I just hope the car is up to it. We have two cars: one 16 years old, the other 10. They’re both roadworthy, but they’re also both old enough that I no longer take for granted the concept of 100 percent reliability. There are a lot of good things about driving an old car — no payments and no worries about getting doored, for example — but the prospect of 6,000 miles over the next month has me guiltily pricing a new one.
I say “guiltily” because I’m fully aware, at my advanced age, that a new car is almost always one of the dumbest purchases a person can make. You’ve got instant depreciation, taxes, insurance and the not-so-remote chance of being stuck with a lemon. Worse, there’s the hassle of actually buying one.
I know: the internet was supposed to make that easy. You’re supposed to be able to get on sites like TrueCar and get a fair price without dealing with those pickpockets at the dealership. But it still doesn’t work that way in real life. No matter the make or model, TrueCar prices are always two bars left of “average price paid.” It always says “That’s a great price.” Hey, if everybody’s getting a great deal, that means nobody is. Kind of like all the Lake Wobegon kids being above average. I just shake my head.
I think it’s still a game where car sellers always have way more experience than car buyers, and the more I think about it, the less I feel like taking the plunge. I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying a car this year. If there’s really a “great price” out there, it’ll have to come to me. Now, if I break down in the middle of Nebraska, maybe I’ll rethink things.
Anyway, I’m kind of looking forward to the trip and kind of dreading it — my attitude toward a lot of things. It’ll be four days of pretty much nonstop driving, too much of it on the soulless interstate surrounded by semis. And motor homes. God, the motor homes. I do take the back roads pretty often, but that always means even more time behind the wheel. On a cross-country jaunt like this, you have to strike a balance.
In any case, I’ll make a few stops and post a few pics along the way.