The Loss of a Good Story

I’m lowering my cone of safety on this one. No judgements allowed, only an intake of information.

We left our beloved white suburban alone yesterday in a cold, unfamiliar parking lot and drove away in a new, smaller SUV. I cried. This new vehicle has no real story. It was too easy to walk in and purchase exactly what we wanted on the same day. There was no glitch, no adventure, no problem solving skills required.

Our white suburban, and the previous blue one, had REAL stories. The white ‘burb was purchased in Tucson, Arizona during our second day without air conditioning in 122 degree heat. We were on our month-long cross-continent move from Alaska and our blue ‘burb, which never knew what running an A/C was like in Kodiak, couldn’t keep up. Five years of harsh winter environment had taken it’s toll on the blue ‘burb’s parts and even though we’d had a few replaced during a 3 day stay at Disneyland, the weakest spot would simply shift. So, we caved and as I sat in the Watson Chevrolet parking lot in Tucson, sobbing hot, drippy snot and tears over taking on a car payment that had not been anticipated, Michael chose the truck before we continued on our journey.

The next day with our new blinged out ‘burb, the kids all agreed to ride with me. Imagine that! We were in BFE, Arizona and OnStar rang. “Mrs. Vorholt? This is OnStar. We’d like to go ahead and get your account set up.” The kids all FROZE. Who was talking to us and how did they know our name? Keep in mind we’d been on an island in Alaska for many years and while our blue ‘burb had bling, none of it was available/reachable in the Gulf of Alaska. For 5 years we had no idea the radio could show the station names and songs that were being played. We discovered this gem as we crossed the border from Canada into Washington. Suddenly, JACK FM (which ironically was one of 3 radio stations we had in Kodiak) scrolled across the panel. I literally had to pull over to watch it. It was incredible!!!!

Our white ‘burb proved to be reliable every time we needed her. She took the kids and I from Texas to California while towing the camper when we evacuated during Ike. She brought our entire family back home to Texas from California after Michael graduated from the Chief’s Academy. She safely transported the kids and I from Texas to Virginia to spend Thanksgiving week with Michael one year. She made it possible for our family to drive to Disney World, to Louisiana, to Alabama, to West Texas and many more places. Yesterday, when we left her, she had almost 93,000 miles. Quite the number for a 4 year old. HERE she is in West Texas as she helped us continue our adventure to our home in Texas in the summer of 2008.

She was a good truck, but so was her predecessor, the blue ‘burb. The blue ‘burb was a spontaneous decision made during a day trip to Anchorage off Kodiak Island via Red Tail Airlines (Coast Guard C-130). The kids (just Allen & Emma at the time) and I headed to the mall and Michael headed to the Chevy dealership. We didn’t have one on Kodiak and he likes Chevy – I guess it was his “mall”. When we rejoined him a few hours later before heading back to the air terminal for the flight home, he told us he’d bought a truck. Truthfully, we DID need a second vehicle, something reliable, but when you buy a truck in Anchorage, there are details about getting it to Kodiak that are important: the 6 hour drive to Homer, the 9 hour ferry ride to Kodiak, space available on the ferry. Little things like that.

Turns out there WASN’T space on the ferry for a week, so we booked and paid for our spot, called our employers to let them know we wouldn’t be at work for 7 days, went to Sports Authority to load up on camping supplies and headed north to Denali. We spent a week traveling the huge state of Alaska in tents. No real plan other than to be in Homer on our ferry date. It was amazing! We drove from Denali to Fairbanks, visited North Pole and Santa before circling back to Anchorage on the Richardson Highway. By the time we landed back on Kodiak, we’d put over 1200 miles on the new blue ‘burb. Hey, Alaska is a BIG state!

The blue ‘burb took us all over the road system in Kodiak. She was 4WD, so I never had an issue driving her through the mud to find bears or the snow to find eagles. She carried my family and all of our gear to youth orchestra, to motocross races, to fishing, to hiking paths, to drum lessons, to dance lessons, to plays, to our favorite coffee house, you get the point. When we left Kodiak, she only had 12,000 miles. Not too shabby for an island raised 5 year old. HERE she is on the ferry as we sailed across the Gulf of Alaska.

So, you see, this new vehicle has no real story. The men in the family keep telling me she’ll get one, but it was so easy, so uneventful yesterday getting her. Nothing newsworthy. My Alaska BFF gave me a great suggestion, however, when she sent the following text:

Maybe you could walk to the dealership with a kid on your back or something.

She was correct when she added, “Geez, only Lower 48′rs walk into a dealership and buy a car.” Maybe that’s my biggest sadness. We’re Lower 48′rs now. All the way down to buying a new car.

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