Saturday, December 12, 2009

The End of an Era

by Bryan.
That's right. Bryan is actually authoring a blog post. Crazy isn't it.

Back in September of 1997, I was 15 years old and very excited about my upcoming 16th birthday. For a guy, turning 16 is about two things and only two things. A driver's license and a car. I had saved practically every dime I made since I was 12 mowing lawns and then working for a contractor my family knew. Saving and saving for a car. And then we found it. A 1994 Ford Explorer Sport, green with a gray interior, a 4.0L V6, and manual transmission. Perfect. Well, except for the fact that it had been totaled and re-built, but through some weird state to state title conversion, it came to Tennessee clean. It was in good shape though, and looked very nice. I was paying for it my self, and it was the best I was going to do. I couldn't have been happier.

Fast forward several years. I'm off to college. Still driving the good 'ole Explorer, but now it's not in such good shape. The paint is peeling on the roof a little, and when it rains, the windshield leaks some. When I hit bumps, there is this clank sound that sounds like one of the wheels might fall off. One day I noticed that the spare tire was missing. It attached under the back with a cable. All that was left was a little piece of broken cable. So at some point I was driving down the road and it came off. I hope there wasn't a car close behind me. I could have caused a terrible wreck. I guess I'll never know.

Fast forward to a couple week ago. I'm now 28 years old... still driving the Explorer. Now a piece of junk. Now there are more parts that don't work than do. A few of the issues are funny. The radio now longer worked. Have you ever tried to drive your car in silence, (except for the verity of rattles and clanks and shakes) it's weird. The fan for the heat and A/C worked... sometimes, and making that even better the windows no longer rolled up or down. Summer = Hot. The leaky roof, oh the leaky roof. Now not only did it leak, it dripped on the driver's side seat. I had to keep a piece of plastic in the back for when it rained. The clank sound when I hit bumps, I'll put it this way. Not a single person had ridden with me more than once in at least couple years, Stephanie included. Not only will the tail gate no longer stay up, one of the shocks that held it up snapped off, it literally flew off the car. One nice thing is that I can now take the key out of the ignition even when it is running. That's actually quite convenient. The tires are completely bald. I can think of at least 20 other issues.

So I know what you're thinking, "Why don't you just get another car." I can't get another car. That's the only car I've ever had. I can't get another one. I can't. But then last week, it wouldn't start. Cars are much less useful when they don't start. I tried several things to fix it, but nothing worked. I came to the realization that just having someone diagnose the problem would cost more that it was worth. So at long last the ride is over (so to speak). Salvage valve for it is only about $250 (thanks cash for clunkers). So I sold it to someone for 300 bucks. I feel bad because I think I ripped them off.

When they came to pick it up, and by they I mean the buyer and a tow truck, the tow truck guy turned the key "just to see." It started. The buyer asked if I would drive it to their house, and I said yes. I was thinking during my last drive in the old friend. It must have wanted me to drive it one last time.

And so ends the story of my first car. I pick up my new (to me) truck tomorrow. It's by no means a spring chicken, but I can't help but wonder how far it will take me.

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