Money To Live

May 13, 2009

The drive away from the East Coast

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

The East Coast has been my home for the past six years, and I am a bit sad to leave it. My last month is Virginia was pretty nice – without the stress of a job, I took time to be a tourist and go out with friends more frequently. New Jersey was the first place that I grew roots. I loved my neighbors, was a part of the community, and knew exactly who to call if I wanted to go to a yoga class, ride my bike, go to the opera, etc.

By moving to Austin, I am much closer to my parents (Dallas) and extended family (Arkansas). And I am very excited to be moving 0.7 miles away from my best friend. Don’t know if her cohabitating boyfriend is as excited as I am …

Three of my Arkansas relatives (an aunt and two, teenage cousins) flew out to DC to sitesee and join me on the road trip to Texas. We had a great time in DC, and everyone was a good sport about our sub-optimal sleeping arrangements (an inflatable bed and the floor). All four of us fit, with all of our stuff, into my Honda Fit.

16 hours into our 18 drive to their house in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the car ran out of gas! Of all of the possible situations for running out of gas, this was a pretty good situation.

  • We were relatively close to our destination.
  • It was still light out (and would be light out for about 2 hours).
  • The skies were clear – no rain.
  • We were within a mile of a gas station.
  • It was not too hot or too cold.
  • We had 4 cell phones among us.
  • My AAA membership was paid in full.

Since I turned 16, my mother has given me a AAA membership every year. In Texas, she pays $148 for the two of us. My father opted out of the family plan. AAA memberships provide road-side assistance whenever a member is in the car. I have called AAA many, many times over the years due to dead batteries and flat tires. This was my first call about  gasoline.

Out on the Arkansas highway, a nice man (a manager at a local gas station) brought us 2 gallons of gas for free, but because the car was on an incline, it was not enough gas to start the engine. AAA sent out a man with a wrecker, who towed us to the nearest gas station. He said it would have cost over $200 without AAA. I would like to think he was joking, but without AAA I would have had to pay if he insisted. And with a car full of women, he might have.

Looking strictly at costs, AAA is probably not worth the annual fee. The peace of mind that it provides, however, makes up for the cost. Every time I have ever called AAA, the first thing the operator asks is if I feel safe. Fortunately, I have always felt safe when I called AAA, but I like knowing that they’ll figure something out if  I don’t feel safe.

Have you ever used AAA or another road-side assistance service?



  1. I have used USAA’s roadside assistance several times. They’re equally nice and concerned for your safety, and it is included in your insurance premium. However, it’s only available to members of the Armed Forces and their immediate family. It’s pretty cool that they don’t require you to be a dependent – I’m 31 and I’m still eligible because of my dad.

    Comment by Shannon — May 13, 2009 @ 10:18 am |Reply

  2. I feel like we get more than our money’s worth from AAA. Most of my adult life has been spent far from family and an extended network of friends so I’ve been stranded plenty of times without anyone to call but AAA.

    Comment by denise — May 13, 2009 @ 10:29 am |Reply

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