29 March 2009

My Car Elazar: The 76th mile

As my car’s odometer ticked closer to the 100,000 mile mark I contemplated all the ways I could push it over. Trips down to the Grand Canyon over to Las Vegas and Death Valley, up into Glacier National Park and just across the border into Canada, even a quick trip home and to the beach were each planned and discarded as time wouldn’t allow for such trips, not to mention there wasn’t enough money to support them. No, the mark would have to be passed in a more humble manner. A trip to Craters of the Moon National Park was planned for Saturday. It would be good and fun trip to push the mileage past the threshold. We would make it a day long trip. I would go with my roommates and whoever else wanted to go. The snow was almost gone and the trip promised to be mostly uneventful, driving wise anyway. We would pass through the barren desert lands of Idaho; past the old signs announcing and warning of possible “bio hazardous waste” for those who would wonder off the path. Then we would continue past the open farm lands and through the nuclear charged town of Akron. The trip would stop at Pickle’s Place where we would once again participate in the delectable offering that would be provided. Then we would celebrate having tripped the 100,000 mile mark by hiking through the caves, or at least trying too. All the mistakes of old would be overcome and we would be sure to bring plenty of flashlights , snacks and water. It would be perfect.

It didn’t happen.

Saturday came and the evil scourge of homework consumed most everyone’s schedule for most of the morning. I ran to the store, the one on the far side of town. It was two miles. I needed cereal and soap. Soap for the body, soap for the dishes, soap for the clothes. I returned home. Few else were awake. I ate breakfast. The co-valiant roommate came over and pleaded to go back to IF, the “big city”, “THE place to be”, Idaho Falls. His laptop’s power cable wasn’t working and IF the nearest place to get it replaced. This was the third time we had made this trip for this reason in the past six months. No one else could spend the normally boundless time to take him so I agreed. The time was set and we would leave in two hours. My roommate Steve was to go with us too.

Before we made it to IF I made another trip to the store, this time for another neighbor. He needed food. It was the nearby store so it was only another mile. Finally we headed to IF. I noted how close I was to making the mark. There should be plenty of mileage to make it back to Rexburg without going over. There might still be a fun 100,000 trip yet. In IF we went to the shirt store to buy some shirts, a different story for another time. The cable store was just another couple of miles. We decide to have a well deserved lunch break from school, about three extra miles. Then it was time to go home. There was even enough extra mileage to go to the bonfire that night, it was Tonya’s birthday.

Sunday morning came with 76 miles left before the big mark. 76 miles was barely enough to make out to Camas and back. I drove early that Sunday morning watching the volcanic Idaho landscape slide past. The wind was blowing really hard. Twenty miles into the trip snow joined the wind and started to complicate the travel. I pulled to the side of the road to analyze the situation. Looking to the north I saw that the storm would only get worse. I returned home and got ready for church.

The church meetings themselves were good, though in between meeting I could see that the storm had followed me down from the north and was now pestering the small city of Rexburg. We had long ago determined that Rexburg was the headquarters of winter and thus it was the noble responsibility of every citizen to do what they could to expedite the coming of spring and end winter’s chilling rule. The storm, combined with the eagles and the snow, was a reminder that winter was not quite gone yet.

Despite the storm I ran home. No sense in being out in the freezing wind. My roommates followed me home but needed to return to the chapel for another meeting. Normally, I would be fine with them walking but knowing the horrendous conditions outside I couldn’t stand the thought so I offered a ride. The drive back from Camas had taken longer than I thought, 74 miles to be exact. The trip to the chapel put me a mile closer.

Once back home I started reading a book. It was rather enjoyable. My phone rang. The roommates were ready. I again bundled up and braved the cold to my car and drove back to the chapel. I look down and noted the new odometer number: 100000. I had hit the mark on my 76th mile for the day. They emerged out of the building and quickly piled into the car. With the windshield wipers trying to brush the snow away so I could see I headed back home smiling.

I thought back at the adventures and trips I have had with Elazar, all the things we had seen and been too. We have had a good few years together and plan to have many more. My pondering was interrupted by my neighbor down the hall who had been offered a ride by my roommates.

“Thank you,” he said, “you are a life saver.”

“You’re welcome,” I replied. “You know what is most amazing about this?”

“No, what?” he asked.

“Elazar just hit his 100,000 mile,” I said still smiling.

I love my car Elazar.

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