The end of the B^3 Era

That is B^3, a.k.a the Big Beige Beast.  Actually, the color is listed as Pewter, but I like B-Cubed better.  For those who do not know, that is a picture of a 1999 GMC Suburban.  It was purchased in October of 1998, and that was the last year GMC used the Suburban name.  In 2000 they switched to Yukon XL, and Chevrolet retained the Suburban moniker.

The above picture was shot on the morning of May 29, 2010, sometimes around 5:30 am, in front of the office where I work.  At that time the car had 210,000 miles, and despite a few lights that had ceased to function, and a seat heater that had called it quits, it was reliable transportation to and from work, a daily 100 miles round trip.

Comfortable, steady, nimble when needed, powerful on demand, it was an all-around great ride.  That car had taken us on countless trips to and from Illinois (when we lived in Michigan), to and from Baltimore, to and from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a couple of forays to Canada, a visit to the New England States, and a memorable trip to Yellowstone National Park.

In 2004 it carried me (Melisa drove the Envoy), a large amount of our belongings, and our cat, on a 1,500 mile trip to our new home in Colorado.  Then it did it again a few months later.  It easily traveled the back roads of Colorado, the unpaved roads that I have such a hard time passing up.  It made it up and down the Pikes Peak highway without complaint, and did it a number of times.  And it carried me safely home in some of the worse snowstorms to have hit the area.

Never did I feel concerned, never did I worry it would leave me stranded, and it always made it through in situations I am sure lesser cars would have faltered, and eventually given up.

Yep, it was a great car . . . and it still is.  Only now it belongs to someone else.  Yes, I finally parted with it, and purchased a replacement.  Replacement . . . that’s the wrong word.  I purchased a substitute.  I purchased a Toyota Highlander.

See, here is the thing . . . I would have loved to buy another Suburban, but could not justify the price tag.  It would be too great an indulgence, and probably an irresponsible one.  And yes, I did look at GM cars, but frankly, not much was available in the price range I was interested in.  I did find one car, but it was in Utah, and they would have charged me to bring it here.  Plus, I gotz to be honest; the whole government bailout deal, and the lie about having paid it back, sort of soured me on the buy-GM idea.

Still, 26 years working with GM, the experience of having owned a couple of Suburbans, a Tahoe, and an Envoy (I’ll charitably not mention earlier GM cars I owned), pushed me to give it the old college try.  And really, had I wanted to pay multiple thousand dollars for fancy wheels, more thousand dollars for DVD entertainment systems for the kids I don’t have, and more thousand dollars just because . . . well then, by golly, I had the choice of a number of vehicles.

Instead, I ended up with a Highlander.  Not flashy, not a Suburban by any means, but you know what?  I like it.  I like it enough that I am considering selling our Tahoe for either another Highlander, or something else.  Maybe a Subaru.

Yes, I miss the ‘Burb.  No, I don’t miss it enough to pay twice what I paid for my Highlander for the privilege of driving one.  Maybe if I win the lotto.

Meanwhile, a new era has begun.  The Highlander era.  The picture above was from our first drive with the car.  Nothing spectacular to report, but I do like driving it.  For one thing, it feels roomier than my Tahoe.  Go figure.

P.S. for those interested, these videos were shot as I rode down Hwy 24, down Ute Pass, in my Suburban.

Edited to Add: The WP videos are not loading, so I’m linking the YouTube video I redid a while back.