This article is a little different from the usual ones I have been writing. We take so much for granted in the busy everyday flow of life that we miss being grateful for and appreciative of what is right in front of us or actually what surrounds and moves us daily.
I was on the journey back to Mt. Shasta after being on the road for three weeks. Driving the back roads and lesser highways going north from San Rafael, a feeling of deep gratitude came over me for “my little girl,” my constant highway companion. I just glanced down and my eyes caught sight of her odometer reading as the numbers lined up. It read 234,000 miles, and the trip meter I had reset to 000 on filling up in San Rafael read 125 miles at less than the first quarter-tank marker.
To most of you this may be a lot of nonsense and meaningless numbers. Wrong! In these days of high and illogical gas prices, cars that guzzle gas, and sales pitches of “car such-and-such gets 30+ miles to a gallon," I was thrilled! Based on the trip meter and knowing how she runs, 430 miles from her 11-gallon tank was within reach.
I know her so well, and she knows me. She is a 1998 Nissan Sentra GXE, a remarkable vehicle. Although now she looks rough around the edges, with a dent in her rear, a broken mirror (hopefully soon to be replaced), and a front bumper that is hanging on by a bra, since September 1998 we have been traveling everywhere together, every one of those 234,000 miles, distances extending from the Florida Keys to California and Oregon coasts, and so much in between.
Before beginning our latest trip three weeks earlier, a friend gave her a tune-up, oil change, changed all the filters, spark plugs, and the distributor and administered some TLC. Over the years her brakes, clutch, struts, tires, and belts have been replaced and with each new part she breathes a sigh of thanks.