Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Trusted Stead

In 2000, I welcomed my 1998 Ford Expedition into my life. She was a big and beautiful truck that initially caused me more problems than I care to list. While she had some problems that kept causing me to visit a mechanic, she kept on running and running and running!

I had her for several years and had payments for more years than I should have ever financed. There was a period of time in which I was a single woman driving a very large SUV when the gas prices began to rise. I still had my payment and the amount I owed exceeded the value of the truck. So, I was stuck with her and I kept driving her and she kept on running.

I always said that when I finally had her paid off, I would trade her in on something smaller and more fuel efficient. This was until that fateful day in 2007 when Mike and I learned we were going to fill her up... with babies! As we drove back from Jacksonville after that first ultrasound, I rubbed her dashboard and told her that I needed her and I hoped she would keep running for our family. Well, kept on running she did!

She ran and ran and ran until today when she could run no more. As Jared and I were driving back home from Grandmas, the oil pressure gauge started to flip out. It was spiking and dropping over and over again. I sent a text to Mike and he suggested I immediately add oil. I pulled off at the next exit and Jared and I added a quart of oil. Mike said, "that should get you home."

We got back onto I-75 and I quickly sensed that things were not going well. The oil gauge leveled out and then flat lined. I kept driving and hoping I could get home or close to home. It was not long before she started struggling to maintain her speed and the engine started sounding very rough. When I hit about 45mph, I moved into the emergency lane and kept going. I was so close to I-10 that I wanted to at least make it to that point. We got close and then she just gave out. I was able to start her one more time to get further off into the grass before calling Mike and then AAA.

AAA made us a priority but it still took about 40 minutes for the tow truck to get to us. Jared was content while playing an iPhone and we were lucky to still have water in the truck as it was starting to get hot. We were also lucky because it was about 5pm. So, it was late enough in the day so it was not too hot but still early enough so it was light out.

Our trusted stead also took care of us because she died right below a very clear marker so I could tell AAA exactly where we were and she died right inside the 100 mile radius covered by AAA. She was strong and caring until the very end!

While she died far from home, I can not be mad at a truck that drove safely for 285,363 miles. She did her job and did it well! The end of an era...

We died right under this major exit sign. It was so easy to tell the AAA agent where we were located. Thank you ole girl!
Jared and I got to finish our ride home in Tow Truck style! Jared was excited about riding in the truck but once he got inside of the tow truck, he was a little nervous and wanted to ride in our truck. So did I baby boy, so did I. But, we both calmed down and settled in for our ride home with Mr. James.
We made it home! I hope she enjoyed her relaxing ride home. You can hold your head up high, girl! You served us well...

She rolls into her current resting place in front of our house...

I know that this is 'just a truck' but when something has been a part of your life for 11 years, there is a special bond and connection. I was surprisingly emotional when I realized that this was finally the breakdown from which we could not recover.

Over the years, she drove me to amazing destinations and drove me away from some pretty ugly ones. She was with me for the years when I was single and also carried me home from the hospital with three new babies. If she could talk, she can tell many many great stories and has heard so many laughs! She hung in there with me when I drove in excess (significant excess) of the posted speed limit and always saved me when there were some close calls. She delivered gifts to Foster children and carried us (filled to max capacity) safely across the US for the past three years. She is the truck the boys will know as their first and she became a part of my identity. Lastly, she kept her head held high even when wearing a license plate that earned her the nickname of "A Big Pig", ABP1G.

Today, Wes and I drove up to the house and he was convinced that she was fixed. I told him that she was still broken and he said "no, she is fixed; look how clean and shiny she is." He was then convinced that if he pushed her, she would be fine. When he got out of the car, he walked behind the truck and pushed hard with both arms before conceding, she was still broken. Yes baby, she is broken.

I learned to love this truck and I will miss you big girl! I am not sure where your final resting place will be but I am confident we will find someone willing to support organ donation. I am sure you have some parts that will help other trucks benefit from your determination.

You were our trusted stead!

Love ya,

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