Monday: the alternator goes out on the van. When paying $600 for repairs, the mechanic urged us to get rid of it. Soon.
Tuesday: we crunch numbers and decide to keep the van for Frank to commute to work but buy a newer, reliable vehicle. Requirements include being able to haul two stand-up basses (see previous blog post) but also have a minimum 30mpg. Big SUV cargo space with subcompact fuel economy. Could we find what we need - and fast?
Wednesday: we bought a 2007 Chevy HHR. It looks just like this one. Love it.
Friday: Rachel has an Orchestra trip to Bend, Oregon. We've never been there before. One of the other parents already had the basses loaded into his minivan, so I took a half dozen violins and followed the school bus all the way to Bend (and at times driving only 35 mph up some of the steeper grades, going over the mountain.)
Ok, stop for a moment and look at the picture of our new car. Looks like a mafia car, doesn't it? And we loaded it up with violin cases. Rachel and I were cracking up all day about that. The other parents didn't seem to get it. Being from the midwest, namely Wisconsin, then living in Minneapolis/St. Paul for over a decade, Al Capone's influence was present my entire life. But maybe his influence didn't stretch all the way out here to Oregon. Anyway, we thought that was pretty darn funny.
So, driving alone, with Ray on the bus, I had to take pictures by myself. I set the camera on the dash and snapped away when something caught my eye. I am so sorry I didn't insist that Frank come with us. When we visit a new town he likes to have me drive and he'll say, "Go down this road. Now go that way. Let's go over there to see what that is..." and he has the binoculars on his lap as I drive. We love to do this, and I regret that he wasn't able to experience all the scenery and be as surprised at the massive contrast between the lush Willamette Valley on the west side of the Cascades compared to the arid high desert on the east side.
I did take a lot of pictures, and here's a slideshow of the highlights. They're out of order, I apologize. I'll try to figure out how to get them in the correct order later. Click pause in the lower left if you want to sto pand read the title and/or comments.