A few years back I wrote a tribute to our 1994 Ford F250, when it 'retired' from it's position as the 'NorthWapiti Dog Truck'.
I remember Mark placing the order with Ford for it years ago and how proud he was when he pulled into the yard with that shiny blue truck.
I remember how mad he got at me the time we had a little 'sled dog emergency' and I threw an entire 8 dog team into the cab (I opened the drivers window and just kept throwing them in). I remember the box being cut off and the bright, white 20 dog box that was mounted onto the back of it. Eventually that got remodeled into a red dog box (with maple leave cutouts) and the truck got a black paint job.
That truck has seen a lot of change and a lot of mileage in it's 16 years. It's journey to Alaska numerous times, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho and a whole bunch of places along the way. This morning when I looked the odometer read over 319,000km.
Since it's retirement a few years back it has hung around hauling loads of dog food into the yard and loads of garbage to the Perryvale dump - but with each passing month it has become alittle more tired and alittle less reliable.
Our insurance renewal is coming up next week and we finally made the decision that it was time to put the 'old man' out to pasture. This morning Colleen (who is out visiting for a few days) and I hopped in to take it for it's last trip to the dump.
With my breath held I turned the key and it roared to life with no hesitation or sputtering. As we were motoring down Highway 2, I was wondering why it was we had decided the truck was done - as it was running smoothly and happily. Colleen later confessed she was thinking the same thing.
We got to the dump and got all our garbage unloaded. I didn't shut the truck off, as I've learned better (the hard way!) and we ran quickly into Perryvale before heading for home. As I passed the front of the truck on the way into the store I noticed a fair amount of fluid dripping out of it. I just looked the other way.
As we were climbing out of the valley back to the highway I felt the truck lose a bit of guts. Colleen and I exchange a worried glance but the old man sputtered and caught, then hauled up the hill. When I stopped at the stop sign before turning onto the highway the truck bucked and stalled.
Steam billowed from under the hood, so we popped it and let stuff cool down. We read a Cabelas magazine, chatted with a kind local to stopped to make sure all was well, made a few phone calls and laughed a fair bit before the engine again roared to life.
This time though it was obvious we were running on borrowed time. There was knocking noises, smoke billowing behind us, a barrage of smells drifting into the cab and a serious lack of guts - but I still managed to get it up to highway speeds. And then we used the tried and true method of engine 'repair' employed by many women - we put a old rock tape in the tape deck and cranked the volume.
However, no matter how loud the music, when I slowed down to make the corner onto our road off the highway, we stalled. Sweet truck it is, it just cleared the highway before it stopped moving.
We killed about 20 minutes gratefully declining offers of assistance before deciding to just walk the mile down to the house. A couple hours later we drove back up and the truck roared to life on the first try. It rolled into it's parking spot beside it's younger, bigger replacement and with a grateful sigh the engine died.
They tell me that the flat deck is probably worth more then the rest of the truck and Mark has had a few offers on it, so it's will head out of here to be taken apart sometimes in the future, but it has made it's last trip for us.
It owes us nothing, it more then hauled it's share over the years.
It was a good truck!