Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye, Truck

Slim is really into trucks now. Dump trucks, garbage trucks, fire trucks, pickup trucks. We call SUVs pickup trucks just to simplify things for him.

At 6:40 this morning, we said goodbye to the Cap'n's "truck."

Here's the Pathfinder and our Puppy Princess on Ocracoke last December. It was the first time we had returned to the island since we got married there in 2003.

The Nissan was our wedding and honeymoon vehicle. We loaded it down with everything we would need for a week of vacation, the wedding and the honeymoon. The poor puppy had just enough room to lay on top of the load in the back for the ride up to D.C., down the Outer Banks to Ocracoke and then up to Maine and back to NC (as it turned out). It's a long story.

We were going to honeymoon on the Outer Banks, but we ended up getting married between Tropical Storm Henry and Hurricane Isabel, which started rolling in the Sunday evening after our Saturday wedding. So we drove the 18 hours straight up to Liberty, Maine, where a friend let us stay at his house.

Our wedding day was the one sunny, gorgeous day in the whole week prior to the wedding. We got married on the beach under a huppah held up by our sisters. All our friends and familiy gathered close around us, and everyone got a kick out of the Cap'n pumping his fist in the air after the kiss.

Hurricane Isabel slammed the islands hard, making a new inlet on Hatteras Island, wiping out Route 12 in many places and completely cutting off Ocracoke, which is only accessible by ferry and small plane anyway. It hurt the economy there to the point where it was just starting to recover the 2005 season. But the island, and the people, are as wonderful as ever.

On the trip in December, we drove the Nissan on to the beach, which is where we got the picture. The second time we went out to the beach, we tried a new road, and when we came to a water crossing, I got nervous because it looked deep and fast. So the Cap'n backed up to try the main road again. Backed up right into a ditch, that is.

After hiking back to Rte. 12 and over to Howard's Pub, we spent the rest of the evening trying to find a tow. The one tow truck driver? He was off island. The park ranger with the tow rope? Still working on the ferry. The other guy with a tow rope? He might be back tonight. (We were due to leave the next morning.)

Finally, the waitress at Howard's says, "I think my mom can get you out." Her mom, the pub manager (?), took the Cap'n back to the Nissan with her 4x4 and made quick work of the tow. We celebrated with beer and dinner at Howard's that night.

The Nissan went with us on all of our journeys.

The Cap'n bought it in 1999, not long after we started dating. That was when I got to see the full extent of his negotiating skills. Let's just say I had to wait outside the dealership. But he did manage to get $500 knocked off the "Non Negotiable" price tag.

We strapped kayaks on top and went for our first vacation together in North Carolina right after we moved to Raleigh. We paddled near Cape Lookout and saw the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks.

We took the canoe with us and drove from NC to the Everglades for a paddle one year. We ended up getting lost in the mangroves and slept in the bottom of the canoe one night, both convinced (but not saying to each other) that one day we would float out of the swamp, nothing more than bleached bones in the bottom of the canoe. Yes, we can bring the drama.

When the Cap'n was living up here in D.C. and I was still in NC and pregnant, I drove the Nissan because my Honda had better gas mileage for his weekend commutes back home. I would jam to OutKast in the truck on the way to work every morning and feel the baby kick to the bass.

It was the truck we brought Slim home from the hospital in.

The Nissan didn't have air conditioning, so after a few short trips with a screaming, hot baby and all the windows rolled down, it just wasn't practical. We knew we needed a 4-door car with air conditioning, so the Orangemobile came home with us.

Besides, the snowy, salty winters in Akron had not been kind to the truck, and probably neither had the beach sand and salt. The rust had separated the body from the chassis, and with the potholes around D.C., you couldn't drive the truck without it sounding like it was going to separate in two. The mechanic insisted we give it away.

So that's how we ended up awake at 6 a.m., cleaning out the glove box and signing over the title to the towing company. It's a mitzvah for the D.C. Jewish Community Center, but there are plenty of other charities out there to choose from if you also have a vehicle to give away.

It was a security blanket for me, knowing the truck was there if I needed it. Especially while the Cap'n is at work. I think I've only "needed" a car 3 times in the last 4 months when the Cap'n had the Orangemobile, so there's always the Zipcar.

I got a little teary standing out there in the rain when the front end of the truck went up on the tow lift. I insisted on telling the tow truck driver about how the 1st and 2nd shifts are a little sticky, but they still work. And I forgot to mention how reverse is a real pain in the butt, but you just have to know how to handle it right.

Like I do.

Bye, truck.

1 comment:

Rie said...

The truck was the first stick shift that I was able to drive. I had to learn because we wanted to make the long trip to Dad's house and your poor swollen pregnant feet (you were pregnant, not your feet, of course) wouldn't let you drive.

Thank you, Truck, for being gentle with this stick-shift newbie.

PS Your wedding was beautiful. I still love telling people about it.