Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Baby Turns 200,000

I drive a '94 Toyota Land Cruiser, an urban tank from the 20th century.  After burning fossil fuels with abandon for nearly twenty years, the odometer recently rolled over to 200,000 miles.


My parents and I are responsible for every single one of those miles.  I basically grew up in this car; it's been a member of the family since I was in the seventh grade.  

I remember being laid out in the back seat, staring up through drugged-out eyes at a single patch of blue sky visible through a rear window, while my parents drove me back to Madison from what turned out to be my last high-school soccer game.  A kick had shattered my pinkie and I was headed home across the state to have reconstructive surgery - if only I could stop drooling on the upholstery.

Make-shift ambulance.

In the six years before that it had carried me to more soccer games and tournaments around the Midwest than any of us want to remember.  It carried me to race one Ironman, marry two cousins, and bury three grand-parents.

A few months after high-school graduation it carried me and three friends on my first road trip sans parents.  We drove across three states for a Dave Matthews Band concert, back when DMB cool, which should give you an idea just how old this car is, and slept laid out like cordwood in the back end at a rest-stop.  No wonder it's ideal to carry a bike box.

Or two full size couches.

It carried my parents from Wisconsin to South America and back.  Without being stolen, I might add, despite their best efforts to have to fly home and buy a new car.

It carried me on my East Coast college tour.  I had just received my learner's permit and drove nearly 2,500 miles during the trip.  After I had chosen a college, it (and my parents) moved me there and back again after what now seems like one long sleep-deprived night.

And it moved me to Texas, where, so sayeth the plan, it is supposed to die.  The problem is that it just won't die.  The local Toyota dealership says one Land Cruiser in town has an estimated 3,000,000 (that's million) miles on its chassis.


Give me another twenty years.

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