When gas was around $4 a gallon and I was commuting to work each day in a carpool, I needed a new vehicle. In the summer of 2015, we were all looking for more economical gas-efficient options. My carpool partner had a huge diesel truck but fuel for his big rig was even more expensive.
He also had a Harley Davidson road bike with the elevated seat for his wife. He decided that we should commute by motorcycle. It was fun and exhilarating riding on the back of his bike for that first summer but when the rains started I was looking for other options. I purchased “Ruby”, a ruby red (hence her name) Ford Fusion Hybrid. She got 44 miles to the gallon and she has been a great car, especially when I was driving to work everyday and to Seattle sometimes.
During the pandemic I began working from home and Ruby was probably lonely. She only needed gas two times during a 14 month period. Not only did I stop commuting, but I stopped going anywhere at all. She sat in the garage unloved and un-driven.
The other day as I was giving Ruby a bath, ready to resume life and go golfing, I noticed that her tires needed to be replaced and her oil needed to be changed. In fact, she was driven so litter that her tires had never been replaced. And the oil was not because of any excessive mileage but because the months and months on the calendar had turned. It dawned on me that Ruby was no longer the car I needed for retirement life.
What worked well for me as an individual worker the past six years no longer makes sense for me now. My husband is too tall to be comfortable (no headroom or leg room), my grandkids don’t all fit (not enough seats for four of them) and her trunk is too small for my golf bag and pushcart.
Yesterday I said, “Farewell to Ruby” and hello to a used Silver/Gray Explorer. I haven’t figured out the name for my new girl but she definitely fits the bill for my new life. She can seat six comfortably, has lots of cargo space for my dog Sadie, hiking boots, golf bags, and even a spot for a bike hitch. She can go skiing with her four-wheel drive and rack on the top and she’ll be ready to go anywhere I can imagine taking her.
In an earlier blog post, I thought about how my wardrobe needed to change and I spent time figuring out what to wear as a retiree. It never occurred to me that the car I had as a “working unit” wouldn’t be the transportation I would need as a retiree. For you future retirees, this is something you may want to consider as you prepare. Not what will I wear, but what will I drive? I’m happy it was so easy to trade Ruby in for a vehicle that will take me where and when I want to go exploring.
You served me well these past six years, so farewell Ruby! May you go to a good home with someone that is still working. Because now my new job is to have some fun!
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.