This is the second part of my probably-excessive two-part series detailing how I bought a station wagon in 2014. Part 1 was published yesterday: www.drivetribe.com/p/Fto2EEPVTGeS1tS3m0ILYQ/Cn9NL6heSRqj3dpawjsHMQ
Having settled on the 2008 Saab TurboX, I now had to find one in the right spec: wagon, automatic, no navigation (for reasons too boring even for a blog post about a station wagon). There are probably less than 200 of these cars in this spec in the country, so finding one for sale and in good shape was going to be a challenge. My first lead was in Tampa. And no, not Tampa, CO. But it was perfect—a wagon with just the right options checked. I was in talks with the owner, had my finance and insurance ready to go. I was hovering over the “buy” button on my plane ticket when I called ... and it had been sold to a local cash buyer that morning. Fine. I didn’t want to go to Florida anyway. That happened again in Ohio. Ohio sucks too. And then! There it was, shimmering in the sunlight of the Saabcentral.com forums, a mere 1,600 miles from home. Our Car. I wasted no time harassing the hell out of the owner, hounding him every day for updates on the pre-sale inspection, getting logistics figured out, etc. Eventually, it all came together, and I flew to Washington DC to drive a TurboX for the first time. (Had I not mentioned that?) Then I drove it back to Denver. In two days....
I got in to Dulles late Friday night, where a very kind but slightly confused coworker had agreed to pick me up and let me crash at his place. “So what is this car? A station wagon? And you could only find it here? And you’ve never driven one before?” I then proceeded to explain to him that this is a SPECIAL station wagon, and he wasn’t the first to find this ridiculous. The next morning, I got to meet the new car. Most cars have a personality, but this one is overflowing with it. It’s just one of those cars where you know exactly what it’s about 20 feet into your first drive. It’s immediately apparent that this thing is a wolf in (a fat-ish) sheep’s clothing. I couldn’t sign the bill of sale fast enough. After an unbelievably long time at the Virginia DMV, I was ready to head west. Virginia, incidentally, only issues “transit” permits to out-of-state buyers. They give you three days to get the car where it needs to go. Sounds like a built-in speeding excuse to me!
The first leg was a quick sprint to Harrisonburg, VA. From there, I took my one detour and headed out into West Virginia through the George Washington National Forest. And you know what? West Virginia is gorgeous. And the roads! Empty, curvy, fast. Like the ones in Colorado except with fewer hippies, cyclists or hippie cyclists. I mean, check this out:
Pushing the car in the mountains revealed a few things to me: a brake upgrade wouldn’t go missed, 285 hp in a wagon is a lot of fun, and this thing handles better than a 3,900 pound car should. Having rejoined the highway and exited West Virginia without generating a headline reading “Yankee Pansy Gets His Saab-Driving Ass Beat By Local Heroes,” I pushed on through Kentucky. I made it until about 9 p.m. before stopping in Lexington for dinner. And I’m glad I did—Lexington’s downtown was really cool! I had a great meal, and neglected to take any pictures, except for this one of my car in an alley, because New Car. I really want to go back to Lexington sometime and then do the bourbon trail to Louisville. With someone else driving, because Bourbon.
You can tell when the road starts getting to you when you start playing with parking lights and Instagram.
And then began the age-old internal argument: Do I push harder tonight, and make up ground on the empty roads for as long as I can? Or do I stop early and get an early start in the morning? Since the last time I successfully got an early start in the morning involved an angry drill Sergeant, I opted to test out the headlights for a few hours. I ended up making it all the way to St. Louis, everyone’s* favorite city. I got to my straight-from-the-set-of-Breaking-Bad motel at about 2 a.m. and prayed my car would make it through the night unscathed in the parking lot. (*No one’s favorite city. St. Louis is terrible. That’s where the Cardinals are from, you know.)
The next morning, I left at a very me-like 10 a.m. and headed west on my last highway selection, I-70. In a hurry. The weather decided not to play nice in Kansas City, so I got to test out the windshield wipers’ “high” setting, as well as the rear foglight once visibility dropped to near zero for about 10 miles. But it cleared up, and I was able to resume In A Hurry. This was the leg of the trip where I got to test out the highway cruising abilities. They are many. The TurboX is just effortlessly fast across the boring, windy, slow-driver strewn, thankfully cop-free prairie of Western Kansas. So fast, in fact, that I nearly got up to the posted speed limit a few times (hi, mom!). In the end, I made it to Denver from St. Louis in 11 hours, with stops, no tickets, and still feeling comfortable when I rolled up to the house in time for Game of Thrones and everything! I can’t WAIT to tell my impending-tiny-human all about this trip like 3,000 times when we’re road-tripping in the car. He/she’ll love it, obviously.