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2020Jan02

The hubby and I are like minded when it comes to vehicles. (SO thankful for that!) We don't see any reason to have the latest, biggest, most popular, etc. vehicle and trade them in every couple of years. And therefore, (barring any accidents, etc.) we find that we drive a vehicle until it is on it's last legs and then we donate it.

We focus on what is best for our needs and the best fuel efficiency that we can afford. "What we can afford" has been the key factor for a long time. In fact, when our Subaru Impreza finally had to be donated, we could not afford to replace it. Meaning that since the hubby still commuted to work, he drove the Honda Insight (hybrid) and I was left with the farm vehicle for trips to town (the Dodge Grand Caravan). By the way, the Impreza had been the hubby's car and the Insight was the replacement of my commuter car. So technically, the Insight was supposed to be my car but since the hubby's commute was longer than mine, I ended up driving the Impreza and he got the Insight (yes, this did cause some marital trouble).

It's probably not necessary to point this out because if you have read anything on this website you already know that I am what is known as a "True Blue Environmentalist". And it won't surprise you to read that having to drive a 20 miles per gallon mini-van to do anything off the farm was actually painful to me and so I tended to combine my errands so that some weeks I only left the farm once. Eventually, I realized that the isolation was not in my best interest and forced myself to get off the farm more often even though it meant driving the mini-van. I honestly did not understand how much this contributed to my depression until May 2019.

In May 2019, we were having friends over to dinner and the subject of their 2015 Smartcar came up because I had been drooling over it since they got it a year previously. You see, I learned about the Cradle-to-Cradle movement in Sustainable Design during a conference on the Green Building Industry back in 2005. The Smartcar was one of the initial products of the Cradle-to-Cradle movement. In fact, I had gone to the Mercedes dealer in 2005 to find out when they would be available in the USA and get on a list to get one (if that were possible). Unfortunately, the price tag was much higher than my budget would allow and so I put that dream out of mind. (Like I have done with SO MANY dreams... but you are not my therapist, LOL.)

Fast forward to 2018 and my friends had purchased the 2015 Smartcar to use with their RV but we learned at that May 2019 meal that it wasn't working out the way they hoped (in combination with the RV) and so they needed to sell it. The speed with which I jumped on it is undescribable, LOL. I didn't even care what the price was... well, I did CARE but whatever it was I was going to have that car even with the warning flashing in my head: Don't buy things from friends. LOL Thankfully, these are not the kind of friends with whom you have to worry about that.

To make this long story a little shorter, suffice it to say that we came to an agreement on the price and, as of June 1st, I became the owner of a 2015 Smartcar with only 6,000 miles on it.

smart and me

Yes, that is me with my new Smartcar.

You don't see many pictures of me on this website.

I look about as happy as you will ever see me because
I absolutely L*O*V*E this car!

life 42

Here is my new license plate (pic to the left). Douglas Adams fans will understand. It is simply a happy coincidence that the model name of this car is the ForTwo Pure.

I wear my heart on my sleeve (pic to the right) and those stickers help other motorists to SEE ME since it is such a small car. (All but the E Pluribus Unum sticker come from Redbubble.com.)

smart stickers
smart drawing

At left is a drawing I found on the internet so you can see how much space there is inside (I feel like I have my own Tardis.*)

The engine is at the back between the wheels and the shaded area holds cargo above it.

Yes, it does resemble a toy. Rather appropriate for the owner of PlayHaven, don't you agree?

smart angled

*Look up Doctor Who, BBC television.

I can just see some of you rolling your eyes, LOL. One of my friends actually wrinkled his nose when I told him, LOL. You know what, I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks about my car.

I have driven small cars since I was able to purchase my first one. Let's see, in the last 40(plus) years of driving I've owned: Chevrolet Monza, Pontiac Scooter, Volkswagon Superbeetle, Honda CRX, Subaru Outback Sport, Daewoo Lanos, Honda Insight and now Smartcar Fortwo Pure. So I am no stranger to being the smallest on the road and because I like to save money and use very little fuel, I'm also used to people sitting on my rear bumper and passing me with their middle finger extended. FYI, my mantra for when those people pass me is "Feel Free to Pass, I'm Saving Gas." LOL I really do need to turn that into a bumper sticker!

OK, back to the Smartcar. I had hoped to be buying an electric vehicle by now but considering I live 5 miles from an interstate and another 25 miles from Kansas City, it is just as well that my 2015 Smartcar has a gasoline engine. I average 40 to 45 miles per gallon in the summer with the AC on. With the rear located engine over the rear-wheel drive, this little car does just fine in snow, rain and over the gravel road to the farm. It takes 91 octane (minimum) fuel, but it only takes 8 gallons to fill the tank and I get at least 325 miles per tank.

For details about my Smartcar, I've included a couple of links that will get you started if you are interested in that stuff:

Yes, I did take it to my mechanic before I bought it. I need to have a mechanic that can read the Mercedes codes and wants to take care of my car as well. They had never seen one and at least one of the mechanics is intrigued by it as much as I am. :)

Yes, people do stop me in parking lots to ask about my car. Most of them tell me I should be selling them, LOL. (Because I am so enthusiastic, you see, LOL.) Most people smile when they see my car.

In the past six (6) months I have put 10,000 miles on it.

I drove it to Washington DC and back by way of Kentucky through the Appalachian mountains. I had NO problems keeping up with traffic (I intentially did not drive to save fuel, I wanted to get there in the shortest time possible, LOL.) and the steep inclines and declines were no more of a challenge for me than any of the other vehicles. The only interesting thing was that when I stopped in Lexington KY for the night, I noticed some knocking in the engine at the first light off the interstate. By the time I got to the hotel (a mile away) it had stopped. Turns out it was the computer recalculating the fuel mix for the higher elevation. Fascinating!

I also drove to Des Moines IA and came back to six (6) inches of snow! The interstate got treacherous and it took me an extra two (2) hours to make it home by taking it slow and steady on the back roads. I used the manual transmission option and was pretty much in 2nd or 3rd gear the whole way, using the engine to brake as much as possible. The drive brought back to my mind all the experience I have from driving rear wheel, little cars around Omaha Nebraska in lots of snow in the 1980s. The only place that I got stuck was my own driveway! A quick snow shoveling behind each wheel the length of the car, a roll back onto that, a quick snow shoveling for each wheel ahead past the point of the spinout and VIOLA! I went straight up the little hill and all the way to the garage.

If you have read this far and checked out the links, you will know that Daimler/Mercedes is no longer selling the Smartcar in the USA. (agh) And as of 2021 Mercedes won't be offering service and parts at their dealerships. Isn't that a shame! But that is not going to stop me from enjoying my car. There are MANY car aficionados that find mechanics to do work and parts in the aftermarkets. I may even be able find some inexpensive used Smartcars to keep for parts. It has all been done before. I belong to a few Facebook groups and Support Forums on Smartcars, so there are many people to chat with and get support from.

No longer do I feel stuck at the farm. I have absolutely no desire to drive the mini-van again and leave that to the hubby when we need it. No, the hubby DOES NOT drive my car! LOL I'm sure he would not mind doing so, but he understands why I don't want him to and he respects that. There is actual JOY in my being because of the freedom I feel and the fun of driving my Smartcar. Go ahead and laugh... I'll join you. LOL



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