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July 20, 2011 at 02:23 PM

So Long, Honda CRV

San Francisco, US Travel

Today, after 8 dutiful years of service, I sold my trusty 2003 Honda CRV. Since moving to New York last summer, the car has been in storage and saw very little use. And to be honest, there's no need to own a car in New York, plus doing so is terribly impractical and horrifically expensive.

Dropping off the car at the Buggy Bank in Berkeley, CA (click to enlarge)

Back in 2002, when I lived in the Marina in San Francisco, I decided to go a year without a car, convincing myself it wasn't needed. My daily commute to downtown by MUNI bus was easy, and getting around the neighborhood was not much of a chore. Over time, however, I started to realize that MUNI is a pain, and there was a lot of things I wasn't doing because it was just too much of a hassle to get to. Unlike New York, San Francisco is one of those cities were you really do need a car, or access to a car, to fully enjoy it.

One day after work, I was riding the bus when a drunken homeless man boarded without paying. He sat in the back being loud and obnoxious, the proceeded to soil himself to the horror of the other passengers. I got off the bus at the next stop, walked over to San Francisco Honda, and drove the CRV home an hour later. To this day, this was one of my best decisions.

Although not entirely dependent on public transportation, I still took the bus to work but mostly drove the car on weekends, playing golf, occasional trips to Tahoe, the yearly Yosemite outing and the biweekly trip to Safeway for Diet Coke and pudding.

In 2007, took the CRV on a month-long tour of 31 National Parks in the US and Canada, essentially living in the car and putting 5,000 (about 10%) of its total mileage oduring that trip. It was quite an adventure, with a few close calls along the way.

Me and the CRV become separated by an angry Bison in Yellowstone National park (click to enlarge)

On the recommendation of friends, I used a consignment company in Berkeley called the Buggy Bank (terrible name). For a flat fee, they show the car on their lot for 5 weeks, managing test drives, answering questions, placing ads on their website and Cragislist, doing everything except the final negotiation.

By the time the car was put up for sale, it only had 55,000 miles on it, and was in pristine condition. I got calls the first day, and found a buyer by the first weekend. Being out of town, I signed a power of attorney over to my good friend Nicole, trusting her to sign over the title and remit the money to me. If I see Facebook pictures of her in Mexico, I'll know not to expect payment anytime soon.

I do want to thank Nicole for being a thoughtful babysitter and custodian of the car in my absence, checking on it from time to time at the storage place and taking it for an occasional spin for her catering work or a trip to IKEA. I know having a stepcar is a big responsibility, and an unwanted one at times, but I do appreciate her help.

Nicole and her assistant Ellie ride the BART after dropping off the car in Berkeley (click to enlarge)

I'm very pleased to not own a car. I don't miss it, though I liked that car a great deal. From what I know of the buyer, its going to live in Monterrey in a seaside garage with a stunning view of the beach. So, thanks for the memories, the low mileage and the famous Honda reliability. Enjoy the good life.

A final sunset, taken at Crater Lake National Park (click to enlarge)


Read more:
My epic tour of Western National Parks



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