My parents had strict rules about money. Their best rule, at least in my humble opinion, was the 10-20-70 principle which I could praise all day long (more about that here and here and here). Their worst? The don’t-ever-buy-a-new-car idea. Now, don’t get me wrong, I agree that when you buy a brand new car a huge percentage of it’s value is slashed when you drive it off the showroom floor (or is that just what my Dad engrained into my head after years and years of telling me so??) But my parents took the don’t-ever-buy-a-new-car rule to a level that meant pouring a lot of money into fixing old clunker cars. But boy, they sure made for some great adventures. I’m sad I was too little to remember the adventure that came with this one: (I think we probably must have lived in that thing from the looks of it.) And I’d love to know more about this one……as well as more about those awesome pants my mom is sporting. But I do remember some wing-dinger stories about the later cars. Like how my sister and I shared an ancient diesel Mercedes when we got our driver’s licenses. Don’t think glamor, think black smoke coming out of the exhaust as we chugged up hills and chartreuse in color. (That’s pea-greenish-yellow in case you were wondering.) That thing was like a tank it was so heavy and I think they felt pretty safe sending us off in it. And there was the old brown Subaru my friends and I would take four-wheeling at lunch in a construction area during school lunch. There were the old Montero cars that bit the dust as far as driving legally on streets years and years ago but that still keep chugging taking us all over the beach and to and from cabins at Bear Lake each summer. And that are filled at all times with at least an inch of sand. There was the car my Dad was so proud to present to my brother when he got home from his mission because it had windshield wipers on the front headlights. Sure, that was a nifty little feature, but it sure didn’t help the car run. It pretty much died after a couple months because it was old with some serious engine trouble. (But hey, windshield wipers on the headlights are cool, right?) There was the old, old yellow suburban with three bench seats where my friends and I would all sit across the front bench…five or six of us I swear…no one in the back. (I am so pleased we actually survived that dumb idea.) Oh man I could fill pages with the adventures, but the car we had that looms largest in my memory was our van. The one that carried us thousands and thousands miles as a family. The one where we would “count-off” before we took off on a trip so we could make sure everyone was there. The one where my parents decided to install a CB radio so they could talk real loud to us and tell us all kinds of things over that intercom as we drove. My Mom would read us books on that thing (“James and the Giant Peach” was the one I remember the best). That’s also the one where the air conditioning went out one summer when we were driving to Mexico and three of us were sick with temperatures over 100. Oh, and that was the trusty car that turned into a bedroom for my little brother when we lived in Oregon. At one point we got it remodeled. It went from having narrow benches along the walls and blue and white shag carpet (no seatbelts) to having fold-down couches we could fall asleep on on trips. Boy howdy did we ever think we had died and gone to heaven when the new and improved van was unveiled. But the story I remember the very most about that old van was the one where I drove it to high school one day. After school for some reason my friends and I had some time to kill. One boy friend was driving it in the school parking lot while we were piled inside with the sliding door wide open while a couple boys decided to try “surfing” on the roof. Wouldn’t you know that my Dad happened to be driving past the school at the exact same moment. I remember so vividly what happened next. All our fun died down lickity-split when we saw him coming. He drove up, looked at me as disappointed as could be and asked for the keys. I sheepishly handed them over. Then he drove away. Not another word was said, and I have no idea how we all ended up getting home, but boy did I ever learn my lesson. Yes, those cars were sure an adventure. But I’m still kind of biased to invest in reliable ones these days.