Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Strange Love Affair

I've said this line many times: “Anyone who's known me for more than 15 minutes knows I love my truck!”. Luckily for me, my dear hubby is willing to tolerate my odd love affair with my truck. In case you haven't know me for more than 15 minutes, here's the run down on my truck.
  • First new vehicle I've ever purchased
  • Have owned it longer than all but 1 of my nieces and nephews have been alive
  • If it were human it would be legal age to drink alcohol
  • It's a Ford Ranger Custom – who ever ordered it originally had failed financing and it had sat on the lot for 6 months
After 22 years and 325,000 miles, my truck – affectionately nicknamed “Bubba” - had to go in for service. I dreaded what the news may be as I really don't want a new truck, I don't want loan payments, and there's no new Ford Ranger to be had in my town. (Ford has stopped making them). And besides, Bubba truck still runs great, it's a perfect fit for me, and better yet, my hubby can fit in it and actually drive it. Simply put: I love my truck and never, ever want to get rid of it.

Bubba is a simple truck. Nothing fancy on board, besides the extended cab. My one niece referred to his manual windows as “Ghetto Windows” and was a bit shocked to discover there is an alternative to power windows. He has vinyl seats and a vinyl floor just as I had wanted. His color is dark charcoal, interior is light grey, and he came with an AM radio. He does have air conditioning – which I didn't want, but am now very thankful for - and there is only one computer chip on board. That one chip costs about $1,200 to replace now and controls only his starting and fuel injection system.

Bubba and I got together when I was living on my grandfather's orange grove in California. It's first load was an engine hoist we'd rented to use on my grandmother's 1965 Dodge Coronet, and it that was also it's first scratch – in the bed of course. It had been christened as a “real” work truck. Subsequent loads included smudge pots, a pair of pot bellied pigs with the complete makings for their sty's, a friend's office (complete with furniture, files cabinets, and computers), show rabbits, multiple breeds of dogs, lots and lots of computers, and towed a Toyota Corolla with a bad transmission.

I broke Bubba's front shock while off-roading in the bad lands with friends and he still valiantly drove back up the mountain, back into town to drop off my passenger, and then back up the mountain home without compliant. He had his patience (and mine) tested by my brother-in-law who took him to 55 in 3rd gear when he was still being broken in. Since then he's rarely been driven by anyone but me, or my hubby. Bubba is the last manual transmission vehicle my beloved grandfather (a.k.a. Pop) drove. His passengers ranged from multiple

Bubba came with me to pick up my hubby and his kitty in Arizona to move home with me. One of my favorite dogs rode in the front seat with me every weekend to take care of my grandparents. Kodi, our first Great Pyrnees, rode on the arm rest in the bench seat, wrapped in a small towel, on his trip home from his breeder's house and when he got big he rode in his crate, strapped down in the bed. Rascal, one of our favorite kitties, tucked himself into that same arm rest on his way home, after exploring the entire cab first.

It was while driving in Bubba that Pop explained the truth of his birth to me and I learned of my Native American roots. He's also the last vehicle I rode in with Pop, and the only vehicle that I know of that my grandmother went off-roading in while in a tiny jump seat.

Bubba safely delivered our Great Pyrenees dogs Kodi and Kira, our kitties Rascal and Romeow, and my dear hubby to Michigan from California during a minor tornado outbreak in Illinois and Indiana.
None of Bubba's passengers have been famous, but many of my friends consider it an honor to ride in Bubba. The only pair of twins to ever ride in Bubba are now out of college (how scary is that).

I've refused to trade in Bubba truck when we purchased our 1995 Thunderbird, again for our 1999 Suburban, once more when we purchased my 2001 Trakker and our 1999 Yukon at the same time, and finally for our current Suburban. He also outlasted my hubby's 1995 Tempo, and the Caprice Classic we bought from my cousins after my great-uncle passed away.

Bubba and I have been all up and down California and Michigan The only time he has ever stranded me was my own fault when I left his head lights on and the battery died. AAA has always come to the rescue in those situations. We've spent a lot of time together, I had always planned on keeping Bubba until I can no longer get parts to fix him. The good news, is I can hold onto that dream a little bit longer.

The mechanics called back and Bubba is fixable. I've worn out his back end after all these years of hauling stuff around, and completely flattened out his leaf springs. So after a new axle and new leaf springs (which are almost as old as Bubba), Bubba and I will be back on the road, happily toodling around town. No one else in town has a truck that looks like Bubba truck. One of my friends can spot him from the other side of the expressway going in the opposite direction. I swear it's the white shell, although I must admit I haven't seen a 1990 Ford Ranger in dark charcoal grey around town other than mine.

Not for the first time, my early birthday and Christmas present this year will be getting Bubba what he needs done. I'm doing a happy dance while my dear hubby is teasing me about turning Bubba into an artificial reef in Lake Michigan. Either way, in a week or so, Bubba will have an axle replacement and I will be happily driving down the road with no loan payments.

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