Two summers ago, stuck in Crested Butte, Colorado with my trailer, two dogs and a dying Subaru, I searched Craigslist on a whim for my dream car: an older Land Rover Discovery. A rare 5-speed manual popped up for sale in Colorado Springs, and I limped my rig over the mountains to buy it outright, in cash. My ’96 Disco was not without flaws – it stranded me three times in the first month I owned it – but over the last two years and 60,000 miles it took extraordinarily good care of me, my dogs and my trailer, with a good chunk of those miles over the kind of terrain Land Rovers are made to drive.
A week ago, I was driving down the mountain – without the trailer – when the Rover’s back right tire blew, sending us careening out of control and then rolling roof over wheels down the mountain. After three rotations we came to rest on our wheels right next to some electrical boxes, engine still running, music still playing. I shut the Rover off, shouldered my way out of the rig and got the dogs clear of the wreck. Miraculously, save for a small scratch under Dio’s left eye, we were all completely unscathed. In the end, the Rover took all the hits for us.
I’ve been moving through the stages of grief ever since, missing my rolling home on the road, but mostly I feel incredibly, unbelievably fortunate that my dogs and I walked away. It was the perfect wreck. All those rocks and dinosaurs and that solid brass owl flying around inside with us – nothing hit me. The medicine bag an Oglala Lakota woman had given me “to keep me company and keep me safe” on my travels was still dangling from the rear view mirror stem, though the mirror lay broken on the side of the road.
I’m not sure yet what my next ride will be. A huge part of me wants to get another Land Rover. But the rest knows I should move forward, on to the next dream. Onward and upward, thanks to the Rover. It will always be my dream car.