Nov 21 2014
03:03 pm

My son, age 18, totaled my car last Sunday, so yesterday we had to go out and buy two new (exceedingly used, actually) cars as replacements to avoid his getting behind the wheel of mine ever again.

Word to the wise: When shopping for your son's first car, don't take along your son. Or your husband. Because your husband will morph into a teenage boy again, too, and you'll wind up arguing with the both of them.

We came home with an immaculate (but 15 year-old) Toyota Celica GT with auto sunroof, so dark a blue we first thought it was black and so sexy it looks fast standing still. And both of them insisted that, for insurance purposes, it was not a "sports car."

It's a "sports car."

Cost of vehicle: $3000.

Cost of one year's car insurance, full coverage: $3960.

Do as I say, not as I do...

bizgrrl's picture

Hah! Years ago we sold a 260Z

Hah! Years ago we sold a 260Z to a Dad for his teen age son. We were very hesitant but the Dad said the son was a very good boy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Weeell, my Eagle Scout with the 4.0 is a "very good boy," too, but I didn't fail to notice that gleam in his eye when he plopped down behind the wheel of this little sweetheart. He hadn't been nearly as excited about the ten year-old Ford Focus or Dodge Neon, either one :-)

I rode with him to gas it up this aft and had to tell him to slow down on Clinton Highway. He was driving 60 in a 50 mile zone, but he said it "didn't feel like he was driving 60." Exactly what I was afraid of.

We've reluctantly opted for liability-only coverage, at a "scant" $2100 annually, knowing it could mean buying one-crappy-car-per-year until he's out of college. Because not only is his car insurance higher than was his sister's, five years older, his same volume of college scholarships isn't covering nearly what his sister's did, either. Sigh.

CE Petro's picture

I was one of those crotchity

I was one of those crotchity moms that refused to buy any of children (all boys) their first car, or any car. It was up to them to save enough for a used car and be able to pay their insurance coverage.

Middle son saved and saved. His first car was a green Camero. He had it for about 3 years until someone made a left turn in front of him, supposedly not seeing him and thinking they had enough time to make the turn before the van in the right lane reached the intersection. Totalled the car. Of course, the police asked if he was speeding, and the van driver was able to corroborate that he was not speeding at all.

The lesson it did teach him was to be mindful of the color car you drive. His green car blended in with the grass in the median, plus being low to the ground made it more difficult to see him, thus he could understand how he was not seen. (His logic).

His next vehicle was a small 4x4 extended cab pickup, mostly black.

Pam Strickland's picture

My brother's first car was a

My brother's first car was a camaro. Maroon. I don't remember the year, but something in the 1960s. When my g'mother got ready to sell the Ford Torino he'd driven before he got Camaro, nobody in town would touch it because they knew who'd driven it. Those guys love their fast cars.

cafkia's picture

It is my considered opinion

It is my considered opinion that for the first ten years of their driving, it should be illegal for anyone without documented physical handicaps to operate a vehicle with automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, or with stereo capability greater than am/fm. Also, they should by law have to buy their own gas, tires and insurance.

Hey!! You kids stay off of my lawn!!

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Ha, ha--I'm with you old grumps.

Since this one's our second child, I guess we're obligated to strike the same deal with him as we struck with his older sister: He will buy the gas, we will buy the tires, and we will split the car insurance.

For his sister, splitting the car insurance meant we paid the quarterly premium during the nine months of the year she was in school (when she worked fewer hours per week, lived in a dorm, and spent most of her earnings on groceries) and she paid the quarterly premium falling over the summer (when she worked nearly full-time, came home to Mom's and Dad's for the summer, and ate our groceries, including a gallon of milk a day).

But if it actually happens that the boy's car lacking comp and collision shouldn't last him the full four years of college, we may have to treat his situation differently. Although we told our daughter she would get one kinda crappy car out of us ever...what if his doesn't last him until college graduation?

A big part of that outrageous insurance cost is attributable not just to the "sports car," but to his being a boy--and the kid can't help that any more than he can help that his scholarships aren't stretching as far as his older sibling's did.

michael kaplan's picture

My first car was a 1955

My first car was a 1955 Buick. While it had automatic transmission (Dynaflow, no less) and a jukebox-like tube AM radio, it did NOT have power steering or brakes. Learning to parallel park the beast in a city like Boston was a lesson that served me well. I owned the car for 2 years, then traded it in for a bike that I rode in Cambridge, Mass. for the next 3 years.

Min's picture

My first.

I got my first car as a gift for graduating law school. She was a dark red Sentra that had been fixed up by one of my father's friends after an accident. I named her Peyton (it was 1985, so, no, not after that guy). She was a stick shift, and I loved her sooooo much.

bizgrrl's picture

I believe my first car was a

I believe my first car was a used Datsun 510 and I had been married a year. It's hard to remember. We went through a lot of really cheap cars. We got stuck a lot, what with the cars breaking down all the time.

I loved driving a straight shift, except on hills. You felt like you were driving fast.

zoomfactor's picture

Datsun 510

Hey! I still have my Datsun 510, which I bought in 1984 for $250. It goes fine up the hills, with its L20B engine and 2,184 lb weight.

bizgrrl's picture

We had four of them. All were

We had four of them, at a total cost of less than $4,000. All were running when we sold/traded them, except for the one I totaled.

It wasn't the car that had trouble going up hill, it was me with a stick shift. Back in the day, if you had to stop at a light on a hill, I had problems with making sure the car didn't roll back and hit the car behind me. My problem handling a clutch.

Great cars for SCCA racing.

zoomfactor's picture

Very cool!

Very cool!

R. Neal's picture

L20. I think we had one of

L20. I think we had one of those. We found it on a used car lot up in Sevierville. It had a tachometer and some other sporty trim. It may have also had some tricked out suspension upgrades. I think it was some kind of special/limited edition model.

We took it to our trusted 510 expert mechanics and they were looking at the motor and were like "wow! where'd you get this?" It was still running when we sold it years later.

CE Petro's picture

First Car

My first car was a 1968 VW Karmen Ghia. Never drove stick before, so for my first ride I drove from Orange County NY into Manhattan, along the Palisades Parkway. By the time I got to the George Washington Bridge shifting was second nature. But, the most fun of that drive was playing (what a we called) "Podge Dodge" once I got into the city. Some of those potholes were big enough to swallow my car.

GDrinnen2's picture

My first car (in the 90s) was

My first car (in the 90s) was a 1984 Ford Tempo. The first day I drove it, I pulled into the hilly driveway and my sister came out on the porch yelling at me. She said my girlfriend, anxious to hear about the car, was on the phone. I hurried to the phone and proceeded to tell her about the car.

I happened to look out the door and noticed the car, which I had forgotten to put in park, was barreling towards the tree at the bottom of the hilly driveway.

xmd's picture

The first car I owned was a

The first car I owned was a 1972 Toyota Corolla. I got it in early 1975,sortly after I graduated high school. Within the first few months I managed to "roll" it and smash the top. got this "sorta" of fixed. Leaked like crazy in the rain. I kept this car until 1979 when the timing belt broke in Rutledge, TN going to my first real job with TVA. Not sure where I am going with this but, it sure was a great car. Made it to Canada and lower Florida. Did not make out west very far.

Rachel's picture

My first car was a used 1972

My first car was a used 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo. Blue with black top. I got married over Christmas holidays my senior year and we moved to Rutledge for the spouse's job that summer ('74). So I had to have a car to commute to graduate school.

Please note I was a college graduate and married before I owned a car. Kids today would be horrified by such a thing.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yes, we've spoken of it before, you and me.

Like you (and Biz), I was fully 24 years old before I had any car. I had lived away from my parents for five years and I bought the car myself--with quarters saved in a three pound coffee can, I swear.

But not every kid today would be "horrified by such a thing." Per a 2010 study I've cited previously, over 30 percent of nineteen year-olds nationally do not have even a driver license, much less a car. Costs, time constraints, and the ability to get along without a car are the reasons teens are now citing for their delays.

This household hasn't had the money or the time, either, but unfortunately our son simply isn't able to get along without a car any longer, given that we don't have access to public transportation where we live.

Otherwise, I'd advise him to postpone the expenditure, so that he and his folks both could more effectively concentrate on meeting college costs.

redmondkr's picture

My First Car & My Brother's First Wife

My brother Doug bought this 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Catalina from Otho Longmire at Rodgers & Co. on Main and Henley as soon as he landed a new job at Magnavox in Jefferson City, a move that cost him almost as much for gas as his take home pay. When he and Vickie married, Dad gave them the '55 Pontiac coupe that he had bought for Mom and bought this one from Doug for her. I got my license in 1961 and we shared the car throughout my high school years. In 1966, when I went to work at K-25, earning the outlandish sum of $2.70 per hour, I bought it and proceeded to trade it for a '64 Grand Prix that turned out to be the worst lemon I've ever owned.

Vickie vaguely remembers when she was spry enough to hop up onto the fender of an automobile as she did in this 1961 shot.

michael kaplan's picture

classic photo. i like that

classic photo. i like that oldsmobile (?) in the back, too.

wlkx's picture


You see hair like that very much these days.

redmondkr's picture

Yeah, the Olds is a 1960 that

Yeah, the Olds is a 1960 that belonged to a friend's dad. The photo was taken at Knox County Park on Melton Hill lake not long after the lake was finished.

redmondkr's picture

A Fun Note

on GM cars of that era, those equipped with power brakes had a chrome surround on the brake pedal with the word "BRAKE" embossed in the metal while the heavily chromed accelerator pedal was emblazoned with the word "POWER".

Good Gawd, how do I remember this stuff when, half the time, I can't remember why I got up to go to the kitchen?

michael kaplan's picture

GM's power brakes were so

GM's power brakes were so sensitive you could easily wind up through the windshield if you were not used to them. Without power brakes, though, it took some effort to stop these cars: my Buick weighed over 3,700 pounds, as I recall.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


So what do you men*, in particular, recall (if anything) about whether you or your parents carried full coverage on these clunkers you drove as young people?

And if you did not carry full coverage, what do you recall about being bitten due to the lack of it? Did you or your parents have to replace the clunkers every two to four years?

Phoned a neighbor this morn to ask his experience with his two boys, now in their 30's, and he said "no," they never carried full coverage on their boys' cars and both boys managed to graduate from college with their clunkers intact.

The cost of my son's clunker and liability-only coverage at $175/month is prohibitive enough, given our out-of-pocket for college, so I can't fathom being able to buy him repeat cars as he destroys them over the next half-decade. Just wishing I had a crystal ball to guide me in this decision...

(* I see I haven't explained above that cost differential for full coverage for girls versus boys: For our girl, it ran barely over $100 per month and for the boy it would be $330 per month. Also, since I made this initial post, our agent has called me back to explain that the boy's premium for full coverage would still have been $290 per month had we assigned him my matronly 4-door sedan. Most of that cost differential between my daughter and my son, then, is not attributable to the "sports car" after all, but simply to my son's gender.)

michael kaplan's picture

The first new car I bought

The first new car I bought (abroad) with my OWN money was a 1973 Fiat 127 (900cc), fun to drive, and mechanically OK for around 50,000 miles.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


But Michael (and CE Petro), a young person can't have his OWN money unless he has the ability to work a job. And if he has no access to public transportation and no car, either, he can't get to any job, nor any money.

My son's job is 6 1/2 miles from our home, which would be more than a two hour walk each way, to and from. And coming home from a restaurant after closing would mean he would be making that walk between the hours of midnight and 2:00 a.m.

This is the reality with which I've been contending--for my son AND for our young orphaned family friend we've been hauling to school and to work--for the last eighteen months.

I drive all night, every night, into the wee hours.

michael kaplan's picture

my brother is dealing with

my brother is dealing with the same problem(s) with his son. you're absolutely right. no car, no job - unless you live in a compact city with good public transportation. working night shifts, my nephew has already totally 3 vehicles. and, in the end, none of the jobs really pay well, so my brother is in the subsidy business.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yes, with unemployment having run (until recently) up to 25% for this age group, they take a job where they can find one.

And even if they do have access to public transportation--like our young orphaned friend does--they still need not try to get any part-time night job in the restaurant industry if they can't work past 8:30 pm, in order to catch the last bus home at 9:00 pm. That doesn't fly.

The logistics involved in enabling such young people to work at all (or to attend school at all) are quite harrowing.

I'm just hoping to find that the logistics won't involve our paying $330 per month for insurance for just one of these two boys, even as we continue to haul around the other boy during all the hours he can't ride any bus.

schull's picture


Have the young men you mention transporting ever considered a bicycle? I don't mean to sound flippant about this, so I hope it doesn't sound that way. I've been without a car for almost four years at this point and seldom use KAT. I started with a mountain bike and then bought a road bike as well as a rack and a pair of panniers. I do my grocer shopping as well as take my recycling via bike. I do sometimes rely on friends with cars, but knowing that I very seldom have to is really nice. I even ride in the cold and the rain, and I work bar hours so often ride home in the wee hours of the morning. Between Craiglist and some of our local bike shops finding a quality, inexpensive bike is really easy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yes, not a week goes by that I do not pick up strangers, young and old, walking Clinton Highway in their Wendy's, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Kroger uniforms, at all hours of the day and night.

And speaking of Kroger's, I know Michael Daugherty is also doing this for a young man working nights at a Krogers. I have been on the phone with him at 11:00 and 12:00, when he was interrupted to go pick up the young man after work.

I am convinced that the problem is widespread and growing--especially given that study that says 30% of 19 year-olds lack any driver license.

When we add to those the number who do have a license, but lack any car, does that mean 40% lack transportation to work? Maybe 50%???

reform4's picture

Back in the old days...

I'd advise parents when passing down a car or buying a used car to make sure the car has good tires. My first car was the family wagon passed down "as is" from my brother. The tires were bald and I broke the axle in a spin the first day it rained. The next car that served me for years was a 67 Chevy Chevelle, with a bench front seat. It was practically indestructible (and I certainly tried at times...).

Not much of a sports car person- I prefer the practicality of hatchbacks for carrying big things without having to have a pickup truck.

redmondkr's picture

Back in the early 1970s I

Back in the early 1970s I overheard some of my neighborhood kids in Claxton talking about a 1962 Chevy II sedan they had been trying to buy.

"Well, for $200, you'd think that it would at least have good tires on it."

Later, after I moved back here to my hillside in Karns, one of them bought a Falcon that required stopping on the road and a passenger climbing under it to put it in first gear so it would climb my driveway.

We always had only liability and medical coverage on vehicles when I was younger with Dad's (and later my) State Farm agent promising lower premiums as we reached certain age milestones - promises that were never kept even though claims were never filed. Dad was a millwright at Alcoa and a shadetree mechanic at home so there was practically nothing he couldn't fix to keep our junkers on the road.

Up Goose Creek's picture

1972 Honda Civic

I bought a new 1972 Honda Civic a couple of weeks after my 18th birthday in 1973. Still don't understand the year numbering but that's what it was.

I earned half the cost of the car that summer painting house numbers on people's curbs. A little work in the morning, a bit more in the evening, swimming or chilling out in the middle of the day.

Of course it helped that my family had a spare van I could use for the business. And I had an assistant part of the time.

Previously I'd had a very short 1 block commute from Dunford Dorm to the UT student center. I feel for the kids who don't live near job centers. Good on you for your taxi service, Tamara.

Rachel's picture

Previously I'd had a very

Previously I'd had a very short 1 block commute from Dunford Dorm to the UT student center.

You lived in Dunford? I didn't know that. We must have just missed each other. I lived on second floor from fall '70 - spring '72.

Then I moved to my first apartment in Fort Sanders Manor, Clinch and 17th. 4th floor walkup, "furnished" (which basically meant all the stuff you could scrounge from the hallways and basement), windows so drafty that on windy days the curtains blew out into the living room even with the windows shut, no A/C, heat that worked when it felt like it.

I thought I was in heaven.

My apologies for the thread hijack. The Dunford reference took me back.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I feel for the kids who don't live near job centers.

Unfortunately, it isn't just kids suffering a lack of public transportation...

I've mentioned before all the rooms by the week at old strip motels along Clinton Highway? And that God awful lot full of RVs by the week behind one of the motels? All those folks, middle-age and older, walk Clinton Highway dragging umpteen bags of groceries back home.

But twice in the last month I have also picked up elderly people in their eighties dragging groceries back home, both of whom said they live at the Candleridge Apartments, an assisted living complex, back behind the Broadacres subdivision on Emory Road in Powell.

On the second such occasion, I asked the gentleman (whom I'd watched stumble and nearly fall under his load) why he was walking. He told me Candleridge formerly ran vans to take residents grocery shopping, but that they'd sold all the vans? And he said about half of all residents there lack any car?

Why the heck are we building assisted living complexes (lacking vans) and Section 8 housing complexes and community colleges in locales like these???

bizgrrl's picture

Good question. An assisted

Good question. An assisted living facility is being built in Blount County. The only close businesses are Weigels and a liquor store. It would not be possible to walk to a grocer or pharmacy/

bizgrrl's picture

Wonder why those people don't

Wonder why those people don't use ETHRA , etc.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


The services of both ETHRA and CAC are by reservation only, so it's not like you can phone them only after you run out of milk or toilet paper.

Neither are their services available to people like my young friend, who needs to get to work or school seven days a week for the next twelve months.

And I don't know about ETHRA's fee structure, but CAC uses a sliding scale for weekday service and a flat fee schedule for nights and weekends--although I doubt they could get my young friend to work at 6:00 or 7:00 am on the weekend, nor pick him up at 11:00 pm or midnight (and yes, he often works 14 or 15 hour weekend shifts).

At the time I checked into ETHRA's service for my young friend summer a year ago, I was told that they did not serve any folks living inside the city limits (which he did), although I see on their website that they have begun serving city residents since then, in January of 2014.

Does either service even cover ongoing trips for grocery shopping, laundry, banking and such, though, for months or years on end? I thought not? I can't imagine either service having either the vehicles or the manpower necessary to meet that level of demand?

bizgrrl's picture

I was referring to the people

I was referring to the people that lived in the assisted living facility, not your son or your young friend.

Yes, you do have to call ahead to schedule ETHRA, but you can schedule ongoing trips for grocery, etc.


One-way trip is $3.00 or $6.00 for a round trip within the county of residence. An additional $3.00 is charged for every county line crossed. Extra stops under 15 minutes are $1.00. Extra stops over 15 minutes are $3.00.

ETHRA is a form of public transportation, just not as convenient as some. Since ETHRA uses vans, not buses, there are not as many people. However, it can obviously take longer than getting in your own car and driving.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Situation at Candleridge Apts

Biz, WRT why those residents at the Candleridge Apartments assisted living complex just outside the city limits don't use ETHRA since management sold off their vans, I wanted to share with you that I now have more info on the topic.

I got a phone call last night from the second of the two gentlemen there whom I'd previously offered a ride, to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, so I took the opportunity to ask him more questions.

He said that since Candleridge had sold their vans management has begun scheduling for interested residents a once-a-week trip via CAC busses to either Walmart or Food City on Clinton Highway.

However, residents absorb the cost of the trip, which is $2 one-way or $4 round-trip.

He said he can't afford the $16 to $20 monthly cost of getting to the grocery store this way (and also that these two stores are too pricey, on which point I agree).

It therefore appears that my last guess as to why some residents don't use ETHRA/CAC, namely cost, may be the correct one.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Or more likely some people don't use ETHRA's or CAC's services because, like any mode of public transportation, you have to spend quite a bit of time riding around picking up and dropping off strangers who aren't going where you need to go.

A couple of elderly friends and neighbors have told me this is why they don't use CAC's service, anyway.

Walking is sometimes faster?

(I have ridden the KAT busses with my young friend, when we were out learning routes, and it takes him two hours *each way*--four hours a day or 20 hours per week--just to get to and from his classes, to say nothing of the commute time he sometimes incurs getting to and from his job, when the busses are available at the time he needs them.)

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Schull: Yes, I offered to buy a bicycle for my young friend some year and half ago (and I also survived with a bike in Fort Sanders many years ago).

His obstacles, though, were several. He had never had a bike as a child, so although he had previously ridden one, he didn't feel very confident riding one on an ongoing basis. Also, he then lived in a so-called "food desert," meaning he was more than four miles from a grocery store. Neither did he have access to any washer and dryer, so he needed to transport his laundry, too. Also, his academic program at PSTCC requires that he wear a clean uniform to class every day (so I initially bought him three of them at $160, although he now has six of them, and brought his laundry to my house to process and return). Some months later, one of his elderly relatives offered to process his laundry, so I began dropping off his laundry with her, then picking it up and returning it. How do you handle laundry, if you don't mind sharing?

Biz: Yes, I did jump around a bit in my response, didn't I? To more directly answer your question, I don't know whether $6.00 for every round trip is cost prohibitive for these two older men I took back to that assisted living apartment, but I know that it's likely cost prohibitive for folks living in either those motel rooms by the week or in the lot full of RVs by the week located behind one of them. Those pitiful 1950's motel rooms run $700 and $800 per month to rent (I once called to ask). As for the dilapidated RVs, one older man I've taken to and from that frumpy lot told me that his Social Security income is $700 per month and his rent on the RV is $600 per month--for about 100 square feet of space in a rusty tin can. I can't imagine that he could spend $6.00 per round trip for grocery shopping and laundry and have many quarters left to feed into washers and dryers?

That same man gets $39 per week in SNAP benefits, he said, but as you know he still has to buy paper products, toiletry items, cleaning products (and pet food, in his case) out of his $100 per month income remaining after rent.

However, I have recently spotted him riding a bike along Clinton Highway.

schull's picture


The apartments where I live has on site laundry facilities, so that isn't an issue with me. My other option would likely be to rely on my ex wife and the fact that we're still good friends. I've also considered getting a trailer, probably one designed to tow small children that I'd repurpose for general non children use.

And though this may not be useful information since you've mentioned your young friend's feeling leery about riding a bike, all KAT buses have a bike rack on the front.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


BTW, Biz, I neglected to remind (although I'm sure you realize) that WRT contacting anybody to avail oneself of their transportation services, one has to have a phone or a computer with Internet service.

The man living in the RV behind the Clinton Highway strip motel has neither and says that most residents there don't. They are able to use the landline phone in the motel office, during the hours it's open, he says.

Neither did my young friend have any mode of communication 18 months ago. We bought him a Tracphone and monthly phone minute cards for the first year, although the minutes frequently ran out. We also bought him a used netbook and a new printer (and cables and USB drives and ink cartridges and a case of paper), but he still couldn't afford Internet service and lacks it today.

For months I brought him to my house to search for and apply for jobs on my computer. Since he could not always be contacted where he lived, he offered prospective employers my name and contact info, which I'm afraid also slowed his securing employment.

Over that first year, he never got a single response, by phone or by e-mail, on any of the scores of job apps he submitted from here.

When he finally did land his job (with the assistance of his professors at PSTCC), he bought himself a different cell and entered a plan with unlimited minutes.

It seems that unless a prospective employer specifically wants to help someone like this young man, a GED diploma holder lacking a (reliable) phone plan and Internet service and having no (reliable) transportation to and from work is a bit of a gamble, you know?

But I'm jumping around again...What I meant to convey is that whether we're talking about scheduling a ride or securing a job, people living in "survival mode" like these two do can be hamstrung by a lack of reliable communication methods, too.

I'm therefore guessing this may be yet another reason some of them are unable to avail themselves of transportation services like ETHRA's and CAC's?

(Sorry to go on and on about this subject of transportation. I think you know it's one of intense interest to me...)

bizgrrl's picture

I'm sorry for the confusion.

I'm sorry for the confusion. I was referring to the people that lived in the assisted living facility.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Oh dear

A 68 yr old man was killed last night while crossing Clinton Highway across from the Clark Motel.


Tamara Shepherd's picture


Deputies say the 68-year-old unidentified man was walking from the Clark Motel to a gas station when a van hit him.

What they don't say is that he lived there, I'd be willing to bet.

Dear God, why don't people see these folks?

Not "why didn't the driver see these folks," but "why don't more people driving by see them and recognize their lives for the examples of human misery that they are?"

How can we rationalize allowing this kind of housing for the poor, in order to "keep taxes low?"

I've deviated from my initial topic of sports cars for teenage boys again, haven't I? Sigh.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Clark Motel

And you may recall, Goose (because I've mentioned it before), it is this same Clark Motel I'm referring to with the ratty looking RVs by the week lot behind it.

The Morris Motel, just up the street, is more of the same.

There's generally a "no vacancy" sign up in front of each of them.

ASummers's picture


What our insurance does is assign primary drivers to each car, even though everyone is covered on each vehicle. Our daughter's car was assigned to my wife, which lowered the rate on that car. Our daughter was assigned to the vehicle that gave the best rate for a young driver.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thanks, Alan. Is your daughter age 18 or older, though?

On buying this car for our 18 year-old son, our agent advised us to title the car in his name, so that we didn't risk his having some astronomically expensive accident that could come back on Mom and Dad and cost us our house, due to the dollar limitations of our son's coverage.

Previously, we had titled our 23 year-old's car in her name, too, as she also got her car at age 18, on this same insurance agent's advice.

Given the way we titled both kids' cars, I can't therefore imagine that adding additional drivers to multiple cars--including their cars--would be any cheaper? That would add to the cost, I would think?

However, one parent I spoke with just yesterday laughed at the agent's suggestion to us that we should title 18 year-olds' cars in their names to avert risk to us. He said he suspected that the agent was just trying to charge us the highest possible premium and that we could definitely have gotten coverage for less if we had simply titled the kid's cars in our names and added them as additional drivers.

I don't know, but if we were to attempt to change the titling of our son's car now (our daughter, five years older, has since bought a home, moved away, and doesn't get help from us on insurance any longer), it would involve getting him to "sell" the car to us and re-filing oodles of paperwork for a fee, I guess...

ASummers's picture

She got her car when she was

She got her car when she was 16, and it was titled in our name. And our agent did the creative driver assignments to get the better rates.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thanks, Schull. I continue to turn this bike thing over in my mind because the kid will still have a transportation issue even after he graduates from PSTCC and frankly I can't drive him around indefinitely...

May I ask about how far you need to bike to get to a grocery store or to your job? Do you need to bike through any higher speed zones?

I just Mapquested the distance he used to travel and the distance he travels now to get just to school (haven't yet looked at distance to his job, grocery stores, etc.).

He used to travel about 7 1/2 miles to school (via Rutledge Pike and I-40 West, both 50 and 55 mile speed zones) and he now travels about 6 1/2 miles to school (via Clinton Hwy and I-40 West and Middlebrook Pike, all 50 and 55 mile speed zones).

I suppose there are alternate routes he could take, but Mapquest doesn't indicate them, of course, so I can't really guess either the routes or their speed zones, nor how bikers would fare with either.

But again, do you bike this far? In any higher speed zones? Advice, please?

(When I traveled by bike decades ago, I went only from Fort Sanders to various destinations on the UT campus and to my job downtown. We had a White Store grocery on Cumberland Avenue and a laundromat--that's still there--on 17th Street. I therefore never biked any seven or eight miles to get to my destinations, nor traveled through any higher speed zones...)

schull's picture

I manage high speed roads by

I manage high speed roads by avoiding them as much as possible. If I need to find a route I usually use Google maps and get their suggestions for cycling routes, but I also tend to use it more as a rough template. I look for the roads that go the same place but through neighborhoods and off the main road.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Another reason to hate mapquest. PM me and I'll try to give you some advice, since I own several real live maps and detailed atlases.

I am an afficianado of the road less traveled. I may need to make suggestions for you to road test for sight lines and blind curves etc.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


You're kind to offer, Goose, but now that you mention it I recall that I also have several detailed maps of Knoxville/Knox County, that I'd picked up from AAA in recent months. I need to dig them up.

BTW, concerning your news item on that traffic death in front of the Clark Motel over the weekend, I phoned a few folks at KNS today to suggest that they also report on traffic conditions (and living conditions) in that general vicinity, possibly as part of this series on poverty they launched this weekend. KNS said in Sunday's paper the series will continue through Christmas?

I also stopped by the RV park behind the Clark this afternoon, to check in on an acquaintance there whom I've given rides (and to confirm that he was NOT the traffic fatality, actually). Every time I'm by there, I notice another couple of RVs over which the tenants or owners one have tossed bedraggled tarps.

So the scene is this: Numerous collarless dogs roaming through the mud, thin gravel, and weeds. Piles of cast off furniture and mattresses rotting in the elements. Laundry drying on power lines. Rusty, decrepit motor homes with and without cabs, most with the doors hanging open (so that their inhabitants can fend off claustrophobia, I guess), and apparently increasing problem with leaky roofs?

I have to think that a KNS photo spread of this place would go a long way in persuading readers that we need to do more in the way of providing subsidized housing for the poor.

If reporters should choose to check it out, hopefully they can research the history of traffic deaths in the immediate area, too.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


And I also searched KV's archives today, to see for how many years I've been fretting online about the Clark Motel and its out-parcels.

For six years, it appears. My earliest post was dated 2008.

Past time for some wider consciousness-raising, then.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thanks again, Schull. Like I said above, he doesn't have Internet service. I don't know if he's able to pull up something like Google maps on his (relatively cheap) phone or not, but I'll ask him. And I have ample paper maps on hand here at the house.

And thanks, Alan. But did you keep the car titled to you after she turned 18 (or has she yet turned 18)? I asked a neighbor about this WRT his son now in his 20's and he said "absolutely," he titled it to his son after age 18.

But I wonder if you haven't avoided this rate dilemma by virtue of having a daughter rather than a son. Our older child's rates for a girl weren't anything like this, either.

Even when the boy was just an additional driver on my car, it caused my rate to jump from $42/month to $134/month, which was a rate about 35% higher than what we had paid to add our daughter as an additional driver a few years earlier.

I really, really want to live inside the city limits again, where there are busses...

Dave Prince's picture

Tread carefully - Dumbphone

Tread carefully - Dumbphone navigation apps can be deceptively expensive. Back in ancient times, VZW (for instance) had a navigator app that would work on most of their "feature" phones, and if your contract was old enough, the data charges would be applied against your minutes instead of against your data, which made it useful since the phones that were able to buy the app were tied to accounts held by people who didn't need a data plan anyway (hence needing the VZW app in the first place). They changed that a while back, and the last time I checked, you bought the app (or licensed access to the app for hours or days, which was an even dumber way for VZW to offer it), but you also had to either have a data plan or have data charges apply to your account on a per-MB basis.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


And WRT city bus transportation, I have intended ever since my daughter started college at UTC over five years ago to inquire as to how the City of Chattanooga can offer free bus transportation to all seniors over age 65 (as well as to all students in grades PreK through college) when the City of Knoxville appears to have difficulty offering even discounted rates to just seniors (with no break for students).

This would seem to be an important "quality of life" issue for us?

(Disclaimer: I realize that Knox County also subsidizes the discounts we do offer KAT riders, so possibly our problem lies with the county, not the city.)

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