Our Odyssey van was 14 years old and had over 150,000 miles on her. We'd replaced the transmission, the timing belt, the engine mounts, and 2 sets of tires over the years, along with all the routine maintenance.
But we were starting to learn the names of all the AAA guys in town.
Tow truck rides were becoming more frequent. Yes, it was time to consider upgrading to a more reliable family vehicle.
Once upon a time she was new. Back in late 1999 the 2000 Odyssey appeared with a full-minivan body (previous models were more like a station wagon), and were the hottest family vehicle on the market. Demand was so high that we had our name on waiting lists at all the dealerships within 100 miles. After a 2 month wait, a call came in December that a dealership 90 miles away had a shipment, and we had to come quickly if we wanted one. I was stuck at work, so my husband and his brother-in-law headed out to get it. It was an easy sale for the salesman, no work at all. If we didn't pay the asking price (above list), there were plenty of others waiting on the list who would. Unfortunately my husband got the "base model," the one where you had to insert the key to unlock the door, manually open the doors, etc. During the years to come when I was juggling two babies and bags of groceries in busy parking lots I would have really appreciated keyless entry, no matter what the cost. That was my only regret about the purchase (other than paying full price).
Mall parking garage
On the street outside the elementary school
I've never been one to follow trends or fashions (the proof is in my hairstyle and wardrobe, which have been the same for 30 years), but suddenly I found myself surrounded by people who'd made the same vehicle choice as I had, and it wasn't like I was living in Cuba with a limited selection. What surprised me the most was that everyone from welfare moms to Microsoft millionaires seemed to be driving them.
Oddy took many trips to the grocery store
There were more than a dozen trips to various hospitals, with A getting the frequent flier award in that category.
The cavernous cargo space transported bird feeders to the nursing home (volunteer project I led).
And then there was Girl Scout Cookie delivery time... (5 years in a row)
It carried a few Christmas Trees home over the years.
It helped with many a friends' moves, and hauled lots of furniture, including new beds and mattresses from IKEA.
There was room for Grammy's giant wheelchair and hiking sticks for the younger set, and still room to seat 7.
Sometimes we ditched Oddy at transit stations and rode away on rails or buses, when we could have driven instead. Just for fun.
I loved having a vehicle that could transport my own kids plus several others. It was especially handy when visitors came from far away...
Friends from England
Friends from Peru
A friend from Switzerland
More neighborhood kids...
This photo was taken on the hottest day in Seattle history (106 degrees!), at 11:00 at night, in my mom's neighborhood. The power had gone out, so people started gathering in my van to partake of the air conditioning in the van. Pictured here in just a bathing suit is my mom's 70-something-year-old neighbor!
Here is our adopted great-grandma Charlotte, who lived in a nursing home. We loved to "check her out" for the day and take her with us on adventures and day trips.
The Oddy was our home away from home. In the early years the girls could stand up in it.
Many hours of napping took place within.
There were backseat picnics on the way to snow-shoeing in the mountains...
In the later years it became a place to do homework on the way to volunteering or Girl Scouts.
There was winter driving...
And then there was winter driving with chains on the tires...
And days of no driving at all, like when I had a severe concussion (no driving for 2 weeks), and when the van was completely iced over during a storm.
Oh, look, another Odyssey... no matter where we ventured, other Odysseys were with us.
She took dozens of ferry boat rides.
We went on many road trips with my mom as navigator. (Crossing the 177' high Deception Pass bridge -- don't look down).
When I didn't have a navigator, I used my state-of-the-art GPS unit (a hand drawn map affixed to the dash with a recycled name badge sticker).
The van ferried over 70 foster cats and kittens between the shelter and home. It was also a "quarantine area" when I brought sickly kittens in for tests. It was safer to keep them in the van than to bring them into the clinic and possibly infect other animals with the fatal viruses some of them had.
A few medical procedures happened there.
Floormats and towels covering the seats got bleached, and I learned how to properly disinfect the van afterwards.
Some larger animals came into the van, too, though not fully (thankfully).
Well, Hello there!
The van saw us through 13 camping seasons
It wasn't the best for off-road clearance, but it sure could hold all our gear.
Sometimes it was a real battle to keep everything clean, especially while camping. That yellow round thing in the photo above is a travel potty (essential for girls). We used it for about 8 years. I even used it once in an emergency!
Here the kids decided to swim in mud puddles at the farm. How do I keep this mud from getting all over the inside of the van?
And just because they got older didn't mean they outgrew the puddle jumping urge.
It just means a bigger body = more mud. "Mommy, I'm cold, can we go home now?"
For big messes, like the mud puddle escapades, the girls knew the drill -- I held out a towel beside the van while they stripped, then I wrapped them in the towel and buckled them in. Muddy clothes went in a plastic bag to be dealt with later. I always had towels and sheets on hand for such occasions.
From the beach to the mountains, from Oregon to Canada, we went on many adventures together.
I enjoyed driving the Oddy, and it was part of our family in so many ways. I held on to her for years after many of my neighbors traded up to Lexus SUVs or Cadillac Escalades. I loved having a van, despite the "soccer mom" stereotype. I could haul whole sheets of plywood, mounds of manure, a half-dozen kids, 2,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, big pieces of furniture, multiple bicycles, and much more. If I was going to get rid of my van, I wanted another one.
During one of my busiest work weeks so far, when I was getting up at 4:30am and driving over 100 miles a day on my school bus, my husband found a used 2010 model Odyssey (with keyless entry!) at a nearby dealership. I'd always told him that I wanted to be part of the negotiation process, unlike the last time, so that I'd get the features I really wanted (Fog lights!) at a reasonable price. I did get my fog lights, and was present for some of the negotiation (which lasted 2 days), but I was so tired from work that I wasn't able to fully enjoy the process. Perhaps if I'd been more rested I could have knocked another hundred off the price, but in the end the transaction was satisfactory. The next day while I was at work my husband sold our old Oddy through Craigslist to a Middle Eastern man who was planning to drive it with his wife and kids to California. I didn't even get to say goodbye. I hope she's enjoying her new life with her new family. She certainly served us well.