November 1, 2010
On the day I learned of the demise of my beloved Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon I found these photos on Craigslist.
Four years ago, when I bought the Crashwagon on a Spring Break visit to Chicagoland, I thought it was one of the most ridiculous and fitting purchases I could make. (I'd been considering an El Camino in Jonesville just prior to the wagon.) Seeing this green machine with the Delorean doors made me feel at peace. Roadmaster absurdity lives.
The Crashwagon is kaput, sold to a man who operates Mule Motor Machines (mulepower > horsepower, he says), and left to linger in surprising clarity in my memory.
My memory is suspect, because of, I suspect, the multi-tasking of college and newspaper work. My memory is not blatantly bad, just some sort of selective. I struggle to place life events in their proper year; my retention of novels lags.
But the Roadmaster is pretty clear.
I think one ride most symbolizes the joy it brought me, but in brief, some memories, and you should share some in the comments as well. I remember:
:: riding solo on the Midland Trail in West Virginia, late at night, listening to Circulatory System;
:: horrific windshield icing on a return ride from Grand Rapids;
:: transporting a boxspring and mattress from Karen's (and the dramatic car length measurement);
:: Hull's Drive-In with Katie, Rivy, and spilled popcorn;
:: gathering bugs in the grill between Hillsdale and Toleo;
:: riding our dodgeball team into the Hillsdale Sports Complex (not true, but we should have);
:: escaping Halloween mud in Kinderhook, Mich.;
:: donuts at Uncle Krunkle's;
:: doing donuts at Dollar General;
:: a blown tire nears Athens, Ga.;
:: a pre-marriage rescue by the Dunns in Elkhart;
:: riding with Patrick The Secret to the tri-state marker;
:: Transporting the Midnight Special, The Narrows, and the Ten and Six;
:: Crashwagon cameos in the one-shot juggling videos;
:: Da Roadmaster foo;
:: nearly running out of gas after the Toledo Art Museum;
:: running red lights at night in Detroit;
:: a new hood emblem;
:: a tail light bull skull with glowing eyes;
:: sparks shooting from the U-Haul chain;
:: spilled barbecue sauce I never cleaned (Katie, you win);
:: and clinging to life on a cliff's edge:
The Roadmaster has carried me to and through Chicago, Madison, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Pentwater, Hillsdale, Toledo, Ann Arbor, Arcadia, Cleveland, Detroit, and Windsor; Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Boston, Charleston, Charleston, Greensboro, Hickory, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Columbia, Nashville, and DC; Athens, Atlanta, Athens, Asheville, Lexington, and Lousiville.
But the ride I really think about was a dreary nighttime jaunt to Ann Arbor. We packed 'er to the gills -- 9 riding in 9 seats, I think -- to see the Dirtbombs (right?) It was rainy, Route 12 (beloved Route 12!) was wet, and east we went. That's why I bought that car, so we could all ride together -- to flea markets, to boat rides, to rock shows, and home.