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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saying Good Bye To A Faithful Steed

Ten years and 160,000 miles of travel, tears, heartbreak, and safety are being retired next month. The minivan has officially been removed from the To Move list. I love my minivan, scratched and dented though it is. It's street value is slightly less than the worth of an ice cube in Minnesota in December, but I'm still reluctant to let go.

We bought the van used in 2004 after finding out we were pregnant with Baby #2. With less than 20,000 miles the little white van was a perfect fit for our tiny but growing family. It started making weird noises on our first trip to Louisville. The wind whistled under the carriage making an alarming sound, but we learned to accept it as normal.

The van creaked in high windows like a clipper in a gale. It chortled up the Applachian mountains and through prairies and deserts. Somewhere in New Mexico we lost a fog light to a fight with some barbed wire hidden by snow. The power window button broke on a hot day in Texas and required super glue to fix.

Miles racked up.

The summer Bug was born I put 900 miles a week on the car taking girls to speech therapy and myself to doctor's appointments for a very stressful pregnancy.

We outran storms, weathered the cold, and braved new vistas. That little van has seen more of the United States than most people. There are stickers on the windows, mismatched tires after a pothole bent a rim, and one summer in Florida the carpet grew a fuzzy black something that was two inches long before I finally bleached the carpets. I had to bleach the outside the following spring when wet pollen adhered to the doors and started molding.

I cried in the van the day before the funeral for my best friend's husband. I changed countless diapers on the front seat. The van is what we drove when we went to rescue Dog from death row.

A few years ago the speedometer hit 120 while I was doing 45 down a back road. Even when the van was parked the needle wouldn't budge. I called around, priced parts, and then downloaded an app to give me the speed. It was a small thing, but it was the beginning of the end.

The van used to be a little speed demon. Not race car fast, but it held it's own and on many a southern highway Good 'ol Boys in their muscle trucks were passed by a zippy white minivan with waving kids inside. Now the van does zero to sixty in about four minutes. It doesn't like the cold any more than I do, the side view mirror is busted, and it's making strange noises when it switches gears.

Shipping a vehicle to Alaska is not a cheap endeavor. At first, we were going to bite the bullet and do it. The van is paid off and the monthly insurance is far cheaper than we'd get on a new car. I assume the insurance agents know that the van can't do high speeds any more and they stopped worrying about us. But the van doesn't run well in the cold. To the point where I feel uncomfortable taking it further than a few miles from the house.

This means we'll be down to one car until we can find something in Alaska we can afford something new. It'll be an adventure.

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