Skip to main content

Tennessee Road Trip, pt. XIII (Postlude)

I borrowed my mother's car and drove to Lebanon yesterday to empty out the Eurovan.

After we put a bunch of money into the timing chain and water pump and their 'accessories', it was obvious that an engine replacement was the only alternative if we planned to keep the van running. I felt that perhaps the Eurovan was slightly more delicate than I'd thought it would be. It was big as a van, but little shit broke on it all the time. I'd had to develop a new method of driving where I could coax some revs from the accelerator as I drifted to any stop; otherwise, it would sputter and die, often mid-turn taking the power steering with it. Harrowing for passengers, although I'd become inured to it. Then there was my creasing the passenger side on a boulder at Chris' studio. It wanted for attention that a Real Van wouldn't require of me. It was only sixteen years old, old for a dog but not a hauler, and the problems seemed to outweigh the groovy stereo that made it more fun to drive.

So we thought and thought about what should we do with it. The mechanic gave me the number of a guy who bought junk cars, thought he might give me $500 for it (brand new timing chain and water pump be damned, I thought, that cost more than what he's offering!) but he declined and gave me two more numbers of local wrecking yards. Apparently, the van would drive but it had severe valve failure and would overheat if it was driven any length of time, which was determined to be around ten minutes. I talked to Mark at the first number who offered $200. Mark was in Lebanon, so maybe I could drive there? Maybe not. I asked him about towing, and he said he didn't tow, but of course he knew someone who would tow the Eurovan for $50. The money was looking less and less like a concern. I could trade it for magic beans at that point. We ended up donating it to NPR. I hope it keeps Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on for a couple minutes more.

I made a mix of all sorts of music for the ride across NC and Tennessee. Very uneventful ride, the kind I am most used to. I'd had to delay my trip by a day, but it was worth it to get my mother's Oldsmobile's wheels aligned
Around five CST, I arrived at Accelerated Automotive to find the Eurovan sitting in front of the building. I pulled up next to it, opened the Olds' passenger window and got out my screwdrivers, pliers and hammer. The hammer was for last resorts.

FIrst order of business was announcing to the folks I was there, so as not to be taken as a potential larcenist.

I tried to clean the interior up while sorting through what I should bring home. There was obvious stuff, like the camping stove, mattress and blanket that had to go. But there were books and toys and incomplete kid things that might need to come back with me too. Lots of straw wrappers and a dead kite (with a lot of string, bring it). The requisite $.18. I grabbed the window screens Smart Wife made with magnetic tape, a battery operated fan and a camp air conditioner. 'Lots of bits and things' as Mr. Bean would say.

When I opened the door to the passenger side, I looked under the seat at a black unit that I'd never seen before, in the year-plus we owned the van. It was a VW six-disc changer! We'd replaced the locked VW stereo with the Sony I was to remove today, but I had thought the stock one was a single-disc player! Who knew! Too late now! I disconnected it and took it out.

The Sony was easily extracted, and I took a length of the radio cable to attach to our other car's stereo as well.

I put the middle jump seats I'd hauled to Tennessee back into the spacious interior, but I couldn't get them to reattach to the backs of the front seats, so they lay on the floor, awaiting their next owner.

I rolled the windows back up, and the little Euro tri-tone played forlornly for a few rounds before I pulled out the key. Big hole in the dashboard where the stereo was, was now a frame of a couple unattached cable looms. I left the Christmas sprig where it lay, wedged into the defroster ducts, too spiky and dry to touch anymore.

Leaning against the Olds, I drank in the Eurovan for the last time. The jerry-rigged driver's side mirror, with its dried lava flow of SuperGlue from countless attempts to reattach it. The fine addition of the new metal plates and screws which had made the mirror as permanent as it was going to get, but it was all moot now. I had found the broken window locks and pieces of the snapped cupholders, and I'd even returned a nearly-new cupholder replacement. I'd never washed the poor thing; grossly dirty roof with streaks down the corners. Very sad, really, and I teared up for a second before I realized what I was doing. Once the license plate was removed, I could do no more.

I felt as though I'd stripped the Eurovan like a Thanksgiving turkey, but whoever is the recipient when it gets towed to them will truly have that honor.

It was a fun ride, as will its replacement ride be, I hope. They all are, at least part of the way.


Anonymous said…
It sucks that you had to let the Eurovan go, but donating it to NPR was a good idea. I really enjoyed your post. I felt like I could see everything you were describing, like I was there with you as you gave her up. Here's hoping your new ride sees you through many more memories.
What an Odyssey. There is nothing like a van.
I had one that I didn't really like saying goodbye to. In a van you can pass a shiny new Mercedes and think, I can carry a lot of shit in this thing and you can't.
That is the saddest think I ever read.

I can't help it, I'm a socialist that's almost a communist.

Popular posts from this blog

Back in the saddle again -- new shows and updates from Peter H

  Outside The Hit Shed, Durham NC Hi everyone, Getting ready to start back up again, after a year-plus out of action onstage. I have five shows opening up for  Tommy Prine (son of John) coming soon:     August 6 - Georgia Theater (Athens GA)     August 7 - Cat's Cradle Back Room (Chapel Hill NC)     August 8 - The Grey Eagle (Asheville NC)     September 3 - 118 North (Philadelphia PA)     September 4 - Rams Head (Annapolis MD) I'm also going to open for the Connells , whose new album Steadman's Wake is superb:     September 18 - The Eastern (Atlanta GA) You all probably already know about Our Back Pages  (by Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey) being released on LP and CD via Omnivore Recordings, but if not, here's a link to the new video for "Today Could Be the Day." The songs on OBP are from the catalog of The dB's but given new and interesting treatments by Chris and me. I've been working in The Hit Shed, my home studio, over the months, writing a

Jungle gym

Day before yesterday, after school, I got to watch the five-year-old put hand after hand on the overhead ladder and get himself from one side to the other. It seemed like only days ago that he'd been struggling, worried about how to get from one rung to the next, how far down he would fall and how badly he'd be hurt if he did fall. Now he boldly traversed the ladder with me ten feet away, hearing "watch this, Daddy" and looking on, gapemouthed and amazed. I remember having that feeling about ten years ago, out at the lakefront park in New Orleans, watching my daughter struggling the same way for weeks of her trying and dropping to the sand, sadly defeated for all her effort. Until one day, she swung herself to the next rung, stayed attached then did it again with a look of intense exhiliration in her face. She was incredibly proud of her victory, as was I, and she has excelled at gymnastics and physical education ever since. There's one more child that I get to

"Back yet again!" says the Infrequent Blogger

(photo by Bill Reaves) I am inevitably confounded by the amount of time I let go by between posts here. My last post was February of last year (2022). You may ask yourself "what was he doing that prevented him from posting again?" and the answer is, of course, "nothing really." I forget I have this place to write my thoughts down for a waiting world to read, which would be helpful for me as well to empty my chaotic mind and make a little space. But since you're here and may be wondering what I'm up to, I'll try to fill you in. Mostly, I'm tending to home stuff. I do laundry and pick up groceries and a lot of domestic engineering that involves a broom, dustpan and mop. And sometimes that sweet shower glass cleaner recipe I found a while ago that makes it so you can see out again. We have a new junior at UNC-W and a new junior at Riverside High School, and they've been navigating their lives outside the nest. The high schooler just got her drivers&