On my way into work last Thursday I hit what some might consider a milestone: 200,000 miles on my car.
I’ve only owned my SUV for five years, but it’s been through a lot, and in that time, I’ve grown quite fond of it. When I’m feeling the love for my car, I call her Old Faithful. And when I feel like joking about my more modest means of transportation, I often point to the fact that it’s a Korean car, made in America and named after an Italian island. Bonus points if you can figure it out.
In all seriousness, a love letter to my car is long overdue, so here it is.
My car came to me in 2014 as a generous college-graduation gift from my family. I still remember meeting my relatives for a celebratory dinner the night before and the confusion when they rolled up, smiling, in an unfamiliar set of wheels.
Not long after that, I took my car on the trip of a lifetime. Over two months, I drove more than 10,000 miles, made it to a dozen different states and just as many national parks. Old Faithful took me to the Grand Canyon, out to the Pacific Ocean, across the U.S./Canadian border, down through the Rockies and all the way back home. We navigated mountain passes with no guardrails, slept on the side of freeways, rode a ferry over the Puget Sound, flew down dirt tracts in Montana and even shared the road with a herd of bison, hundreds strong.
My car has also been remarkably tough. She withstood a sizable summer hail storm and still has the scars to prove it. We were run off the road in Washington when another car’s hood ripped free and came slicing across the highway. And she even kept me and my dog safe when a neighboring pickup had a blowout at 80 mph and came careening into us. Old Faithful took a hit, but we walked away without a scratch.
During the work week, my long commute between the office and home adds at least 150 miles to the odometer, but she never complains. When I want to see my girlfriend on the other side of town, she’s always gets me there. And when I decide on a last minute camping weekend or road trip, she’s always up for it.
It’s hard to think that the time with my car is coming to a close. All those late-night drives with the windows down, and all that awful, in-car singing will soon be just memories. But I’m grateful for them and all the miles in between. Sure there will be other cars in the years to come, but she’ll always be my Old Faithful. Here’s to the road ahead.
Happy birthday to Virginia Smith and Carloyne Slaughter Sample, both of Sherman; Frances Akin of Sanger; LeTresha Blanton; Mary Thompson Summerhil of McAllister, Montana; and David Miller of Denison.