After 20 years and 545,000 miles I decided it was time to give the Bike Mobile its due and let it rest. While it still ran just as good as the day we drove it brand new out of the car lot, it was just tired. Or maybe I was just tired of it. It sure did have a lot of personality but more importantly it was incredibly reliable. Both the motor and the transmission were rock solid. It was very easy on tires. I was able to get 120,000 miles on the previous set.
The dash lights went out some time ago so I rigged up a single LED bike light that I turned on at night to see the speedometer. The door handle on the sliding door was broken off but you could open the door by reaching back through the passengers side door. To maximize the A/C cooling after using the heater I had to stop the van, pop the hood and quickly push in on one of the water mixing valves to completely shut off the hot water circulating through the firewall. The headlight lens were so yellowed that the bright lights could be on and oncoming cars didn't know the difference. It was a terrific vehicle for some quiet time as the radio went out about 10 years ago. The electric door locks also quit about 10 years ago so I could not lock up the driver's side door----noone ever bothered anything in it.
The Bike Mobile is the same age as my son so it's all he's ever known. It was an extremely dependable vehicle that took my family all over the US and never let just down. Even just a couple years ago I drove it to Az and back with all my daughter's possessions. My wife drove it for about 30 miles without any oil in the oil pan one night after cracking it crossing a RR track---she called me while driving and asked why the check engine light was on!
At 545,000 it was either change the oil or change the vehicle---so I chose the latter! I replaced it with one of its much younger cousins. Got an incredible deal on another van that had a handicap lift in the back and it just would not sell. They even took it to the auction and it didn't sell. It was pretty easy to come to an agreemnt after than! It will take about 2 hours to dismantle the lift and I already have a taker for the lift.
I'll always remember it for taking me, my bikes and my golf clubs a lot of different places to do the things I enjoy most. I think it's newer cousin is going to pick right up where its older counterpart left off!!
I'm not sure when I'm going to retire from working every day but like the bike Mobile I now think I'll just know. Either I'll be tired or just tired of it. I have feeling it's going to be the latter.
Here is a picture of the Bike Mobile with my late mechanic who helped us celebrate the 500,000 mile mark. He was tragically killed a few months later while riding a motorcycle.
Barry and Van.jpg