For various unfortunate reasons no one really cares about I have been non-vehicular for several years. Recently, for more unfortunate reasons, I have moved from my beloved New Orleans to Texarkana, Texas via U-Haul.
It’s not permanent, however, and in somewhere between a few months and several months, I will be moving again, this time to Olympia, Washington, and hope to do so in my own vehicle, which has presented the problems which I am writing about today.
The cost to rent a U-Haul that distance is so extraordinarily high that it looks more logical to buy a vehicle in Texarkana and drive it up there, hauling the stuff (there isn’t much) as cargo, shipping whatever can’t fit. The original plan was an old Suburban or a cargo van of some sort, but that might not be applicable due to two major factors: The Rocky Mountains and/or Mojave Desert.
I am a city-boy, and a flatlander, having spent most of my time in the urbanized swamp of New Orleans. I have some experience with driving in mountains while on vacation in Kentucky, and living for a short time in New England (after Katrina). However, nothing with the height or steepness of the Rockies, and the furthest west I have ever driven is the Austin, TX area. Thus, I need something with the power and reliability to get over the Rockies and/or reliability in heat to get through the Mojave (avoiding one makes you have to drive far in the other). On top of that I need something that can haul cargo and cats, and is relatively affordable.
Part of this is the fact, that, as I said, I have driven exclusively in the eastern half the country, and thus have little experience with the long empty stretches of desert I will have traverse in New Mexico and Utah (northern route) or New Mexico and Arizona (southern route) or the northern route’s possibly engine-killing mountains. (Kentucky and Tennessee mountains killed the old Chrysler land yacht I bought after Katrina ($500 newspaper special) cheap because I’m a cheapskate . . . er . . .thrifty, I meant thrifty and I am a bit worried about a repeat as I’m sure the higher, steeper mountains could kill an engine even quicker.)
Probably will not be in the position to spend a lot of money. Preferring cheap, but I don’t care if it’s butt-ugly.
Lastly, once I get to Olympia, if it’s a big off-road SUV/camper or van/camper I might want to trade it to one of the more outdoorsy types up there, since I am not outdoorsy at all (city-boy, remember) for or sell it to someone and get a more city/efficient/compact. (I was a huge fan of the Mazda Protege back in the day when it was the official car of 90’s slackers in the south, but something in the Mazda/Prius/compact/etc area.)
So, I would appreciate any advice or insight y’all can offer, or, in words closer to how I am actually feeling at the moment, “HELP!!! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!!!”
Thanks a bunch