Yes, the Meissner family is pleased to announce the latest addition to our family. However, instead of two legs, it has four very impressive wheels!
My good ‘ole reliable green bomber (or blue, or possibly teal, depending on your level of color blindness) just turned over 210,000 miles. It is a 1993 Olds Cutlass Supreme that we got in 1995. It’s had some expensive repairs over the years but I have never owned a more reliable vehicle. Our 2001 minivan that we got in 2003 turned over 100,000 miles and is working on it’s 2nd transmission and probably has cost us the same amount of money in maintenance as the car we’ve had twice as long. This car has seen the birth of both our children, now ages 11 and 14, has gotten us to Colorado and Minnesota several times and last year made the journey to Canada and back. It's also still running strong after at least one severe vehicle collision and a deer collision you can read about here.
Add to the fact our teenage daughter got her driver’s permit last week. So she needs a vehicle to practice on. The green bomber is tailor-made for her. Incidentally, I’m soliciting volunteers (I may even pay you) to teach driving lessons because my wife just got fired for causing too much stress and I REALLY don’t want to do it. I’m also not the best teacher as my driving skills are, shall we say, not exactly above board? We'll just leave it at that, but I may be violating some obscure law if I attempt driver's education. I need to be a student, not a teacher.
Here it is. Hopefully we can still coax a few more years out of it. The picture actually makes the car look pretty good. You can’t see the 6 cracks running horizontally and vertically across the windshield, nor are the massive dirt smudges all along the bottom or any of the more massive scratches and bug and tar marks visible. I would have washed it before taking the picture had I not just gotten done spending 3 hours washing and cleaning the new vehicle for it's photo op coming up.
We purchased a 2005 Dodge Dakota Pick-up. I’ve wanted one a long time, but they just have never been in our price range. When we lived in town and had a small lawn we really didn’t need a pick-up other than just to say we had one. That's not a good reason to invest in anything.
A few years ago we purchased an acre outside of town and now have lots of grass and tree branches to haul away every year, and we get less than adequate snow removal services available in the Winter. I’ve been hauling the grass and tree branches in the back of our minivan but that just doesn’t work very well, and having a 4X4 vehicle will be nice in the Winter.
This year fortune finally smiled on our family. My dad was well aware of our vehicle concerns having to ride in the back of my green bomber all the way to Winnipeg, Canada and return. He lives in Tucson, AZ and was driving back by way of Denver where he stopped to visit with a long-time very close friend who just happened to have a Dodge Dakota he was thinking about selling but hadn’t quite reached that decision yet. The fact that it was a 2005 model put the truck closer to our price range, but what really put icing on the cake was the fact that it only had 8,600 miles at the time of purchase!
Back then, it was still just outside what we could afford, fast forward one year, and after quite a bit of vehicle shopping, I really could not pass this opportunity up. Regular vehicles with low mileage are not cheap and pick-ups were still completely out of the question. Everything I looked at that even came close to the price we wanted had more than 60,000 miles on it.
So here it is, just look at this baby! Flame red with every option that was available in 2005. Sport exterior package, fancy wheels, 6-disc CD changer, heated leather seats. (Should make for a nice toasty bottom during the cold winter drives.) 4X4 with a complete towing package. I can tow with electrical hook-ups just about any type of hitch inside the weight limit of the truck.
The one problem was that the truck was in Denver. I live in the middle of North Dakota. Somehow I had to get down there so I could make the purchase and drive it back home. Again, God has a way of just making things happen. With a lot of help from my family and the now, very dear to my heart, previous owners of the vehicle, a plan was hatched to get me a one-way ticket to fly into Denver, spend the night, and drive back the next morning. This truly was a grand adventure and deserves to be told in another blog. I will try not to keep you waiting too long.
So this is just our birth announcement. I will tell you about the journey in the very near future. Stay tuned, you won't want to miss the ride.