Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 29, 2012

Me and My Arrow

"Me and my Arrow, taking the high road, wherever we go, everyone knows, it's me and my Arrow...."

My car reached a milestone on December 15th.  100,000 miles.  It isn't really named 'Arrow' but I should start calling it that.

Back in the spring of 2005, I traded in my Saturn for a bright blue 2004 Hyundai Elantra.  I went to Korum Hyundai of Puyallup armed with my NADA Guides and Kelley Blue Book info, credit score and downpayment, knowing exactly what I wanted.  The salesman asked what kind of a deal I wanted, how much I wanted for my car, etc.  I smiled sweetly and said, 'I know what my Saturn is worth.  My credit score is 700.  I know what the Elantra retails for... so why don't you tell me what you can offer?' He asked me what I did for a living, and I told him I worked for a lawyer in Tacoma.  Needless to say, it was a very quick transaction.....The salesman went over to his supervisor and I overheard him say, 'She's the real deal, let's just do this.'  I took the car out for a quick test drive and was pleased to see that this model still had a cassette deck.  I did not want, nor do I want, a CD player or an iPod dock.  I received a fair deal on both my trade-in and the financing of the car loan, and I drove off the lot in my new car. 

I needed this car because we had just bought the cursed property in Neilton on the Olympic Peninsula, and my 7 year old Saturn was already pushing 100,000 miles at the time I traded it in.  Neilton was just way too far away (150 miles/3.5 hours) and remote to put those kinds of miles on the Saturn, since we were up there almost every weekend that summer of '05.  Here is a pic my car and the place that we Never. Should've. Bought.  Biggest mistake ever on soooo many levels.  We sold the stupid place in 2006, and made a paltry $10,000 over the purchase price the year before, most of which went to the realtor and other fees, so we basically broke even.  But I digress.....

I loved my new car, though.  As Brian descended further into alcoholism and mental illness, I found myself increasingly on my own.  If I wanted to travel, I could count on it being me, myself and I, which was actually fine because there would be way less pressure and I could do what I wanted, without worrying that someone else wasn't having a good time.

In early August, 2006, I drove up to Vancouver, BC for a few days.  No pics of the car because I wasn't shooting digital yet and it being a major city, it stayed in the hotel garage most of the time I was there, except for the trip up to North Vancouver. 

Summer of 2007, I visited Vancouver Island for several days (2nd best trip in my life).  My car was on the Coho Ferry first out of Port Angeles, the Brentwood/Mill Bay ferry as a shortcut to Butchart Gardens and then on the Washington State ferry (seen below) back to Anacortes, WA.  Driving a car onto a ferry is an interesting experience. 

In the fall of 2007, I went to Portland OR and up to Mt. Hood.  Went back to Portland and Multnomah Falls in the fall of 2008 too.

2009 was a horrendous year, and my car faithfully ferried me to and from work as I attempted to cope with a life, and marriage, that was spinning out of control.  I made no trips that year except for a quick early morning junket to Seattle that summer.

In the spring of 2010, I took an overnight trip out to the coast, to Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, 4 hours away from my home.  Even more remote than  Neilton.  There isn't even cell service out there. 

In the summer of 2010, which would turn out to be my last summer in Washington, I finally went up to Sunrise at Mt. Rainier, and also did some day trips to Seattle.  Yes that's snow in the parking lot just below Sunrise, despite it being a very warm July day.  There's my bright blue jewel on the left.  The Sunrise parking lot is at 6,400 feet above sea level.  That's taller than Mt. Washington, the highest point in all of New England.

Here's my car, parked where I worked for 11 years in Fircrest, in February, 2011.  By this point, I knew my time in WA was coming to a rapid close. It got me to & from work many times over the years in the snow, through many, many rain and wind storms and horrible traffic.  In the first six months of 2011, I drove to Snoqualmie Falls, Olympia, Westport (on the coast), Mount St. Helens and Seattle, but unfortunately ran out of time to hit the rest of my WA Bucket List items before it was time to make the drive east.  I spent quite a bit of money on it prior to the trip too.

Pepper & I embarked on that epic cross country journey in my trusty car, much to Russell's chagrin at the tiny size of it.  He calls it 'the go kart with doors'.  We left from this hotel in Tukwila, WA. We encountered no issues at all on the way.  Another blessing.  

We even crossed the Great Divide.

My car has been to a total of 17 states and 1 Province:  British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin (below), Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, a sliver of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, a sliver of New Hampshire....'s even been to Maine!

This plate is now part of my collection.  The Grateful Dead frame has moved around to the front of the car.

This is probably the only car around here with a Canadian flag on the bumper, and from far western Canada no less.  I also haven't seen very many cars  out there, of any make or model, that are this colour.

Home. :)

I love this car.  It has sand in it from both coasts.  The back seat is a mess of dog hair, with sheets on the seat, extra towels, a road atlas, ice scraper and my mix tapes case.

My squeeze has been pressuring me to get a larger vehicle because this one is really too small for a guy his size.  I totally get that.  But I am very reluctant to get rid of it yet, partially for financial reasons (car payment, increased insurance & excise tax, etc) but mostly for sentimental reasons.  Of all the cars I've owned, this has been my favourite, although my first trusty Toyota made the journey west in 1989 and to every Dead show I ever went to, both on the east and west coasts.  And the 76 Monte Carlo I had through high school and college was bitchin too.  But this car has been the one constant in a very turbulent past 7 years.  I know that my car will need increasing repairs the older it gets, but I've always been so good about regular maintenance that it's been very reliable.

So for now I will continue to baby my car, and enjoy the journey.  Me & my Arrow.


  1. There are so many reasons to love this post, Jo, not the least of which is your reference to 'Me & My Arrow,' a song I absolutely adore, and the way you used it in the final paragraph almost brought tears to my eyes... seriously! Tears! Over someone else's car!!!!

    Very much enjoyed reading about your bright blue Hyundai's trips and seeing the photos. I understand completely how much it means to you and, yes, I agree, you should keep it as long as you possibly can.

    Great post. Seriously.

  2. Thanks so much Cathy!!!! I appreciate so much what you said b/c you are an amazing writer. :D I do love that song too. It's always been one of my faves. I have the 45!!

  3. What a well-traveled car! I envy your car now. I've only been to two states here: California and Nevada. HaHa

  4. That was a nice drive down memory lane, thanks for taking us with you. I have a little silver Hyundai Accent. Mine is named PJ Zippy. It's the first car I've ever named and I love my little Zipster as much as you love yours!

  5. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    Can't believe Russell thinks it's small, it's largish saloon size by my reckoning. He should see my little thing!

  6. I love a good car story. I've had one car like that. Reliable. Liked this post, JoJo.

    Interesting how one thing that is constant can act as a survival float, isn't it? I'm glad you got to visit BC when you lived on the west coast.

  7. I too love the journey you both have taken... great post JoJo! I also love your Canadian bumper sticker ;)

    I had to trade in my old van to my new Outlander two years ago; I nearly drove it to the ground but I was amazed at how emotional I got! So I thought about it this way; the spirit of my trusty steed only moved from one metal body to another - it made saying goodbye to the old vehicle less painful!

  8. OMG that car has a great tale to tell. I have a car sort of this color which really needs to be culled due to high mileage and being generally crap but it's got a tale to tell too - love Buchart Gardens in the short time I was there.

  9. Terrific story and timely too. Just yesterday DH turned in his Hyundai-9 + years old- for another. Yes, if the interiors could talk!
    Happy New Year!

  10. Hoist one for the Hyundai! Been a great car by the sound of it; I got 250-thousand out of my Saturn before the day came in December to say goodbye. You do get attached to 'em, that is for sure! Have a great year, Joanne!

  11. Thanks everyone! :D Happy New Year!

  12. You and that car have been everywhere! I can understand why you don't want to part with it, it's like a dear friend.

  13. Its that you have so much been with this you feel kind of attachment...
    emotional attachment I must say...
    that's why you are not ready to be apart !!!
    Loved those pics...nice post... :)
    following :)

  14. Wow, you have really got around and have a lot of great memories. No wonder you hesitate to part with it.