Car sold!…Seamless transaction…

In a 24 hour period from Thursday to Friday, I drove over 150 miles around town, meeting prospective buyers to finally sell my car.  Slightly nervous about meeting strangers, I chose public parking lots, close to busy roads.  

Tom suggested I turn over the keys to any prospective buyers to test drive it on their own rather than join them, better to have a stolen car than to be kidnapped!  I agreed.

Listed on Craigslist for free, CarSoup for $9.95 for one month and Auto Trader for $20 for one month, I was delighted to notice an increase in activity when I placed the last online ad on Auto Trader, resulting in a sale only a day later. Had I known Auto Trader reached such a wide audience, I would have listed it there in the first place. Who knew?
The last car I’d sold several years ago was the result of an ad in CarSoup. This time, I didn’t have much time to be overly creative or frugal. With our high level of motivation I was determined to get the car sold as quickly as possible, leaving one more crucial task out of the way.

Oddly, it sold to a dealer, Patrick O’Conner/owner/dealer of a finance company, First Source Financial. Patrick had a potential customer on hand.  My instincts told me that his buyer may have required “special financing” allowing him to resell it at a higher price than he paid me, a price with which I was satisfied. Win, win for everyone.

Treated with kid gloves, not only did I feel at ease throughout the transaction working with Patrick but also with his delightful assistant Jennifer, who was kind enough to drive me the long way home after I’d dropped off the car at his dealership on Friday. 

It was an odd sensation when Jennifer left me at home. Looking out the window, I realized that for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a car of my own. For a moment I felt trapped, even lost.  Tom’s long work days left me at home certainly with plenty to occupy my time over the next 17 days when we move to our friend’s home as the estate sale begins.  

Suddenly, everything is moving quickly. While grocery shopping early in the morning before turning over the car, I carefully calculated each item that I purchased to ensure that it was “just the right amount” to last through our remaining days.  I started saying goodbye to the staff of many years at our local grocery store, knowing that I may only be back one or two more times.  How odd.

I’ve lived in this general area of the western suburbs of Minneapolis for the past 40 years, seemingly far away yet only 30 minutes to downtown.  For years we used the same bank, the same library, the same State Farm office, the same drugstore, the same Target store, and the same post office. 

On Tuesday, I sadly said goodbye to the staff at the post office while dropping off a package. Over the years I’ve come to know and  appreciate each one of them for their kindness, their great service and for remembering me each time I entered their door.

We won’t be able to say goodbye to everyone. The time is flying by so quickly that I am now left wondering how everything will get done in time, let alone having time to see everyone to say goodbye. Now, with no car, I am dependent upon friends and loved ones coming here to say goodbye.  Some will come, others will not.  I accept this.  
That which seems so huge and meaningful to each one of us is often, but a blip to others, as we all get caught up the whirlwind of our daily lives seeking a sense of achievement, of fulfillment and of responsibility.  
I have no expectations other than to embark upon this adventure with an open heart and eager mind, to learn, to grow, to experience and of course, to share. 

Not only will we share this life changing experience with one another, but with all of our readers who may in some small way find their own sense of discovery in the never-ending details, the not so professional looking photos, from the heartfelt perspective of two determined retirees as they travel about the world.

CarSoup and security…I’ll take a bowl of that!…

It may be going a little overboard!  For $34 at we purchased these three items putting my mind at ease.

Months ago, Tom and I easily came to the conclusion that owning a car in the US while traveling the world was both foolish and costly. As we’d mentioned in a recent post, it will be peculiar not to own a car which took us a few days to accept.  With only a few calculations, we knew it was the right decision.

Tom’s car, only two years old, still has a remaining balance on a loan. My car also has a loan, a small remaining balance after having bought out the lease a few years ago when offered an irresistible deal for a below market price, certification and an extended warranty. 

Our combined payments are $1048 a month. Add in the auto insurance at $152 a month (me, fender benders!), maintenance at $100 month (my warranty ran out), gas at $300 a month (estimated after retirement for both cars) for a monthly total of $1600.

Keeping a car in the US would have resulted in the continuation of most of these expenses with the $300 a month intended for gas instead going to the cost of storage. Ridiculous!  We had no difficulty making the decision to sell both cars. Most certainly, we can rent cars for considerably less than this amount anywhere we may be in the world

Selling my car in October presents a dilemma: I will be without a car for a few weeks at most.  I can manage by working out and grocery shopping when Tom is home after work and on the few remaining weekends.  

Most of my time these last weeks will be spent completing the packing, cleaning and organizing. Family and friends will visit me here for the next three and a half weeks, until we move to our friend’s home for the remaining week, October 24th to October 31st, our departure date.  We’ll be out of the way during the estate sale. 

Yesterday, I listed my car for the seven day free trial at CarSoup.  If it doesn’t sell in a week, I’ll re-list it committed to the minimum one month contract for $9.95.  What if it doesn’t sell?  

The Cadillac dealer from whom I purchased my car new, most likely will buy it. A few months ago, I’d received a letter from them, inquiring as to my interest in selling them my car. Their used car inventory was low.  Serendipity.  Of course, the price will be much lower than my possible private sale, but at that point, I’ll have no alternative.

Here’s my ad on CarSoup, in case you know of anyone that may be interested. Hopefully soon, gone, gone, gone.

As for Tom’s car, we’ve made a carefully analyzed decision to drive his 2010 SUV to Scottsdale, Arizona for our last 60 days in the US. With its great gas mileage, space for all of our luggage, navigation system and a great security system we’ll be at ease with our decision.  We’ll also drive the SUV to Henderson, Nevada for Christmas with family and friends, finally driving ourselves to the pier in San Diego, for our first cruise. 

We are offering our prospective buyer a good price (a person well known to us), to fly to San Diego and pick up the SUV at the pier, where we’ll have left it on January 3, 2013.  We’ll have financial matters completed prior to this time and have sent him a set of keys.  Easy peasy.  If anything falls through (we always have to have a Plan B), we’ll engage the same practice as for my car, sell the car to a dealer, taking the hit. Whoosh!  $1600 a month, gone!

My next auto related concern: all of our luggage in the back of Tom’s SUV while we make the leisurely four day drive from Minnesota to Arizona.  Our condo in Scottsdale won’t be available until November 4th.  We thought it would be great to take our time during Tom’s first four days of retirement having fun along the way.  A road trip is a great way to start our year’s long adventure!

So again, me worrying.  What if the SUV is vandalized or stolen and our bags, all six of them, are ripped off?  Of course, we’ll be insured. But suddenly, all of our worldly possessions would be gone. Everything. Nada. All of the hundreds  of hours spent researching and buying just the right clothing and products, for at least the first three years of our travels, gone. Scary!  What would we do?  

We’ve discussed this possibility.  We’d continue on to Scottsdale, clothes on our backs with 60 days to find and replace everything we would have lost. Stressful, yes. Frustrating, of course. Doable, yes.

A solution, although not a guarantee, was to amp up his SUV’s security. First, we tested the functionality of his factory installed car alarm.  Next, we made a conscious decision to only stay in motels whereby the SUV will be parked outside our room door.  Also, we’ll be signing up for OnStar for the 60 day period at $18.95 a month.  If the car is stolen, it can be tracked by GPS, immediately reporting to the police.  

With highly sensitive hearing and as a very light sleeper, I’ll sleep with the key fob in my hand (I’ve slept with the TV remote in my hand all night. Why not the fob?).  If I hear a sound, I’ll set off the alarm long before the car alarm goes off, hopefully scaring away a possible thief.  

We are subject to many variables in regard to our two vehicles over the next 90 days.  We have accepted these somewhat painstaking scenarios are part of the process in order to be able to eventually lounge in a lawn chair, overlooking the ocean, knowing this “vacation” may never have to end.  

I’ll tell you how that feels when it happens.