Introducing “Rhubarbaru”

By , January 11, 2018

In early November, we gave up our family car.

In 1994 we decided we needed a 4-wheel drive vehicle for family safety, especially our new baby daughter, Aly. We’d driven her around in front-wheel drive cars for more than a year without accident, but we had some close calls, and worried about the future. On a family trip south, we shopped for and purchased a brand new Jeep Cherokee.

We drove it for 23 years. Often, it was our only vehicle.

Subaru Outback

“Rhubarbaru” (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

We, and the years, had been hard on the car. It served us faithfully. When we “fostered” some friends’ truck last summer, we decided to use it as a stop-gap to leap frog from the old Jeep to a newer used vehicle (see A Two-Car Family Once Again).

Fate and circumstance intervened in November. The Jeep got totaled. Insurance paid well, we sold it, and began relying on the “foster truck” exclusively.

Aly soon discovered that she missed the freedom and flexibility of the Jeep, which had become “her” car for insurance reasons. So, she took care of it.

For years, we’ve admired Subarus. I owned one once, and only let it go, reluctantly, when it developed mechanical problems. We used my sister’s Outback when she stored it here in Haines. And, Subarus are probably slightly more ubiquitous in Southeast Alaska than Jeeps! We started watching for used Outbacks and Foresters.

Aly didn’t want to wait that long. She shopped for a “new” car on Craigslist. When she found a couple in Juneau that looked promising in early December, she recruited family friends there to test drive them. These friends own Subarus themselves, so they knew what to look for. When they reported that they would buy one of them, were they in the market, we closed the deal. Our friends put it on the ferry to Haines.

We love it! We even like the color, maroon, which prompted Aly to dub it “Rhubarbaru.”

Subaru Outback

Rhubarbaru and an enthusiastic passenger. Note another Haines Subaru behind it (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

It’s a much nicer car than we’re used to. We’re especially enjoying the heated seats this winter! The stereo includes weather band, which we find extremely useful. Plus, it has a CD player! It also has similar cargo capacity to the Jeep.

The alternator died soon after we got it, which led to a very frightening evening of trying to jump the battery repeatedly. A local mechanic fixed it in short order, and pronounced the car a good bargain over all. The repairs brought us back up to just below the original asking price, so we didn’t lose on the deal.

Ironically, Aly’s in the market for a car of her own. She’s in no hurry, but as I post this, she’s looking at another maroon Subaru in town (there are a lot of them!). If she buys it, what will happen to the name? Will she want to transfer it to her car, or will the new one become Rhubarbatwo?

2 Responses to “Introducing “Rhubarbaru””

  1. Angie says:

    My ancient Subaru (considerably older than Aly) and I welcome you into the fold.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Angie, and thank you, Thor!

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