Keh-li MissBeadle turns 10/100K
I’ve had Keh-li for 8 years now. I purchased her at age two and she’s still going strong at age 10. I change her oil regularly, and rotate her tires not as regularly, plus try to keep up with scheduled maintenance. She had a little over 5,000 miles when I bought her, ridiculously low mileage for a two year old car, and that was part of the selling point for me.
She had big tires to fill–I’d driven my Subaru wagon, Snow Bitch, for 18 years and was reluctant to give her up. Snow Bitch still started up and ran well, and could still climb the hill to my house on an icy winter day like nobody’s business, but due to her age and various small infirmities, I was at the point where I didn’t trust her for drives over 30 miles (the limit I felt reasonable to call for a friend to come help if she broke down). And then there was the crunched rear hatch from the rear end collision. I’d stopped to make a left turn, with my turn signal on, the guy behind me stopped, waiting for me to turn so he could continue, but the woman behind him was out to lunch and slammed into him without even tapping her brakes. The poor guy tried to avoid my car but he ended up being a bit of a sandwich. The woman said his brake lights weren’t on (it was broad daylight) so she didn’t realize he had stopped. Huh? So you don’t stop for stationary objects in the road? But I digress. Fortunately the dogs weren’t hurt, nor was I (because of the guy’s actions to minimize the impact to me) but Snow Bitch was totaled. I think I got $1,600 for her from the sympathetic claims adjuster (I’d never realized that if the cost to repair was more than the value of the car, you got the car’s value–that sucks). And I drove her for two more years. All I needed was a missing tooth and some primer paint on one door and I would have been a cliche!
So I went car shopping and found Keh-li at the Honda dealer. The salesman was slick–I can’t remember the exact scenario, but remember feeling like I was hoodwinked on the price. Perhaps I misunderstood. I tried to back out, but the dealership was closing and I’d have to wait until the next day to get my cash deposit back…or go forward with the deal. With barely contained tears I signed on the dotted line, feeling naive and abused. But Keh-li and her almost six years of car payments was mine.
It took me a while to get used to her, and to name her. She’s green, not exactly kelly green (more like forest green, but you NEVER name machines male names if you want them to last, so Forest was out), but close enough. With her Japanese heritage, I changed up the spelling a bit. She sat in the driveway next to Snow Bitch, looking shiny and new. When I drove her I nearly put myself through the windshield, her brakes were so good compared to Snow Bitch’s old pump-them-when-you-need-to-brake-hard, to the floor brakes. And the clutch was tough to get used to after Snow Bitch’s loose and slippery clutch. Keh-li’s clutch was tight and “sticky” in comparison and it took me two years to get used to it.
After I had her for a while I added the MissBeadle to her name. It just popped into my head one summer evening after I washed her and she was all showroom clean in the evening light, the water beading on her hood like a car wax ad. Keh-li MissBeadle it’s been ever since. And I puzzled for a long time over the model name – CRV. What the heck does that stand for? Does anyone know? Then I realized, as I took the dogs for a drive one day…CuteRottweilerVehicle. Duh!! When I snapped this picture it proved it!
I drove her for five years and still missed Snow Bitch. Though Keh-li was 16 years newer, some of the features on Snow Bitch were superior. But Keh-li was reliable and zippy — great for a speed demon like me (except when the dogs are with me, then it’s granny driving) — with twice the horsepower of SnowBitch. It wasn’t until a snowstorm hit right at rush hour a couple of years ago that I finally bonded for real. I left work a little after 5:00 to find gridlock on all roads surrounding the office. The roads were bare and wet there, so I was a little frustrated at the “idiot drivers” and their reaction to a few snowflakes. I realized the freeway wasn’t an option–just getting to it was an impossibility–so I took side road after side road, winding my way across town like one of those maze puzzles, trying to get to the lake road and hoping I could make it. The further out I got, the more accumulation there was until finally, as I descended the steep hill to the lake, the road was covered with slick snow and ice, and lots of fresh snow still coming down. There were cars littering the roadside, where others had abandoned the descent midway down. Keh-li just kept chugging along, with barely a slip, my knuckles white as they gripped the wheel.
We made it to the lake road, where a long line of cars poked along. At least they were moving. We got in line and poked along with them. The hours ticked by. The dogs were home and waiting for me, confined the entire day, and I was getting anxious. We got into town and it looked like we were home free–the snow was deep but I didn’t see anyone on the road…until I turned the corner. Another two-mile back up. We poked along and made it through the intersection that seemed to be causing the problem. I drove as fast as I could and got to the bottom of my hill. Here was the final challenge. The hill was one mile long, steep, and windy, with several hairpin turns and slopes that approached 45 degrees in places. Did I park her at the bottom and trudge up the hill on foot like everyone else seemed to have done, or did I go for it? I wouldn’t have hesitated with the Snow Bitch, but I wasn’t sure with Keh-li. Figuring I’d never know unless I tried, I put her in first gear and started up the hill. I think she was as eager to make it to her driveway as I was, and she took the hill like a champion. I burst into tears as we crested the hill and turned onto our road. I was almost home to my babies. We’d made it. It was three hours of traffic hell, but we made it. I haven’t missed Snow Bitch since.
We just rolled over to 100,000 miles last weekend. I took a short trip over Snoqualmie Pass on Sunday afternoon–the thought of rolling over 100K midweek while commuting to work just didn’t sit well. We were just coming into Cle Elum when she ticked over. A beautiful afternoon.