Saturday, April 22, 2017


During Thanksgiving weekend of 2006 I was in a self inflicted automobile accident.  I had attempted to exit a parking lot which I saw, as I got closer to the exit, was barricaded. I had not gone too far when I saw that the exit was blocked off, so instead of doing a three point turn, I attempted to back out.  Bad decision. It was nighttime and I did not see a cement staircase with a metal hand rail.  I clocked the handrail and staircase. Glass came flying into the vehicle and the back side was damaged.

The car was a black Element that I think was only 1 1/2 years old at the time. When I went to check out the cost to repair the damage I was stunned.  I decided not to have the car repaired, but to trade it in. I figured that it would cost a dealership a lot less to fix it, dealers are always looking to sell cars, so I might get a good deal.  And I did.  They accepted essentially the value of the car even with the damage since it would cost them peanuts to fix it.  Then they sold me a brand new spanking 2007 red Element, at a very good price that I have been driving ever since.

I am crazy about this SUV.  It maneuvers like a car, parks like a car, has enough space to carry nearly anything you can imagine, and has been fun to drive.  I have been a Honda owner since my thirtieth birthday when, while driving back from the Buffalo airport, I pulled into a dealership and decided to buy myself a new car for my day.  Since then, I have had one of the tiny civics, a civic sedan, a civic station wagon, a CRV, the Element that was in the accident, and this guy pictured here.

I like Hondas because they are reliable.  While I am mad about this car, it was-by Honda standards-a lemon.  I never once had to change my brakes or clutch in any of the other Hondas I'd purchased and drove each over 100,000 miles. I've replaced the brakes in this guy three times, and the clutch once. If you have a standard and know how to drive, you should not have to change your brakes. The baby had 125,000 miles on it which by Honda standards is not much.  And I should not have had little things go wrong that may typically erode on other vehicles but not Hondas.

Still I love/d the car.  Last year when I clearly needed brakes I vacillated about buying a new car. Honda no longer makes Elements, and I was not crazy about the CRV.  One reason I was not crazy about it was you could no longer buy a CRV with a standard transmission.  Also, until this year I just did not think they were that much different from a Fit.  So last year I paid for the brakes and kept driving the Element.

But my guy was showing some age.  I could no longer tell how many miles per hour I was going. The dial just broke off and it would have cost an astounding amount to replace it because it meant the entire front dashboard had to come out (or so they said). There was a rattle in the back that was not due to anything loose. A tire was persnickety, I replaced a battery with a fresh one but before that if I left the interior light on for any sort of duration the car would not start subsequently.   I found myself renting cars with new gizmos that made my 2006 feel like a jalopy.  My radio was from hunger, the disc player on its last legs, the mileage only good for gas stations. Another factor was that I will be getting my boot off next Friday if my heel continues to heal.  And then, I am not sure I will be able to depress the clutch with the bum heal--or at least may not be expediting recovery using the clutch in bumper to bumper traffic.

So I gave in. Today I went and paid an appendage or two for a new CRV. This year's models are way cooler. There is a sun roof, heated seats, remote starting which in January will be one sweet treat--the sound system is supposed to be remarkable.  The seats fold down effortlessly (Element's seats were a chore to get down) there's a bunch of room, and plenty of places to store this and that.  I'll be able to take the new car on long trips which I have not done with the old fellow in years.

It makes sense but still I will miss my 10.3 year old Element.  I pick up the new car on Monday night. Two more days to drive my baby.

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