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Car-Free, perforce

Well, I think the Jetta can safely be considered dead. It's got too many problems and not enough benefits, and when I can't trust the darn thing to make it back from the grocery store, 5 blocks away, it's not a car I'm interested in having in my life anymore.

Last weekend, I took it out errand running, since I had a lot of errands to run and a lot of rain in which to run them. It started up with its usual noxious cloud of burnt oil. Then, before I pulled on to the Interstate, the power steering (I think it was the power steering) started squealing alarmingly. On the highway, it did its usual charming surge-lurch-and-cut-out routine. At each stop, it was more and more reluctant to start once again, until finally, at the last stop of the day, the grocery store, it flatly refused to start again.

I maintained my calm. I was literally 5 blocks from home, and I still had my HiViz shopping crate on the Schwinn. I hoofed it home, grabbed the Schwinn and cleaned a lot of stuff out of my backpack, and rode back to the grocery, where I proceeded to unload the contents of the Jetta's trunk into the Schwinn's milk crate and my backpack. It took three trips to bring all of the shopping in, and I left the sacks of kitty litter and the jug of laundry soap in the trunk. I figured I’d let the darn car sit overnight and have another go at starting it on Sunday.

I went back out on Sunday and gave it another shot, and after several abortive attempts, the Jetta once again roared into action, in a cloud of burnt oil and malevolence. I drove it home, praying it wouldn't stall out at the stoplight, coasted it up the alley and left it ignominiously parked under the carport, all doors unlocked. Anyone who wants to steal the bugger deserves it.

I think I'm going to try to sell it. Granted, the back brakes are shot, the power steering is squealing, it burns oil, none of the interior or dash lights work, one door doesn't open, it doesn't run smoothly, and it plays possum. One thing about this car works well and consistently. It's got a hell of a good heater. The rest of the car, not so much.

I'm actually really stoked about this car-free thing. I'm reckoning on selling it to somebody for a parts car, for whatever I can get out of it. Once it's out of my hands, I'll be saving $40 on insurance every month, plus a refund of about the same off the license plate. No more oil changes, no more gasoline, no more anxieties about having to pay for towing when the car dies in some remote corner of the city.

Oh, sure errand running is going to be a little more time consuming, and I won't be able to get out of town nearly so easily, but when you consider how infrequently I really travel, and how most of my errand running is already planned around bike routes and takes place within the central city, this isn't going to change my life that significantly, outside of the grocery run.

AND, I have a B*O*B “Yak” trailer on indefinite loan, so actually fairly significant grocery runs and minor trips to the Hillbilly Home Depot will not be any kind of trouble whatsoever. Which is just as well, seeing as I'm getting ready to re-paint some rooms in the house.

Click on the image to see a bigger picture of my commuter with a different borrowed BOB trailer from this past summer.

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