Good Little Wagon

My first car was a white 1986 Subaru GL 4x4 wagon (manual). I spent a couple hundred nights sleeping in the back of that car while traveling the mountain roads of the High Rockis.

I kept a record of everything I did to the engine in an orange Rite-in-the-Rain field book. Every oil change, every gas station fill up, every repair. I re-did timing belt myself the first time, but left the next one to a mechanic in Steamboat. For most of my twenties I could fit everything I owned in the back. It never made 100 mph. In fact, I once got pulled over for going too slow.

The vehicle finally died at 282,000 miles in Wauconda after the fan belt broke. The belt actually broke 50 miles east of Wauconda, but I had to reconstruct it with duct tape because it was Sunday night and I had to be at work in the morning. The engine's heat caused the tape to stretch just enough, ultimately too much. As a result, I lost two of the valves passing the taco truck in Tonasket. I made it home, but the damage was done.

I miss that car. I miss being woken by parking lot cops with flashlights, "You see anything funny going on around here?" I miss powersliding through the glaciated streets of Laramie. I miss the torque of 3rd gear on Houston on ramps. I miss waking up in the Red Desert and seeing comet Hale-Bopp for the first time. I miss oil cans, Triscuits, and the road out of Red Lodge. I miss the lightening flash when the truck caught snow-laden powerlines at Lolo. I miss the way the carburetor would smile at 3500'. I miss shoveling handfuls of cold Chef Boyardee ravioli after a long day in the mountains. I miss my drive home - east - from Cutthroat Peak.

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