Monday, February 13, 2006

Summer rituals and old trucks...

Today I officially began my annual summer ritual of parking spot searching. This is the time of year where the worth of a parking spot is no longer determined by proximity to the front doors, but instead determined by the amount of shade available. As I am now driving a jet black car with leather interior, this has become quite important in the past week. Anyone who has not spent any time in a car that has baked in 100 degree weather can not fully appreciate the effects of hot leather on bare skin.

Honestly I'm used to it, whether it's Max (my current vehicle, formerly in Chris's name), The Big Red Beast (my father's truck), or the 'Burban (part of the family since I was 6) I am always looking for the parking spot with the lowest ouch factor. Of course my favorite will always be my old truck Catti.

The last 3 vehicles all have something in common. At one point or another they all belonged to another member of my family, and they are all old Chevys. The Big Red Beast originally belonged to my oldest brother, and is a 1976 Chevy 1/2 ton with a full-size bed and cherry red paint. She has a 292 straight 6, and 3 gears on the floor with a granny gear. And, of course, a goose-neck hitch. I drove her to and from work for a full 4 months before giving her back to my father. The truck and I have a love-hate relationship, but she did okay.

The 'Burban is a '78 Chevy Silverado Suburban, blue with white stripes. She's been in the family since I was 6 and at last estimate (odometer is long dead) has 400k miles on her with one engine rebuild. Also 3 speed with a granny the 'Burban of course has a 454. I drove her for almost a year and loved every minute. I took her almost everywhere in the state, included Flagstaff on a day when everyone ended up snowed in (including me).

Catti, however, Catti was mine. '72 Chevy 1/4 ton pickup, full size bed, black with absolutely no extras (NONE). Add that to a three on the tree with a big V8 engine (307 small block, but big enough) and god I loved that truck. Originally my father's, he ended up giving it to me upon my mother's request upon me departure for Vancouver. I had been driving her since I was 17; before that I had driven my brother's truck Bertha, a 76 GMC High Sierra that looked like crap but had a fully-functional 454. Many of the teenage boys in the area were quite surprised when they revved their engines, tried to beat me after a stoplight, and lost horrendously. When I received Catti I was even worse, only losing twice, once to a sports car and once to a similar truck. I adored that truck. I could quite literally do everything I ever needed to with one toolbox, and I had enough room that I could actually sit in the engine compartment.

After replacing all of the seals and gaskets I drove 1700 miles with Catti, non-stop, from Phoenix to Vancouver, with a cat. A year later I had to sell the truck because Rosie was born, and my (ex)husband sold it for a measly $1000 Canadian. I call that grounds for a divorce, don't you?

But I love old trucks, particularly GMs. There's nothing like them, and most likely will be nothing like them again. Sunday Chris and I were driving and passed an old Chevy truck for sale... I made the supposed "kitten noises" and all. I love the BMW, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for good ol' steel trucks.


Call me Mel, everyone else does.