Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back when my wife and I were expecting our third child, we decided (and by "we" I mean my wife) that we needed a minivan. It's a sad day in a mans life when he must consider buying a minivan. It's a little known fact that when you buy a minivan the dealers will take your testicles for a downpayment.

In fact, driving a minivan is second only to buying tampons on the emasculation scale. There is no way to look cool driving a minivan, it's impossible. Put George Clooney or Shirtless Matt McConaughey behind the wheel of a Chrysler Town and Country and you've got nothing more than two middle-aged douchebags and a dozen dirty sippy cups.

So I played a little trick on my wife. Here's what you do: She wants a minivan, you don't want a minivan, so you offer a ridiculous alternative. The more rejectable the better. In my case, I suggested that we get an old VW bus instead. I didn't really want a VW bus, but I didn't want a minivan either, so I insisted that a VW bus would be the best choice. I made the most compelling argument I could for it: It wouldn't depreciate, I could fix it myself and save money, any improvements made to it would be money in the bank, etc. . . Then, after arriving at an impasse, I offered a compromise. I casually suggested we consider buying a 1967 Dodge Campwagon van I found on eBay. It was like a VW camper van but with a powerful and reliable water-cooled American V8. She took the bait. My balls were off the hook. I could roll in style and have seats for the kids. It was a victory for my house-brand jedi mind trick.

That's how I got the Campwagon. Unfortunately my victory was short-lived. It has no air conditioning. The poor kids were cooking back there. After seeing their sweaty little red faces I gave in and bought a '99 Ford Windstar. It's like the Ford of minivans. Yep. Pretty sweet.

But on the bright side my wife reminded me that she got the deed to the family jewels on our wedding day anyway, so they were already long-gone. But out of a mixture of pity and having-something-to-hold-over-my-head-laterness, she let me keep the Dodge.

Fast-forward three years: In February I drove the Campwagon to Las Vegas for a scooter rally. On the way back six feet of the tailpipe fell of in the Virgin River Gorge, wires got melted by the hot exhaust and killed my taillights, the fuel gauge went nuts and insisted the tank was totally full all the time, the temperature gauge followed its lead, my heater blew ice-cold, and motor oil began hemorrhaging from every orifice. Adding insult to injury, when I finally pulled into Provo 24 hours later, my brakes went out.

Probably right here I should insert a reminder that I am not normal. In case you were wondering, I'm a little strange. Most people would probably have been pretty discouraged about their vehicle at this point, but I was really excited because I had so much fun camping in the old Dodge that I was motivated by the setbacks to fix it and make it better than ever.

Two months later the Campwagon was all fixed up. I even built a loft in the top so when the roof is raised you can sleep up there. Just in time for the scooter rally in Moab, too.

So with the kids at sitters and our scooters, mountain bikes and gear loaded in the back, my wife and I set out for Moab.

(Stay tuned: this is going to be a trilogy, or maybe even a guadrogy.)


AzĂșcar said...

I'm excited to read the rest of the saga.

Really, we're screwed. I hate big cars, despise them. However, I know that if we have a third or fourth child, we're going to have to get something to fit the family. I don't want a minivan. I don't want an SUV. I'm thinking about a wagon (because the Magnum, while trash and terrible mpg, is delicious.)

I was actually thinking it would be fun to get a small SUV, like the Mazda CX9 and lower it. (I used to drive an F150 and a full size Bronco and I swore to myself I'd never have a car that I had to climb into again.) However, no matter what I drive, I want the best MPG and low emissions--nigh impossible when looking at my current options. Unless I went with the hybrid Ford Freestyle, but that thing is freaking ugly.

~j. said...

I decided I'd be different from everyone around here and drive a white minivan. That's right, if you see a white minivan, that's me in there. Hi, I'm the one in Provo with the white minivan.