So, my Subaru steed had done its service valiantly! Now a pickup truck seemed the most practical because I was living out in the boondocks. I found a small ‘82 Nissan, with an 8’ bed. It had a camper shell on the back so I could go wandering in the wilds, sightseeing for a couple of days, sleeping with the dogs in the truck overnight. There was an A/C button on the dash, but no A/C, alas. I had many adventures in that vehicle: slept in it overnight till a muddy road froze and I could drive out without getting truly stuck: broke down on a long lonely highway one dark November evening and was rescued by four young ones in a small souped-up car, stereo blasting. The young woman driving was a newly certified mechanic; using a flashlight, she tightened the loose spark plugs and sent me off in a happily purring old truck. I called that truck ‘Beau’.
Then came a time when I was coming and going a lot from a far distant place, so I bought my friend’s ’88 Chevy Nova. The thing that I loved about that car was that it would go forever at high speeds. Crossing Nevada, the speed limit is 80 miles an hour and that little Nova could tuck in behind a faster vehicle and do 85 or 90 all day. I was younger and played more loosely with my health and welfare in those days.
My next car after that was an early Honda Civic which I really liked for its incredible efficiency. Although its low clearance was more exciting than I preferred during snowstorms, its quick maneuverability in fine weather was such a pleasure! And the interior space looked small at a glance; when I loaded a kit for a queen-sized Murphy bed into the Civic, and the manufacturer wanted a picture for his ads! After many trouble-free Honda years and thousands of kilometers, three major repairs were needed all at once; my baby was ready for the Kidney Foundation. I hugged it goodbye as the tow truck began to move it down the street.
Although I didn’t consider myself a senior – my mother was very senior and she had a hard time getting in and out of the Civic – so next I looked at cars for accessibility. On the list of Best Cars for Seniors was a car I’d dreamed of owning: a Prius. (I’m your Green Neighbour, remember?) So, the combination of CO2 reduction and big front door openings for exit/entrance made it a no-brainer for me. A Prius! I felt distinctly better knowing I had now reduced my fossil fuel burning substantially. The Prius I found that was affordable had been rebuilt (my insurance company said no problem), had originated in the US so was in miles, was available from a StreetSide seller, (remember the news about them?), passed the mechanics test, and had a clean VIN record. Both the seller and the car proved good choices. I could get one kayak inside it with the seats down and another on the roof if I unscrewed the antennae. My gas bill was cut in half. My emissions plummeted. The Prius felt spacious and luxurious compared to my small, early model Civic. Wow! Win, win, win!!!
But eventually, I was in a position to choose what was to come next. I’ll try to trace my line of thinking in next week’s column. Drive Safely. Don’t Idle.