Car #14: November 1, 2008 - November, 2013
1998 Nissan Pathfinder


UPDATE 3/25/2009: Back in November 2008, I realized I wasn't going to be able to trek the icy tundras of Connecticut in a Corvette and live to tell the tale, so with the help of a $1,000 loan from my dear, concerned mother, and a few more grand from some really evil bastards at the Chase Credit Card corporation, I acquired this shiny brown vessel of good thinkin', Abe Lincoln. OK, so I can't claim too many smarts here. Just because my Vette-rokkin' ass got a winter ride doesn't mean MENSA is going to come knocking on my condo door tomorrow. No, it's kind of like eating a rice cake after eating a REAL cake, and calling yourself awesome for not having had two real cakes instead. Follow me?

It's all beside the point anyway, because after having taken this truck through the tidy-whitey, poorly-plowed towns of Torrington & Burlington back & forth to work all winter, I can tell you I may as well have driven the damn Corvette, with freshly waxed snowboards duct taped to the tires. A four-by-four is fantastic winter driving, but if your tires are made out of greasy cheese, you'll just be slide-by-fouring. Nothing's more embarrassing than being stuck in the snow REGARDLESS of driving a 4x4. At least in the Corvette I'd have had an excuse, ya know? Anyway, yeah... I've fishtailed in this thing since the day the first flake fell, and one day I even came about TWO INCHES AWAY from sliding right into a Mercedes while pulling into a gas station parking lot. It's really only a matter of time before I have some very juicy damages to report here.

UPDATE 11/19/2011: This is a late update, but owing to the greatness of this vehicle, an amendment is sorely needed.

In July of 2009 Myrtle was taken on a cross-country road trip spanning three weeks, five National Parks, and what became 8,800 miles in total, traversing almost half of all 50 states. I honestly didn't give a shit if the old bomber even survived; I just wanted to see some good country. But my affection and admiration for the truck grew with each mile. Myrtle was charged with trekking through blazing hot, remote Montana desolation, up & down the Rockies, through the Redwood Forest, across the majestic Candy Mountain where unicorns fear to tread, etc., etc.

Thankfully, she proved thoroughly road-worthy. When we left, she was gobbling about 18 MPG per day. As we returned, it was averaging above 20. Now, I'm sure this isn't because of anything more mystical than the hills & roads we were traversing, and our collective abilities to drive without hammering 4000 RPMs up hills with the cruise control on. Still, it just smacks of real character for Myrtle.

And her patience was uncanny, too. After hundred-mile climbs in 95-degree heatwaves, her temp gauge never strayed from the middle of the safety zone. The only time we almost overheated was while parked in some highway construction gridlock while blasting the air conditioning. We shut it off for three minutes and Myrtle cooled right back down to normal. Not bad for an old lady.

This truck carried two people, along with a guitar, a keyboard, two sleeping bags, and a cooler full of alcohol and hot dogs, all across this massive country without complaining once. Every would-be blemish on her record was caused by the dumbasses charged with her care. This truck put the "rusty" in "trusty" and to this day I am impressed daily by her stamina.

Who would have thought such an innocuous vehicle could turn out to be my favorite? After all the fireballs of testicular girth I allowed to devour my bank accounts? This shoebox... this very, very... BROWN contraption, has bored itself so deeply into my heart that I can safely say she shall be the first motorized companion for whom I weep when she drives off into her sunset someday.

West we went from Connecticut that summer, through Chicago and Minneapolis to Devil's Tower, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and finally our first left turn in Seattle. Along the coast Myrtle hastened us until our second left in San Francisco, and then after a bear-cluttered night, Las Vegas. She took us through Zion before finally heading back east 500 miles per day for our final 4-day haul back home. Myrtle had an oil change among California Redwoods, a second change upon returning home, and a grill full of gigantic grasshopper guts for dessert, and she gratefully gobbled it down with a grin. It's been another 50,000 miles since then as I write this update, and she's still smiling, partly because we brushed her teeth when we got home:

UPDATE 3/22/2017: Myrtle was sold in 2013 for only $600! I had been convinced that the engine "wouldn't make it one more winter" by the mechanic who ended up "doing me a favor" by "taking it off my hands." But the word was, Myrtle lasted a few more winters after all and was the mechanic's daily driver for years; I had been duped. A depressing end to an otherwise inspirational tale of true vehicular gumption.

DAMAGE INFLICTED: Carbon build-up in the engine (but not as bad as I was led to believe), hordes of locusts.

Copyright (c) 2009, 2011, 2017 David C. Lovelace