Friday, November 09, 2007

Come on, get happy!

We knew the day was coming. We've talked about it before.
Maybe even more than once.
But the reality of the situation is setting in. We simply don't have enough seats in the Suburban to seat another ark rider-or two, and try as I might, I'm just not as gifted as some of you might think. I've yet to figure out how to drive both the Suburban AND the Taurus at the same time, thus ending our vehicle dilemma.

I know, I know. If I'd only just give a little more effort...

The older ark members are generally resigned totally in favor of the swap of our inconspicuous tank for an even larger one. Among the conversations overhead:

"I just hope they don't get the white one. I mean, it looks like a prison van or something."

"If they'd just let me, I'd start driving now. They can be so unreasonable."

"At least the Suburban wasn't completely uncool. I may as well start wearing shorts and black knee socks with sensible shoes."

"I like the big car!"..."Shhhh-somebody give her a lollipop to quiet her."

Regardless of the passengers' opinions, however, they will soon be riding on new wheels. The questions left for debate are two:
  • 12 or 15 passenger?
  • Chevy or Ford?
We really don't need the seating for 15 passengers, but it would allow us the option to transport out-of-town guests or all the kids' friends to Chuck E. Cheese's for a birthday party. (Hmmm...maybe I've just answered that one myself.) Seriously, it would also allow us extra space for storage if the fourth (no, that's not a typo) seat was removed.

As for the auto maker...well, we've only owned one Chevy--the Suburban. And it's been a gem since the day we got it. Not a single bit of trouble, but again, it's the only Chevy we've ever owned. We've owned three Fords, however, and each one has had its share of---how do I put this---quirks:
  • There was our 1999 Windstar (purchased new) that emanated a sound from the gas tank reminiscent of a fog horn. Waw-wah. Waw-wah. After many months of service, the moaning ceased, but other smaller problems took its place.
  • We also owned a 2001 Expedition (purchased a year old). It functioned fairly well until the transmission needed to be replaced less than two years later. Okay, I admit, that could happen to any vehicle. But to have to replace the transmission AGAIN, less than two more years later. I'd like to see the odds on that one.
  • And, not to be outdone by its older siblings, our 2005 Taurus went through a phase where it refused to stop running. Yes, even after the key was turned to the off position and REMOVED from the vehicle. Now, if it could have also driven itself and a few of my passengers to and from school, sports and the like, we might have been able to make that work. Unfortunately, no such luck.
So, all you families with large vehicle needs, what do you drive? What are the pros and cons of them? While I wait for your answers, I'm off to check the Suburban to see if it's grown an extra bench seat in my absence.


Life in Fitzville said...

We have a 15 Passenger chevy express, and I love, love love it!!!! We had a 12 passenger Dodge before, and it was alright, but very institutionalish, know what I mean? The express is like driving a luxury vehicle, only bigger! Seriously, it is such a nice ride. AND...and this was a HUGE selling point for me, almost all seats have lap/shoulder belts WITH clips on the side to make them child sized. So no boosters!!!! I almost kissed the guy when he showed me that feature. After having 5 in car seats at one point, that definitely made the sale for me.

If you really are attached to the suburban, did you know you can purchase "jump seats" for them? It is a 2 passenger seat with belts and all that you can have installed in the back. Takes away cargo room, but gives you the seating you need. I will try to find a link.

And on that note... passenger vans usually have very little cargo room. Like none. So the bonus with the 15 passenger is that the seating we don't use is used for all the "stuff" that goes along with traveling with a herd of kids.

Life in Fitzville said...

Okay, so here it is...

And that January 22nd post? That is our van! Seriously... same color and all! I love it!

Life in Fitzville said...

Okay, so that link didn't work and I am now overtaking your comments section... sorry! But check here...

Renee said...

We too have a Chevy Express 3500 15 pass. We also LOVE it. We haven't had any problems with it.

Currently,we have the 4th seat out so we can hold our strollers and groceries...but with our 2 new additions coming home we need the 4th seat in.

I say go for the Chevy 15. If you are going to go big. GO BIG!

Here's a post about our Clifford

Barb, sfo said...

I love the kids' comments.

Just give it up and buy the Partridge Family Bus. It's way cooler than prison white ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, first of all you absolutely HAVE to purchase "jump seats" b/c that is just too funny! I agree with the others that you might as well go with 15 seats over 12. The truth is that your family is going to continue to grow and you always have visitors,etc. who would like to ride in the prison van with you too! Thanks for this post-you know that I've been watching and waiting for it! Where did you find the photo of the Patridge Family bus? Come on, get happy! I can't wait to see photos of your new car-bus.
Have a great weekend.

Simply Pneumatic said...

We have a 2001 Chevy Express 15-passenger van and we love it. It was a gift from God (absolutely free to us, in fact!)

Child #11 is due in three weeks. We just had the van modified so that Child #5's wheelchair would tie down so we will no longer have to transfer her to a car seat during van trips. This required removing the first bench seat and replacing it with a captains chair and a wheelchair tie-down. So I guess now it technically is a 13 passenger van plus a wheelchair spot.

We would definitely recommend 15 passenger over 12, just for the extra wiggle space and diaper bag storage, plus you never can tell how big a family will grow...

patjrsmom said...

Wow! I guess with overwhelming approval Chevy beat Ford, huh? And it seems that 15 beat 12, every time. And I suppose if we're keeping score, Partridge Family multi-color beat prison white. Now, if I can just locate a dealership who keeps it in stock!

Thanks for all the info, everyone. I'm off to check some of the links provided.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

My wonderful hubs liked the 15 passenger Chev. Express van better than the 12. I called him "nuts" but I have to agree, the 15 drives so smoothly and takes corners so much better than I would have thought! We went from the 9 passenger suburban too so the chevy was such a neat transition. Man, I still get the giggles when I hop inside my "homeschool hotrod". We take out the first row (three seats) and I put a rug down, a tall kitchen garbage can and about 4 baskets of useful stuff under the seats and I'm good to go! I've also got the kids buckling in the little ones so I don't even have to hop into the side door and they all know where to go.
If it's possible for a VAN to be "cool"...we've found it! We've had it for a year and it's been a dream!

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Oh, I forgot the main thing. Because it's SO HUGE, it's easy for the thing to get loaded up with not so useful things so the rule is
"each kid take at least two things with you before you leave the van!".
the end