Monday, January 18, 2016

Car Problems and Confidence

I've had a pretty exciting weekend. I bought a new car! Well, a small disclaimer: it's new to me, and is actually older than my old car (which I am keeping for everyday driving). It's a gorgeous 2001 Toyota 4Runner, and man, am I proud of this thing!

I haven't felt like this about a car for a long time. Although I love my Civic, it has just been a car. It's certainly nothing fancy, and it just plain and simple gets the job done of getting me from place to place. The poor thing has 225,000 miles on it. I plan to just drive it until the wheels fall off.

This 4Runner really brought back memories of my first vehicle, my 1972 Chevy Blazer that I bought from my dad in 1982.
I really loved my Blaze, and regret ever selling it. Here you see me with the Blazer and my Suzuki RM 100 dirt bike (and some fancy red pants!). These were days full of adventure and independence and taking baby steps towards adulthood.
This morning I had a flash back to a time when my dad and I were in the Blazer on a trip to Portola, and we had stopped at Martis Lake near Truckee for some fishing. I noticed some leakage coming from the front of the Blazer and took a look (now mind you, at this time I had a high school sweetheart who worked on cars a lot, and that was also an interest of mine, so I knew a fair amount about basic mechanics). I determined that the water pump was leaking. Dad had a friend who had met us there for fishing who poo-pooed my diagnosis and said it was probably just a worn hose.
We decided to drive it to Portola and deal with it there. When we arrived, my uncle and cousins' opinions, after looking at it, were that it was a faulty hose as well, certainly not a water pump. Again I crawled under the engine and to me it sure looked like it was coming from the water pump. My uncle offered us the use of his shop and tools to fix it if we were worried about it. We probably just needed to tighten hoses, after all.
My dad asked my opinion after everyone else had had their say and I told him I was certain. He never doubted me. We went down the auto parts place, got the water pump and gaskets and such, and he let me go about changing it out.
Sure enough it had a big crack in it when I pulled it off. I felt pretty good that I stuck to my guns about what I had seen, but what really made an impression on me was that my dad totally trusted what I had to say over all the men-folk that gave us advice. I'll never forget that feeling of him putting my opinion over everyone else's.
It was interesting that that memory came rushing back this morning. I have thought about it over the years, but I guess my dad has been on my mind a lot. I feel like he would love my "new" car and approve of the fact that it will allow me to go camping and kayaking and such more easily. Also this car gives me that pride in ownership feeling. That little, "hey, that's mine" excitement when I see it, like that old Blazer did.
Thanks Dad, for trusting me way back then. It sure made me feel special and competent!