Summer before last, we were tempted to buy a newer car even though we hadn’t saved what we would need. We refer to our car as “The Old Lady” because cars are like dogs. You just multiply a car’s mechanical age times seven to get the actual age. That makes The Old Lady 105 (15 x 7=105). She was born in 1998 and we remember her fondly when she was a baby. I love the smell of new baby cars, but I love having NO CAR PAYMENT better!
Planning our car trip that summer with some of our children and grandchildren, we knew we’d be traveling over the Continental Divide which meant some seriously high mountains! Sometimes The Old Lady had difficulty climbing 800 feet to our home especially when it was really hot outside. Typically her temperature would rise above normal and by the time we’d get in our garage, she’d pee all over the floor. With our concern over her ability to make it over the mountains knowing it was summer and could be very hot, we took her to the doctor.
Dr. Jim at Dave’s Auto Repair and Used Car Sales gave her a checkup and proclaimed everything looked pretty good. However when asked if he would take her on the trip, he answered, “I can’t answer that.” She’d had a heart transplant in 2007, but he explained, “When we gave The Old Lady a new heart she was still left with the old veins and other organs.”
In keeping with my own teachings in the GOOD Book: Get Out Of Debt, we had promised ourselves we would not buy another car on credit, so the thought of doing that was just a brief consideration. When Dr. Jim wouldn’t answer our question (medical liability issues I guess) we thought about renting a car. In the end we decided since we were going on the trip in two cars, if The Old Lady died along the way, we’d just leave her and join our kids in their van.
We headed out with two gallons of water in the trunk (in case of an accident ahem) and a case of oil (she tends to lose vital fluids). Our first test of her wellbeing was over the Cascade Mountains. When we got to Timberline Lodge (approximately 7,000 feet) she peed all over the parking lot in front of skiers and tourists alike. It was one thing to have it happen in the privacy of our own garage, but in public, well it was very embarrassing. After she cooled down, we gave her a gallon of water which she gulped appreciatively. We proceeded to head east to spend time with Terry’s cousin and his wife.
I told the relatives of her problem and both being devout Christians they prayed over The Old Lady. I felt the prayer was really directed more at us, that if she died we’d be able to handle the loss in a positive way. Turns out The Old Lady has never had another accident! We proceeded to travel more than 2,500 miles over hill, dale and mountain in temperatures that soared into three digits many days. It has been a couple of years since “the prayer,” and The Old Lady has not had a problem with the 800 foot hill to our home either.
Really now, the only real problem we have with The Old Lady is that she’s a liar. When she says she can go 50 miles until a fill up, she can really just go ten. How I found that out is another story.
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