Community, Life Lessons

Quirky Vehicles and the Love We Have For Them

*We have been very distracted by Christmas happenings in our family. I had wrote this blog waiting to take some photos to fit the theme. Since I haven’t posted in a while I thought I would share as is. *


I have never driven a brand new car or enjoyed the odor of a new car besides sniffing those little Christmas tree air fresheners labeled “New Car Smell”.  I feel like I have earned a badge of honor for driving my vehicles until they literally become clunkers.

Thru vet school I drove a dark blue Dodge Stratus with a chewed up back seat arm rest (thanks to a bored Brody Lab puppy in the backseat on a 12 hour car ride from Iowa to North Dakota).  We packed on the miles driving back and forth and I swore I would drive that car “until the wheels came off” and that they did. I remember the day I called Brad telling him my right hind wheel was displaced craniomedially and things seemed “broken”. My vet school classmate that happened to be with him to translated  that the rear passenger wheel was broken and the top of the wheel was angled towards the car frame.

So I am no stranger to quirky vehicles. My current ride is an Expedition pushing 200,000 miles and I am proud of how well it has handled our crazy crew of kids and critters. I eagerly wait for the number to roll over to 200,000 so I can Instagram it, as a mother would document a proud moment in her kid’s life! Then one day it didn’t start. My flaking paint, mud coated Expedition was trailered to the shop to await someone to figure out it’s woes and return it to function.

In the mean time, I needed a ride so was lent my dad’s old Explorer..or Exploder with “tinker toy suspension” as my hubby refers. This wasn’t just a turn the key and go sort of vehicle.  It had rules…quirks to tend to for it to function in any sort of way. My dad is a mechanic and the seats are evident of such, black as oil and grease with the matching odor.

The quirks were simple enough:

  1. Most importantly…Don’t lock the doors or they may never open again. A new locking mechanism was worth more than the vehicle or its contents. Do you know how habitual it is to hit that lock button…and so muscle memory took over and I locked the doors…oops.  Rule #1 already broken.
  2. The heater only blows on high or off. If you get too hot just turn it off or open the window.
  3. But the window may or may not close and if it does will take forever to roll back up if you do get it down.
  4. It will shimmy and shake if you go over 65mph but sometimes you can push thru the shimmy if you get it up to 75.
  5. There is no working car charger for your phone so make sure you have a fully charged phone to use when you call for help when it breaks down!


Though the loan of the quirky Explorer was kind we  rented a new Silverado to be our ride while our vehicle was in the shop…I even took a picture of the mileage because the number was so small…if my Expedition was nearing its retirement celebration here was a new baby vehicle making its way in the world. It even had that new car smell and not thanks to some little tree shaped freshener. As is our way, we quickly broke it in with a rock chip and red dust covering the dash.  I watched the miles click higher and higher in just our short time with a new realization for just how many miles we log back and forth, up and down the road.


For me these vehicles that safely get us from point A to B become a part of our family’s story and memories, a familiarity and comfort (I can still remember crying in the bathroom of the dealer as we said goodbye to our family’s Jeep).

I liked the new vehicle…with its fancy back up camera and “newness”. But when I got my old rusty Expedition back I admit it felt right and familiar.  We had picked it up fixed and the roads home were slick and snow packed, but I knew just how it would respond, how the 4 wheel drive would kick in and how it would handle the road ahead . The worn indent in the seat seems almost sculpted to my butt from all our miles together and the wheel is positioned just how I like it. The rear passenger door inner door handle is broke off and the lights of the dash clock flicker on and off in a most unreliable fashion. It has its own quirks!


My morning view driving out of the yard.  I have seen some of the most fantastic sunrises and sunsets while driving. 


The discussion of whether we should get a new vehicle came up when our old Expedition was in the shop but I don’t think I am quite ready to say goodbye.

So for those hitting the roads this holiday weekend…enjoy your ride! Some of my best childhood memories occurred while sitting in the backseat of a Jeep Cherokee with my sisters traveling down the road. Not to mention all the miles and memories the Hubby and I logged driving back and forth, with music and words to pass the time.

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