Apr 29, 2011


For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been too thrilled about cars. I’ve always considered them just a form of transportation and a way to get from one motorcycle or bicycle race to another. I don’t like working on cars, I don’t like buying cars, I don’t like paying for car insurance and registration, I don’t like going to the gas station, and I especially don’t like shelling out for parts, repairs, and maintenance.

That said, I have to modify the above statement by saying that I do appreciate a good van. A van is much more than a car. You can sleep in a van, you can travel comfortably in a van, and you can keep your stuff locked up in a van. Sure, a van still costs money, requires insurance, maintenance, and lots of gas, but all the pros of a van outweigh the cons. A van to me symbolizes freedom, security, adventure, and a rockin’ good time.

About 5 years ago I made the mistake of trading in my Ford E350 van for a smaller Mazda 5. Back then, gas prices were going up, I was driving a lot more than I am now, and I thought I’d be scaling back my racing at the time, so I figured going with a smaller ride would be better. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While I was content with the Mazda, I regretted not having the full size E350 every time I wanted to take a trip. Then about two years ago when the 2006 year-model Mazda started giving me problems, I really regretted not having the bullet proof E350. I’ve owned two Ford Econoline vans, purchased used, and both were more reliable than the Mazda, which was purchased as new.

Today I took the Mazda into the shop, yet again, because occasionally it won’t shift out of park without rolling the car back and forth. It doesn’t happen all the time - just about every fourth or fifth time I try to go somewhere. The service manager called me with the news that I needed a new transmission shifter assembly and that my power steering houses are cracked and leaking. Grand total for parts and labor… a grand!

I passed on the repairs, paid for the oil change and tire rotation, thought about it, and finally made up my mind - it’s time for another van.

I miss my old van. On this trip it took me to Saguaro National Park in Tucson.

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