Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Trucks, SUV's and Minivans

A while back, we bought a used truck. Originally, I was going to use it for hauling my canoe or kayak in the summer. I drove it home and let the Love of My Life drive it to the gas station. When he returned, he got out of the truck, and walked to the house. While he was walking up to the house, I believe, he turned back and looked at that truck at least 5 times. At that moment, I realized that the Big Silver truck was no longer going to be my daily driver. It was to be his. The keys were turned over to him, and he accepted in a New York Minute.

That left me with having to choose between the minivan or the Chevy Trailblazer. While most assumed I would take the Trailblazer, since it was newer and had all the bells and whistles, leather and in better condition...I really wanted to keep my old minivan. I knew every nook and cranny and mile driven on that faithful van. Yes the gas gauge was broken (but I had never ran out of gas), and the Minnesota rust was showing its toll, but there was something comforting about that minivan. It had taken me up and down the road faithfully for many years. It had driven me 150 miles at 2 AM on a moonlit freezing cold night to go be with the grandkids when their mom went to the hospital to deliver their sibling. It had hauled all 15 grandkids at various times, to various adventures. It had hauled my kayak in the back for some of the best fishing times ever. And it was nicknamed Swamp Thing until I could get the fishy smell out of it.

The trailblazer on the other hand had been reliable, pretty, less rust, more features, a better stereo system, and seated the same number of people. And yet there was just something that I could not put my finger on...I just didn't feel comfortable in it. When I would sit down and put the key in, the seat would automatically adjust to my height and comfort. A great feature, except there are times I feel like slouching, or other timesI feel like I need more space. I always wound up re-adjusting it anyway. 

I eventually made  the practical decision that it was time to sell the minivan. After all, we didn't need to keep paying insurance on it. So about 10 minutes after putting the ad in, I received a message that someone wanted to see it. My heart sunk, but I knew it was time. The people came out, and looked at it and decided they were wanting it. In an unconscious last ditch effort, I told them the Trailblazer was also for sale, but 800$ more than the van. They looked at it and drove it. They came back and gave me the money for the Trailblazer. The Love of My Life came out as the transaction was happening and they were hopping in the Trailblazer, looking very confused, and then a grin came across his face. He just walked away shaking his head. He has learned over the 40+ years together, best not to question my motives on many things, including car deals.

So, all the trinkets and dog leashes and hats and sunglasses and fishing tackle and diapers and maps were put back in the minivan. It was cleaned and gassed up, ready to drive down the road another 100,000 miles. 

Last year, my minivan finally was on its last leg. While it still ran great, the Minnesota rust was eating away at it to the point that I was getting wet inside when it was raining. And my feet were about sticking out the bottom like Fred Flintstone. The time had come to make the decision to sell it. Once again I put the ad online and within a few hours, it was sold and being driven down the driveway one last time.

So I figured I should look for something different. I thought I would try a new style vehicle so I got a Honda Pilot SUV. It was a beautiful vehicle with leather seats, seating for 8 and all around in great condition. And I tried. I really really tried to like it. It was comfortable enough, easy to drive, had AWD for the snow….and I tolerated it. I missed my old minivan and the ability to put the seats all up for the grandkids, or all down for the dogs and my kayak. What was wrong with me and not being able to conform to something different when driving. It had nothing to do with the vehicle, but everything to do with feeling the comfort of my minivan and all it was capable of doing for me. It could haul 7 of us, it could haul my kayak and all the fishing gear I could ever need. It could be converted into camper mode, with a bed, curtains and even a kitchen in 10 minutes to travel North camping or cross country to see the kids. All my previous minivans had the scent of the great outdoors and campfires...and sometimes fish.

Luckily my brother loved the Honda and bought it from me. He still has it and it now has over 300,000 miles on without any issues. And me, I bought a 2005 minivan with 150,000 miles on it. It is just getting broken in. It is just like my old one, only way less rust. I am happy once again with what I drive. The stow and go seats are constantly being rearranged depending on the task at hand. It has been reliable as the others and has gotten me through the winter roads so far. I feel like we are old friends doing a road trip every time I get in it.

Am I set in my ways, a creature of habit? It sure could be. I get laughed at often by those who drive way more expensive flashy vehicles and see my minivan. But over time I have come to the conclusion that I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin, finally. I don’t need the flashiness of a fine vehicle or possessions to find my identity. A 2005 Dodge minivan will do me just fine for what I need. I just need to feel comfortable in my own skin….and in my minivan.

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