Driving

First gear. Let the clutch up slowly. Feed the gas. Ease into the momentum. Feel the engine roar. Push the clutch in, pop it into second. Cruising easy now. Keep my hand on the gear shift, foot on the clutch and gently on the gas.

Third gear. Roll the window down. Pop the clutch, fourth gear.

Turn up the radio, put on my sunglasses. Accelerate. Clutch in…

Dang it! Red light.

Sigh. Start over.

*****FLASHBACK*****

When I was 15, I went to Logan’s “Cruise In” Car show and Independence Day parade. I will never forget the excitement I felt as the LOUD cars and motorcycles cruised past us, revving their engines and showing off their spiffy paint jobs.

I was in love. With cars. Fast, loud cars. I quickly began learning most of the makes and models of the cars I loved. And at the top of my list was…wait for it…the Honda Prelude. I know. You’d think I would have chosen a Corvette, or a Porsche or a pimped out Jeep…but no, I fell in love with the Honda’s only sports car, the Prelude. I could spot them anywhere. Any year, and color, any condition.  This was the beginning of my obsession with nice, fast and yes, loud car/trucks. They just thrill me!

During High School, I drove an old grey 1987 Jeep Cherokee Laredo that my parents had purchased because we needed 4×4, what with living in an arctic tundra and all…I loved that Jeep, but I always wanted to remove its mud flaps and give it a suspension lift. Up the ante on the tires and of course, give it a paint job. The mud flaps always kept it too clean when I would attempt to go “mudding”. Can you picture it? Yup, I was a wild one, folks! My parents soon heard the cry of an embarrassed 16-year-old and took me and Dear Jeep to get a much-needed paint job. I chose a Bright and sparkly Burgundy Red. It was great! Then the day came when I was traveling over the mountain and I hit a deer. Ouch. Poor Jeepy! (Don’t worry, the deer died quickly.) I drove home with my radiator leaking and probably a lot of other damage that would later kill her. I drove around with smashed deer parts on my grill for a long time. It was SO COOL!

Fast forward to college. I was still in love with that little Prelude.  And my Dad, because he loves me so much, surprised me one day with a 1989 Honda Prelude. White, fully loaded and complete with a Moon Roof. We soon became fast friends. We’d go zipping around town, just she and I. My first Standard engine car, my first real love! My first 180 MPH. My first ticket. And my second. And third. I also had my first accident, but it was NOT my fault. I got backed into by some 16-year-old boy who had just gotten his license. And what’s worse is that we were both in the turning lane and he decided to back his big-butt VAN up…I honked, but my little car was not to be seen. Who backs up in a turning lane?! Arg! I digress. So after a smashed headlight and a little of my ego deflated (I can imagine what HIS felt like!), I continued to drive my little smashed car around. My roommate’s boyfriend fixed my car for $300 and we were again a happy and attractive duo, zipping and shifting and getting tickets left and right! Totally worth it. I loved that car.

But alas, my life took a change and I needed to sell her. Goodbye love. Good Bye Prelude. I was so sad when they stopped manufacturing them in 2001.

Other cars I have owned/driven:

Toyota Corolla
Chevy Malibu
Oldsmobile Alero (what was I thinking?!)
Honda Accord ’90 (Rita was her name, and I still miss her!)
Nissan Maxima
Toyota Tundra (Rick was his name. And he was LOUD and FAST and a complete impulse buy.)
Toyota Camry
Honda Accord (’00)
Toyota Prius (’06) Currently driving.

Right now, with two kids, we fit pretty snug in our little Prius. This car has been great. It is economical, gets great gas mileage (definitely better when my husband drives it) and works for what we need at this point in our lives. But when I’m dreaming, these are the cars I would love to give a spin:

1966 Corvette Stingray. (See Corvette link above) Actually, I have driven one of these. Very fast down the freeway. Almost lost its top! What a blast!

BMW X5
Porsche Boxster
Range Rover
Toyota FJ (Husband’s dream car)

and on the flip side:

I’m totally into the Volkswagen Westfalia camper vans right now. They are now collectors items here in the States. I recently saw one for sale around here. I immediately called on the van. Get this: 1988 van, rebuilt engine with low miles, decent condition selling for $14,000! Wowsa! I could get a NEW car for that!
If you live in the Netherlands or Holland, however, you CAN get a VW van- they still make them there! Read this article to learn about that.
Oh how I’d LOVE to tote my little family around in a VW van. My husband laughs, but I’m dead serious! If one day we happen to be resigned to being a “minivan” family (not saying there is anything wrong with that!) then I’d rather it be a COOL minivan!

In the mean time, I’ll just keep cruising around in my little Hybrid Prius and save my pennies.
PS – I still like to play “Name that Car” with whoever will challenge me. 🙂

*****

First gear. Second. Third, feel the pull. Fourth, we’re opening up now. Fifth gear! Freedom!