previous next index

December 27, 2002
a year ago
three years ago
five years ago

Test Drive

We all had a good day, taking it easy. I had my 1:1 and since I was only going to have one work day before the next one was scheduled, my boss and I decided to just cancel it.

I got my track ball working ad it was quite a change from my usual work methods. Not a terrible thing; but it was a bit of extra work to simply change to the new way of doing things and getting accurate with my new pointing device. The usually easy hold and move items got harder. I'm sure I'll get back to my old abilities soon enough and it should be better for my right hand and arm.

The nap and the afternoon were normal. Then at 4 we headed into Boulder. Joan's gotten the idea into our head of, maybe, taking a month off and driving somewhere. We really want to go to the West Coast and visit all the friends we normally don't get to see. But to get there and to do the trip, while we have a good cruising car, the Passat, it doesn't have any amenities so far as camping goes. John had been thinking and talking, sometimes, of getting one of the Volkswagen Eurovans. We'd seen Mary's at the reunion this last summer, and ever since then we'd thought about it.

With the idea of the summer long trip, John was thinking more about the van. So today he'd been done some research on the van on the Web. He also called a number of the local dealers and found that the only dealer that had the camper, the Weekender, and the plain Eurovan was the most expensive dealer in the state, which was the one in Boulder proper.

So we went to that dealer to test drive them. John had said that we weren't going to buy one tonight, but we wanted to test drive one and think about it. So there was a young guy in the dealership that was willing to take us out. We got there as the sun was setting, and got parked. We pulled Jet from his car seat and let him wander around the dealership while we looked for the guy.

Jet had a blast. He got nearly everyone to say hello to him, half of them high-5'ed him, and he even got a piece of candy from one guy before the salesman showed up. I'm impressed at how quickly Jet can work even on a bunch of inveterate sales guys.

We headed out to where the vans were parked. They were in the far corner of the far lot. I hauled Jet's car seat the whole way. There are definitely times when I think that the description of motherhood should have written in it, clearly, the phrase, "Pack Mule". Turns out that the 2002 Eurovans are the last of their kind. There won't be a 2003, and they're just selling the last of the 2002's as 2003's. The new microbus is coming out sometime in 2005; but they aren't going to keep selling or making the Eurovans until the microbuses come out. Turns out, too, that the microbuses aren't going to resemble the Eurovans one bit.

So I'm glad we test drove one.

We'd owned a VW van when we had Fezzik. It had the cab-over experience, it had a remarkably tight turning radius, and it was also remarkably wimpy about hills on the freeway. It was roomy, though, and Fezzik loved sitting between the two front seats and watching while we drove. We'd bought it used, sold it used in part because we didn't camp in it as often as we had thought and there wasn't that much storage space in it because the engine took up a lot of the room under the bed. We also sold it because we just weren't using it all that often and hadn't needed it when we had half a dozen other trucks and cars.

So we understood how the van would drive so far as sitting on or even over the front wheels. Three things surprised me when I got to drive the Eurovan first.

  1. How powerful it was for having a full camper get up inside.
  2. How smooth it was.
  3. How quiet it was, engine and all.

Turns out that in 2001, they'd upped the engine and gave it half again the horse power of the old engine. They also doubled the valves, and upped the gas mileage. Very impressive. I loved how it cornered for how tall it was, and I really enjoyed the blue dash (which the new Beetles have as well and it's one thing from the new Beetle I am glad to see in all their new cars). I liked how it accelerated, and I loved the support that the driver's seat gave me.

For the whole ride Jet was peering around and looking at things. There were a whole lot of things to look at in the full-blown camper. We poked and prodded everything, tried out the heater, the lights, the fans, and the cup holders. Poked at the power outlets, the cabinets, and the controls. We tried out everything. I was not too happy with the visibility with all the cabinetry along one side and the half-height windows. But the side mirrors were very huge and it was easy to see traffic on all sides.

John drove it back in and Jet and I had fun playing with stuff in the back.

It was a very successful ride. We liked it a whole lot, and when we took a look at the Weekender (which has a fridge, none of the cabinetry, curtains for all the windows, netting for the back door so it can be open at night and no bugs get in, and a few other nice things) it was obvious that we'd get one of those if we could. It was a little shorter than the camper, lighter, had better gas mileage, and the interior space was vast, vast, vast. The windows were full height, and the visibility was much, much better.

We didn't buy one then and there. Too much to think about.

However, in celebration of getting off our butts and actively looking, we went to BD's Mongolian BBQ in Boulder. I figured we could find something for Jet to eat. I did good. But Jet ate like a ton of miniature corns, a few handfuls of rice, and several raw bean sprouts. I'm glad that he liked the vegetables, but it was mildly unexpected that he liked the mini-corns so much that he kept asking for more and then eating them.

He did get bored pretty quickly after filling up, so John chased him around the restaurant for a while, and when I was through, I chased him around the restaurant. We had fun going around and around a particular railing. After a dozen times around it, Jet stopped, frowned at me, and then started pulling at his pants, "Change! Change! Change!" he cried.

I blinked. He'd never done this before, but I obediently got the backpack, and we went into the women's restroom, and found the changing table. I set up the pad, and he laid down on it happily, and I found that he had an enormous poopy diaper. Whew. I'm glad he told me. We changed him right there, got it all cleaned up, and he was very chipper as I put him back down again. We both washed our hands in the sink and then he was off again, happy as a clam.

From there, we headed to Safeway, and got a bunch of things to stock the house up again. We needed it. It was also nice to get apple fritters the night before we wanted to eat them, the least amount of time for them to get old. Yay

[ Previous | Next | Index | Mail ]

Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.