Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Beast

We are on a constant lookout for rock. We've been known to spot rocks from the road and return on early Sunday morning when traffic is low to pick up an especially fine specimen. Once, we spotted a rounded red rock and did our Sunday routine only to find that it was so big and rounded that there were no good handholds or purchases. I thougth we would have to go back to pick up some lumber to make some kind or ramp so we could roll the rock into the van. Luckily we had a milk carton, the strong commercial oversized kind, managed to roll the rock into it and two of us barely lifted it using the handles, ooooh my aching back. Now we always keep a milk carton in the "Beast" just in case.

The beast is our 1989 Dodge Caravan. We've kept it around to do all the hauling for our gardening/landscaping. But it's starting to fail. No doubt because of the very hard work we've been subjecting it to recently. It barely passed the nox emission test by 1 point out of the 200 some odd (if I remember correctly) points allowed. In the past two years we've made over a hundred 5 mile trips of fully loaded, suspension down to the stops pick ups of free mulch from the municipal composting center.

This past year I read that the township was building a road nearby. Aha! a light went on in my dim brain, rocks! Sure enough after a scouting trip by bicycle to do a slow and thorough reconnoiter, we hit the motherload. Thereafter we did more than 35 trips of down to the suspension loads of rocks. We have piles of rocks stockpiled in several places after those trips, using many to create borders, stepping stones and rimming the pond. We probably provide much amusement (or disdain) to our staid neighbors with their perfect professionally manicured lawns. First we tear up a lot of our lawn, then we build berms with hundreds of bags of topsoil, then we haul tons of compost and finally mountains of rocks. Too much.

I had forgotten about the bags of topsoil. That was probably the start of the very heavy loads that the beast has had to haul in the twilight of it's life. Now it groans, creaks and growls, complaining loudly when we have the temerity to start it. The headlining is pulling away from the ceiling sometimes enough to lightly drape my head if I use the sunshade. The wheel wells have cancerous rust and it has hit a deer but not killed it, leaving a dented hood that was never repaired. Took it into the shop because there was a loud grinding noise when braking. Thought it was worn brake pads but was told that a wheel bearing was "going bad", repairs to the tune of $400+ to do both fronts; no thanks. The trasmission slips going from 1st to 2nd and it probably won't pass the next safety inspection so reluctantly we'll donate it next March to a charity for scrap metal.

Such a sad ending for a valiant beast. We will miss it sorely.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ##name##, I've been working on the backyard a few years. We finally added a pond and a waterfall but I am certainly openlandscaping tips to some tips on how to make our backyard look great for this spring and summer.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

Hello, Just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how you have put it all together. I'll be coming back again.

Regards,

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6:01 AM  

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