Simply and economically it was time to get rid of this very fond reminder of my single career days motoring up and down the interstate highways and back roads of the Rocky Mountain West. I was a manufacturer's representative for several years prior to meeting my husband and later closing my business and "getting off the road." My career required lots of travel, mostly by driving to store owners from Las Cruces, NM to Havre, MT. "The Van" as we've always called it, was not only my ride, it was my home away office, suitcase and connection to the latest news at the top of the hour by radio. It had no CD player, GPS and came equipped with only one airbag. Back in those days all you needed was cruise control and a fuzz buster, I had both!
Time has flown by and seeing "the van" get towed away was the end of many chapters in a long book. By the way, it still drove okay, but the charity Step 13 sent the tow truck anyway.
This story doesn't have much to do with gardening, although I used the van often over the years to haul plants, bags of mulch, expanded shale and large item garden do dads. We often lent it to neighbors and friends to help with their moves. I drove the van to northern Idaho in 1996 to get married, then on to Jackson Hole and Jenny Lake Lodge for our honeymoon. My sister and I had some unforgettable times driving the van through Phoenix on our way to meet up with our parents who wintered in the area in their 80s-era Fleetwood Bounder motorhome. And the most memorable drive was in '01 when I met and picked up our first dog Tallie. She was close to six years old and needed a new home which we lovingly provided until she was fifteen. She rode calmly on the bench seat behind me while I nervously steered us both back to a new life.
So long dear van....your aerodynamic slope-nosed design was no longer in favor or production after 1997. Ford Motor Company moved on to the Windstar, then the Freestar and currently the Ford Transit Connect.
We're not in the market for a replacement, we'll make due with our compact station wagon hatchback. I'll miss the van more than ever next time I need to move some large rocks. :'(