Nearly to The Moon…
I hope the old Red Truck keeps rolling on, I’ve almost made it to the moon.
It was 10 years ago that me and the Red 4WD first laid eyes on each other. She was already about 5 years old, with just enough k’s on the clock to be classified as ‘run-in’. A mate of mine was trading up. I knew he dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s when it came to everything vehicular, so I was onto a good thing. We’ve been inseparable ever since. A 5-speed turbo charged manual diesel with big grunty tyres, bull bar, roll bar, roof racks, tow bar, driving lights and running boards, it was love at first gear shift.
We’ve been through thick and thin. The odometer now reads just a touch over 330,000km. Many would say she’s just getting going. I was told by a work colleague that I’ve nearly made it to the moon, which is about 380,000km away from Millthorpe. Squeezing another fifty thousand out of her might be a bit of an ask, but I reckon she’ll get there or conk out trying. She owes me nothing. I owe her a lot.
Together, not only did we put a HUGE number of clicks on the odometer, cart endless tonnes of wood from Molong and the Neville forest, but we taught three kids the fine art of driving a big manual car. Doing some quick math makes a tally of well over 500 hours of driving lessons for three kids. That’s a lot of hills starts, and only a few kangaroo hops. A skill they have for life and will never lose. I was stunned to hear last week that in 2018 only 15% of new licences achieved were done so in a ‘manual’ car. Sheesh. You may know that if you get your licence in an auto, then you can’t drive a manual for another year. However, I certainly wouldn’t want anyone without a hundred hours of experience behind the wheel of a stick shift anywhere near me on the road. If I were PM for a day, I’d be changing the rules so that everyone who wanted to drive a manual had to pass a test in one.
Back in Year 3, we had to learn the words to Mulga Bill’s Bicycle for the upcoming Eisteddfod. I earnt a ‘blue’ coloured star for being first in the class to be able to recite “T’was Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk that caught the cycling craze. He turned away the good ol’ horsed that served him many days” (didn’t even have to look that up - still in my brain). I write this as last week an offer too good to refuse came past the hands that hold the steering wheel of the big 4WD … another car. Mint condition, low k’s, lots of extras, very easy to drive.
Don’t get me wrong though. I’m no traitor. I’m certainly not Mulga Bill. I haven’t traded in the good ol’ horse. We’ll still be smashing it out together on the Kentucky road out past Neville to cut wood. We’ll still be hauling the trailer as we endlessly move stuff from one place to another. Together, we’ll still go down the back to drag the mower out of the mud, if it’s ever gets muddy enough again. Still be taking loads of rubbish to the dump. I’ll always marvel at your torque, the grunt you’ve got when I’m in a jam and how ‘high’ above the crowd I am when in the cockpit, driving around amongst the plebs.
Old Red, don’t be jealous that there’s another in our lives now. There’s room for all of you. We still, and always will, love you. Stick around until we get the moon.