I was driving toward Viola last Sunday when I noticed the odometer on my Honda Fit was at 190,999. I watched it for the next mile so I could pull over and take a picture of it when it hit 191,000. I didn’t notice when it turned 190,000 and I wanted to document the moment this time.
This is my third Honda. The first was a 1982 Honda Accord I’d bought from a retired school teacher named Donna Rae. It was the first car I’d owned with a manual transmission. I taught myself to drive it on Folly Beach where the streets were good and flat and the speed limit was 25.
I drove that Accord for a few years and loved it. I dropped it off at my mechanic friend Chicago Tim’s shop for new brakes one winter day. He called me as soon as I got back home and told me that I shouldn’t drive it anymore. The car was literally going to break in half soon. Maybe as soon as when I drove it home from his shop. It was always parked near the ocean and the salt air had corroded the frame. I thought of Neil Young singing Rust Never Sleeps.
I’d taken up with a fantastic lady around this time and we’d gotten a basset hound puppy named Ida Mae. The girlfriend was thinking about getting a bigger car to accommodate Ida Mae so I gave her my rusty old Accord to use as a trade-in and a couple of thousand bucks for her 1993 Honda Del Sol. It was a two-seater hardtop convertible and it was a blast to drive. It had a five speed manual transmission and was surprisingly roomy. The trunk was spacious and the seats were very comfortable.
One day the transmission started acting weird in traffic. I was barely able to get it into first gear and it kind of limped the mile and a half back home. The guy at the transmission shop estimated it would cost between $1,100 and $2,600 to repair. I thought about that for a day or two. That’s a pretty big gap between estimates for one thing and that money would go a long way toward buying a new car for another. I drove that car for over 100,000 of the 172,000 miles that were on the odometer the day I traded it in and I enjoyed every mile.
I actually got a little sad when I went to trade that car in on the one I drive today. I started having flashbacks of moments in my life that took place in that car. I glanced over at the passenger seat and there was Ida Mae in the girlfriend’s lap the day we brought her home with us from Edisto on this same stretch of road. I was so mesmerized by the vision that I drove right past the dealership and had to turn around.
I realized recently I’m starting to notice other cars on the highway I might like to have. The one I’m driving’s not getting any younger. Then I feel kind of guilty for thinking of replacing it. There are a lot of great memories in this car, too.
Standard reporter Chris Simones can be reached at 473-2191.