Monday, August 06, 2007

A Eulogy

Today we donated our faithful Pathfinder, so a tow truck came and took it away. As you can see, it had gotten a little smooshed up, through no fault of our own. It really wasn't worth much even without the smooshed hood, so donating it seemed to be the best option. It was a good car for us, and we have a lot of great memories in it!

It was a 92 Nissan Pathfinder, but we bought it the summer of 95, a few months after we moved out to Colorado. We just drove our Mazda 626 out there, which Bob took to work every day, so I was pretty much stuck in our 1 room temporary apartment for that summer while we waited for our house to be finished. Most apartments didn't have air conditioning in C. Springs at that time (maybe they still don't!), and our apartment faced south. On the third floor. With only one window. It was so. very. hot. every afternoon, close to 100 degrees in there. Bob started dropping me off at my grandma and grandpa's house before he left for work. I would take my snack, book, etc., and he would pick me up on his way home. It was fun to spend time with my grandparents (who did have A/C, incidentally), but I did feel a bit like I was at day care, LOL!

We started looking around for a second car, and we decided that we should get an SUV (why not, everyone else in Colorado had one). We looked at Toyota 4-Runners, but we decided they were too expensive. We bought our Pathfinder from a guy who was coming off a lease, and I think we got a fairly good deal on it. Many times through the years have we wished we spent the extra money and gotten the 4-Runner though--it was just a little bit bigger, and the rear widow rolled down instead of just popping open, like ours did. That would have been very convenient for the dogs! Hind sight and all that . . .

My scrapbook from that time shows lots of trips in the old Pathfinder. We had no kids, and Bob was working this weird shift schedule in Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD), where he was basically on an 8 day week, so his days off didn't usually correlate to the weekends. I wasn't working, so we were free to cruise around the state, and so we did! Right after we moved into our house, my brother Dan and a friend from his college, Dave, came out to visit. I drove them up Pikes Peak in the Pathfinder, which was a bit scary for me. The first of many trips, though! One of my favorite trips was in September, 1996, when we took a camping trip down to Mesa Verde and over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnson on the way back. We had our big dog, Pascal, who was half black lab, and half Alaskan malamute, along on all these trips. What fun!

We got a second dog (Aspen, a Great Pyrenees), and had 2 kids (Nathan and Luke). Bob got a job with more regular hours as the aide to a Navy admiral. We still did a lot of camping though, now with our friends the Ls who had finally followed us out to Colorado! Those were some fun trips, and we loaded the Pathfinder to the gills! Once we rented pop-up trailers from MWR and went trailer camping in October at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Pathfinder did a great job hauling the trailer around!

One of my all-time favorite trips we took in it was up to Telluride in October, 2000. We drove up to the Tomboy mine, which was 11,200 feet above sea level. That was a hair-raising drive, if I have ever had one. The "road" was only one lane, and on one side there is a steep cliff, and on the other side, there is a sheer drop-off of several thousand feet. There were lots of washboard ruts, where the Pathfinder really leaned and bounced. When we got up to the old mine site, we literally had to peel Bob's fingers from the stearing wheel. And then we still had to get back down! I had wanted to visit there ever since reading Tomboy Bride, a book about Harriet Fish Backus, who was a newly-wed there (her husband was an assayist) in the early 1900s. The book was fascinating, and I wanted to have a better understanding of what all she talked about. The drive made it all come to life for me, that's for sure! My only regret, since we went to so much trouble to get there, is that I didn't take many pictures. I think it was just such a nerve-wracking drive, and then I was very anxious about Nathan and Luke, who were scrambling around on the ruins of the town. I didn't want them to fall in some big shaft or down the side of the mountain! The Pathfinder really proved himself on that trip though!

We also traveled across the country several times in the Pathfinder. I think we drove from Colorado to Ohio and back in it 5 times! We were a bit crowded, but it seemed fine at the time. Now that we have driven our Odyssey and Sienna, we look back and wonder how on earth we stood it--that thing was so loud and bumpy! We could hardly hear each other talk, and we bounced around like popcorn!

The Pathfinder was great in the snow and ice. It always gave me a lot of confidence knowing that Bob was driving it when he had to be out in the snow. In fact, he drove it to and from work for awhile last February when we had all that snow and ice here! Guess we'll have to make do next winter, LOL.

After we bought the Odyssey in March 2000, the Pathfinder became the "second car". Then right before we left Ohio, Bob tore a muscle in his calf. Driving the Pathfinder (which was a stick-shift) really hurt his leg, so we bought a used Camry for him to commute in. Then the Pathfinder became the third car, barely used, just taking up space on the street. I would drive it to the library if I went in the evenings without kids, just to keep it driven! We let various people borrow it, so it did serve a useful purpose, but it really won't be any big loss to us. Except in sentimental value! Also, it was weird sitting in it last night and thinking this will probably be the last stick-shift vehicle we own. I don't see anything but minivans in our future for quite a long time, and they just aren't manual! I think driving a stick is a lot of fun . . . ah, those carefree days without kids!

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