The catalyst for it all was my new job in an area that’s highly inconvenient to get to by public transit. But really, Neil and I have been thinking about re-joining the ranks of the car-owners for quite a while. Combine that with neighbours who were leaving the country and had to sell their car which was coincidentally in great condition and in our price range, well it became inevitable.
Welcome “Big Red” (the name bestowed upon her by the previous owners) to the house of Watkii (that’s plural for Watkiss)
We really enjoyed our years of car-sharing, and are keeping our memberships with the car co-op for emergencies when we may need a second car, pick-up truck or minivan at any time, or if ours ends up in the shop. But we’d reached the limits of what we felt comfortable using the co-op for. It’s great for running errands or heading out for a few hours, but what we really missed was heading out for a guilt-free day-trip, parking the car somewhere and hanging out. That could be to a beach too far to walk to with the dog, or to visit family or friends who live in areas not serviced by transit. It feels a bit wrong taking the co-op cars out of the fleet for hours upon end, and it’s always a disappointment when we’re having far more fun than we imagined and have to cut it short because we can’t extend our time with the car.
We’ve also honestly become a bit disillusioned with the community aspect of the Car Co-Op. I had a whole rant typed up about all the ways that organization manages to shoot itself in the foot (yes I have sent those to CAN, they did not reply: problem #1), but perhaps I’ll save those for another post.
However, after spending nearly 3 years without using a car as our primary mode of transportation, we certainly think about driving – when and how far – quite a bit differently now. We’re much more conscious of it, and that’s a good thing!
From a budget perspective, we’ve been putting away what we can spare into a “planned spending” (different from debt repayment/emergency/savings) account for a car. We didn’t plan on having anywhere near enough to purchase anything until after our debt was fully paid off, but having our budget and debt repayment under control meant when the company Neil works for met their goals and was able to give out the annual employee bonus, we were able to use some of that to round out our car account and avoid going further into debt to acquire a good car at a good time.
So yes, I believe it’s now officially road-trip time!
Of course we can’t go too far (it would have to be a weekend) or spend too much money. And the trip must be dog-friendly – within those parameters, where should we go, what should we do? Tell me in the comments!
Best suggestion (meaning the one we choose to do) gets a CD copy of the most-excellent road-trip playlist my iTunes genius thingie came up with.