1998 News and Travels

Ok, so what happened this year?
Well, for me, 1998 was dominated by a car. But let's cover everything in order.
Very little happened from January to May. I learned how to snowboard, fell on my ass a few times and generally had a good time. Yes, I'll be snowboarding again.

In May I started looking at a new car. I'd had my eye on a new VW Golf GTI VR6 for a couple years and had done enough research on the net to make my eyes bleed. I initiated the buying process on the web, by sending out my requirements to AutoByTel, and a dealer called me the next morning before 10am. I went to take a look at the car, and the salesman was busy, so he handed me the keys and said "Go." That, in itself was probably the smartest thing he could have done. I took the car out for a fling, and came back with a smile on my face ready to buy. I called up the credit union to arrange financing but the dealer beat the rate. The salesman and I hammered out a fair price and I drove away in a shiny new 1998 Black GTI VR6 a day later. I'd certainly go the AutoByTel route again if given a choice, as it was simple, painless, and the salesman seemed to know that many Internet shoppers already have most of the information they need (like invoice, options, etc) so he didn't argue with me at all.

You can check out my GTI VR6 page to get the full scoop on the car, but suffice it to say, it's fast, fun, even practical, and a total sleeper. The month of May, I spent breaking it in, and doing wacky things like recording the sounds it makes, and I quickly started dreaming about some of the typical modifications one makes to a car like this, even before I'd made my first car payment. By December, I'd tinted the windows (after driving across Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah in the sun, it became the first thing on my list), changed out the tires for something stickier, threw in a performance chip, and installed some nice Dual Round euro-spec headlights. I'm having lots of fun with this thing.


  So back to the timeline. Next thing up in May was Mary's college graduation (Major in Integrative Healing, Minor in Art). She skipped the formal graduation ceremonies at school and opted for a party at her place. It was a fun get-together and a good time was had by all.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the winter or spring of 98, people started talking about cousin Ivka's graduation in L.A. in June. Prior to buying the GTI, I'd been considering flying out there to attend, because I didn't trust my old Celica to get me there and back. With the new car, I knew that I had no excuse at all not to drive.
So begins the the LA trip.

If you can't finish the story right now, go to my Trip Index Page and bookmark it for later.