Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How I Roll

Lately I've noticed something. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before. Maybe some of you have already noticed, but I always seem to drive old brown vehicles.

Let's have a look at my past wheels.
I learned to drive in this:

A 1960-something? International Scout. I was around 13, not even thinking of the legalities of it as I was needed to help with farm chores. Once you mastered driving "The Scout", you were pretty much qualified to drive anything with wheels.
I was reminiscing with my brothers last week about some of our mishaps in "The Scout". The steering linkage came loose a few times, and that meant a bee-line straight off the road into whatever stood in the way. Either that, or the front wheels would both point outward, bringing you to a sudden skid of a stop. The doors would bounce open, or swing open when you took a corner. There were times when the starter was going out so you had to either arc the power leads across it with a screwdriver to start it, or jump it by rolling it down a hill and slamming it into gear (note: the key has to be on). It is a vehicle that added a lot of flavor to my teenage years.

When I was old enough to want my own car, I went and selected an abandoned vehicle from the Hansen's Auto impound lot. There is always a reason (or two) for a vehicle being abandoned. I chose this:
(This is a photo I got from the web and edited) It's almost exactly what mine looked like. It was the best option at the time. I had to rebuild the engine in it, and I learned a lot about the fundamental workings of an automobile. I knew every last piece of that car. It was really reliable and got really good fuel mileage. When I left for my mission, I told my Dad to sell it if he could. And he did.

When I got back from my mission, I inherited a new set of wheels:
My dear friend Minnie gave me her old car. I can't say enough about the kind of friend Minnie was. But this act alone says a little about how giving she was.
The 1974 Dodge Dart has been my friend through a lot of changes in the last 6 years. It's traveled all over Arizona, up to Provo, Utah and back, up to Rexburg, Idaho and back 3 times, and never missed a beat. Last year, it passed the 100,000 mile mark and kept going strong. This month, I am swapping in a newly-rebuilt engine. The old one was still going strong, but my brother owned a newly-rebuilt Dodge Dart engine sitting in a car in his yard. (Boy, that sure sounds red-neck) He sold it to me for an amazingly good price. I expect a little better performance from a newly-rebuilt engine and it will surely save me from having to rebuild my current engine down the road. I've never been able to settle on any other name for that car. It is "The Dart". That's the only name that suits it. Every time I get in the driver's seat, I think of Minnie. That car holds a lot of special meaning. If ever anyone insults it, it's hard for me to not think less of them. One day, it will get a nice paint job and a new interior. It's sitting at Hansen's Auto shop right now, patiently enduring the engine swap. And while it sits, my Grandma was nice enough to allow my the honor of driving:
The Beast. While I work for my grandma, this is how I get around. It's a '60-something Ford. For two days, the headlights wouldn't work. Today, the blinkers stopped working, but the headlights are back. It's got a lot of personality and power. It's built like a tank and it sure can haul a lot of cargo. If anyone got in a fight with the Beast, the Beast would come out unharmed.

We all have to get around somehow. It seems that for now, I'll be rolling old-school and brown.