Friday Firesmith – Cars and Trucks, and Grende

Back in 1978, my friend Bobby Joe, who had saved all his money for all his life, for the event, purchased a brand new, white with blue trim, Z28. He was sixteen years old, and his parents did help him, muchly, but Bobby Joe worked hard and played even harder. Bobby Joe also played the trumpet better than anyone I have ever heard. But his first passion was the Z28.

Bobby then spent every possible dollar he had making this car a thing of greater power and even greater beauty. Most of the jargon I know about cars, I know was learned listening to that kid talk about that car, back in the late seventies.

One night, we hit a straight piece of backroads, the one going to Kolomoki Mounds, and we smoked a joint, okay, took a couple of hits off of a joint, at one hundred and thirty miles an hour. I wondered if a deer stepped in front of us, or a tire blew, or a seed exploded, if the last thing I would think was, “the car isn’t going to live through this, either” and I’m quite certain Bobby would have thought that too. But, luckily, I did not find out.

I would have never told Bobby Joe this, but I think at some level he knew; I never cared about cars. No one bit. Not even a little. To me, cars were transportation. You kept the car reasonably clean, kept a good sound system in it, and you maintained the thing per the owner’s manual. They are still just that.

In 2013, someone pulled out in front of me and ended the 2004 Toyota truck I had bought in 2006. I put some miles on that little red truck and had some great times in it. A week later I had a 2013 Toyota truck, and I still have it today. It’s a truck. It’s sturdy, hard to break, gets good gas mileage, and no one has wrecked it yet. It doesn’t have a name. It doesn’t have conversations with me. It’s a truck. It has a job, and it does its job, and until it doesn’t, I’ll keep it.

A friend of mine had a Jeep named Grendel. That Jeep, Grendel, and I had a lot of adventures together, and we rode many a mile. Top down, doors off, passenger seatbelt unbuckled, and the rush of the road under us, in an open space. She lost that Jeep in a divorce, and the other woman traded it in after a couple of months. We talked about trying to find Grendel, and I have to admit, there was a moment of excitement, just thinking about doing that. But the beer wore off and we never spoke of it again.

The day I got my stuff out of the red truck, sitting there with its nose smashed in, the tag removed, the contents boxed up, I felt a slight twinge. The red truck had known some very good road trips with me. When Lucas was snakebit the red truck got me to the vet. I met a woman I thought I would marry while that truck was with me. Dogs and women, now they’re subjects that ought to be permanent, but neither is. We know that, don’t we? Bobby Joe, very suddenly, makes sense right now.

Who was your favorite ride?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

12 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Cars and Trucks, and Grende”

  1. “Who was your favorite ride?”

    Without a doubt my favorite ride was Barbara Ann.
    I don’t name my cars and trucks.

  2. 72 Nova SS I wanted to always have it with me but I was young and did not really know much about road conditions I hydroplaned it and that was it , I am thankful I was not hurt

  3. I am on my third Toyota truck; This one is a black 2014 Tacoma and I named it “Falcon” after the character that now carries the Captain America Shield. The previous truck was a black 2000 4Runner (basically the same vehicle as the Tacoma but with an SUV body) and we still have it; my daughter drives it and it is named “Nick Fury”. Before that I had a red Toyota XCAB – 1994; I think they were called HiLux in Europe but back then they were just “Toyota Trucks” in the US; before it was rebranded the Tacoma. I don’t recall the red one ever having a name; collectively I’ve put over 700,000 miles on them; the Red beast was just over 400,000 miles when the timing belt slipped and a piston broke free and wrecked the head unit.

    The Red one and I had the most adventures out west; I was in the Air Force in Vegas then southern New Mexico for about 5 years with that truck.. I absolutely hate the “Vegas” scene (Gambling, Smoking and Drinking have zero appeal to me) and I actually spent most of my week up on the test range doing ‘secret squirrel’ stuff… We worked 4 day weeks so I had a 3 day weekend every week and would frequently head out to some site to go camping; I had a ‘topper’ on that truck with a mattress pad and I’d basically sleep in the back of the truck at night and explore various areas all over the southwest. One of my favorite memories was the first time we went to “Toroweap” – a very remote spot on the north rim of the Grand Canyon; it is on a road where 4WD is highly recommended but you really just need the ground clearance. it’s a long drive on barely maintained roads but it’s one of the most spectacular overlooks at the Canyon;

    My favorite Memory with Nick Fury (now my daughters truck) was our trip out west; we went to Denver, visited the Botanical Gardens there and also the “Celestial Seasons” tea plant and did the tour; then on to the Rocky Mountain National Park; crossed skyland road, then on Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier NP, Badlands and the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and “land between the lakes”. It’s also the truck we used when I taught her to drive; I put 240,000 miles on that one before my daughter inherited the keys. –

    “Falcon” is the baby; I work from home now so the miles are adding up a lot slower, I’ve had it for 6 years now and I only just broke 100,000 miles in that one last year. Top memory in that one so far is the road trip to Maine; we stopped in Gatlinburg and rafted on the Pigeon River, then up through West Virginia and went Kayaking on the Potomac; Through Hershey PA and the Hershey Park, Stopped in the Poconos and the Adirondacks, visited Fort Ticonderoga and Six Flags at Lake George, stopped at the Cabot Cheese Factory and Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream factory; took tours at both then headed on the Acadia National Park; ate lots of lobster. On the way back we did a tour of Boston and Philadelphia, then headed more westward to come back home through Shenandoah NP and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    • Minor correction: Got the name of the road wrong in RMMP, apparently it’s Hwy 34 aka “Trail Ridge Road” – it is a road that runs along the ridgeline with spectacular views on both sides (well above the treeline so no visual obstructions most of the way) – At a few points (in June) we passed snow banks that were packed at least 15 feet high and you can really feel the wind howling across the top of the mountain threatening to push your truck off the edge… it’s a long way down…

      • Keith, I like Toyotas, too. This is my third, the first being a Corolla that got nailed by a guy running a red light while I was running the same light, but going the opposite direction.

        I have to say I’ve never lost a Toyota to wear and tear, just bangs.

  4. I’ve always loved cars, especially small nimble ones with two seats. From the first time I saw a Lotus Super Seven in the 60s, I wanted one. It’s a super light, very small British roadster, basically four wheels, two seats and an engine and little more. I finally got one 30 years later, but I had to bring it back from the dead. I lived in Connecticut at the time and the winding back roads were where I enjoyed it the most. I referred to it as “The Cure” since it always put a smile on my face. Unfortunately I had to sell it for financial reasons. I’d get another but I live in South Florida now and the roads are straight and boring.

  5. I had a red Maverick with a 302 under the hood, As you might imagine, I got quite a few speeding tickets in that car. I got that car when I was about 19 years old. Yeah, that car would run like Hell! I had loads of fun in that little car. No one ever thought it would run that fast, or that I could drive like that. Good times.
    I had a little extended cab Ford F-150 with all the bells and whistles. The only feature that pick up was missing was electric seats. It had every other option available at the time. I loved that truck. So did everyone who saw it. She was a beauty.
    I now drive a soccer mom mobile. a Nissan Murano. He’s functional, gets me where I need to be, and has good cargo room. Drives fairly well, but has no flair. The joys of getting older I guess.

  6. 2017 Toyota Tacoma (current). 1989 Chevy Chevette (first car, bought myself at 15 with money I earned). Started dating my wife in that car and she still married me. Knew she was a keeper because she didn’t care about what kind of car I drove.


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