Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thrify, Thrify...Nifty Not

I can count on one hand the number of vehicles I've had in my lifetime, almost.

I tend to hang on to my ride. It becomes a part of me embedded with memories of roads traveled; my side kick that sees me through some of my road disasters along with pleasurable road memories too.

There was the 1953 Ford scooped up for a nifty thrifty price of 50.00. If it had come with matching paint on all fenders, I'm sure it would have been much more expensive. Ah, heck, if it had come without it's full accompaniment  of rust, holes and dents, the price would have been way out of the range of what I could afford.

That little Ford kept me busy. I think I was under the hood and beneath the engine more then I was behind the steering wheel.
Next came a couple of Olds 442's and then the Chevelle. The Chevelle is the one that carried me out of town and to the east coast. Providence, R.I. was my destination and the Chevelle was my ride. This car was to be my only vehicle for the next few years. It was parked by necessity. I bought a travel trailor and a 500.00 truck to tow it around. My bargain truck was purchased in Hope, Arkansas. It has a few quirks and a handbook to manage those "quirks". We ended up in the Poconos in Pennslyvania in the middle of the winter. The snow crusted the streets, frozen and stiff. I loved to hear the crunch of the tires on the snow  as we rode around town.  The passengers inside that truck were in the same condition. Frozen! We had  no heater. Who needs a heater in Arkansas?
 The junk yard has always been my "go to gal" for some of my rolling wrecks. I picked up a heater core and busied myself installing it. I had to have the hot wire hooked up to something to get the fan to work which was the nearest fuse box and the nearest fuse. At the time I had no idea what this fuse operated. 

I can't begin to tell you how many other drivers, during those winter  daytime hours  would roll down their windows and scream "Hey, you have your headlights on!" to which I would reply "Yeah, I know. I have the heater on!" Their puzzled looks were priceless but we were nice and toasty in the cab of that old truck.
A bungee cord from the door handle to the rear view mirror kept the door snug. I did mention I paid 500.00 for this rolling piece of heaven? It had a straight 6 engine in it and would pull a train or in this case, my travel trailor and it always got me to where I was going.

My mom was on the road with me at this time and she was not impressed with my choice of vehicles. I moved up. An all white Scottsdale with a 454 engine, 1 ton suspension, all metal intact, heater and a/c and doors that closed and I was Cadillac minded. This was to be the vehicle that carried me across the USA for the next 7 yrs. When I gave her away to some friends in Phoenix years later, she was still humming along. During one stay in Wyoming, I picked up an ugly orange Datsun. We needed two vehicles and the Datsun though ugly, was a great little gas saver. Gas was 87 cents a gallon and the 454 was a gas hog. I had to keep the truck because I was now pulling a 35ft. park model home. The trucks got bigger and so did my living quarters.

The Datsun was sold and a Ford LTD Crown Vic entered the scene. I won't go into great detail here but while the daughter was borrowing it to get a loaf of bread, she put it under water on a street in Charleston, WV. It never ran quite right after that so enter a brand new spiffy little white  Toyota Corolla. I drove this car for over 20 yrs. It was given to my granddaughter and she drove it for another two years. It has recently been retired out of this family and is now living with new owners. As soon as we paid this house off, I purchased a white Mercury Marquis, which I still drive to this day. I always have a "spare" car and my spare is a Pontiac Solstice, bright red roadster, convertible with a 5 speed tranny that will go from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds. It's my toy car. It's useless, a two seater with no trunk. When I say it's a "ride", I truly mean it. It's not for shopping or traveling unless you plan on traveling alone and using the passenger seat as luggage storage.

The granddaughter and I drop the top and cruise the streets of Lafayette during the summer and fall. She loves the "hot rod" as she calls it.

Getting rid of one of my rides is always a traumatic event for me. I've wrapped up all those memories in those vehicles that I've kept for years and years and miles and miles. I write this because it might be time for me to start shopping for a new one. I think it's getting time for me to let go of the Mercury. Lately I've had some car repairs that had to be done and yesterday the fuel pump went out. She has barely a 100,000 miles on her now and still maintains her shapely figure. A few worn places on her leather seats, a door panel control has a few glitches and a long road trip will not be in her future. She sports a new plentum, new shocks and ball joints and now the fuel pump and exhaust hangers. The mechanic says "Oh, she has a lot more miles left in her."
When I turned to the internet and browsed the Rav4's and the Toyota Corollas, and Camry's, I began preparing myself for the day of the Mercury's replacement.

I'm going to wait until after the first of the year. I'll ease into this slowly. "I'm just looking right now." I'll tell the husband. He keeps urging me to get rid of the Mercury and get something new. He doesn't get attached to anything he drives. " It's just transportation." he tells me.

I may have exceeded the "vehicles I've owned" count, each one remembered fondly as I write this post.

I'm going to go back to bed now. 0300 hrs is much to early to be out of bed! I'll think about this car thing later.

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