Saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when it is someone who has been with you through thick and thin, helped you raise your kids, been with you on every trip you have ever taken. This gal has carried around more empty food wrappers, cups, backpacks, animal feed, and whatever else we loaded up in her.

Wrecked Car

I loved my Toyota Camry. This was my second one. Her life in my custody ended at  216,000 miles.  My plan was to make it to 400,000… because I hear Toyotas will go that far.  I was actually hoping to drive it one more year and give it to my daughter who will be driving soon.

But, my plans were shattered! Literally.

A month ago, my daughter and I were headed to my son’s last basketball game. It was 5:00 p.m. and broad daylight. Suddenly, we had a large doe in front of us trying to get across the highway. She wasn’t getting good traction on the highway. Her legs were moving in slow motion. I was slowing down to miss her, all the while watching her legs slip and slide.

wrecked car 2

I’m the girl who knows there are always more than one deer. They never travel alone. I always look out for number 2! Always…except that day.

The one in front of me had my full attention because she had darted out so suddenly. Then, BAM! We were hit by number 2. We never saw him coming…we only heard the loud, shattering crash. My car never lost footing or budged off the road, but we knew instantly the damage was bad.

I slowly pulled over to try and figure out how bad the damage was. I tried to get out, but the driver’s side door would not open. I had to crawl over to the passengers side to get out.

We were close to the town where the basketball game was being played. We were trying to figure out if we should leave the car and catch a ride, drive it home, or press on and go to the game. After several phone calls and some time evaluating, we decided it would be okay to drive it on to the game. I actually continued to drive it for a few weeks after this happened.

Long story short, my car needed a lot of repairs. And, since it was 6 years old and had so many miles on it, my insurance company wanted to total it out, buy it back from me, etc. They paid me the value of the car, but it defeated my goal of making it to 400,000 miles. And, now I had to shop for a new vehicle…a process I never enjoy.

I’m not an easy customer when it comes to buying a new vehicle.  Here is a list of my must-haves:

  • must be bigger than a car
  • must have bigger tires than previous car (I had chronic flat tires.)
  • must sit off the ground
  • must have enough room in the back seat to fit my long-legged boy child
  • must hold up to dirt roads and high miles
  • must meet my middle-of-the-road budget
  • must hold its value even with high, rough miles

Those requirements are as hard to meet as you would expect. I’m so in love with Toyota that it gave me hives to think about driving anything else. I drive SO MUCH and live on such a rough road, I don’t trust anything else to hold up to my driving demands. I average 40-45,000 miles per year.

Normally, my car looks like this. This gives you some indication of why I might need something different this go around.

dirty car

The reason I’ve driven a car for so long and not a pickup is because fuel has been really expensive until recently. And, for someone who drives as much as I do, good gas mileage is important.

On occasion I did wash the beast…but, it never lasted long. Proof here.

clean car

So, goodbye wonderful Ms. Camry. I’m certain your manufacturer never intended for you to be in the places that I took you. But, you were always up for the challenge.

I drove you more like a Tundra, and you never gave me grief. You drove down any road I put you on, even through deep muddy ruts and NEVER once got stuck.

You always kept us safe. The deer (there were others!) were no match to your strong frame. You look innocent and prissy, but the truth is …you were a beast. And, you never cost me a cent in maintenance. For that, I’m forever grateful.

May someone purchase you at a salvage yard, fix you up and keep on pushing you to that 400,000 mark. Goodbye good and faithful one. You will be missed.