June 21, 2007

A new Isuzu trooper, a boat in the works and what else?

VALOIS, New York, USA - The adventures of retirement continue to be, well, adventuresome.

Six hours before we left for New York, we closed the deal on the purchase of a 1997 Isuzu Trooper, a nicely kept 4-wheel drive vehicle which we hope will serve us well in Mexico for many years. It is a blue version of the wheels that both son Dustin and Dustin's amiga Cami drive. Ours was driven by a school teacher (I am NOT kidding) and would seem to be a great rig for 4-wheeling around our beach property and La Manzanilla, where fording a river is a common occurence.

The new Troopy in the the family
The latest Trooper to join the fleet of family vehicles.

Our original plan was to buy a 4-wheel drive unit here in New York and drive it to California. But after a little reflection on that plan - and the 15 mpg average that many 4-wheel drive vehicles get - we decided buying the California car made sense. Sort of. At least as much sense as ever buying a 15 mpg vehicle makes in a $3.50 per gallon world.

When we get back to Sacramento in late August (very late August, given that we don't start teaching until the day after Labor Day), we will sell our much-loved Prius, a car that not only gets 50 mpg, but has a carpool lane sticker that is transferable to the new owner. Selling the Prius should not be a problem.

But because we are sans 4-wheel drive car here, we had to put some energy into the Lake House Buick, a mid-1990s vehicle that was owned by the Admiral's late mother, Louise (a retired schoolteacher). This year the car started great, but the brake fluid poured out more quickly than a milkshake at a Dairy Queen, so the car was dispatched down to Watkins Glen to the shop from which it was purchased, where, I learned today, that it can be repaired - and with a new set of tires on the rear - for about $200.

Upstate New York comes as close to rivaling Mexico in its bargains as anyplace I know.

Buick in for repairs
Buick heads to the repair shop

The fun part of the day (not counting the weeding, scraping wallpaper or taking apart the dishwasher) was going to look for a lake boat so we can have some on-the-water transport this year. Last year we used the Bud Boat, but its engine gave it up in August - as in really gave it up - and we decided that rather than buy a new engine for it, we would start over.

We found a late 1970s Mark Twain (no kidding a boat named Mark Twain - Sam Clemens probably wants to puke) that has a 40 hp Mercury on it. But the owner and broker want $2,50o dollars - a little steep, if my reading of Craig's List prices for local boats is accurate.

A few miles down the road, we found what we think could be our next Seneca Lake Boat - a 20-foot pontoon boat, complete with a 35 hp Mercury. These are the ultimate party boats, plus, with a enough horsepower, can actually get up on plane, Waterskiing is probably out of the question, but considering that tomorrow I have my first appointment with a new physical therapist to work on my shoulders, waterskiing should probably not be much of a consideration.

Boat possibility
One possibility. but a little small

The boat pictured above is actually only 14-feet long - really too small for any serious partying, er, I mean navigating. But the same broker shown here telling Admiral Fox about this unit is busy getting a 20-foot version ready for show. And we are ready to take a quick test spin when it is ready. If it works out, it might be in the water and ready for Dan and Lorraine Olsen's visit next week. I know Captain Dan will help me figure out the navigational possibilities for this, our latest of boats.

On our way home from looking at the pontoon boat, we spotted another small runabout - this one costing about $1,200 - with a nice-looking, late-model 50 hp Mercury outboard attached.

Perhaps we should buy both, and have a spare engine to swap back and forth.

Not the worst idea I have had today.

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