Seven years ago I drove away from my small, loving, but stifling home town in my 2004 black Ford Ranger pick-up truck. I was setting sail on a journey in pursuit of adventure, simplicity, and personal growth. The only way that young, uneducated, 17-year-old boy would make it work in the real world would be to ignore materialistic goods and experience raw, dirty, cheap life. I worked hard in the jobs I quickly acquired in my new home of Colorado, but just hard enough to buy time, not things.
What good is time to young, ambitious kid with a wanderlust if he has no means to wander? And so the Ranger become my beloved, my wheels, my wings; the one thing that was more than a thing to me. Before long my climbing and traveling habits transcended the status of Ranger from a vehicle to a home. I lived in the back of ol’ Ranger for five months, climbing to my heart’s content.
We’ve been to hell and back together. Ranger has cruised more miles than a trucker on crack and has been thrashed around the rough, rocky roads of the Utah desert in order to carry me to the places that give me freedom. Even Ranger is subject to the law of impermanence though.
In recent years Ranger has given me another gift, but with an aftertaste of expensive bitterness. Repair and repair has been the trend for the past two years. I’ve done most of the work myself, learning along the way. I always thank Ranger for a new lesson in mechanics, but detest the bills. It’s like a loved one with the end of their life in sight. I’ve thought about trading Ranger in for a new truck multiple times, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. After every repair I feel a sense of gratitude and think, “Fuck it. We’re in it ‘til wheels fall off.”