To the Moon and Back

“It’s getting kind of late, maybe we could just hit a drive ‪through for dinner‬” my wife said. It was a ‪Tuesday night‬ and things had overlapped leaving us no time to run home to grab a bite. “That’d be great but you are forgetting that the driver side window won’t go down in this car,” I replied, 
You see we’re point A to point B kind of people, as in our cars need to get us from one place to another and they don’t have to look to pretty doing it. In fact both of our daily drivers have over 250K miles. That means they have both traveled around the earth 10 times or shared a trip to the moon and back. We weren’t behind the wheel for all of those miles but we have logged a ton of the free ones. We figure that any miles you get beyond payoff are a bonus so we do everything we can to keep them rolling. 
Of course there are drawbacks to shooting for the moon. Only the rear windows go down In my wife’s car, while it’s the front ones in mine. I can’t really explain it but the antennae in her car seems to be getting progressively weaker and my driver’s side door handle has been replaced with vice grips. But these are all small concessions to make to avoid the agony of a monthly car payment. 
A week prior we had gone to get new tires. As always they asked if we would like the lifetime road hazard warranty. 
“Lifetime? The car has over 250K miles, how many more can it have in it?” I replied in jest. 
That got me thinking about why we would want to push our cars to the moon and beyond. I figured like much of our behavior it must have something to do with upbringing. I wasn’t really sure about my wife’s car ancestry but it was clear I was onto something when I thought back to some of the cars we had when I was growing up. 
My first recollection of such a car was a powder blue Fiat, or was it just sun faded? This is way back in the late 70’s and the reason it stands out so much is a five hour drive to the Lake of the Ozarks. I have no clue how many miles it had on it but I know it was the base model or possibly below the base model. No power window. No stereo. No AC, although I am pretty sure it had heat. It was definitely a point A to point B vehicle. That trip seems like it was yesterday. We had gotten a portable cassette player for the ride and had a shoe box full of tapes. Probably 30 minutes outside of town we realized the box was at home so we enjoyed 10 hours of Chuck Mangioni greatest hits. I am pretty sure the Geneva Conventions would have defined it as torture. 
Some years later my dad bought a mail van. Not a mail jeep, a van much like UPS uses. I am not sure how he convinced my mother but it was cheap so it probably fit the criteria of no monthly payment. It was awesome for summer adventures but it did have a couple of drawbacks: only a driver seat and absolutely no heat. This was in the early 80’s so “click it or ticket” wasn’t a thing and I guess seats for your passengers were optional as well. 
My favorite though was a white Malibu Classic, with a green vinyl top and an electric sunroof; from an era that didn’t really have sunroofs, let alone electric ones. My parents had purchased it from a doctor in a nearby town so it was loaded with upgrades and miles. We had that car for years. Slowly things started to go south. The electric antennae stopped in the down position. The sunroof started weeping. But my favorite of all was the week the passenger door stopped latching and we not talking plastic and aluminum doors, this was good ol’ American steel. As we went to school my brother and I would be in the front seat. Where else would kids sit? Each time we would approach a turn she would ring out, “HOLD ON!” I’d grab the door, my brother would grab me and we would both hold on for dear life and then laugh, a lot. It was like our own amusement park ride. 
So it was pretty obvious that I did inherit my appreciation for well used cars from my parents. This genetic tendency became even more apparent when I got a call from my son early in the morning the first day of school. He had gotten a late model pickup a few weeks before and it was his first chance to show it off. Unfortunately the power steering had gone out a block from home. He took it all in stride though noting, “It’s got some miles on it, you got to expect this kind of thing.” That’s definitely my boy.


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