Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sitting on a Park Bench

Yesterday I took the Jeep in for repair work— we're reaching the stage of the inevitable several hundred dollars you have to pour into any used vehicle soon after you buy it— and I ended up sitting on a park bench in downtown New Albin. Sat there watching the traffic go by, passing through town on Highway 26.

The passing cavalcade confirmed my impression of recent years that the traditional car is now in the minority among vehicles on the road. At least in these parts, the most common vehicle is now the pickup, almost matched in numbers by the SUV. These two categories together add up to a solid majority of the vehicles I saw go by.

Of course there were also a good number of cars going by— almost all of them what I once would have thought of as "compact" or even "subcompact." There's still an occasional full-sized "big" car— what in the old days I would've thought of as a "normal" sized car— but nowadays mighty few of them.

Lots of semis and other big trucks going by. A few milk trucks. Other gigantic vehicles, hard to describe, though they might be agricultural in intent.

And several vans, two motorcycles, one Volkswagen, one station wagon, and one Hummer. By their vehicles you shall know them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night one of my single friends called me. She's fascinated and tempted by the new Honda that gets 50+ miles per gallon. Sometime in the next 16 months, I'll most likely be needing a vehicle. She REALLY thinks everyone, including me, needs one of those.

Consider that. Me. Husband. FOUR kids. Occassionally two golden retrievers, in emergency situations. Oh, yeah. I need the tiny new Honda!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Yeah, I'm always amazed by people who think that the main (indeed, only) consideration with cars should be whether they get good gas mileage.

I myself live on a gravel road, far out into the countryside, miles from the nearest small town. Moreoever, this corner of Iowa bears no resemblance to the stereotype of Iowa landscape: I live amidst bluffs and hollows, valleys and what I'm almost tempted to call mountains. And the gravel roads out here are winding, curving, often steep, as they twist in and out across this rugged terrain. In my work, I have to be ready to go, ready to respond to an emergency call, no matter what the weather, no matter what the driving conditions, at any hour of the day or night.

Let's put it this way: when I first moved here, I had a wimpy little Buick. That first winter, I discovered that the Buick was just not up to the job. If I'm going to get around out here, especially in bad driving weather, I need something rugged and sturdy, with four wheel drive and a high wheelbase. In other words, I need an SUV, a pickup, or something very much like that.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 8:54:00 AM  

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