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Dip Netting in Chitina: Part I – The Cars

Our vehicular needs have changed. Where once we had a smallish family and a single dwelling, we are about to be a larger family in separate locations. We have very specific ideas regarding what kinds of cars are needed to meet our needs as a family: an all wheel drive minivan for Stephanie and an older Toyota truck with an extended cab for me. The selection of used cars in Fairbanks, however, is limited, and most of the good leads we found on Craigslist were all in Anchorage, the population center of the state, both for humans and for used cars. 

There were two Dodge Grand Caravans and two Toyota Tacomas in the greater Anchorage area that all looked promising, and so I set off with a wad of cash, a handful of addresses, and some fishing gear. It was an ambitious plan to begin with. I’m kind of amazed that it went, for the most part, accordingly.

First, I flew to Alaska Airlines to Anchorage. I hailed a cab there and had it take me to the location of the first Caravan. It was a nice family with lots of kids, and the woman there did not seem to mind when I asked if I could take it for a test drive. I even left my bag in her garage as some kind of security that I’d eventually come back with her car.

I then drove her white Caravan over to the location of the next Caravan and talked with the man there. His expression betrayed no small amount of surprise at a guy in a Caravan pulling up to possibly purchase another Caravan. He was even more bemused when I explained that this was his competition: I’d either buy his or the one I was driving. It was, however, much easier to decided between the two when I could see both options side by side. There is always one clearly better option. I told the second Caravan guy no thanks and proceeded to drive back to the home of the first Caravan. We quickly negotiated a price and I was off to the bank to get a cashier’s check. Check in hand, I returned to the house for a third time that morning to drop off the check, claim by bag from the garage, and be on my way.

Everything was going well so far. I then proceeded to the location of the first Toyota Truck. It was a small family lot in Wasilla that sold antiques, as well as used Toyotas and Subarus. The truck I had been looking at on line was very different when seen in person. I could tell pretty quickly that the salesman was giving me a line of BS. He told me it was a one-owner truck, and that the exorbitant price they were asking was “only a couple hundred over what we paid for it.” When I rummaged through the glove box, I found the name and phone number of the previous owner, and so I called him up real quick. The previous owner told me he bought the truck from a buddy of his about six months ago, and that he had recently traded the truck in for $500, about one tenth of its new sale price.

I left there and drove to the location of the second Toyota. That truck was okay, but still not really what I had in mind. My plan was to purchase a truck, leave the Caravan wherever I bought the truck, drive on to Chitina for some salmon fishing, and then return to Anchorage again to pick up the Caravan another day. That didn’t work out, which was fine. I had at least found a van for Stephanie, and I had a ride back home to Fairbanks. After a full day of driving all over Anchorage in the rain, it was time to strike out on phase two of the mission.

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 12:00AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

I think you should leave this posting alone and not retract it. Someday your kids will be amused of their dad's wheeling and dealings.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDad
He is not taking this off - just the note on the previous post that informs people to click back to this page. He wanted this post to be in chronological order.
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

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