My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Farewell to the Camry

John here with a stern warning - this may be an emotional post.  It may be tough news for many of you to handle, especially those who have come to love Alycia's Toyota Camry over the years.  Don't ruin this moment by saying something snarky about how in the world Alycia could still be driving that piece of vehicular rubbish.  Mostly because it's not nice, but also because it's not true. I've been driving this unreliable hunk of crap/four-wheeled curio of nostalgia for the last two years while Alycia has been styling in the comfort and heated seats of our new Subaru Outback.  Now I'll turn things over to Alycia.

Yes indeed. It seems like yesterday when my mom (aka, Mama Bear) brought home the Camry. Well, it was actually August 1999 and the Camry was already 7 years old and had nearly 100,000 miles. Soon enough, the Camry and the Bear Family took off for the first of the Camry's many adventures - a cross-country road trip back to Stanford for my senior year of college. Note - look how young I am, and how good looking the Camry is.
That first big trip was perhaps an indication of all that the Camry represented. Not 100 miles down the road we had to stop to buy a headlight for the car. And then in the middle of the Nevada desert in September, the AC died. Good thing that the AC system had been recently recalled and we got it fixed up as good as nearly new. My mom had paid for the extended warranty on the car, and I made good use of it, having all sorts of subtle mechanical issues with it in that first year.

But the Camry survived and was my constant companion through a few years of "working" at Stanford, and then through all of my grad school years in San Diego. During those years, it made countless trips throughout California: to the Tahoe area multiple times for ski trips, to Ukiah for camping, to the City (San Francisco) for shopping in the Haight, to Napa/Sonoma for wine tasting, to LA to see friends, and throughout San Diego county for many years.

By the time I finished grad school in 2009, the AC had died again in the Camry. But, since my Camry was the better of the two Camrys that John and I owned, we fixed it up again for an unimaginable trip back to North Dakota - the Camry's homeland. Never did we think that it would come back to North Dakota, but it made the trip home with no issues, carrying not only John and myself, but also Shaak Ti, Tito, and our 2 fish.

Once back in North Dakota, the Camry remained the "good"car for 3 years, as John drove the Grandma-mobile (the 1989 Ford Tempo that my Grandma owned prior to her death). When the Tempo was on its last gasp, we bought our Outback in 2012. That is when I went from the Camry's primary caretaker to its occasional rider, and John took over driving it. The past few years haven't been quite so kind to the Camry, as it became less and less reliable in starting, and it did not handle very well on the snowy and icy roads. John finally got fed up with the enigma of the Camry (Will it start today? Probably not) this January and declared that we needed another new car.

In a very ironic twist, we had decided to buy a new car the same week that the Outback got smushed by an irresponsible teen driver. And perhaps even more surprisingly, when we went through the new car paperwork, the dealership offered us $500 (American dollars no less) for a trade-in of the Camry. We were planning to donate it to some non-profit to get the tax deduction, but the $500 was a better offer and so we jumped on it before the salesman had second thoughts.

The dealership was even OK with the fact that the car didn't start and they offered to come and tow it away. It took them a week and a half to come and get it, but that gave us time to say our goodbyes to the Camry. We cleaned it out and found numerous interesting relics from the 15 years that I had the car. Directions to all sorts of places I visited, and of course the little notebook in which I kept notes on all of the mechanical fixes the Camry had over the years. I wanted to give that notebook to the dealership, but they took it away before I could put it back in the glovebox. Now they'll never know how many miles ago it had its timing belt replaced. Oh well. And in a somewhat anti-climatic end, the dealership's guys came with a pick-up and a tow-rope a few Tuesdays ago and towed it out of our driveway. At 235,000 miles, the Camry was a great car.
Here, in its last photo, the Camry doesn't look quite so beautiful and graceful. It's covered in snow and ice and we hadn't been able to start it for over a month. But it was an excellent, awesome car. One that many people would have been proud to own, and I was. We had many adventures, the Camry and I, and I hope that its new owners will treat it with the respect that it deserves.

And yes,  I know that my pink coat is a little gray there - I blame playing with Shadowfax and her dirty basketballs in the backyard. It is just my dog walking/playing coat. I wouldn't wear that coat anywhere fancy...

1 comment:

Karen said...

Farewell to the Camry! Cars become almost a part of the family, there are many memories tied up in them even though they are inanimate objects. My husband is still running around in a 1989 'Grandma car' too, and the day it leaves us will be bittersweet.

Now, on to new memories with your new vehicles.