So, I have spent my adult life in warm climes within a stone's throw of the southern end of the Appalachians. Roads have always been smoothly paved and curvy, snow and ice were things that made the news when they happened, and dwelling in the 'burbs made long commutes a fact of life. No more.
Now I'm living in a city in the middle of a state with the topography of a billiard table. The frost-heaved and potholed roads are only a shell crater away from those in downtown Beirut. Everyplace I need to go is within a mile or two of the house, via flat, straight roads on which my car is unlikely to need fourth gear. With its stiff suspension and low-profile tires on butter-soft alloy rims, the Z3 is something of a fish out of water here in my new neighborhood, despite its Sunday-afternoon top-down poseur potential on Broad Ripple Avenue. I'm seriously thinking about cashing it out while it's still got a fair bit of trade-in mojo.
You may have noticed that despite this blog being tagged with the moniker "booksBIKESboomsticks", I haven't done a lot of writing about bikes since the sale of the Zephyr last year. I've noticed it, too. I'm starting to feel the itch. RobertaX is nice enough to offer to let me use her spare scooter, a little Chinese-built 50cc number, but I'd feel a little silly in my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers riding gear on the thing, plus the fact that I'd need to re-learn the whole shift/brake thing on a scooter. Also I want my own bike.
Suzuki's super-motard style DR-Z400SM is calling my name; I think it would be a perfect around-the-neighborhood Urban Assault Vehicle. It's narrow, light, flickable, reasonably priced, and its 400cc single is insanely good on gas if your don't wring its little neck. That leaves the more challenging part: Picking a 4-wheeled vehicle.
I'm looking for something comfy enough for roadtrips, decent on gas, with at least the pretense of being fun-to-drive, and front-wheel drive for the icky season. It should be able to lope to Tennessee, Texas, or Georgia with room enough for long guns. I'd also prefer something with a rep for longevity. It would need to be fairly reasonably priced, with good used examples available in the $3k-$5k range. Perhaps a Saab 9000S? Volvo? Maxima? Who can say?
Anyhow, anybody want to buy a Bimmer?