of the Golf and Jetta, see that they’re within 1/2” in width, and we buy the Golf.  It’s a nice looking car:

We might not have chosen black, but this will do fine. Now we just need to come up with a name for it.
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Several things hold us up for an hour or so here and there in completing the sale, and we don’t make it home until after 6.  Two big time-suckers account for most of it.  One is Rachael.  After a couple of false starts and some misinformation from the agent, it’s clear we need Rachael on the scene because we want her name on the title too, and she’ll need to sign the paperwork; and also because we need her drivers license so we can take the car off the lot.  Somehow, my drivers license has gone missing too, just in the last few days - maybe it’s in my misplaced yellow shirt?  By the time we realize this though, she’s way out Julian Wash, about 25 miles away- and will need to stop by the house on the way here to pick up her drivers license.

And, once we finally get through the paperwork and wait another half hour for the finance officer to free up, we realize we can’t pay for the car with either of our debit cards because they have amount limits as a fraud protection.  We have to call for authorization, and we call both credit unions because the wait times are long.  We wait for callbacks from each of them and go with the winner - Umpqua finally calls after only 15 minutes, and then we go through three different iterations of getting bumped upstairs to higher authorities for authorization before we finally arrive at the one who can email us a document to esign and authorize the payment.  Along the way, I’m proud of myself for correctly answering questions about which street I lived on in 3rd grade, the name of my best childhood friend, and the addresses and counties of six different properties we’ve owned over the past 20 years.

Also during the course of the long afternoon I call Andrea, since she and Bruce have been keeping the title to the car up there for reasons not worth going into here.  We need it now, so that we can turn over the Jetta as a trade in (for a whopping $400!).

And, I call up my sister Elizabeth to raise the idea that maybe she should get rid of her own antiquated car when we return to Portland, and we’ll just carshare the Golf.  There’s enough street vandalism going on in Portland now that leaving this shiny new object on the street for months on end is too much of a temptation.

And, we call Elizabeth a second time to see if she’ll retrieve the car registration from the safety deposit box we share, so that I can prove I’m the owner.  

And, since the registration isn’t actually in the safety deposit box (it must be in storage, with our passports?), I sign on to Oregon DMV to look it up.  But I can’t get access because I’m missing  a critical piece of information: my driver’s license number.  It’s lost, and we can’t find the number written down anywhere.  Note to the future: write it down, and save photocopies.

Finally, we’re done.  It’s after six, and we, the sales agent and financial agent can finally all go home to a long overdue drink and a meal.  Nothing to be done but transfer our belongings and drive off.

One last surprise. My bike won’t fit in without removing the front wheel. The width and depth are just fine, but there’s a bit less height clearance at the door. It’ll work fine, we’ll just have to develop a new routine.
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So, thanks again old friend.  Let’s have a few more looks before turning the page.

In Hermiston with our old Cannondales, where we left it for a week while we biked up to Walla Walla and back about six years ago. And hey - there’s the yellow jersey I just lost!
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Loaded up for a final trip to our new storage unit before flying to Greece, on our first tour since selling our home.
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Returning from our Up the Balkans tour (from Crete to Albania), we find our battery has died while sitting in an airport motel lot over the previous two months. We had to call a towing company for a charge before we could head home. Not the best news, after a long flight.
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In Valemont, on a tour through the Canadian Rockies on our Swan Song for the Jetta tour. At the time we imagined this would be our last adventure with it.
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In Canmore, near the end of our Swan Song for the Jetta tour.
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Leaving the car with Bruce before our tour from Croatia to Spain. At the time, we really thought we were leaving it with them for good. We had planned on donating it until he and Andrea talked us into a better plan. Thanks again, folks!
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Biking off through Picture Gorge, in John Day National Monument. John Day was our first extended base after Covid hit. We’re so fortunate that Bruce and Andrea kept the car waiting for us all this time.
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At our cabin in Lake Couer d’Alene. Concerned about the political climate, out of an abundance of caution we’ve just peeled off our Obama/Biden bumper sticker and are about to scrape off John Kerry as well.
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In Scio, meeting up with the Grumbys for a Covid-distanced tour of Linn County’s covered bridges.
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Foop. I’ll have to learn a new number.
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Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 11
Kelly IniguezI'm exhausted just reading about your day!

Son Luis still has his high school car, a Golf. Luis is 6'5" tall and has to fold himself inside. At age 30 he bristles at the suggestion perhaps he could use a larger vehicle. You've made a good choice!

Jacinto replaced his Audi wagon last year with a Subaru Outback, another wagon. I'm driving the Audi as a snow car, it's a 2004, so, somewhat in the same category as Old Paint - she's been really good, but perhaps a bit tired.

It's a good thing you weren't out in Death Valley when that check engine light came on. Your karma must be paid up.
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3 weeks ago
Kelly IniguezPS - years ago when we were sitting at dinner with a group of cycling friends, I was reserving a motel room over the phone. I had memorized my credit card number. That's quite handy, but also very dangerous. Jacinto says I can order anything at will!

That sparked a conversation about memorized numbers, such as your social security number. One lady was amazed that I hadn't memorized my driver's license number. I wasn't even aware that you kept the same number for life (as long as you are in the same state). I have since memorized my DL number. Although in your situation, I'm sure they wanted to see the actual license . . .
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezActually, it’s surprising that I haven’t bothered memorizing my DL number. I’ve got a pretty good head for numbers, and remember one of our credit card numbers also. It’s convenient when you’re making online transactions, and has bailed us out IRL a few times. I can almost picture my DL number too, but haven’t quite hit it yet. 2362375? I think I’ll go test it out.
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3 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyI hope you won't be angry to hear that there were parts of this post that made me laugh so hard I was crying! Very impressive that you were able to answer all of Umpqua's authorization questions. I still get hung up on mother's maiden name .. her real one was used by a hacker to access our Chase account one time, so with a couple banks I've used fictitious names .. and then I can't remember what they were. (Foop!)

Also, love that you included the Scio photo amongst the highlights of Old Paint's recent journeys. And the picture of Old Paint with Bruce is great!
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAngry? No, I’m flattered of course. It’s a day we want to remember in detail, not just in the general haze it will fade into over the years. End of an era.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezI remembered my number! It wasn’t quite what I thought at first, but close. Eventually it came into view pretty clearly. I was able to log on to my account at DMV and get the vehicle registration our dealer needed. The brain is so amazing.
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3 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonLooks like it was time to say goodbye. And in spite of all the hurdles you had to overcome, the deal was wrapped up in one day. Well done!
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3 weeks ago
Scott FenwickScott and Rachael.
I like decisions that seem to just fall in your lap and countless hours are not waisted exploring numerous options only to discover that the first one was the best. So if you are experiencing any post purchase dissonance, I would like to say to you that I think your car choice is an excellent one. Although my view may be considered slightly bias. Pat and I just purchased almost the same wagon - ours is a a 2018 VW Alltrack. The all wheel drive version is handy up here in the North. Happy motoring! I am sure that you will both enjoy the new car.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Scott FenwickWe’re suffering from no buyer’s remorse. We love it already.
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesI followed the story of the Jetta closely, not in the least because at exactly the same time our Golf threw a check engine warning - for the oxygen sensors before and after the catalytic converter - and $1000 later the mechanics were still dreaming up additional problems and charges. Also coincidentally, our Golf is the same age as your former Jetta and also has not a bicycle tube but a good quality duct tape holding that map compartment closed.

I was thinking that Miller Volkswagen was rather free with the repair estimate $$ and I was wondering if part could be 'fake news". So I submitted my case and your case to my friend Marius. Marius is German and has VW deeply in his culture, mainly because he, his friends, and family have owned so many of these models of this vintage. Marius declares that he believes Miller Volkswagen and thinks their estimates were reasonable. He thinks you made a good decision and purchase.

I just thought I'd share that, though you are already confident you did ok. As for our Golf, Marius did not seem much impressed by our threat to trade it for a 2021 Korean Chevrolet Spark. Hmmm.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesDuct tape! We tried that too, without success on the glovebox; although it was quite effective at holding the apron of the front bumper from scraping the pavement. We tried superglue also, which was quite effective for a day or two. The tube solution was the only effective solution, and it held up quite nicely for years.

I wondered if the estimate might have been padded also, but not enough to question the obviously right (for us, anyway) decision.
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2 weeks ago