May 12 2004

[b]Lines from Lucy[/b]

Posted by Kim
Downsizing vehicles
by Lucy Halverson

When we were first married, we lived 1-mile south and about 1-mile west of Kennebec. The rental farmhouse wasn't exactly out in the middle of nowhere, but the couple of miles of gravel road was some of the worst in the area and probably still is 27 years later.
We fought snowdrifts and mud all winter and spring. By August of 1977, with summer ending and winter weather approaching, the thought of those bad roads sent us to the auto dealership were we traded my husband's sporty Ford Mustang for a 4-wheel drive 1973 Chevy Blazer.

Since we only had to drive a few miles to get to town, the fact that the Blazer only got about 4 miles to the gallon of gas wasn't a big deal. Plus, regular gas sold for a mere .55 to .60 per gal. in 1977. We plowed down that dirt road, which only posed as a gravel road, all winter and spring leaving deep ruts in our wake.

But, then our life took a different turn and we loaded up and moved north to Brookings, where pavement replaced dirt roads but the need for plowing deep snow was still present. That 4-wheel drive came in handy as many times we were the only ones able to get out of the parking lot following a South Dakota snowstorm.

The gas hike of 1980 put a halt to driving our gas guzzler. As college students, money was tight and the luxury of buying gas at $1.10 to $1.20 was beyond our means. We traded our Blazer for a 1974 Datsun 260Z. We may have saved money on gas but it was a major adjustment going from a 6-passenger vehicle to a 2-seater hatchback.

With any luck the statue of limitations has expired on child endangerment charges, with just 2 seats, the Datsun wasn't exactly a family car. There was no room for a car seat. Our 3-year daughter thought it was great fun to sit on the hump between the bucket seats or ride in the storage area behind the seats.

A gallon of gas in that Datsun went a long way on those 200 plus mile trips back home to Lyman County. We couldn't bring much luggage however, especially at Christmas time when room had to be allotted for gifts.

We're thankfully our daughter survived those years and never suffered any long term effects from riding unprotected on the hump or bent over in the hatchback.

Information from the Federal Government's Energy Information Administration indicates that based on inflation gas prices of $1.19 in 1980 would be the equivalent of $2.09 today, which isn't too far off the local pump price this week of $1.99.

The last time we saw that 1974 Datsun 260Z it was sitting in a back alley in Winner, SD. With a bit of luck, gas prices will stop climbing and maybe even start going down and we won't need it back!

Theme by Xen