Monday, March 8, 2010
I've made a lot of long car trips over the years with Marc Campbell in Toyota Camrys that were built in the 1980s. I guess I'd never thought about how many Camrys there's been until I recently returned to Edmonton from my little trip to Saskatchewan and I rode with Marc in his grey 1989 Camry four-door sedan. It always attracts attention because Johnny and Josephine, who live on the farm I talked about in the last blog post, painted scenery on it when they were younger. The car has over 400,000 kilometres on the odometer, the clutch slips and it doesn't really want to go over 90 km/h. But it always starts, and it got us home safely.
The first Camry road trip I took with Marc was back in 1991 when we drove accross Newfoundland to compete in the Corner Brook triathlon. Paul Beaumont and Dave O'Neil were also in the car and Marc, having been a math major in university, calculated the greatest fuel efficiency could be achieved by going 78 km/h. We actually had to go even slower when the roof rack, which was built for two bikes but was carrying four, began sliding around at speeds greater than 70.
The next Camry was Marc's 1984 hatchback which he bought when he moved to Calgary. I was living in Calgary then, too, so the car was handy for cross-country ski trips to the mountains. He loaned it to me to drive to a job interview in Medicine Hat, and when I got the job, I bought a 1987 Camry LE sedan. (Marc went on a blind date with the woman who sold it to me.) When I quit the Medicine Hat job two years later to travel to New Zealand, I traded the car to Marc for an airline ticket. I later bought it back from him when I returned to Canada.
Camry trips with Marc are never fast. We trade turns at the wheel every two hours. Sometimes they include Paul Beaumont or Corey Bradley, and sometimes they don`t. Pit stops are leisurely, and excuses to make stops are always welcome.
There`s been a lot of news lately about Toyota`s problems. I guess they just aren`t making them like their Camrys in the 1980s.