It’s been quite a long time since I’ve made an Oppo post but here we go! First, places and backstory(car is at the bottom if all you’re interested in is cars). This past summer I moved back in with my parents in Portland, Oregon after finishing college, hoping to find an entry-level software engineering job in the greater Portland area. Should be easy in a growing tech center, right? Wrong! While there are plenty of software engineering jobs all of them seem to want at least a few years of experience and despite going to career fairs, meetups and hundreds of applications have turned back basically nothing. Until, this past week I was offered a starting software engineering job at a tech company up in Anacortes, Washington of all places. The job is exactly what I want to be doing and the pay and benefits are toward the upper end of my realistic target, but I don’t really want to spend my 20s living in Anacortes. While it is a drop-dead gorgeous area, I’m a pretty social person and there simply aren’t many young people and not much to do for a young guy. I’m thinking I’m going to take the job because I’m itching to get my real career started, I’m not going to see a better offer, and who knows how long it’ll take for another offer at all doing the work I want to be doing.

So, in looking into moving up there I’ve decided that either Bellingham or Everett look like much better places to live as a 23 year old, as well as having more and cheaper housing options. Bellingham would be about a 40 minute commute and Everett an hour, but I would be alright with that to live in an area with more going on(doesn’t seem like there’s much to do in Anacortes unless I buy a sailboat). I would appreciate any tips/opinions/info from Oppos who live or have lived in the area? Am I crazy for thinking a commute from Everett to Anacortes is a good idea?

Now, cars!!!

For those who don’t know my fleet, I currently have an E36 Compact and a 2nd-gen 4Runner. Both are pretty clean, I really do like both and they have treated me relatively well but neither is ideal for an 80-100 mile round trip daily commute and frequent 400-mile round trips to Portland. Fact is, if I’m committing to that much driving I’m going to need something newer and trouble-freer and starting out on my own one car is probably smarter anyway.

Advertisement

I’m thinking I’m going to sell both and be a one-car person for as long as that lasts(probably not very). I should be able to get at least $6-8 grand total out of the both of them, combine this with the fact that I’m actually going to be making good money all of a sudden and my dad expressed interest in helping me buy a newer, reliable car as a graduation present I actually have some budget to play with.

Here are my considerations: as an avid skier, outdoorsmen, and someone who actually uses their transfer case, I’m more interested in retaining the go-anywhere ability of my 4Runner than my BMW’s road manners. If I only have one car in my life I’m going to be pretty stubborn about a manual. Just my preference. I’ve really been digging the new Tacoma(double-cab, especially TRD Off-Road) because I can have the stick with real off-road capabilities in a practical package that does everything I need a car to do and most of what I want(besides autocross). Used Tacos seem to hold their value so well this is the one time new actually might make sense.

Other thoughts? A JKU(unfortunately I think the descision will need to be made before the JL hits), whichever hot-hatch I drive and like best(GTI, FoST, FiST), Third-gen 4Runner w/stick, older Taco, XTerra(?). Still open to any ideas at this point really.

Advertisement

I keep arriving back at a new or nearly new Tacoma TRD Off-Road as the best option. It may be out of the question because I’m not positive about my exact budget yet, depends on what I can fetch for my cars, what ballpark my dad means when he says ‘helping me buy a newer car’ and personal budgeting, but low-mid $30s is the highest it would be. Here’s the thing though: there are so many unknowns in my next few years that I can’t depend on having the time and space to wrench, so I need something newer. Even most third-gen 4Runners I find are approaching 200k, and low-mileage newish 4x4s with a stick are damn expensive, no matter what. If I’m spending good money(more than 10 grand) on a car I want it to be something I keep for a very, very long time. I also know damn well that I have a bad case of automotive ADHD. My logic is that if I buy a new or newer, say, GTI I will constantly be distracted by other fun sports cars and hot hatches. If I have a solid, reliable truck for daily duty, ski duty and adventure duty, then when I have the budget and space in the future I can buy a crappy old E30 or Miata, play for awhile, and then move on to whatever catches my fancy next. Like I’ve never had any particular desire to sell my 4Runner(just don’t think it’s up to a regular 80-mile commute long-term), it just does what I need it to do, but I’m always thinking of selling my E36 for whatever new fun idea I just had. Any thoughts or other things I should be thinking about?

Oh, and Taco>JK because it’s simply screwed together better. This really would actually be something I plan to keep for many, many years and miles.