It took 5 years, 8 months, 22 days, and 20 minutes, but ole Rusty the pickup is finally broken in. The past 2,091 days have held quite the adventure. Back in December of 2005, a Senior in high school, I had no clue what was in store. I invested all the money that I had saved from show steers at the county fair, feeding calves in the back yard, and investing in a few cows here and there. All I got was a ole Ford pickup and 100,000 miles of memories to boot.

Rusty and I kinda got off to a rough start. The Sunday after graduation, I was off to church and got caught doing 73 in a 55. Pretty sure that’s after I hit the brakes when I noticed a cop ahead as I topped the overpass. Mom didn’t find out til she got an insurance letter in June, but it still took dad a few years to figure it out. He got me a bed liner come June, so I’m pretty sure he didn’t know about it then. Then in July, with only 7,000 miles, a lady in town decided she had to run a red light, hit me head on, put me in the emergency room, and Rusty sent off to be rebuilt. I didn’t get him back til nearly September. Once I got ole Rusty back to college, we made several late night trips to Waffle House and burned up the road home at least twice a month.

That next summer we made trips to the lake every weekend and a concert now and then. Come Fall we camped out at the horse barn quite often as I got a job at the University barn. I got a farm-house out-of-town and paid for rent by feedin horses. That winter a mare had the triplet foals, later had a uterine infection, and someone thought it a great idea to leave a gallon jug of that wonderful juice in the floorboard. Mmm smelled great (note the strong sarcasm here!).

The next summer we took a trip to Amarillo. I got a job in the feed yards for the summer, and Rusty’s new car smell was long, long gone. Several trips up and down I-27 and we saw some awesome sunrises, huge dirt devils, drove all across the Palo Duro Canyon. We then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma to begin another college year. You’ve never seen a truck stained so red with clay dirt. The stains will never leave. Many a concerts, especially at the Tumbleweed.

The next summer we took off across country and spent the summer in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Now that was some sight-seeing. The view I’ve had through Rusty’s old windshield for that trip was amazing. All the way up Missouri and Iowa, Across the long stretch of I-90 in South Dakota, and Halfway across Wyoming. We explored our part of the country that summer, driving up mountains, through Indian reservations, and the historic streets of Cody, Wyoming. Then there was that horrible drive through Denver on the way home. I’ve yet to figure out how one gets $180 tickets driving that toll road out by the airport. Then there was the drive from Denver to Salina. Well… at least it was good to catch up on the cd’s.

After finishing up college, we moved to the Dust Bowl of America, Dalhart, Texas (I’m still pulling pieces of tumbleweeds from the front of the pickup). Another great place to watch endless sunrises and sunsets, and to further remove any remaining new car smell with the scent of feed yard. We made lots of trips to Amarillo for concerts, once again explored the Palo Duro, drove to Oklahoma City for Bricktown, Explored North East New Mexico, crossed the Raton Pass to Trinidad. Got a wake up call and asked to leave Santa Fe, because I wanted something other than organic coffee. Then we climbed up the Collegiate Peaks near Canon City, Colorado and explored the headwaters of the Arkansas River. I have a feeling this is where many of the miles stacked up pretty quick.

Now I’m back in Arkansas. Rusty has sat still for much of the year, as I have been checking cows in the ranch truck every day. I’m pretty sure I’m still on only the second set of tires ever bought for ole Rusty. Those 6-ply are worth the extra money. ┬áThe brakes have only been replaced once, and minus the damage from that head on collision, Rusty hasn’t given me a second’s problem. I’d say we’re doin pretty good.

Today we’re headed east to Tennessee. Making another move, and starting college again come January. Who knows where the next 100,000 miles will take ole Rusty and me, but one thing’s for sure, I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride.