The Roadmaster

Like my ride? 

The first time I saw one of these, I was not very impressed.   Shopping Craigslist and Ebay are close to a religion for Rollo.  A Roadmaster Wagon went up for sale near us.  We didn’t need another car.  We never do.  But, we went and looked.  It was ugly.  Long.  Very Very long.  It was not a 60s cool surf wagon.  It wasn’t even really wood.   AND, it was red, my most hated of colors.  We test drove it and Rollo was not impressed either.  As he handed the keys back, the seller guy wanted him to make an offer. He really didn’t want to.  The seller guy really wanted him to.  We came home, of course, with the car.

It did have lots of room.  Of course.  It also wasn’t all that nice, so we could get sand in it.  Lots of sand.  It became the beachmobile.  You can get two coolers, six beach chairs, and an inflatable kayak in back with room to spare. But, it was still red.

So, the next year, he found a blue one.  My most favorite of colors.  Truly, we bought it from a little old lady.  We’re in Florida here, ok? She knew a thing or two about mechanicals.  She was a shrewd negotiator.   She went toe to toe with Rollo and we did not come home with the car. About a month later, she called and wanted to make a deal.  We came  home with the blue woodie and a fern I dug out of her yard.  (Plus the $80 bucks we found later tucked up inside the dash). She actually cried as we drove away.

For a short time, we had two wagons.  Then Big Red left and The Blue has been my car for the past 3 years or so.   I love it, fake wood and all.  Old people in parking lots stop and compliment us on it.  Once someone left a note on the windshield offering to buy it.  No way.  Not everyone loves it though.  I get some odd looks. questions and comments from younger folk.  I’d like to quote what two of my friends have said about it, anonymously of course.

#1.  Can’t Rollo get you a better car?

#2…well, that’s good.  It’s not the kind of thing someone’s going to break into…or steal.

Hmm.  Maybe they are just jealous?

Hemmings Classic Car magazine had an article on fun-to-drive wagons and the Roadmaster made the list.  The 1994-96 wagons that is.  The article said any wagon with a high-performance V-8 is going to be a blast to drive and that this one is powered by the “incredible CORVETTE based 260hp LT-1 5.7 liter V-8, and backed by the 4T60E electronically controlled four-speed automatic”  I don’t know what any of that means.  It goes on “…these wagons can fly…”  I don’t know about that either.  I do know I was about 22 when I got my last speeding ticket.  I’m 48 now and I’ve been pulled over twice in the Roadmaster.  The first time doesn’t really count.  The windows were tinted too dark.  I had six chickens in the backseat and the officer let me go.  The last time, yes, I was speeding.  Only a little.  I got away with a warning.

The Blue has carried us to Florida twice now.  Us and 2 dogs, 2 cats, a chameleon in a five gallon pail, a guitar, a violin, the entire contents of the home office, and whatever else we thought we needed for four months.   It’s brought us back for summer with the unplayed violin and guitar, one dog, two cats, the chameleon, and the second dog’s ashes.  The kayaks are strapped to the top and whatever other “project” Rollo has is often towed behind.  It’s never let us down.  It’s never left me anyplace.

steer us right, sweet jesus.

In the summer of 2010, the Roadmaster took us on an epic journey including 4200 miles, 5 states, 3 islands, and multiple ferry rides.  It was on my bucket list to kayak with Orcas. We had a GPS, but we took extra “guidance”.    We even got one of those RV maps that you paste stickers on as you travel though the states .  They don’t have stickers for the islands.   We were headed for the pacific northwest, so the kayaks were on top.  Some VFW patrons in the flat lands of eastern Montana wanted to ride the kayaks down the stairs of the VFW.  They were just bluffing.  We made our way through Glacier National Park and the Roadmaster drove past mountain goats and grizzly bears.  Once we got to the San Juan Islands, the tailgate worked great for lunches while we were waiting for the ferries.  Finally, we parked at a campground on San Juan Island overlooking Haro Straight.  In the morning, we were about to have our coffee on the hood, right when the Orca whales went by.

In answer to my friend’s question and comment above, No he can’t get me a better car.  And, nobody better try to steal it.

Haro Straight – Waiting for Orca





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