LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — ‘Bye Gracie, Hi, Blu Pearl!

There’s rarely a great time for a car to bite the dust. But come on! Three weeks before Christmas? That just sucks!
And the six weeks before and after my daughters’ birthdays?
And two months before a trip of a lifetime to Cuba?
And an undetermined number of months before a trip to Barcelona to visit my oldest daughter who moved to Spain in September?!
But die she did, on Sunday, Dec. 4. Gracie was my beloved deep cranberry 2003 PT Cruiser. I’d bought her slightly used Jan. 29, 2004 with only 14,645 miles on her. I loved driving her and she was good to me.
Of course, it was at an inopportune time for her to die just as I was driving to St. Paul to spend the last day at the Germanic-American Institute annual German Christmas Market. It was also the final day of my photo exhibit “25 Black & White Photos of European Women in Traditional Professions & Trades,” which had a great three-month run.
So as I was driving to GAI on Sunday, I knew something was gravely wrong. Old Gracie kept slipping out of gear. I was pretty sure the transmission had run it’s gambit. Yup. It was quite annoying since only weeks before, I’d spent $2,000 on other repairs. Dang.
My 2014 Subaru Forester.
My 2014 Subaru Forester.

There was nothing left but to accept it and look for another safe vehicle that didn’t break the bank. I’m not that interested in cars, really. All I ask for is four wheels and a steering wheel. Usually. But this time, I also thought maybe now would be a good time to have seater heaters. And maybe that cool backup screen on the dashboard thingy. Hey, while I thought about it, I’d also like to have a sun roof. After all, it’s not going to be winter forever. Then there’s that amazing newish navigation technology. That could be helpful.

As fate would have it, the day after Gracie died, I had a meeting. It was only 10 blocks away, so I walked to the event. But it was raining when I left, so I asked another attendee, our friendly city manager, Scott Neal, for a ride home.
Mike Rappaport after he programed my phone in Blu Pearl at Luther Subaru in Bloomington.
Mike Rappaport after he programed my phone in Blu Pearl at Luther Subaru in Bloomington.

Scott was driving a brand-new Subaru Forester. I liked it. A lot. So, that’s what I wanted. We went to see Mike Rappaport at Luther Subaru in Bloomington. And that’s what I got: a 2014 Marine Blue Pearl 2.5i Limited. Dylan Duffy helped us get a great financing rate.

My “new” used car has gray leather seats plus those coveted heated front seats. Yahoo! It also has a power moonroof, all-wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS and disc brakes, an electronic trunk opener, remote keyless entry, all weather floor mats and more. The fuel efficiency looks good at an average of 32 mpg. The only thing it doesn’t have that I would have appreciated is that built in navigation feature. I can live with that, or more accurately, without it.
Yes, it was more money that we planned to spend, which I suspect is usually the case. However, given I don’t put that many miles on a car these days, I’m expecting it will last for many years to come.
I’ve named her Blu Pearl.
Oh, and I did give my faithful old Gracie a decent ‘burial.” She went to that great car heaven — Car Talk Donation Program — with proceeds to MPR News for a tax write-off.

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