Five Years, Two Cars and a Motorbike

Fourteen months of walking, taking the bus and hitching rides from friends to get back and forth to college and work, I had finally raised enough cash to buy a new vehicle. But I wasn’t looking for a classy vehicle. I just needed something to get me through the next six months because then I was departing in August for University.

List of Vehicles Owned 

Ages 21 to 26

I spoke with my father about getting in touch with Dennis over at the Volvo shop but as it turned out Dennis didn’t have any stock at the moment. And he wasn’t sure when he’d have a vehicle ready. That option out the window I began scouring the classifieds for the rest of the week until Sunday when one advertisement in particular jumped out at me.

1979 VW GTI MKII 125,000 miles clean 5-speed hatchback ready to roll $750.00

Instantly I had a flashback to the first car I had ever purchased and knew this car was going to be about as good as that one but I didn’t care. I needed wheels to get around as the summer was upon us and it’d be difficult to keep hitching rides from people.

Taking it upon myself my buddy Tommy scooped me up to go see the VW that afternoon. As soon as we pulled up the lime green paint made the car stick out like a sore thumb. We both laughed. Ringing the doorbell the owner stepped out his house with the car keys. I showed him the cash and handed it to Tommy, then took the car for a spin around the block. The thing had zip to it.

I bought the VW for $500.00 USD as the owner didn’t want to take it to the junkyard. This little bruiser carried me around the city of the next four-months until I blew up the engine block as I was low on oil and the oil light kept coming on.

I stopped at the local Safeway bought up several quarts of oil and before the engine cooled, I poured down a couple of quarts. Hopping back into the Golf, I fired it up, rolled around the corner dropped it into 2nd gear and kaboom! the engine made a horrendous noise and instantly stopped working. The car rolled to the bottom of the hill as I pulled to the curb. Hopping out of the VW, I saw a line of something dripping out the engine and all the way up the street. Shit! What is that?

After a few minutes I realized it was oil, opening up the hood the engine sputtered and with a couple of coughs it spattered and died a sad death.

It was the last vehicle I had before departing for University. At Uni, I rode a mountain bike around town and hitched rides from college classmates when I wanted to head back to the City approximately a two-hour car ride away to see friends and family.

For the next couple of years I was transportation-less.

Until I decided whilst living in the Pacific Northwest that I had, had enough and required a new vehicle. This time when I reached out to my father about getting a Volvo from Dennis, it turned out both my father and Dennis were excited for this new opportunity.

Dennis provided a short list of vehicles to my father along with pricing. I spent a week learning about each vehicle than chose the one best suited to my current needs and situation. Informing my father who in turned informed Dennis along with an approximate date that I would return to my home state to pickup the vehicle. As I would have to drive it back up to the Pacific Northwest.

A few weeks later I landed in Colorado picked up the new ride and headed back to the Pacific Northwest. I didn’t stay long and only saw a handful of friends and family.

The 1,305 mile journey between states would be an excellent testing ground to learn about how this beauty handled. It was an orange 1984 Volvo 145 DL 5-speed with a price tag of $2,200.00 USD. This people mover and I became fast friends as we drove across country.

Over the next couple of years not only did it move people, but it hauled camera equipment, paintings, furniture, camping gear and skiing gear. I drove this car proudly around King County. At one point during college I was unable to locate appropriate housing and lived out of this vehicle for a few months.

As it aged in the rain soaked topography of the Pac-North West it eventually eroded with not enough TLC for its age and I had to sell it for $1,000.00 USD to another student looking for a cheap ride.

A few months after selling the wagon I really needed wheels to get back and forth across the bridge to my bartending job. Living in the City and working across the lake required wheels or the resiliency to use public transportation. The problem was public transportation going back to the City was shut down by the time I was off work at 3:00am.

This conundrum lead me to scouring the Sunday classifieds searching for a new vehicle. When someone on campus suggested buying a motorcycle as it would cost less and you could practically ride it year round up here in the Pacific Northwest because it rarely snowed in the City. It was just rain and you could simply drive slower when there was poor weather.

This idea stuck with me for several Sundays as I scoured the classifieds. Then a few weeks later I spotted a sweet deal on a 1992 Yamaha 600 SECA II. Unsure about buying another motorcycle as the last one I owned my older brother assisted in my purchasing back when I was 19 years old. And that ended with an open knee cap and a costly ambulance ride. Nonetheless I decided to check it out.

A friend drove us over to West Seattle. I took the bike for a drive up and down the block then talked the guy down $500.00 on the price. Paying him $2,200.00 USD for the bike. Back on the motorbike I drove it home as my friend followed me. For a few weeks it sat whilst I collected the necessary insurance, and registration for it.

Once it was ready for action I drove the Yamaha everywhere. It became my formidable compadre for the next three years as I learned how to complete maintenance tasks changing the oil, adding lubrication to moving parts, swapping out tires, and adjusting sprockets and shocks. The bike would eventually be sold in the future in 2001 before my departure for Australia.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb