Finding a Family Vehicle: Our Dodge Durango

We didn’t “officially” tell our parents about the baby until we saw them in August, but my husband’s parents knew long before then.  My husband called them when we were about a month pregnant and asked his dad to look at a used Dodge Durango for us.  Dad asked, “Is there anything you’d like to tell us?”  Um, no, not yet; we just thought it was a good time to start looking at a larger family vehicle.

We knew as soon as we were pregnant that we’d have to start hunting for a bigger vehicle. Our Jeep, much as we love it, only seats four. We’ve talked for a few years about getting a Durango, which seats seven.

My husband’s old Dodge Dakota is parked at his parents’ place as a parts vehicle.  The winter I was pregnant with Lily, he was heading into the city during one of the crazy snowstorms that blew across southern Alberta.  The truck hit a patch of ice, flew off the road and over a driveway and head-on into a power pole.  It’s beyond repair, but the engine, drive train and other parts underneath are still good.  And Dakotas and Durangos are roughly the same vehicle underneath the body.

Our plan was to find a 2001-2003 Dodge Durango with the same engine and transmission as the Dakota.  We were hoping for a cheap vehicle—one with a bad engine or something else wrong with it—and then to use the Dakota to fix up the Durango.  For that, we needed a vehicle close to the Dakota and enough time to fix it.  In the end, that’s not what happened.

My husband spent several hours scouring Kijiji for used Durangos.  When we got to Alberta, there were only a few for sale.  We drove into the city one afternoon to look at one truck, only to find it had been sent to auction.  Other advertisers didn’t get back to us.  Some trucks had the wrong engine or were standard transmission instead of automatic.  Two trucks sold the day before we had time to look at them.  It began to seem like we were looking for a needle in a haystack.

One Saturday, we asked my mom to watch the girls for a couple hours while we drove into the city to look at a Durango sitting on a lot.  It was the first time I’d actually had a chance to check out this family vehicle we’d been talking about for so many years. I fell in love.  It was so big compared to the Jeep, and the third seat (in the back) was much more accessible than I’d imagined.  However, the truck had a few issues that left us a bit uncertain about buying it.  We could make it work, but it would be nice if we had another truck to look at, just to compare vehicles and know that we were getting the best deal.

We found a library, logged onto the internet, and checked the Kijiji ads again.  One truck we’d wanted to look at was sold, but another was newly listed.  We called.  No answer.  We began driving back to my mom’s place, and gave the lady one more phone call just before we left the city.  She was one her way home.  We said we’d meet her there and turned around.

In twenty minutes, we were looking at a Durango that was the same colour and year as the truck on the lot—but this Durango was in much better condition.  It had been in the same family since it was brand new, and it was obvious they had taken care of the truck.

We took the truck for a test drive.  Stopped at a bank to get the cash.  Returned to the owners and said we’d buy it.  Half an hour later, we were driving back to my mom’s place—finally—after a long but successful day of truck hunting.  The girls were excited about moving their car seats into the new family vehicle (despite declarations, a few days earlier, that they loved the Jeep and didn’t want a new vehicle).  And so we parked the Jeep (until we need two vehicles again) and drove the Durango home to BC.

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