In 2000, Karen and I decided we needed a new car. I went to Consumer Reports and based my decision on the most reliable compact car. On April 25th 2000, we went to Jeff Wyler’s Toyota of Clarksville and purchased a 1999 Toyota Corolla with 19,889 miles. 12.5 years later (October 7th 2012) it reached 300,000 miles.
When we bought this car in 2000, I had a Nextel i1000 flip phone. Gas was $1.50 per gallon. The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the NBA finals. The PlayStation 2 was released in Japan and North America. 405 The Movie, the first short film widely distributed on the Internet, was released.
We’ve lived in 6 different places since then. I opened my own company, ran it for 5 years then closed it. Our daughter was 3-years-old when we bought the Corolla and now she’s driving it. The Corolla is like a living Time Capsule.
This is a big one because we’ve had it for 12.5 years. The majority of the time we’ve owned our Corolla we’ve lived in Southern Indiana north of Louisville, KY. We’ve lost count of the number of trips we’ve made to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Chicago. All of the trips listed below were made in our Corolla. It’s been the only car we’ve owned in 12.5 years. In 2003 we had a second car (coupe) for 90 days and a truck totaled it. In 2010 we had a second car (van) and it died after two weeks. Those cars didn’t last long enough to count.
January 2002. We went to Disney World (Orlando, FL) celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary (our 1991 honeymoon was also in Disney World; we were married December 31st 1990).
August 2010. After the economy killed my business and Karen lost her job we all decided to sell everything, pack the Corolla, and move to California to start over. On the way to Los Angeles we made a few stops. Here they are in order: Austin, TX (stayed with friends for a couple days) – San Antonio, TX (River Walk, The Alamo and Vera Bradley) – Carlsbad, NM (Carlsbad Caverns) – Roswell, NM (for the aliens of course) – Grand Canyon, AZ – Hoover Dam, NV – Las Vegas, NV – Santa Monica, CA (our final destination). Once we arrived, we had to find work as quickly as we could.
Los Angeles. While living in Los Angeles, CA we drove everywhere. We saw as many landmarks and tourist attractions as we could. It was one of the most exciting times of our lives. Some examples of major spots/events are: Santa Monica Pier, Palisades Park, Pointe Vicente, Hermosa Beach, Beverly Hills, The Grove, La Brea Tar Pits, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Hollywood Sign, The Americana, Hilary Duff, Griffith Observatory, Stan Lee, Big Bear Lake and the Pacific Wheel.
July 2011. For our 2011 vacation we headed back to Los Angeles with our Corolla headlining the first video. This time we drove through the Mojave Desert and Palm Springs. We also surprised Allyson with a trip to many of the filming locations for The O.C.
June 2012. Newport Aquarium.
July 2012. We went to Disney World (Orlando, FL) celebrating our 20 year wedding anniversary. We were in Florida for nearly two weeks and also went down to Miami for the 1st time and over to Cocoa Beach, Saint Petersburg and Clearwater.
Future Travel. We are currently planning a 2013 vacation where we drive from Indiana to Seattle, WA. Then drive to San Francisco, then down the PCH (hwy 1) to Los Angeles and spend a week there. I keep a countdown timer app on my phone that counts down to July 1st, 2015 (one month after Allyson graduates high school) as the day we permanently move back to L.A. Allyson’s theater career is getting its kickstart at Floyd Center Theatre followed by college in Los Angeles.
I just learned last year that our Corolla was built in the Fremont, CA factory which is now home of the Tesla Model S. I feel as though our Corolla knew it came from California and desired to return. My understanding is that Toyota and Tesla are collaborating on hybrid technology. I would like to visit the new Tesla Model S factory.
ART IMITATES LIFE
Moving to L.A. had not been as permanent as we hoped. Upon returning to Indiana, Karen started her writing career. Camel Lot: A Misplaced Adventure is Karen’s first children’s book which she began while we were living in L.A. Bermuda’s Triangle: A Misplaced Adventure is her 2nd children’s book. Area 50 Juan: A Misplaced Adventure is her 3rd children’s book and was inspired by our trip through Roswell, NM. Santa Monica: A Misplaced Adventure is her 4th children’s book and was inspired by our time in Santa Monica while living in L.A. Karen’s first novel, My Prior Life, is based on our journeys in our Corolla from Indiana to California, that is until it turns into a psychological thriller. From My Window is a paranormal and her first short story based on a beach house in Santa Monica. Our Corolla has taken us on many journeys that have lead to great memories, pictures, videos and now books by Karen Jones.
I’ve been known to drive my Corolla at times when many people wouldn’t or shouldn’t because a Jeep or some kind of four-wheel-drive is required.
In 12 years we’ve only spent a few thousand on things that wouldn’t be considered regular maintenance. This has been an excellent car and saved us lots of money.
THE COROLLA ARTICLES
Some of my more interesting articles about us and our Corolla.
Missed me by that much. (July 9th 2001)
Time for a second car, again. (August 18th 2006)
The Fog. (February 22nd 2007)
The Backup Maneuver (February 22nd 2007)
The Apple Sticker Game (May 6th 2007)
There have been two instances where someone has backed into our car while it wasn’t moving causing minor body damage. Each time the car was back to normal within a few weeks.
Rims. I really like the way our car looks without hubcaps, just black rims. But one or two of my rims are damaged. I would like to replace them with solid black rims like those on the AE86 from the movie Initial D (AE86 is a Corolla).
Paint. For seven years we had a garage and that kept the elements from getting to the car. For the last 2 years we’ve been without a garage and the corolla has seen the majority of cosmetic decay, such as rubber cracks, trim pieces coming loose, pitted windshield and paint discoloration, etc. I would like to get new trim pieces, a new windshield and get the car repainted.
Radio. Because of it’s age, the radio only had a cassette deck and for many years we used that cassette deck with an adapter to connect to our iPhones so we could listen to our music. The cassette deck died earlier this year and now we’re using an FM transmitter but the quality is poor and it’s starting to act up. I would like to get a new radio with an AUX jack and maybe Bluetooth for pairing with our iPhones.
Key Fob. It’s been a long time since the door locks worked on all the the locks. Right now it only works on two of them. I would like to get them repaired with the inclusion of a key fob since our car never came with one.
Engine Light. The engine light has been on for about 4 years. I was told the cause is the catalytic convertor and that I could ignore it for a while. I would really like to see that light go out and get the catalytic convertor replaced.
Headliner. The headliner has started coming loose in the front and the back. I would like to get that replaced.
Oil Consumption. Over a year ago the corolla started consuming oil (not dripping), about a quart per 1000 miles. I’m taking it to Jeff Wyler’s Toyota of Clarksville tomorrow to have that looked at.
Tires. It’s that time when new tires are due. If I could the rims I want above then I would get matching size tires but I’ll probably just get new tires.
Rims. I need to replace the damaged rims (even if it’s not with the AE86 rims) because they cause uneven tire wear that creates huge amounts of road noise.
Brakes. They don’t stop smoothly anymore, more of a hesitating stop.
A SECOND COROLLA
I’m self-employed (computer support) and I do lots of driving to my clients at all different times. Allyson’s theater, dance and singing appointments are weekly. We can no longer time manage all our driving with one car. What would be awesome for us is a new Corolla S or a 3rd Gen Prius. We definitely need it. OK, I’m including a Scion FR-S because they’re awesome.
Our Corolla has had many different stickers, hubcaps and floor mats. But in all that time there’s only been one Lilo. I put Lilo on the dashboard in 2002 and she’s been there ever since.