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.
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.
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.