NOT RUNNING RELATED
As I'm sure you read in my last post, I totaled my 2007 Nissan Xterra (only 160,000+ miles) in an accident last week. While I still believe she had a few years left, maybe this was the best way for her to go?
I’m not a materialistic person. I’d rather spend my money on food or traveling, and I usually don’t buy things at full price. However, when I purchased my 2007 Nissan Xterra back in December 2006, she only had 21 miles on her – most of which I put on test driving. I named her Bessie, sometimes calling her Blue Bessie, because – well – she’s blue. I was active duty in the Army and had just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan. I had saved up quite a bit of tax-free pay, some of which I used as a down-payment for Bessie, and some that I used to take my mom to Hawaii!
Right before I bought Bessie, I was in-between cars. My first-ever car, a white 1992 Ford Mustang that my mom lovingly purchased for me in high school, was starting to wear out, and I had borrowed my friend’s Nissan Xterra to drive around while he was deployed. I can’t remember what year it was but it was an older model. While I was driving it, it broke down! At that time, I had to get a rental car while I looked for a new car. Guess what the rental car was? A new Nissan Xterra!! Having that as a rental is what lead me to buy Bessie. I didn’t like the thought of buying a car used, not knowing everything that had happened to it, so I just went for the brand new one!
Bessie and I have been through SO much together, and she has taken me to some amazing places. She has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever driven, and I haven’t had to replace anything out of the ordinary – the biggest only being a new timing chain and radiator. I don’t have pictures to go with every story, but I do have lots of pictures that I will share along the way. Below is only the highlights of what Bessie and I have been through; there's so much more.
The Keying Incident (2007)
During my second deployment to Afghanistan (not long after I bought her), I left Bessie at a friend’s house while I was away. LONG story short, Bessie gets keyed from top to bottom by a psycho-ex of a guy I was friends with, who lived in the neighborhood where she was parked – $3,500 worth of damage!
Many mountain biking and kayaking adventures…
The Break-in (2009)
I had just returned from my last deployment, and was in my last few months of being in the Army. It was Super Bowl weekend and I had literally just gotten back into town the night before. I had apparently left the door unlocked. I had all of my deployment belongings in the car, including a laptop w/case that included ALL the digital photos I’d ever taken (this was before I had a smart phone), and a lot of important documents. Some jerk stole everything out of the car. The jerk was never caught.
Selfies and running events…
Felix the Afghani Cat (2009)
During my last deployment in Afghanistan (notice the beginning paragraph trend?), I found a kitten and her mother wandering around our camp. The kitten had a special needs disorder called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), and apparently the only kitten of the litter that had survived. LONG, amazing story short – I was able to get Felix back to the States, and used Bessie to go pick her up in Arlington, Virginia. It was a BIG moment in my life.
Please read more about CH and Felix’s amazing story here, in an article written by the amazing Ellen Piligian, for People Magazine Pets.
Got poop? (2010)
A guy I dated – let’s call him George – had just come back from an overseas deployment and came to visit me. We went out to dinner and were going to go to a haunted house afterwards; I think it was one of his first going-out dinners back in the States. On the way to the haunted house, George lets me know that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to use the bathroom. There was a Walmart a couple miles down the road, so I was going to stop there. All of a sudden, George yells at me, “Pull over! PULL OVER!” So I pulled over on the side of the road where there was nothing but dark, North Carolina woods. He then yells, “UNLOCK THE DOOR! UNLOCK IT!”as he was pulling on the door handle; I think he must have locked the door with his arm during the frenzy. Well friends, he didn’t get the door open in time before he pooped himself – inside the car. He jumps out of the car, taking everything with him (“it” remained secured inside his draws), and disappears into the dark woods. Many minutes later, I look in the passenger side mirror and see George standing there, stark naked, with his hands in front of his “area”. He had stripped off all of his clothes. He comes up to the door and asks if I have anything he can wrap around himself. I had just moved and had a bunch of packing paper in the back. He wraps it around himself and gets in the backseat. I took him home with the windows rolled down. The next day, he went back to the woods to get the expensive jeans he had soiled. Y’all, I’m not creative enough to make this stuff up.
Fire Ants (2012)
William and I went to the beach and stayed with his parents in a beach house for a week, located at Figure 8 Island – near Wrightsville Beach, NC. They rent the same house every year for the week of July 4th, and have been doing so since William was a kid. We drove Bessie there and just kept her parked in the driveway – not driving the whole time. When we left at the end of the week, we noticed a few ants crawling around here and there. That’s weird. Moments later, we realized they were EVERYWHERE! We lifted up the rear seats, and…. INFESTATION!!!! Seeing that many fire ants crawling around was just awful! I obviously had to do a deep clean and eventually got them all out. EEEK!
This was the day we picked up little Gwenie Poo (2016)
Road Trips Across the Country (2007, 2013, 2016)
Arizona 2007: I had to attend a military course in Arizona and just a few months after buying Bessie, I was off from North Carolina to Arizona! It was a great trip and I ended up getting her first oil change while I was out there.
I got to run in some sweet races in AZ!
Colorado 2013: William got a job in Colorado so we moved away from North Carolina. Since we both had vehicles, we had to drive separately. I had Felix and Gus with me, and they meowed a majority of the way there! They still did much better than I expected so it could have been worse!
Getting to Colorado / Bessie with a snowhawk
Parked in the garage of our first home
Anniversary Road Trip to the Grand Canyon 2016: We decided to go to the Grand Canyon for our second wedding anniversary. Sweet Felix passed away the day before we were supposed to leave, so it was a much needed trip. We started off in Moab, UT where we camped with cows. From there, we traveled to Flagstaff, AZ, then up to the Grand Canyon. After a decent hike, we went back down to Flagstaff, then to Santa Fe, NM. We then came back up through the south past Taos, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs. We spent a lot of the five days driving, but we saw some amazing places. Almost 10 year old Bessie handled it like a champ.
Camping in Moab / The Grand Canyon
Camping and 14er hiking: Bessie has taken us to many outdoor adventures here in Colorado. Even though she isn’t 4×4, she can get around pretty well!
Waiting out the rain in Crested Butte
A make-shift Uhaul AirBnB in Salida
We hiked our first 14er (Grays Peak) two days after moving to CO
Other random Bessie facts:
I once swiftly backed up into a light pole, bending the step on the back bumper.
I was rear-ended by a chick on her cell phone while stopped in traffic. Bessie was unharmed but the girl’s bumper was dented.
I was once again rear-ended while sitting parked in a parking space. No harm done.
The above facts all happened within a few months time!
Before the gas gauge was recalled, I ran out of gas at a stoplight, on a hill. Only time she every ran out of gas.
I use to stop and rescue box turtles in the middle of the road, when I lived in NC.
No really, I did!
It may seems silly to some – to write a story about a big hunk of metal and plastic, but it’s the reliability and memories that have me writing this. Bessie is not a person, but she is my friend. She will forever hold a place in my heart and my memories. Bessie, thank you for always getting me from Point A to Point B-Z, safely.
To celebrate her life (and lighten the mood), I will leave you with my Nissan version of the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed:
This is my Nissan. There are many like her, but this one is mine. She is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my Nissan is useless. Without my Nissan, I am useless. I must drive my Nissan true. I must drive straighter than the other driver who is beside me. I must avoid him before he hits me. I will. (Doh!) My Nissan and I know that what counts in driving is not the gas we burn, the noise of our horn, or the exhaust we make. We know that it is the MPGs that count. We will efficiently hit.
My Nissan is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its lights and its tires. I will keep my Nissan clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.
Before God I swear this creed. My Nissan and I are the defenders of my ability to now parallel park. We are the masters of our road. (Doh!) We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no person who doesn’t use their turn signal.