I was newly divorced and this was the first vehicle I bought without help. I felt like an independent woman. Sure, the truck was a purple color (Dodge calls it "amethyst"), but so what? He was mine!
I was driving on the highway when the transmission went out. When this happened, the max speed I could take the truck as 30 mph. It was 11pm when this happened. I had just come off of my nursing shift. I got pulled over by state patrol and was accused of being under the influence. I told the officer I had not been drinking at all, explaining my transmission was failing. He thought I was lying and made me do a field sobriety test. Anyway, after dealing with him, I limped my truck to the nearest exit and parked it.
The next day I paid to have him towed to the Dodge dealership. The transmission had to be replaced. It cost 1200.00 plus tax. Not a good start to truck ownership, huh? Well, after this incident, I was worried that maybe I got a lemon and was fully expecting major repairs to be a regular part of my life now. Not so. That was the only big thing to go wrong with him.
I had just taken up hunting birds and big game. My bad ass Dodge was very much my hunting partner. I've taken that truck on roads some people couldn't walk through. OK, disabled people, but still... Some of the terrain was tough. I've used my four wheel drive both high and low. That truck has always been able to get me out of a jam.
We've gone out of state hunting. I've driven him from Seattle all the way to Jordan Montana through harsh winters three years in a row. I've torn up the beach at Ocean Shores just for the fun of it.
There were times during my ownership that I was not a good truck owner. During those periods, I did not keep up on the oil changes. I remember a time that I thought I really should get the oil changed, taking it into a Jiffy Lube, and the mechanic telling me there wasn't even any oil left in the engine. Still, that Dodge never let me down. He ran strong as an ox. My hunting buddies used to tease me about him being purple. I'd make sure to remind them of that when their trucks were broken down and my good 'ol Dodge continued to run strong.
About 4 1/2 months ago, the brake and ABS light came on. I took my Dodge into Les Schwab and learned that the brakes needed to be replaced. I was told this was normal wear and tear for my truck's age. It cost 358 and some change. The ABS light didn't go out though. They told me it was a bad sensor and would cost another 400 to fix, but the truck was still drivable. I didn't have the money to fix it right then. I've driven all this time with the bad sensor and haven't had any problems with braking. so I guess it's not that big of a deal.
I no longer own this truck, not because it's a bad truck. Far from it. Somewhere along the way, I went from being an independent woman to a stupid little girl who didn't pay her bills on time. Last night, I had to turn my truck over to bankruptcy court. I can't stop crying.
I have so much sentimental memory tied into that truck. That truck saw me through my first white tail deer kill, my first mule deer, my first pheasant hunt. He drove me to all my archery tournaments over the past three years, where I stomped ass and took home title after title after title. I had love's first kiss in that truck. I remember driving up to Alpental in the middle of the night on a whim, laying out in the bed of my truck just to watch shooting stars. I've driven that truck to redding, CA, all over Washington State, Idaho, Montana. I feel like I lost my best friend in the world. Maybe I would feel differently if I had to invest in costly repairs all this time, but that wasn't that case for me. God knows as much as I abused that truck, I deserved it.
On the question that asked if I would buy another Dodge, I marked yes, but the truth is no other Dodge can replace my bad ass. I will never feel the same. I am picking up a '91 Ford Ranger this Thursday for 2600. Yes, it's good to have a vehicle that I won't owe money on, but it will be just a vehicle. My Dodge had personality.
I lost my best friend last night. I highly recommend the Dodge Dakota. If yours runs as strong as mine, fully expect to become overly attached. Don't be stupid like me. Pay your bills on time. I planned on never buying another truck again. At least I have the memories.