Sentimental Journeys
July 6, 2014


The cars we drive say a lot about us. ~ Alexandra Paul

So we bought a new car this week. It’s another Ford Explorer, our third over the span of 19 years. For the most part, we have had a great track record with Explorers. There’s good old Bert (19 years old), then Donnie Ray (12) and now along comes Dingle, who is a pristine silver, beautiful, sleek and fancy vehicle. Here’s to another great car!

I’m almost afraid of him, because of all the technological advances that new cars have; it’s been 12 years since we bought Donnie Ray, and he seems almost primitive compared to the new Dingle.

donnie ray

While DR’s front seats can be automatically adjusted, the rear ones do not, and to access the “way back” seats, one must manually lift them, and move the middle one aside to make way. The back lift gate needs to be opened and closed manually. With Dingle, you just push a button, and all the rear seats fold and unfold as desired, and of course the lift gate also magically rises and shuts at the touch of a button. Cool!

DR’s dashboard displays can be hard to read in bright light, and now seem so quaint compared to Dingle’s fancy computer generated displays, all of which are voice activated. ACK! I’ve got to do some practicing before I can drive this guy! It’s going to take me awhile to learn how everything works.


Bert? Bert was Shannon’s first car, given to her when he was 7 years old. Previously, in addition to many a Texas road trip, we’d driven him up to Wyoming via S. Dakota, then down into Utah and Arizona for a National Parks tour. Then there were all the “learning to drive” moments that Bert provided, bless his automotive heart!

It makes me laugh to think that he still has a cassette player (and a CD player, which was pretty fancy back in 1996!). He’s also got a cigarette lighter and an ash tray, which you never see anymore. His displays are not digital at all. As a matter of fact, his odometer is the kind in which the mile numbers roll over, except that his stopped working at 138,500, about 8 years ago. Since then, he has gone to NY and back, CO and back, VA and back (several times), along with the everyday driving wherever he has been. I’ll bet he has gone at least 250,000 in his 19 years.

(Note: if you want to turn on Bert’s windshield washers, you must turn on the right turn signal to make them work)

So now we have Dingle! While it may seem kind of exciting to have a new car, it doesn’t hold the charm that it once did for me. There’s a certain nobility that a good old car has, and I still think they are the best. Once you get used to them, they are comfortable, maybe slightly worn and damaged, but who cares? You know how all the buttons work, and can adjust things without even looking.

I don’t know why I am so sentimental about our cars, but I just am. Yes, I know naming them gives them a personality which only exists in my mind. But gosh, what fond memories I have of these fine old cars. And they’re PAID FOR. Yes, I do still love them, dings, quirks and all.

As for Dingle, I’ll worry about every scratch and bump that are inevitable, every spill and stain that are bound to happen. Tucker will not be allowed to drool on the back seat, and there will be no bird doot allowed! Yeah, right.

So if I keep Dingle for 19 years, then I’ll be pushing 80. I can only imagine what cars will look like then. Something tells me I would be happier with a car that is less fancy…

Maybe I’ll just keep Bert around? He should qualify for antique status by then!