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February 13, 2009

Buying a New Car

I've detailed my shopping experience for a new car to replace my leased Honda Accord previously. I ended up buying a used 2008 VW Passat 2.0T. From narrowing down what I was looking for, I had been exclusively searching for those vehicles, I perused the online inventory of every VW dealer in Canada, as well as many used vehicle sites. I also asked a salesman at a local dealer to look for specific vehicles for me.

I ended up finding two vehicles. The first was located in Ontario, it was a US imported vehicle that had been modified to Canadian standards. The second was located in BC and was an original Canadian car. The cars were pretty much identical, same color, same model, similar mileage and prices. The option sets were slightly different coming from the US and Canada though. I ended up choosing the Canadian vehicle, I had a slight preference for the option set, there would be no warranty issues and the price was more negotiable. I put down a small deposit.

A few weeks later I flew out to inspect, pay for and take delivery of the vehicle. The dealer was able to provide me the documentation prior to my arrival so I could obtain a temporary registration from MPI. This turned out to be a cheaper option than temporary insurance from BC. The whole pickup procedure at the dealer was pretty quick and straight forward. I was a little disappointed that they hadn't filled the gas tank or done the routine oil change that was outstanding on the vehicle nor buff out the few minor scratches on the car.

While in Vancouver I was able to meet up with a friend for lunch and find my first ever Webcam geocache. My mom reminded me to pick up a snow brush before driving home and I did that as well. Much of my dad's family lives in Vancouver, however they were all vacationing together for Christmas and weren't in town. A friend had traveled with me and we went and visited with some of his family. We ended up attending a fund raising social for their sons dry grad. Seems a bit contradictory, they also didn't call it a social and weren't quite as organized as you would expect when attending a Manitoba social. I think nearly everyone in attendance got at least 2 prizes. Cory Philpot was in attendance and showed us his Grey Cup ring. He's a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and BC Lion.

We left for Winnipeg early the next day. It was an easy drive in the new car for much of the day. The Coquihalla highway is now toll free. We were thinking about making the return trip in 2 days, hoping we'd make it to Calgary the first day, but that didn't happen. It was about sunset when we arrived in Golden, BC. We thought about stopping for the day, but decided to continue on. Up until this point, it was clear with no snow. It had now turned to fog and as we headed up the mountain, the snow started falling. It was certainly wintery through the mountain pass, with evidence of several feet of previously fallen snow. The plows were out and sanding at the same time. It was a bit slow going and tedious but we made it to Canmore, AB and stopped for the night. It's interesting how familiar some parts of the highway are to drive and how others I don't remember at all.

The next morning we headed in to Calgary for breakfast. The snow brush came in handy to clean off the nights wet snow. Knowing we would be taking 3 days to get back, we left a little later in the morning and that turned out to be a wise choice as the roads had been very icy earlier and there were many cars in the ditch, including a garbage truck perfectly upside down. We hadn't made any stops the first day, trying to get through the mountains as quickly as possible, but after leaving Calgary I started to mix in a few geocaching stops. Sometime near sunset I noticed a stone chip in the windshield :( We ate dinner in Swift Current, SK and stopped for the night at Moose Jaw, SK.

The next morning we headed into town to get the stone chip fixed and continued on our way. We were making good time so I made quite a few more stops for geocaches along the way. I found the POI (Points Of Interest) on my GPS to be quite detailed, we were able to find restaurants and lodging everywhere we went. It might not have had them all, but it will get you to the general locations in town where they are located. We stopped at The Red Barn restaurant in Moosomin, SK, a bit of a different place. You order from a walk up counter, but the rest looks like any sit-down restaurant. It had recently moved in conjunction with the twinning and re-alignment of much of the Transcanda through Saskatchewan. I grabbed a bunch of geocaches on the western edge of Manitoba as I rarely travel there, but know many of the cachers who hid them as well as a pesky cache in Brandon that always seemed to be missing when I was there. We got into Winnipeg that evening.

Along the way I tried every grade of gasoline. The car is designed for premium but runs fine on everything I tried with no noticeable difference in fuel economy. Average economy for the trip was a little below the ratings which could be due to the winter conditions, mountains and more frequent stops later in the trip.


did you happen to have the chicken while you were at the red barn? I grew up in Moosomin and niow live in Medicine Hat but i can still say that it serves the best fried chicken i've ever had.

Posted by: tyson at April 15, 2009 07:07 PM

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