Kestrel's Musings

Rambles and explorations from this perspective.


Suddenly Buying a New Car (and why I have been absent from this blog)

Well before 250,000 miles I began to face the reality that cars do not last forever. I began pondering what I would do if this well loved Subaru gave up the ghost. I knew that I did not want a new car. Since the new kind of car I want doesn’t exist, even though I believe that it can and should, I did not want to vote with my money for new therefore I would settle for used, which would also be cheaper. When she finally died suddenly at 275,000 miles, I suddenly had to buy a car.

In my anticipation I have been researching cars for over a year attempting to be prepared when the time did arrive. My research helped immensely with reducing my stress around the many decisions and choices I had to make in a short amount of time. It did not prepare me for dealing with a broker who pulled a bait and switch on me when I naively imagined that would not happen. Here is what I learned:

  1. Most sales folks at dealers are nice people
  2. Most sales folks at dealers know absolutely nothing of value about the cars that they are selling
  3. Test driving your choices is a good idea
  4. Brokers need to make money and you do not need a broker
  5. Good friends with great advice are indispensable
  6. There are many online resources that are VERY helpful when buying a new car (I will share them below)
  7. Get your timing belt replaced in a timely manner

In the end, I became my own broker, purchasing a vehicle that I had been told had been sold to someone else (that was the switch part of the bait and switch). I got it for $2268 less than the sticker price which made me feel very empowered and satisfied. I don’t need no stinking broker!

The other twist to this story is that I purchased a 2013, used. Yes, I managed to find a used 2013. Even better, I got to vote with my money by paying the cheaper price while also getting a brand new car, practically. In the end, I got the car I wanted. The price and new-ness were driving factors. The year and a half of research I did, prioritizing safety ratings, value ratings, MPG ratings, practicality of the vehicle for my life style, and all the other little bits that I thought would be important to me (cruise control!) where what informed my choice. In the end, I was a well informed and well armed consumer that took charge of her car buying experience and got a fabulous deal. I highly recommend being your own broker. And I highly recommend researching to narrow down and know what you want.


All this derailed my blogging reality for a month. Since I suspect that only my friends read this, you all already likely know why I have not been blogging. If there is anyone else out there, now y’all know what happened to me. I took the new Honda Fit for a test run on my Spring Break to Carrizo Plain and hope to blog about that soon and Pinnacles camping and the First of Season return of bird friends and the first garden I have ever made and….

Car Buying Resources I found Super Helpful:


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Ephemeral Peace ~ Some thoughts inspired by Cornell Lab’s post on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper

This video is a gift. Educating each other about the greater connections ecosystems are woven into seems relevant. I am not confident though that the human condition can be altered enough to change the story of demise so many species experience by our hand. I might like to read up on some of the latest big picture ideas science offers of how we are headed into our own demise by our own hand. There won’t be headlines anymore when humans get down to 100 breeding pairs.

The rest of Cornell’s post on The Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Ode to Pinnacles National Monument

This was written soon after arrival, spring break 2010.  I was taken by the nature magic there and immediately began writing this on their NPS map/brochure.

Walking with a smile thinking, “I love Pinnacles.”  I love Pinnacles like I love hot drink in the morning.  I love Pinnacles like I love a celebration with friends.  I love Pinnacles like I love that bobcat that just popped out of the shrub and onto the log while I walk day dreaming about how much I love Pinnacles.  I love Pinnacles like I love the sense of letting go and the sense of wholeness – of completeness.  Like I love feeling satisfied and full.  I love Pinnacles like I love seeing that adult Condor soaring overhead soon after I step out of my car immediately upon arrival.  I love Pinnacles like I love the gift of life and laughter.  Like I love the blessing of these great folks I’ve met, and the conversation that has freed me, where I freed me, to be.  I love Pinnacles.

UPDATE: Congratulations Pinnacles! Pinnacles National Monument is now the United States 59th National Park.