Girl on Fire: Dolores to the rescue

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, October 29, 2015]

It was the screeching noise as I turned onto the highway that caught my attention.

My car had been making funny noises for awhile, but nothing that made me wonder if I should take it in to get fixed. That is, until the moment I turned the wheel and accelerated onto Highway 25 and a weird metallic screech reverberated up through the frame and into the cab.

It took me two days, one coworker and two mechanics (thanks a million to Dustin Allison, J.P. at Pokorny BP and Dave at Carlisle Automotive Repair) to tell me the sub-frame on my black 2001 Alero had rusted through.

Of course, I had to call my dad, Craig. The mechanic of the family, my dad takes care of cars and other vehicles like they’re his children (so really well). We worked out a plan: he would bring me a spare car and take my Alero back to Centerville so his mechanic could fix it.

That was a week ago. I’ve been driving a little red Buick since then, which I’ve dubbed Dolores.

Honestly, I like Dolores. She’s the same age as I am and is only a two-seater, but, knowing my dad, I trust her to get me where I need to go. But, really, she makes me laugh and realize what kind of a luxury my Alero really was.

Dolores is a 1989 Buick Reatta. She’s got a digital dash with full touch screen in the center. The green digital letters and numbers show all the heating, cooling and radio controls. I have to push a button to turn the windshield wipers on, push another one to speed them up and push a third to turn them off. I have to do the same with my headlights. The hidden headlights pop up (most of the time) with the push of a button, and with the push of a second button they pop back down.

As old-fashioned and vintage as this car is (the brown carpet has faded so much it’s now pink in places), it’s had its issues already.

Friday, I went to Alley Bowl in Osceola to grab some photos for an Osceola Living story. I left the bowling alley and swung by Casey’s to fuel Dolores up, hoping I pulled to the correct side of the car where the fuel tank is. I did.

I proceeded to attempt to open the fuel door cover, but it wouldn’t budge. There was no ripple in the metal to pull it out, and you couldn’t push it down to pop it out. After several minutes of worthless attempts, I called my dad and was told the release is in the glove box. Because that’s logical.

Then, after complaining to my dad about the illogical-ness of putting a fuel tank cover release button in a glove box, he just laughed at me.

Honestly, though, I’m thankful my dad was able to bring me a spare vehicle that I’ll be driving for the next few months. And I’ve enjoyed Dolores. She rescued me from not having a vehicle at all, and, while she’s no Maserati, she’s been reliable thus far.

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Twitter: @iowafiregirl13


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