We bought a new van!

On Tuesday we traded in our trusty 2002 blue Dodge Caravan, Ramona, for a just-about-brand-spankin-new 2016 black Grand Caravan, yet to be named.

We hadn’t planned on buying a brand new vehicle when we started our search.  We just knew it was time to trade in the old for something newer because Ramona needed at least $2000 worth of work done, and given we were at almost 185,000km it was only a matter of time before even more issues would crop up.  

It ended up making the most sense to get something new, because then we have more security that we won’t have problems, and we’ll be able to keep this van a lot longer hopefully.  We had Ramona for 5 years, but I’m hoping this one could last us for 10!  We’ll see, but I can say for sure I do NOT enjoy the process of buying a new car!

Ramona served us well, and I found myself emotional about giving her up.  I had a brand new vehicle to drive away in, complete with ‘new-car-smell’ but I felt so sad leaving our old van behind.  It was the first vehicle we owned as a family, it was the van I was driven in while in labour with the girls and the vehicle we brought them home from the hospital in.  It was the vehicle that got me driving on the mainland, which I never thought I would do given I’d only ever driven on the island before that.  Andrew had his seat at the back with all his stickers on the window that he collected from pre-school and wherever else.  It was hard to let go of that van, because it felt like we were letting go of a part of our family.  I know that probably sounds totally ridiculous, but that’s how I felt.  And the kids were feeling sentimental about it, too!

Once we got into the new van and drove home, and I’ve started driving it and getting used to it, I have to say I’m definitely glad we’ve upgraded.  I feel safer because there aren’t so many weird sounds coming from the front end anymore, I love that the turn signal works on its own (since the day after we got Ramona the turn signal was broken and had to be manually shut off after every use...which we got used to and it just became second nature, to the point we found ourselves still doing that with the new van at first, but I’m getting used to not doing it now!)  It's also amazing that all the windows actually go down - in Ramona, the passenger side window didn't even work. And if it was a hot day, the passenger sliding door would only unlock manually. There were a lot of little idiosyncrasies to Ramona!  

Both the brakes and the gas pedal on the new van are way more sensitive than Ramona’s, which is still taking a bit of getting used to, but it just shows how much we were compensating for what wasn’t quite functioning up to par in the old van.  I still have to get used to the way this one drives, but I’m already feeling more comfortable after a day of a few practice runs.  And I am completely in love with the stow and go seats!

One of the main reasons we wanted to upgrade to a grand caravan was for the stow and go seats.  With 3 kids, we can’t get away with having just one bench in the van for all 3 to fit in, but we don’t generally need to have the full 7 seats, either.  This way, two seats can fold right down (and super easily, might I add!) in the back so we’ll have the space we need to fit all our camping gear, or even just to make it a whole lot easier to do a big grocery shop.  I love it.  

I still feel a little sad for Ramona, not really knowing where she’ll end up and not wanting to think she might just be used for parts but not really driven again.  She was great while she lasted, and I’ll always remember our first family van - with our awesome zombie family decal that said 'We Ate Your Stick Family'.  But I’m sure our new one - that we’ll have to come up with a good name for - will help us create many more family memories in the years to come!


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