257,695 Miles

After the equivalent of 10.4 trips around the equator (what a road!) I cleaned out my twenty-year-old pickup truck on Monday—there weren’t any long-lost treasures in the glove box—drove it to my mechanic’s place, and parked it. He’s taking it in trade for work on my new Toyota, this one ten years old. Recycling.

I was surprised how strong my emotions were as I drove it away from the house a last time. It’s only a truck, after all, an assemblage of inanimate, interconnected parts.

An easy explanation for my feelings: while there’s no doubt my truck was more faithful than many people in the news lately, the brief-yet-real regret (sadness?) I felt leaving it was because of the memories attached to all those miles. They all came back at once, too much for a head (and heart) to consider at a single sitting.

When I stopped by the garage yesterday the truck was out of sight, and I didn’t give it a thought. My recovery period is complete, short and sweet, and I can now enjoy driving the 4Runner. It’s smaller and more maneuverable than the pickup, perfect for the narrow dirt roads of eastern Oregon, the sandy red tracks in Arizona and Utah. It will get me to new places, new pictures.

As I changed automobiles I also rearranged my camera equipment. Gone to another good home are The Brick (Canon 1Ds) and its lighter companion, a 40D. Like the pickup, I’d come to a realization that I simply didn’t want to drive them any more, though both did the work I asked of them. So I doubled up and now use a pair of 5Ds—more oldies-but-goodies. They’re light and remind me of that long-ago Minolta SRT that was my introduction to photography.

I also sold a seldom-used lens and came close to letting another go. It’s important to consider not only how often you use something but also how important it is when you do, and whether a replacement is practical or affordable. I don’t shoot many wide-angle photos so the 17-40mm zoom isn’t getting used frequently—maybe I should sell it and buy a 35mm, a good compromise. But then again…

I do enjoy seeing the brown truck coming up the drive.

Delivery truck coming up 'round the bend
Beep, beep, beep, just backing in
Sign here and here and here again
'Cause it's no money down no payments till
Your whole place is cram packed filled with

Lyrics from Stuff, written by Kelly Garrett and Tim Owens


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