Last week my brother was at our business getting some new tires on his truck when he said Dad’s van needs a tow from Dad’s house to the shop.
Shortly before noon I drove the flatbed truck over to their home and loaded up the green machine.
The van looks ordinary enough but it is far from ordinary for this reason:
This was a picture of the odometer on Dad’s van when we delivered it back to his home on Sunday after we got it back on the road for him. When I picked the van up on last Tuesday he handed me a piece that had fallen off the motor or so he thought. Also the accessory belt was laying on the front seat of the car. He said when he was picking up his sailboat from the storage area that he heard a loud noise and stopped to check it out when he found the piece that had come off the van. He continued to drive the van home.
After some investigation at our shop my husband determined that the piece had come off the end of the waterpump and that is what he needed to get the van back on the road for Dad. My husband talked to Dad and asked if they should fix the van. My brother thought we ought to take it to the local junkyard. Dad said fix it. So one of our mechanics put on a new waterpump and started filling the radiator with antifreeze and about as fast as he put the antifreeze in, it came out. Apparently when Dad drove it home from the storage area it got a bit hot and the 400, 000 miles radiator burst one of its seams from the heat. The van would need a new radiator.
On a vehicle with that many miles my husband opted to find a used radiator for the van. We had one on a parts vehicle in back with only about 140,000 miles on that radiator for about half the cost of the new radiator so my husband put it on the van, filled it up with antifreeze and we delivered it back to Mom and Dad’s home on Sunday morning.
Dad bought this van from my husband in the late 1990’s, I think it was 1998. Dad could tell you the year but I don’t remember. Dad and Mom are the second owners of the van and Dad loved the van from the beginning because it has a plastic body. It wouldn’t show rust. I’m not saying there isn’t any rust on the vehicle just that you won’t see it on the body but if you look underneath….
When the van hit 100,000 miles Dad was sure to tell us what a good vehicle the van has been. Then it was onto 200,000 miles he let us know it was still hanging in there. Next came 300,000 miles. Dad uses his van daily almost like a truck. He hauls his golf clubs and whatever else he needs for the day. Last summer when he was running for Congress he and my Mom hauled campaign literature and yard signs with them in the back of the van as they dropped literature in the district.
Dad will tell you that the van is still running the original motor but he did have to rebuild one transmission on it and later replace the transmission. It has served him well over the past 14 years or so. The last van that Dad owned didn’t have 400,000 plus miles on it when he quit driving it but it had many awesome trips to exciting places. Dad drove Mom, me and my four brothers and sisters all the way from Minnesota to El Salvador and back in that van one Christmas vacation in 1978.
The odometer read 400209 when we dropped it off on Sunday but its more than that by now and its “On the Road Again” like the old country western song.