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Posted (crates) in Personal Stuff on May-4-2012

My 1975 Ford Van that I bought new so long ago.

Recently I said farewell to a dear old friend, my 1975 Ford Van that I bought new back in August, 1975.  I bought it in Eugene, Oregon after getting a teaching job in Baltimore, MD, because I needed something larger than my ’64 VW bug to carry my possessions in.  I drove it to Texas via the Grand Canyon and then to Maryland across the deep south and spent a while in the outskirts of Baltimore, before returning to Texas and then back to Oregon.  After a while in Oregon I drove it back to Texas where I spent a few years before driving it to the Puget Sound area where I drove it almost every day for the next 25 years.  I never spent a night in a hotel during all the traveling, but spent many nights in the bed that I had built in the back of the van.

Over the years I was amazed at the reliability of this old Ford truck despite my lack of upkeep.  If I remembered I would change the oil once a year, but otherwise did little maintenance.  Despite this abuse I drove it as my only source of transportation until 2004 and 350,000 miles later when I bought another car (a Ford Escape which drives like a dream).  I experienced very few problems with the truck and developed a warm affection for it over the years.

AAfter getting the new car I would alternate driving it with the van every few days. After almost a year of this, I found myself driving the new car more and more and the truck less and less.  I would makesure that I would go out and start the truck up occasionally just to keep the battery charged.  Finally I went too long once, and found that the old truck wouldn’t start.  This was back in 2005.  I then let the truck sit beside the house ever since.  Over the years, the old friend gradually began to return to the elements from which it came.  The driver’s side had rusted out, and a little Bewick’s Wren built a nest in the gaping hole.  Thick growths of moss covered the truck and a licorice fern germinated and began to grow from a crack.

The top vent leaked and over the years mold and spider webs covered the interior, although the metal along the inner walls still looked bright and new.  The bed collapsed and the interior paneling sagged and gave way.  The door locks would barely work and the ignition froze up.  It was a prime illustration of the old saying “Use it or Lose It.”

I knew that I would never drive it again, but I kept putting off the inevitable, hating the thought of having it hauled off and out of my life forever.  Finally, my son told me that he knew somebody who would haul it away and pay $280 f.or it.  Here are some of the last views that I had of my old buddy.  I am also enclosing below a photo of my new friend who I hope will be as faithful as the last.  No, it isn’t a Ford!  I am crossing my fingers.

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