Monday, April 21, 2014

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

While in college and for the first year I taught, I drove my brother's 1965 Ford Galaxy 500, but the Thanksgiving of my second year of teaching, I purchased my very first car, a two-door, Dodge Dart Swinger.
1974 Dodge Dart Swinger
The Swinger had a white vinyl roof that was difficult to clean. Even though the car had a low clearance, I drove it on the back roads around Wheatland and all over the Laramie Peak area. My mother insisted a CB radio be installed in the car so I could ask for help, if necessary. My brother, John installed an eight-track stereo system in the car for me, too.

When I went to Japan, I left the car at the farm and my brother used it from 1979 to 1981.

Honda Civic (year unknown)
Misawa AFB, Misawa, Japan 1979
The Honda was a used car, but I can't remember the model year. Read about the Honda Civic here
1981 Toyota Tercel
When I returned from Japan, I drove the Dodge Dart until the transmission went out. The Tercel, which had front-wheel drive and a manual transmission, was the car I purchased to replace it. This little car had a big heart, especially driving in the snow and mud when I lived on the farm Over North.

1988 Ford F-150
Eventually, the mud and snow became too much for the Tercel, so I purchased a four-wheel drive pick-up to use when the weather was nasty or when the roads were really bad. The pick-up was also handy for hauling.

1994 Toyota Camry
When the Tercel's odometer turned over 250,000 miles, I traded it for a used Camry. I was commuting nearly 70 miles a day and welcomed the smoother ride, automatic transmission, and air-conditioning.

2004 Toyota Camry
In 2004, I purchased another Camry and donated the 1994 to the local community college foundation. It's amazing how retirement has extended the life of my car: today after ten years, the 2004 Camry has only 75,000 miles on the odometer. Since my previous Toyotas were in excellent condition after performing over 200,000 miles, I anticipate this car will last at least another 10 years.

I have owned six vehicles in 40 years. How many have you owned?


  1. We put a lot of miles on our cars each year and don't keep them as long as you have kept yours. Usually when they roll over 100,000 miles, we start to think about trading them in. We like to buy used, with low mileage. I counted eight cars in 30 years, but that only includes the ones I consider mine, not my husband's vehicles or the ones we bought for the kids to drive. Currently, I'm driving a pick-up.

  2. Nancy, I loved catching up on your blog. Love your house tales, calf tales, special friends, and your cars! It seems that when I read about you, it makes me think of home!

    Blessings and hugs!

  3. Nine, I bought a new car last year. They sure don't make cars like they used to. :)

  4. I was surprised when I counted them that there were 11. A few days ago we were talking about how low the mileage is on our 2008 car because we don't cover as many miles as we once did. Our son was talking about us buying a new car and we told him we like not having car payments too much to even think about it.

  5. I am amazed that you have photos of each of these. I don't think I have a picture of any car I've owned, unless it was accidentally in the background. My first vehicle was a 1971 LTD that I drove while in college and for a couple of years after that. It had a ton of miles on it too. I'm guessing I've owned about 10, not including my husband's cars over the years.

  6. Let's see --- 1968 Mustang (used), 1972 VW Bug, 1974 Oldmobile Cutlass Supreme (used), 1980 Datsun 210 (wedding gift from Steve), 1986 Nissan Stanza, 1990 Stanza, 1999 Honda CR-V, 2010 Subaru Forester. So, that makes 8. I imagine I'll have one more new car before I don't drive anymore, but the Subie might be the last. I bought it new in January 2011 and it only has 30,000 miles on it. It might last me forever.

    I learned to drive on a 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 convertible. It belonged to my Dad, but I drove it for a year until I bought my sister's hand-me-down Mustang.

  7. In 1974 you were quite the swinger! LOL! I got a kick out of reading your blog today. I'm impressed that you have pictures of all your cars! I had to think back, and if I remember correctly, I have had 6 cars since the mid-70's.

  8. Funny... I just had this convo with a local friend yesterday! She keeps her vehicles to at least 10 years and 100K miles, and I keep mine until they wear out. I went through more in my first 10 years of driving than I have since!

  9. I think 8, Several of them were very short lived -- for one reason or another. My currect car is a 1999 ... and still rolling. I'm hoping it will last another year or two.

  10. My first car was a Dodge Dart Swinger also. Of course, it was a lot more subdued than yours. The worst part was my folks gave it to me and for the same price I could have gotten a Datsun 280 Z sports car. Some how my dad didn't think that would be a good car for me. Sigh...


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