Before my husband moved back to the ranch where we now live, he worked at a guest ranch in Wyoming. He still partners with the owner, an unlikely cowboy from Italy named Ferdinando. A few times a year he heads to Wyoming to help Ferdinando with cattle-related undertakings, and last weekend was one of those times.
Unfortunately, our terrible streak of luck with vehicles has continued. The car I was driving when I hit a deer last month is still in the shop waiting for parts. Meanwhile, the ranch pickup, our only other vehicle, had the rear windshield spontaneously shatter while my husband was driving up a neighbor’s gravel driveway. Consequently, my poor husband drove all the way to Wyoming and back with a tarp-covered rear windshield, as the replacement windshield we ordered has also not arrived yet. He was pulling a trailer, and let me tell you, trailers are a lot noisier through a tarp than through glass.
Apparently, the unlucky streak extends beyond our family. The neighbor who lent us a car after the deer hit had to borrow it back because his pickup’s check engine light turned on just as he was heading out of town to go visit his grandkids. Then, a young friend we recently sold an old car to was rear-ended at a stop sign, and the car was deemed a total loss.
Living without a reliable vehicle used to be my normal. I didn’t get a driver’s permit until I was 18 years old because I was scared of driving and I didn’t have any incentive to get over the fear. Where I lived everything was easily biked to, or a friend could give me a ride. College was the same. Our campus was tiny, with very little student parking, and the public transportation was excellent, so the added expense of a vehicle was silly when I didn’t have any money anyway. Post-college I lived in NYC where a car made life harder, not easier. I didn’t get a vehicle until I was 26 years old and moved back to Minnesota. I drove the ancient family minivan for a short while before buying a car of my own, and I had that car, a Subaru Forester, for the next 15 years.
During the period I was full-time musicianing, I toured out of that Subaru relentlessly, living on the road for weeks at a time. That car helped me catch almost all the dreams I chased in it, and all it asked in return was a few oil changes a year, which honestly, I didn’t even do in a timely fashion.
In other words, I’ve spent most of my life putting very little energy into thinking about cars. Living where and how I do now though, not having a car is a big deal. I’m seriously considering selling my car when it finally gets out of the shop, and buying something high off the ground with a very large fender and grill combo — and maybe plexiglass windows too. I like the gas mileage on a smaller outfit, but at this point, I’d just like a car I can drive without a major problem occurring.
Meanwhile, my husband pulled that trailer all the way to Wyoming with no rear windshield so he could pick up Amigo and Cowboy Repeat, two old gentleman horses who spent their careers at the guest ranch giving tourists the experience of a lifetime. When someone posted to the guest ranch’s Facebook page that the pair was retiring to become kid horses in western South Dakota, folks from all over Europe started commenting with pictures and stories of their time riding one or the other.
Yesterday, they arrived looking every bit their 20+ years of age. Unflappable doesn’t begin to describe the gracious and expansive quality they exude. Today, I am considering that instead of buying an armored vehicle, perhaps I should ride Amigo or Repeat when I have somewhere I need to go. I won’t get there fast, but I will get there eventually, which certainly beats the alternative.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!