Well, it did help that the Sienna got totaled 8 months before the lease was up. The insurance company let us out of our lease early (which was good because Terese was tired of driving a soccer-mom car) and handed us a check for $3,000, (which was only $1,000 shy of the $4,000 we needed to buy a nice 1985 Mercedes 300SD outright off of Craigslist).
We're steadily moving towards more environmentally compatible living (at least we like how cool it makes us sound), and it doesn't hurt that going green with the diesel saves us $5 a gallon for gas.
Last year when Terese was at a family reunion in Utah, she ran into a cousin of hers who lives in St. George, and he has something like 5 diesel cars that all run on waste veggie oil. It really inspired her, and gave her an intimate resource for embarking on the adventure. (But she does find a heck of a lot of information on the internet, though, through forums that help people troubleshoot and share ideas).
Her veggie cousin has an elaborate set-up for filtering and pumping the oil into his cars; it kind of takes up his whole yard and reminds me of a Borg assimilation plant. We're not near that sophisticated, but we had to start somewhere, though, so we just took the plunge and decided to learn as we went along. See the beginning of the story.
I like driving this old quirky car with all of its surprises, and it's quite the conversation piece. Driving a heavy, solid old car kind of puts me in a time warp . . . naturally forcing me to slow down and become the Sunday driver I've always yearned to be.
I don't know. Life just feels more simple chugging along in this thing . . . like, you realize that driving, in and of itself, can be a meaningful experience if you're just fully present to it . . . all the nuances, noises, vibrations, smells (yeah, we put out good gyoza fumes). Driving this car seriously improves the quality of my life somehow (as long as Terese fixes it whenever something goes wrong and I don't have to worry about it). -- Dawn