Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 Days of Blogging Day 2 (Obituary of a Volvo)

I parted ways with the final vestige of my life in the 90s today.  For months I knew the moment was coming, and for months I procrastinated.  Today I pulled the trigger.  I am now the owner of a 2013 Subaru Outback... and no longer the owner of a 1997 Volvo 850.

Out with the old...

My parents bought the Volvo in November of 1996.... it was supposed to be a 'safe car' for a new driver.

Bill Clinton was just reelected to his second term as president.

You could still watch alternative rock music videos on MTV

West Rowan High School had a dominant cross country team

Running cross country was so coooool... as evident by our team motto.

I learned to drive on that car.  I listened to the OK Computer CD for the first time driving around Cleveland NC, and blasted a cassette tape playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" from the speakers, peeling out of the parking lot on my last day of high school.  Nowadays I can create eclectic iPod or Spotify playlists with this type of stuff.  Back then, it was hard work switching between depressing British music and redneck rock.

I drove Megan to work in it each morning the summer we started dating from the Belmont to Duke East campus, and took it on a 12 hour drive from Durham to Miami Beach over spring break senior year (and had an awful, equally long return drive home from Panama City Beach).  

I had the car through most of my time in college, and the electrical circuits were faulty to a point where they shorted out the battery a few times a semester, leaving me stranded in the Blue Zone at Duke until I could find a friend with jumper cables.  I hated that car at the time, and I would have never guessed I'd keep it another 10 years.

The car was basically rebuilt a nasty wreck on I-291 in Manchester, CT and survived a New England winter.  I drove it from DC into Manhattan after a snowstorm and kept it all in one piece.  The damn thing seemed to have 9 lives.  

The odometer stopped working just short of 100K in 2007 on one of many drives on I-95 between Richmond VA and DC.  I never will know how many miles I put on it.  Not as many as one would think, as I've spent the past 10 years trying to avoid having long commutes.

At first, it was a good financial decision to hold on to it, and not make any car payments, but after some time, I knew it was irrational to keep something that old and obsolete.  

The cost of necessary repairs was piling up... broken passenger side lock, dents in the side, tattered upholstery... The final deal breaker was when the AC broke repeatedly this year, and Megan and I suffered through a torturous drive in 105 degree heat in early July going to and from Atlantic Beach.  It was time for it to go, but something kept me holding onto it until December.

Today was time to move on.  Maybe I'll be writing the same thing sometime in 2028 about all the great (and not so great) memories in the Outback.

In with the new...


  1. Congrats on the Subaru purchase. I drive a 2004 Forester which I think will probably run forever. Oh, and where's the pic of the Volvo for this post?! ;-)

  2. congrats - it's super tough to let the old ones go (sometime I'll show you the 20 or so pictures I took of the Honda before I traded him in), but its SO nice to be reasonably sure your car will make it wherever you're going :)