Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Mobility can mean a lot of different things to people. I am accustomed to having mobility and being mobile. Since I was 20 years old I have owned at least one car. My first car was a brand new 1984 Honda CRX. It had six miles on the odometer when I first drove it. In four years I put on 143,000+ miles. I drove it across the nation, coast to coast and from LA to Chicago and back. But most of the miles were within 700 miles of home (or about 1126 km). We had a first love type of relationship - and a lot of Eros with the top of line aftermarket suspension from Jackson Racing.

My second "car" was a 1988 Isuzu Trooper. With 114 miles on the odo at delivery, it was a short wheel base model imported only one year. I owned the CRX for a few months and often found myself conflicted about which one to drive to work. However on many weekends, there was no contest as the Trooper took me off the beaten path. Together we enjoyed many a back and desert track. 10 years and 198,000+ miles and we parted. We had a love/hate relationship.

A 1996 Honda Civic was my 3rd car - at delivery it had 12 miles on the odometer. Quite obviously this overlapped for a couple of years with my Trooper. Understated reliability and easy to live with I committed to the long term with this one. It didn't get coast to coast in a single trip until the end. Yet it saw more states than the other two cars combined. It was more powerful than the CRX and was more efficient. It was purchased in Loma Linda and sold 14 years later in Riverside. It was a workhorse and ever a fun car to drive (except on balding tires in rain or snow - which was rare). Sold it with over 213,000 miles after making its sole (soul) cross country journey (with bald tires in rain and snow).

I think I am a Honda guy. We picked up my parents 2001 Accord with 87,000 miles on it. My first drive with it was 2000 miles to South Bend. It had an easy life and was a joy to drive. More dog room in the back and more lugged space, it made taking our 20' long 3-room tent and all our other stuff car camping around the Michiana area. It had a little over 100,000 miles when we sold it.

Mobility. I have had a car since I was 20. That is until we sold the Civic in November of 2009. When I have wanted to go somewhere a trusty steed was always available (except for the "hate" part of the Trooper - which was short lived).

I now live in Cameroon. Cameroonians are VERY mobile. At least the ones I know. They go to Limbe, Douala, Bamenda, and dozens of other places regularly via the available methods of mobility.

Now, Trixy and I do a lot of walking around our quarter and nearby quarters (neighborhoods). We will walk to Beno Bakery (a tad over a mile each way), or to the Post office (2 miles each way). We easily hop in a taxi and go to Molyko or Muea to meet up with friends or to shop. Or go "up town" to the Capitol Hotel for a dinner out (it is near the Post Office). We are able to go by ourselves to Limbe, Douala, or even Yaounde - when needed.

By extension there is really no reason we cannot be as mobile as our local friends. Still I miss the imprint I have of the freedom a car of my own brings. Without a car, it is much more difficult to take Jordan anywhere outside of Buea. It is more complicated to pick up friends at the airport or have a quick trip anywhere.

We are still exploring and having fun doing so. I'm just venting one major thing I miss.