27 July 2007

ode to ulla

Ulla is our car (aka: recurring nightmare for the last 7.5 months). Don't get me wrong, we love her (maybe even a little more that you should love a car) I'll make it short...We bought Ulla last summer in Berkeley in preparation for moving to Minnesota. She's amazing- a 1983 Mercedes diesel station wagon with a perfect California body (i.e. no rust). She was already being run on biodiesel when we got her (which had been our plan) so that was great. We loved her. We drove her through the mountains of California, through the salt flats of Utah, and spent a night with her in the Badlands in South Dakota.

filling up with biodiesel in the CA mountains

When we got to Minneapolis, we eagerly found a place to buy biodiesel (clearly not as readily available here as it was in Berkeley). We moved into our apartment in December, I started my new job, and then-a week later-some crazy lady ran a red light and slammed into her passenger side while I was driving home from a craft show. Nobody was hurt, except Ulla (and the other lady's car, but that's not the focus of this story). That was December 16, 2006.

Ulla post-accident (the insurance company's photos)

We decided to fix her, even though the insurance company deemed it a total loss and didn't give us very much money (I won't go into details, but her age and the condition of similar cars in the area-rustbuckets- didn't help). We knew it could take a couple months, what with finding parts and just the sheer amount of work that this repair would entail. To make a loooong story short, after two body shops, lots of rides and generous friends with cars, countless jokes from my coworkers about my "phantom car", and infinite "did you get your car back yet?"s, we picked her up yesterday. Yes that's right, July 26, 2007, 222 days later. Days filled with freezing walks to work, bike rides through the rain, grocery shopping on two wheels, sweltering heat, and even yard sailing on a bike.

Ulla yesterday morning, after 222 days in rehab.

So a big thanks to all those who gave us rides, lent us cars, and put up with us. And of course- to Olson's Body Shop. If you live in Minneapolis, I would highly recommend them.


  1. what an awesome story! hooray ulla and hooray to you for sticking by her during her incarceration (haha couldn't resist). you are my green-driving hero. and ulla too.

  2. Yippee! Glad you got your family member back ;)