Driving and Biking in the Big City

Vinny gets a good checkup

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Vinny gets a kiss

I read these numbers and weep. My next

* Oil change is due at 166,017 miles.

* Fuel filter at 178,617 miles.

  • * Timing belt at 208,496.

Wow! Will we make it to 200,000; the possibility today seems as good as ever. Certainly better than when Vinny was stuck – unable to crank – on rooftop parking after “Million Dollar Quartet,” and my girlfriends and I had to double up in Jan’s van for the drive home to Kingwood.

When you are a road warrior like Vinny, you never miss a checkup. You always change your fluids and rotate your tires. And you depend on your mechanics.

We visit Derrick and Dan at Kingwood Service Center many Saturdays. We have a drill where I call, and they know Vinny will be at their doorstep the next morning for first business service. Most everyone at this bustling “garage” know Vinny and me both by sight – even the guys in the way back and the new guys. I step in, and they call my name and  my car type . . . Nissan Xterra. Is it ready? Bring it around? I trust them with my life . . . Actually, I trust them every day of my life because I drive Vinny to the big rowdy city every day and expect to get home in one piece.

Last time Vinny had trouble – on theater night that I mentioned above – they sent someone to rescue him and he was 30 miles away from their home base. I never worried (much) as I slept comfy in my bed and got up to make it to work on time while he was repaired. When I called to check on him, I said only, “hello.” Dan immediately responded with my name and told me he would see what was happening with the Xterra. (They know he’s named Vinny but they never call him that. Maybe it’s a mechanic thing because I know men who have names for their cars. Or maybe it’s a customer thing because, as much as I love these guys, we don’t hang out together except at the Service Center.)

When Vinny passed his last inspection, I think Dan was as excited as I was. He called to say, “Mrs. Hensley, I think you’ve got at least another year.” I wept; he laughed. We were both happy.

These guys know how much Big Johnny and I have spent to keep four adult commuters on the roads of the Big City. They have helped us find at least six used cars – priced under about $6,000 – as the kids started driving. It builds a relationship with a service center when you are trying to keep used cars on the road. Then, of course, they recommended the Xterra when my green mom-mobile was petering out.

Today was a good day for Vinny and me. He is good to go for another 3,000 miles. It was also nice to see Derrick and the regulars at the service center. It always is. It’s time to bring them another nice basket of cookies and cigars.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

June 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

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