The Infamous Durang’…

I bought the Durang’ (2001 Dodge Durango) many, many years ago.  And I actually can’t remember when I bought it.  I know I was still married, and I’ve been away from my ex for a little over 6 years now.  I bet I’ve had it for 10 years.  It was like new when I bought it from the Saturn dealership from their used car section.  Only had one owner.  Had a slight smoke smell inside, but that has since been covered up by kid smell, dog smell, cat smell, puke smell, liquor smell, food smell and jello shot smell.  And probably about ten other smells.

This was the first car that I had ever financed and bought all by myself.  I even went to the dealership by myself and didn’t tell anyone that I was even going to buy a car.  It was a really good feeling, and I would like to say it was a smart purchase, no matter what the haters told me when I bought it.

I have had some things happen in that thing.  Late one night around 11pm when a girlfriend and I were driving home from the airport from one of our many girl trips the car started to stutter and then die.  We were on the freeway, but luckily there wasn’t much traffic.  I got it started again and thought, ok, if I can just get it home then I can deal with it tomorrow.  No luck, it died about five more times.  Finally it died and wouldn’t start again.  As it was taking its last breath I swerved over the construction cones into a construction zone.  I figured that the durang’ would be off the freeway, we would be safe with the construction workers until a tow truck could get us and seriously, some construction workers are nice to look at!  The plan worked.  They ran over to rescue us as I called in a tow truck.  And some of them weren’t bad-looking!  I was also lucky because what had broken in the engine was under some sort of warranty and I got it fixed for free!

A couple of years ago I ran into some bad luck.  And boy did it come in three’s.  First I crashed my quad and hit the ground about 40 miles an hour, bruised ribs, concussion and a messed up elbow.  Then about 4 months later I crashed the durang’ on the pass coming back from my cousin’s house.  Then about 5 more months later we lost a teammate on one of our search and rescue missions I was on.  Not a good stretch of time for me.

The durang’ crash was not good, at least not for the durang’ as I was not injured at all.  despite what everyone thinks, I was NOT texting or talking on the phone when it happened.  I actually had both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2; maybe that’s why I crashed, I was concentrating too much.  It was winter and I made my way over the pass to my cousin’s house for the weekend.  I drove over on a Friday night, really late, and the roads were worse that night then on my attempted drive home on sunday afternoon.

On my way back home Sunday afternoon, the sun was out but there was still a lot of snow on the ground.  It didn’t seem too icy, but I was going under the suggested speed limit by at least 15 MPH.  A truck was tailgating me because of this, but I just ignored him as I drove the speed I felt comfortable going.  as I started around a corner I had taken my foot off the gas to slow down even more, and I hit a patch of black ice.  I slid across the road and ran right up the snow that was piled up and on top of the guard rail.  I rode the guard rail for about 30 feet before I was able to stop.  I truly thought I was going over that cliff.  and so did everyone behind me.  The asshole who was tailgating me sped off once I got the durang’ to stop.  In the car behind him was a really nice couple who gave me their names and numbers saying they would write a statement saying this wasn’t my fault.  They were pretty amped up.  They said when they saw me go up on the guard rail they thought I was going over the cliff too.  It scared them.  They commented on how calm I was.  I told them I am used to these types of things.

A worker with Department of Transportation came along first and let me sit in his truck while we waiting for the state patrol and  tow truck.  Once the baby trooper arrived I sat in the back of his car.  He wouldn’t let me sit in front because of all the stuff piled there.  I told him that at home law enforcement always lets me sit in front.  He wasn’t impressed…darn.  That cost me $180 which I tried to talk him out of giving me, and he thought about it.  But a week later there was a ticket in my mailbox.   That little incident cost me almost $2,000 in car repairs.  And I had to leave it over at my cousins until spring.  My cousin, my aunt and my uncle were so much help during this time.  They were my ride everywhere.  A friend and I took a bus one Saturday morning over the pass to go get the durang’ and we drove it back home that same day.  It is still missing the plastic piece in the front, one of these days I should probably fix that.

Over the years I’ve had other small things go wrong with it, but all in all it’s been a really good vehicle.  It has 4 wheel drive and a tow package.  I have towed all sorts of trailers with that thing.   I’ve even slept in it while glamping before.  A twin mattress fits perfectly in the back when you fold down all the seats.

I have toyed with the idea of buying a new car for my adventures.  But I don’t want to have to deal with a car payment or spend all of my savings on a car.  A friend of mine even suggested I buy a little trailer that I can sleep in, eat in, etc.  It’s not a bad idea and I will definitely be thinking about that this summer.  I could buy an older mini trailer, fix it up and get it stocked and ready for my trip.  Plus, it would be cheaper to sleep in that then to get hotels.  Lots to think about, but oh so much fun to think about!

For those that don’t know, dragons are the protectors of cars and I’ve had a dragon key chain hanging from my rear view mirror for lots of years now.  I’m hoping that dragon will protect the durang’ until I’m done with my united states travels and I can sell it and buy a ticket to Europe!

I hope it lasts but if it doesn’t there are all sorts of modes of transportation out there, like trains, buses, uber and rental cars.  I could even buy a used car somewhere out there and drive that one until it dies too!

And who knows, maybe my future husband will be the one who rescues me as the Durango dies on the side of the road somewhere in this vast country of ours…or I’ll hit my panic button on my SPOT and a hot cop will have to come rescue me.  Both of those scenarios don’t sound so bad do they!

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