Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Progressing Modes of Transportation

(published in the Wed., Mar. 30 '05 edition of the Bull's Eye, Vol. 1, No. 23)
By: L.A. Kohl
March 15, 2005

When I look at the vehicle parked beyond my front porch, I have to laugh at how I’ve “evolved” in that regards. I grew up with a father who, according to my mom, is a “car-aholic”. He often traded vehicles once every year or two, and he loved to spend time on the weekend washing and/or waxing the car. It was usually a nice kind of car that started with a "C," ones like Cougar, Camaro, or Corvette (that one came AFTER I left home!)

Thus, when I became a teen and started thinking about the kind of car I would soon want to own, I was convinced that an early 1960’s vintage Mustang was just the thing for me. (Such a rebel - a non-C classic for me.)

Now is when I have to laugh, because not only did the Mustang never materialize...I’ve never even owned anything with less than four doors, unless you count my husband’s pick-ups. Funnier still, can you guess what current mode of transportation is parked out front? It’s a 15 passenger van...about as far removed from my teenage dreams as you can get. However, it is the essence of practicality, and in a large family that over rules almost all other motives.

It didn’t happen over night, so I’ve been able to acclimate myself to it gradually. It started with the four door cars, then to a mid size SUV. Next it was a couple of different full size conversion vans, then a full size SUV. But, even that would not seat nine, and thus began the search for just the right vehicle for our less than normal family. An 11 or 12 passenger van might have worked, if we never wanted to do a big grocery shopping or pack suitcases in it. Otherwise, the back seat needed removed to make room for “stuff”, and then you’re back to an eight passenger vehicle. No good.
So, we resigned ourselves to the fact that in America, about the only other option was a 15 passenger van, unless we wanted to start shopping for school buses. And when you’re going to get that practical, you might as well go all out. We got vinyl everywhere on the inside – seats, floor, everything. That way, we reasoned, when it needed a good cleaning, we could just hose the thing down, inside and out.

When you take the back seat out, you can fit half a grocery store in there, or use it like a small size truck. Take the back TWO seats out, and a husband can use it like a “good ‘ol boy” sized truck, while also lugging around the kids. (My hubby has gotten the thing stuck three times in the last three weeks trying to use it thus...too bad they don’t make 4x4, 15 passengers.) Put all the seats in, and you can haul the church youth group around, or your own kids plus all their friends. Going on a long trip to visit family? No problem. Even when adding in the grandparents, there is still room for all 11 of us, plus luggage, plus a make-shift cot.

I guess as my family gradually changed, so did my ideals and dreams.
But here is a passing thought – take ALL the seats out, and there might be room for a 1964 Mustang inside. (Like that’s really going to happen? Not as long as I’ve got all these other priceless treasures around here that need hauling around!)


hou5ton said...

You know .... as a fellow 15-passenger van type person, I've looked into the 4-wheel drive thing. I have found pictures of them on the web, but after placing a call to a local dealer ... alas, there are none in actual production. Nate and I would have to do a complete custom job ... which, I might add, has crossed my mind.

With regard to fitting a mustang inside of our newly customized 4X4 15-passenger van ... uh ... nada. If I go to all that trouble, all that's going inside it is lots of hunting, fishing, and camping gear. :-)

LA Kohl said...

that picture is hilarious...but maybe we better not show it to Nate! :-)