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March 18, 2016: Requiem for a Very Old Pickup Truck

This morning Pete took our 22 year old Toyota Pickup to the Midas Muffler Shop. There is a hole in the front exhaust pipe. Sputnik was making a great deal of noise – Jay and Jen could hear the vehicle coming before I pulled into their driveway.

Pete decided to try and fix the hole – his thinking was that he stuff wood stove gasket material in the leak. However, the location of the hole made this an unfeasible endeavor. The word, upon his return from the muffler shop was that Sputnik was history.

I contended that Sputnik’s glory days weren’t yet over, the engine, in fact is just fine. But no, Pete said that it was time to part with our old war horse. Now, on Sunday, he’ll take Sputnik over to our friend Andre’s house, and Andre will use Sputnik for parts. Pete said he might be able to use the windshield. A piece of me will go with Sputnik when Pete pulls out of our driveway.

Pete purchased Sputnik in 1996 – he paid for it with money his Dad left him after he died. I was very fond of Sputnik. So was Bootleg, our first dog. She liked this truck because here she had more room than she did in my mustard yellow Toyota pickup. When Bootleg was 17 or so (we’d just moved here), we made a trip to Fairbanks to see old friends. I then named Sputnik Sputnik because this was a vehicle in which we made interplanetary voyages. Thinking metaphorically was what ultimately made it easy for me to get by on long trips. For example, a gas station was an outer space fueling station and large trucks were other interterrestrial vehicles. Pete and I were cosmonauts (Alyoka and Petrov), and Bootleg was Lika, the space dog.

In 2006 Pete acquired a Toyota Tundra, and Sputnik then became my truck. She was by then sort of a garbage scow – we used her to haul garbage to the dump and compost buckets (half the time full) to local gardeners. She bore three bumper stickers – the first read Dog is my Co-pilot, the second read NUKE FUTE, and the third one read No Coal: Save the Moose Range. Sputnik also by now had three smashed corner and 2 broken tail lights. This was my doing – my sense of spatial relations has always been off. Sputnik was also by 2009 rusted out in several places. You could always tell that this was our truck because you could see the kayak racks at the distance.

We did an awful lot of trips in that truck. For instance when we were lived in Milwaukee, WI we decided to return Pete to South Carolina via the west and south coasts of the US. This was one of many memorable trips.

There will be yet another Toyota pickup truck in my future, you can be sure of this. But it’s going to be at least a year because first have to get caught up financially. Until then, I’ll drive the Red Suzuki Swift. It is not yet on its lips, but it will be soon. Then we’ll take it over to what is now Sputnik’s final resting spot, which is Andre’s place.

Next: 77. 3/19/16: Sidelong Glances

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