Cars I've traveled in

31 cars in 40 years
Car #1 / 1960 Ford Falcon

The first car that was really mine was a 1960 white Ford Falcon. My Dad bought it in '66 and he used it as a work car. When he moved west I inhereted the car. This was the car that I drove back and forth, to and from Ball State durning my freshman year. I can't remember anymore what ever became of it.
Car #2 / 1958 Chevy ??

During the spring of 1969, I bought an old 1958 Chevy with big fenders. I can't even remember which make of chevy it was. I paid a few hunderd dollars for it. Jim's dad, Marvin, had to co-sign for me. The transmission went bad fast. When I turned corners, I lost power. It was scary. I think that the junkman got this one after only a few months.
Car #3 / 1961 Chevy Impalla

After the previous chevy, I bought another one. This one was a bit newer. I think it was a '61 Impala. I bought it from a friend of Jack's (my brother). When I lived with Rose Zeleznic in the summer of '69 this car was sideswiped while parked on Calumet avenue. I couldn't believe it. I only had the car a few days. I held on to it a month or so after the damage, but the junk man got this car too.
Car #4 / 1966 Catalina

I did without a car for several months. In the spring of 1970, I bought a big fat Catalina. It was a huge car. I got a good deal on it too. The speedometer was broken, so I never knew how fast I was driving. I got a few tickets driving through the hinterland of Indiana. I remember zooping with this car (i.e. friends would tie ropes to the rear end and I would pull them through the snow. A friend of mine smashed up the front. I think I sold it for a few hundred dollars in the spring of 1971.
Car #5 / 1961 VW Bug

I spent the summer of 1971 in Washington State. My dad had bought a cute powder blue 1961 VW Bug. I'm not sure if he bought it with me in mind, or he just gave it to me. I re-upolstered the inside with paisly fabric.I returned to BSU with this bug, accompanied by my niece Debbie. This car was fun. I had it at the Christian Student Center during the fall of 71. In the Winter of 71/2, I drove the car in Whiting during my student teaching at Whiting H.S. It got a little banged up trying to pull start it with a rope in the snow. I drove a few of my friends to the West Coast after graduation in 1972. This poor bug died on the same day that Frank was married. As I was driving to Frank's wedding (with Silvia in the car), I ran the car up an embankment bending the front axel. The car sat in the back of the house for a while until someone bought it for the still-working engine.
Car #6 / 1949 Buick

I'm not sure that you can count this car. While I owned the VW bug in Muncie, my friend saw a neat old 1949 Buick, real heavy. He was short of money, so I paid $50 and my friend paid $50 for it. He drove most of the time. The engine died after a few months and it got towed away.
Car #7 / 1972 VW Opal
After my bug was wrecked, I just borrowed by parents cars for a while. I went to Korea and the Peace Corps in November of 1972. Cars were impossible in Korea. I came back to America in September of 1974 with a wife and soon we needed a car. I went shopping with Dave Hunter (a guy who lived in the house a while) and I bought an Opal. My wife really didn't like this car because it had a manual transmission. I even wrote a story about this car. Kim flunked her driving test in this Opal, then passed using mom's station wagon. I had to sell the Opal after a few months.
Car #8 / 1968 Toyota Corolla

In May of 75 we were looking for a car. Dad had a friend who was in the junk yard/ used car business. We bought a 1968 white Toyota Corolla from him. I was supposed to pick up this car on the same day that Zachary was born. (I went to be with Kim, instead). We drove this car for about a year until I went into the Army. Kim left it behind in Longview, in July of 1976.
Car #9 / 1976 Toyota Corolla

We bought this blue Toyota Corolla in Columbus, Georgia. Supposedly, it was driven by a little old lady who bought it new, thought it was too small, and returned it. This was a good car. We drove it cross-country twice. It was our primary car in Georgia and Virginia, and was Kim's car in Missouri. Kim was sad to sell it when we bought the Buick wagon.

The Corolla in West Virginia
Car #10 / 1970 Ford Maverick

Michael King helping get my Maverick started

This was our first second car. Kim continued to drive the Toyota and I bought this goldenrod Maverick as a work car. We had it a year or so and sold it.
Car #11 / 1974 Electric Citicar

I bought this car new in 1978, even though it was a 1974 car. One day, I was mowing the lawn, and I saw this wierd looking vehicle moving by. The next time I saw it, I asked the driver where he got it. As it happened, someone had purched a lot of 20 unsold Electric Cars in a town about 50 miles away. I had to have one and paid about $3500 for this one. (this was at a time when a new bottom line chevy was about $5000). I had a lot of fun with this car. The 8 batteries gave it a max speed of 30MPH and a range of about 20 miles. I drove it to work and at times my wife had the unlucky experience of driving it to her work in Waynesville. As long as the terrain was flat, it worked fine. ... We pulled this car to Eugene and it had a second life in Oregon. I drove it a lot from our house to the University of Oregon. The motor fuses burned out trying to get up to Jeannes house. Don John liked to "cruise the gut" with this car. When I left to teach in Korea, the electric car was stored at Marie's house,Kim's friend. We didn't t transport it to Wisconsin and it sat and sat. Finally it disappeared...

Car #12 / 1976 Buick Estate Wagon

Zac, Simon, Kim and Shannon washing the car

The Buick Estate Wagon was our first real family car. We bought it used in 1989 for a few thousand dollars. It was big and dark cherry red and had a power rear window. The car always seemed to overheat. Also, it sat in our Missouri driveway for a month when the main seal broke and put oil all over the driveway. We drove this car from Missouri to Oregon, hauling the electric car. We had it about one year in Eugene. The transmission went bad, we had it fixed ($$), and other problems arose. We sold it.
Car #13 / 1978 VW Rabbit

When we sold the buick we bought a brown 1978 VW Rabbit. Kim liked this car and she used it to commute to LCC for three years. She reluctantly sold it when she went to Korea to meet me.
Car #14 / 1972 VW 412 Wagon

This was my car to vacation in. The electric car couldn't go cross-country and was getting unreliable. This car was neat. Sometimes Zach and Pete traveled in the front trunk on the way back from church. I drove this car from Longview, Washington, to Washington, D.C., and back again in 1983 (the picture above). Dong Hyun helped drive me and the two boys. Kim sold this car when I was in Korea. I hated to lose it.
Car #15 / 1976 VW Diesel Rabbit

We arrived in Wisconsin without a car, so I bought this one in a hurry. It was not a good choice. The cold weather and the diesel engine did not go well together. I drove it to Ft. McCoy for about a year and sold it.
Car #16 / 1982 Ford Escort

This was Kim's almost-new car to drive to Madison. She crashed the car about a month after we bought it. She skidded down an icy hill and into a stop sign. She was OK. Insurance covered the loss.
Car #17 / 1980 Dodge Omni

Kim bought this turkey from a student in Madison. After a month of it not starting in the freezing Wisconsin winter, we got rid of it.
Car #18 / 1984 Pontiac Sunbird

After the two bad experiences, we opted for a new car. Kim liked the red Pontiac Sunbird and we kept it for 10 years. It moved with us to California, where it was Kim's primary car for a while longer. Zachary took it over in its final days. In 1994, he blew out the engine in Oregon and started a brush fire. ~ The picture shows the Sunbird during a trip from Wisconsin to Oregon, paused in Idaho (1985).
Car #19 / 1985 Chevy Sprint

After Kim bought the new car, I got the urge and bought a new car too. This little guy was the 3-cylender Chevrolet Sprint made by Sizuki. This hatchback got about 50 MPG, so I liked it. I drove this car in California until 1991.
Car #20 / 1987 Peugeot Wagon

We were shopping in San Francisco in 1991 when I saw this car in a lot. I was planning a long drive and wanted to travel in something comfortable. This Peugeot looked like the more expensive Mercedes wagon and so I bought it for $5000. It had 90K miles when I bought it and it passed away at over 200K miles. It's most famous trip occured with me and Zac and Simon up to Fairbanks, Alaska, and back. That was fun. Zachary inhereted this car while at Stanford. It died a death of many dings and breaks. It was finally donated to Charity in May of 2000. ~ Here's the 'geot parked in front of Dong Hyun's store in Corvales (1995).
Car #21 / 1992 Saturn

After Zachary began to drive the Sunbird, Kim needed a new car. We heard alot about Saturns and decided to buy one. Simon picked out the color gray. We had the car for six years but weren't happy with it. I think '92 was the lemon year.We traded this car in for the Cutlass.
Car #22 / 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass

The Saturn was showing its age and we wanted to trade it in. Also we had been using a GM charge card and had about $3500 in GM credit. We opted for a white Oldmobile Cutlass, which eventual fell to Zachary at Christmas 06. ~ the picture is of the Oldsmobile at the base of Mount Saint Helens. This was the first trip with the Olds.
Car #23 / 1973 VW Bug

I got tired of driving the Peugeot that wouldn't die. I wanted something fun. In March of 1998, I paid $5800 for this bright red VW Bug convertable. Kim was not amused. After a while I wasn't amused either. (being 21 with a bug is different than being 48 with a bug.) In nice weather at low speeds it was OK, but in the rain going down 101 it was a hassle. The bug met its end in February of 1999 when I turned left in front of an oncoming van. (the nice man signaled that I could turn). I got $100 for the remains.
Car #24 / 1993 Honda Civic

After the untimely demise of my red VW, I needed something dependable and cheap and in a hurry. I bought a red 1993 Honda Civic. I thought it was kind of unique. Then I noticed them all over the place. The car was economical for all my drives to Santa Rosa.In August 2001 however, it died going up the hill to my house. It turned out to be my ignition system ($800 ouch!). My wife and decided to look for a replacement. We drove the Civic to the Honda dealer to look around and the car died again. We took this as the sign to trade the car in. So we traded the Civic for the new CRV, getting only $1000 credit.
Car #25 / 2001 Honda CRV

I would not have bought I would have bought this CRV (Compact Recreational Vehicle) for myself, but Kim said it would be great for hauling my garden/project stuff (it was), and it was on clearance ($16990). I kept this car for several years. After Zachary's car in DC died, I gave him this car while he was visiting and he drove it east in early 2010. Later it was involved in an accident and passed out of Zach's hands.

Car #26 / 2006 Kia Optima

After Christmas in 06, Zachary drove the old Olds to Washington DC. We were without a second car for 4 months. Kim became accustomed to taking Bart from the Bayfair stop to SFSU. But eventually we wanted a new car. We settled on buying a from the Hyundai dealership. Finally we decided upon this Kia. It was $1790 list and after all the tax and extras it was just over $20K. We put $4K on the visa card, wrote a check for $4K and financed the rest. KIA = Kim is Awesome. The car's knickname was "black beauty".

This picture is her first drive into the driveway. After Kim died, I traded her black beauty in for my VW Westfalia. Her car was too full of ghosts.

Car #27 / 2001 Honda Insight



I was looking to buy a tiny Smart car, but found myself attracted to this wierd-looking little Insight. I liked the shape and the wheel skirts. I bought it in Freemont on a corner lot for $6000 just few months before Kim's death. This was my trasport and I drove it everywhere. It was stolen in November 2011 from the basement lot at my Hayward condo. I had to reclaim it at an impound lot in SF. I hung on to this car until 2013 when I sold it to downsize in San Mateo.

Car #28 / 1987 VW Westfalia Camper

After Kim died, I needed to get away. While Simon was visiting, he helped me buy this old camper in Sacramento. I traded in the Kia for $4500 and paid $11000 for this vehicle with some insurance money. I wrote the story in my memoir. I camped all over with this VW. The clutch burned out 3 times and it was in need of repair. After parking it in an expensive lot for 6 months while living with Liz, I decided to sell my camper. I figured I broke even on the deal.

Car #29 / 2006 VW Diesel Passat



I sold both the Westfalia and the Insight. I wanted a vehicle that would be a mix of the two for the one car that I could park in the garage. Economical on fuel, yet good for campouts. I took it on a dozen roadtrips. I should have never bought the Passat. I paid too much in cash. I had it for one year and then it blew out its trasmission while returning home from Utah. The transmisson fixer in Stocton gave me $600 for the title. Alas!

Car #30 / 2014 Toyota Prius


I was tired of cars breaking down so in 2013 I bought a new pearl white 2014 Prius, paying about $28k total. It's boring, but boring is good for a change and equals dependable.I hope to hang on to this car for a few more years. Just a few months after I bought my Prius, Liz bought a look-alike black Prius.

Car #31 / 2001 VW Eurovan Camper

I broke my leg on October 14, 2015. Once I learned I would be getting a substantial insurance settlement, I began looking for a camping vehicle. This was a kind of hobby while I was layed up. It took about 17 months of research, but in March of 2017, I put a down payment on this VW Eurovan Camper. It took 3 months for Poptop Heaven to refurbish it and return all the automotive and camping parts to like new. I trove down to Temecula to pick up the vehicle and drive it home. The total cost out the door was close to $50k, but "my leg paid for it" I tell myself. I enjoy the camping and my continuing attempt to perfect my camper. I do hope to hang on to this classic vehicle and pass it on to one of my sons.

That's it for now. I'm gald I can update this narrative.

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