Remember the Gilligan’s Island theme song? When the series first started, the song introduced all of the characters and then ended with “and the rest”, leaving out the Professor and Mary Ann. After the first season, the musical people at CBS finally figured out how to incorporate “The Professor and Mary Ann” into the diddy without ruining its melodic genius. I have to guess that the Professor and Mary Ann (a University of Washington alumni, bee tee dubs) were complaining to their agents about this snub. I am taking the Gilligan’s Island season one lazy route with this post and titling it “And the Rest”. It is a brief glance at the rest of the cars in our arsenal.
2007 Ford Expedition
We acquired the Expedition new. At the time, we had four kids, only one of whom had a driver’s license (we still have four kids, but three of them now drive), and four dogs, none of whom had a driver’s license (though the oldest dog will be eligible in a couple of years. She’s the only dog I would ever allow to drive. The French Bulldog’s road rage would get him arrested before he left our block and the Great Pyrenees would drive so slow that blue hairs would be honking at him to get out of the way). We needed a vehicle that could carry some kids and some dogs and that wasn’t a mini van.
The Expedition has the 5.3 liter V8, making 300 horsepower. It’s been a remarkably good vehicle. The only major failure the car has experienced is when the air suspension failed. The back end started riding low, the front end was up in the air and the ride was jarring. So as to make it look as I intended this, I rolled the window down, reclined the seat back, rested my elbow out the door and blared “Lowrider”. It was a moment.
We’ve taken the Expedition on many family expeditions. It’s made several trips from Seattle to Idaho with all the kids on board, the Great Pyrenees (we had two when we got the car) have spent much time in the back trying to stay on their feet, it’s the vehicle that we take to get up and down our hill when it snows and we’ve put almost 130,000 miles on it. It is my daily driver and though it’s by no means an enthusiast car, it’s been a workhorse and a very useful tool.
2011 Audi Q5 S Line
This is my wife’s car. After years of switching cars when she had to drive car pool for our daughter’s sports, it dawned on her (ok, it dawned on me. She’d been hinting she needed a car with more seats for years) that we needed something to replace her Boxster S. She tossed around the idea of a Maserati Quattroporte, but really wanted a Range Rover. I countered with the argument that Range Rovers are very expensive, unreliable and pricey to fix.
Range Rover people, by the way, are very touchy about this. If you bring up reliability with a Rovey (is that what they call them? No? That’s what I’m calling them) they will tell you that you are clearly not cut out to be a Range Rover owner. “It is a high performance luxury SUV that requires lots of money and attention”, they say, “and if you are not willing to forego driving it for six months every year while it is in for repairs, then you are not worthy and you should just go buy a Bronco.”
We didn’t buy a Bronco, but I did manage to talk her into an Audi Q5, which we purchased in March 2014. It came with 15,000 miles on the odometer, a 3.2 liter V6, flappy paddle shifters, AWD, 20″ wheels and pretty much every option available. The outside mirrors blink when there is someone in my blind spot and when parking, it beeps at me for no apparent reason.
2010 Ford Fusion SE
In March 2015 we bought a 2010 Ford Fusion SE for our second oldest kid (to whom I shall refer as “Beta Kid”). He isn’t a car enthusiast, but does appreciate comfort. When shopping for a car, he didn’t need to drive the car, he just needed to lounge in the driver’s seat for ten minutes. You could bolt a Lazy Boy into a 1993 Kia Sephia, and this would be his dream car. His one and only technical consideration is mpg, so I needed to find something that got decent gas mileage.
The Fusion came with a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine producing 175 hp, which isn’t too shabby. When I was his age (mid ’80s) a car of this ilk would have produced 95 hp and rattled like a can of quarters. This is a solid car and most important to my wife, we aren’t embarrassed to have it parked in front of our house.
2002 Nissan XTerra
I don’t actually have a picture of the 2002 Nissan XTerra, but the above XTerra is the one that was replaced. The Nissan is driven by the oldest kid (AlphaKid). AlphaKid likes to fish, hunt and do other things that might require one to leave the comfort of paved roads. He has also been known to pull a stranded motorist’s car out of a ditch when snow and ice combine to wreak havoc (tips accepted).
While driving home one night, a crazy woman in some sort of Korean car stopped at a stop sign waiting for traffic to clear. As AlphaKid’s XTerra approached, (I’m speculating here), she thought, “Wait, don’t Japan and Korea have some sort of rivalry? I’ll show that arrogant bastard in a 2003 XTerra that he’s my bitch and set my (Hyundai? Kia? Who buys this crap?) to ramming speed. And she ran into the side of the XTerra, causing it to leak and look like it was part of a smash-up derby.
I went out and bought the 5-speed 2002 XTerra to replace the 2003. It had far fewer miles on it, was in much better condition and was a better driver with the manual transmission. I’ve driven the car once – on the test drive, so I know very little about it other than it’s been very reliable.