“What about this one?”, I asked as I turned my iPhone in his direction. On the screen was a burgundy 1987 Grand Wagoneer, looking shiny and new under the Oklahoma sun.
Amused, Tom grabbed my phone and flipped through the photos. His eyes seemed to smile, and before I knew it we were on the phone with Barry, the current owner.
Buying a car sight unseen (and having it shipped across the country) was a little crazy, but if you know us, that’s kind of our style. Our best decisions have always been made without over-analyzing. And when I say best, I don’t mean the smartest. I mean the most fun.
Less than 24 hours later, our newest road trip companion was on her way.
We laid eyes on our old gal in person for the first time two weeks later, as she barreled down our upstate New York street entirely too fast on the back of a flat bed truck. Barry was nice enough to make sure it arrived with a full tank of gas, or so we thought. When we ran out of gas a few hours later with the gauge still pointed at Full, we knew this would be the first of many adventures and mis-adventures.
We got to know our old Jeep even better over those next few months. Including the importance of checking to be sure those unreliable power windows will go up completely before entering the automatic car wash. And making sure to bring ponchos for next time.
More often than not, our rides in the Jeep don’t have a destination. With Tom Petty or John Mellencamp as our soundtrack, we wind along the back roads with coffee and country store donuts in hand, dropping crumbs and debating which way to turn next.
We’ve watched the sun rise over the ocean in Maine from the front seat, and run out of gas on the country roads of Vermont in the heat of summer. We’ve hauled firewood, freshly picked apples, barn sale finds, and Christmas trees. We’ve chased hot air balloons down country roads, locked the keys inside, and had the sweetest conversations with folks we meet at gas stations, reminiscing about their old Wagoneer.
There’s just something about walking out of a restaurant or grocery store and seeing that old Wagoneer sitting there waiting for us. It brings a smile to my face. To us, this isn’t just a car. It’s a feeling. It’s our happy place. And I can’t wait to see where she brings us next.
Briana Lyons is the owner of the upstate New York based creative studio, The Yellow Note. Her mission is to celebrate the everyday, and her photography and blog showcase the little things that make life sweet. She is inspired by a love for Americana and small town charm, and shares photos and stories of her travels, scenes from the home she shares with her husband Tom and their two labradors, as well as glimpses of life in their hometown of Glens Falls, New York. Follow along with their adventures on Instagram (@theyellownote + @wheresthewagoneer).