Posted by: gdevi | March 1, 2015

RIP Volkswagen Passat (1999-2015)

One of the most beautiful drives that I have ever done was when I drove my daughter and her friends back from Williamsburg, Virginia after their soccer tournament. Instead of driving to PA via DC, we drove through Virginia, and West Virginia into Pennsylvania. The 17N – 66W – 81N route is beautiful in an unearthly way. I still get goosebumps when I think of those places; it is pristine mountain country and very very beautiful, high, open, and magnificent. It is beautiful in an unearthly eerie way. You are driving along and suddenly you look down to your right and you see this other interstate way down below you. It is like driving through the western ghats in Kerala, but without the hairpin curves. You feel the car shaking in the wind coming through the mountain passes. It is very unearthly.

So anyway, that trip–8 hours that way and 8 hours this way in cold winter weather snow ice and slush–just about killed my poor old Volkswagen station wagon. We bought that car when I was pregnant with my daughter. We brought her home from the hospital in that car. It has taken us all over Texas and Arkansas and Oklahoma. When we moved from TX to PA, K and D drove the moving van with all the stuff, and I drove the VW with more stuff and Sally and Jesse. Sally’s spirit lives in that car since she used to go with me everywhere, my sweet little Sally.

I told the girls that I would get a better car for their next soccer tournament, since my VW was acting sort of shaky in the mountain ranges. It is 16 years old, and it has 117,000 miles. Like all German cars, it has a great engine, and it is altogether a great car. It has served me really well for the last 16 years. But I think I stressed it out completely with the drive to and from Virginia. It is a front wheel drive, which is fine in Dallas, Texas, but not at all weather-friendly or terrain-friendly for central Pennsylvania’s snow-bound winter mountain roads. My daughter always reminds me to put snow tires and drive slowly and carefully up and down our mountains.

It has taken me ten years to buy a car more suitable for this terrain, but I finally did it yesterday. I traded my VW and bought a Volvo V60 station wagon. The old Volvos used to look sort of boxy, but the new Volvos look like Italian cars; very beautiful fluid lines. My daughter picked the color: black. It is an all wheel drive. It does not fill gas on its own, but it does pretty much everything else. K drove it and checked everything and gave his final seal of approval. I know nothing about cars. I use them like I use my computer without appreciating their finer points. I use my computer to write. I use the car to get from point A to point B. But K appreciates a good car, and the Volvo V60 is a good car.

I want to put a plug in for Volvo of State College; we had a very good buying experience there. I particularly want to thank Levan Lejane, the rep who sold us the car. It was good to do business with him. It might depend on your credit report, but, for a new car, we got a very good APR from them: 1.7%. Almost as good as the state employees credit union.

Just in time, actually. It is snowing so heavily here that I suspect tomorrow will be either a delayed opening or a closing. For the first time in my life since I moved to Pennsylvania, I feel okay about driving.

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