Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye to an old friend

There comes a time when you have to let some things go, no matter how comfortable you are with them, how much you liked them or how much you want to hold on to them forever. Such was the case this week in our family with a car we have had for six years.

Our 2005 Ford Escape – probably the best car I ever owned – was totaled in an accident. There was too much damage to the body and the suspension for it to be repaired, so State Farm bought it from us for an amount that was more than I expected.

Adam was hoping he could learn to drive in this car, and he wanted to keep it forever so he could enter it in car shows someday as an everyday car that people used to drive – like the 1965 Ford Fairlane we see from time to time.

This car was a good one. It was better in the snow than my 1996 Jeep Cherokee. It was a joy to drive, too. It handled better than the two Volkswagen W Sciroccos and the VW GTI I owned in the 1980s and 1990s.

Adam and I took the Escape on many of our river expeditions. We drove it to Rising Sun, Ind., to attend the christening of the M/V Hoosier State. About six weeks later, we used it to chase the Hoosier State up the Ohio River, from Huntington, W.Va., to the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. We drove it in pre-dawn hours to get photos of bridges at sunrise. We drove it onto the ferry at Augusta, Ky. Yeah, we drove it all over the place.

Hannah’s Adam's older sister learned to drive in it. For a few months, it was the only vehicle in a family in which three people had jobs. Adam wanted to drive it, too, and he hoped it would be his when he turned 16.

But cars wear out. About a year ago, repairs started getting expensive. I wanted to keep the Escape running as long as I could, seeing as how it was paid for.  But you have to let some things go. I was debating what to do with the Escape when the accident happened. No one was hurt, by the way, so all we lost was a car.

This was the second vehicle I’ve owned that got up to 200,000 miles. But both because too expensive to maintain at about 180,000 miles. Lesson learned. I doubt that I will keep another vehicle to 200,000 miles now. The cutoff will probably be around 175,000.

We really liked that Escape.  We already a have its replacement. It’s not a Ford, and I can tell you the replacement does not handle as well as the Escape.  There was something about that car that made it the right car for our family at the right time. We already miss it.

(Photos: The Escape parked along the access road to the navigation light and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp at Lacy Lane, Mile 287.5. And the odometer reading as Adam and I removed the license plate and personal belongings from the Escape at the body shop were the repair estimate was made.).