When I think about the cars my family had growing up, it's weird. I never think of the shitty Accord that I drove in high school. I don't think of the station wagons that carted around my 4 siblings and I. It always comes back to the 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser that my dad drove for 15 years or so.
It was in that truck that I spent the most time of any vehicle of my life. I saw it go from the new family truckster to the car that my siblings and I learned how to drive stick on, to the kids' shared vehicle, and then back to my dad as a work truck. In the end, it had survived 6 (questionable) drivers and over 600,000 miles. Some of my fondest memories took place in that truck, and I still smile when I see one on the road, which seems to have happened a lot more in Portland than anywhere else.
My dad loved that truck, and even more he loved that people were constantly leaving notes on the windshield asking if they could buy it from him. I had friends that would call me and say "I saw your dad driving in Swarthmore today". It was distinct and it was colorful and clearly said something about the person driving it. I can think of hundreds of drives made in that truck to Maryland. Thousands, even. I can think of sneaking out with my siblings in it. I can remember being forced to learn how to drive stick in it when I was 16 by my father. I miss that truck, and the people I often associate with it.
Yesterday, went off to nearby river for some swimming. It was a great time, but the entire ride there and back -in a startlingly similar model Land Cruiser (one year later, automatic transmission, same color and interior)- was one of the most surreal experiences I've had in a very long time. and as if to seal the feeling, there was a dog curled up next to me in the back seat. If it was a black lab, I could've taken pictures that would be virtually indistinguishable from ones I took 17 years ago. So of course I took a bunch of pictures.