I never figured myself as one of those to get a new car for Christmas. Realistically, I am not much of a new car person. I become too attached, keep them, become comfortable with the interiors, and not lured by shiny new bells and whistles.
December 10, I set out on another road trip in the trusty Volvo -- something I have done many, many times since it came home with me in 2005. With an exterior shielded by years of living in our garage and an interior in near pristine condition due to the dog cover for the back seat, the Volvo did not show her almost 11 years of service.
My daughter and I enjoyed a full, albeit short, visit to my hometown to celebrate my mother's birthday. I found time to venture out early to shoot at some of my favorite local spots -- just me and the Volvo. One morning I parked, ever so briefly, in a "No Parking Tow-Away Zone". (an omen of things to come.....)
On the way back to Georgia, as we were making excellent time, and near the middle of South Carolina, the old Volvo coughed and shuddered. I thought the interstate had become quite rough -- but it had not. It was the Volvo. Just moments before it passed large trucks with ease but now labored on the slightest incline. The check engine light flashed at me once, then twice, begging for help. There was no defribrillator at hand. We pulled off the freeway and found sanctuary in, what else, a Waffle House parking lot. After catching our breath -- us and the car -- it started just fine and lapped the parking lot as if to say to me, "only fooling...".
I ventured back onto Interstate 85 to try to head home, only a couple hours away. But it wasn't fooling. Thinking back on that portion of events, it must have been similar to that bit of complete clarity a dying person has just before the end.
The shuddering returned more violently than before. The light flashed again. The Volvo barely made another hill. I had to get over onto the shoulder of the road since I could not hold a decent speed. With flashers warning others I had trouble, we limped and gasped to the next exit.
While on the phone with my husband, now sitting in an Exxon lot, I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed another lot behind us filled with new Volvos. There was a dealer nearby -- this must be an overflow lot. A quick Google and I found them. The online chat person (there to facilitate shoppers) gave me the roadside assistance number and remained on chat with me while I used my daughter's phone to contact them and make arrangements for a tow. The dealer was less than a mile away.
The Volvo was toast -- at a youthful 140,000 miles.
I had not thought about a new car. The search was on. In place of the XC90, I wanted to go smaller, sportier.....I had been driving SUVs since, well, before they were cool.
After days of searching and driving different vehicles -- we settled on a new Mazda model; the CX-3. It is small, sporty, in what I like to think of as 'Rolling Stone Gray,' and fun to drive. It has bells and whistles -- and I have some learning to do...
RIP Volvo, you were loved. Long live the CX-3! Just please don't make me get a speeding ticket! Thanks to Greenville Volvo for all they did to help us out even though the XC90 was DOA. And thanks to Kyle Brooks, aka Black Cat Tips, for my new bear head sticker since my old sticker went away with the Volvo...
Merry Christmas to all!