Bubba, Flash, and Cooper are our three vehicles.
First, a word of explanation. Why do these two vehicles have names?
Way back in 1989 we purchased a plain-Jane Nissan pickup -- blue, 2.4L
4-cylinder, 5-speed. We installed an aluminum camper shell on the back of
the truck. In 1990 when I was assigned to Japan, our daughter took the
truck with her to college in Alabama. The camper shell was manufactured by
the Leonard Corporation and their logo -- the word "L E O N A R D" -- was
printed on a decal across the rear window of the camper shell -- it was in big
letters and very obvious. One of my daughter's sorority sisters asked if
"Leonard" was the truck's name -- and the name stuck. From then on, the
truck was not a truck but "Leonard."
Leonard and Max
Leonard served us faithfully. Our daughter drove Leonard for three
years in college; when we returned from Japan in 1993 she moved back with us to
Northern Virginia and she and Leonard went to work, then to grad school, after
which she started teaching and coaching in the high school from which she
graduated. Leonard hauled equipment for her soccer and volleyball teams
all over Northern Virginia -- hauled car wash equipment for fund raisers --
moved her from apartment to apartment -- and never complained.
By the way -- when we returned from Japan we purchased a new 1993 Nissan
Maxima -- which we immediately named "Max." Leonard and Max became good
Scarlet and Bubba
In late December 1999, we decided our daughter needed a new truck and she
purchased a 1999 Ford Ranger, 4.0L V6, 4WD, 5-speed. The Ranger was
a bright burgundy-red and was quickly named "Scarlet." We were living in
Bristol, TN, at the time and our daughter was in Manassas, VA. She took
Scarlet to Manassas with her and Leonard stayed with us in Bristol.
In late 2004, before we moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we sold Max and
purchased a used 2004 Ford Explorer -- 4.6L V6, 4WD, automatic -- after a couple
of weeks we named him "Bubba."
Leonard lost in Katrina
Leonard moved with us to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in January 2005. On
28 August, with Hurricane Katrina bearing down upon us, we left Bay Saint Louis,
MS, in Bubba, the Explorer. We parked Leonard in front of our apartment with a
generator and 10 gallons of gas in the back end. At this time, Leonard had
192,000 miles and looked and performed just like he did the day we bought him.
Leonard did not survive Katrina -- he was under 6-8 feet of water -- and when we
went back to our apartment on 31 August, Leonard was a goner. For photos
and description of our experience with Katrina,
click on this link -- there's a
photo of Leonard on one page.
We lost everything we had in Katrina. After Katrina we lived in
Louisiana with relatives then moved back to Knoxville, TN, near my parents.
After settling up with our insurance company, we decided to get another truck --
we did not decide to replace Leonard -- there's no way we could replace that
little truck -- he was a member of the family.
In January 2006, after a couple of weeks of shopping, we purchased a used
1997 Mazda B4000 pickup. We were looking for a Ranger like Scarlet but
decided on the Mazda -- the Ranger and the Mazda B4000 are the same vehicle,
come off the same assembly line. The Mazda truck has a paint scheme with
"flashes" arcing down the side -- so we named him "Flash."
And now we are come to the photos. Here are pictures of our three
vehicles -- Flash, Bubba, and Cooper.
Bubba is a 2004 Ford Explorer, 4.6L V6, 4WD. Purchased used in December
2004. Went through Hurricane Katrina, came out with some small dents in
his hood where a falling tree brushed him.
Flash is a 1997 Mazda B4000 pickup, 4.0L V6, 4WD, 5-speed manual
transmission, off-road package. Purchased used in January 2006 with 87,000
Cooper is a 2007 Mini
Cooper -- Chili Pepper Red and White; automatic; 16-inch tires; leather
seats; lots of other options. We love Cooper; comfortable, peppy, easy to
drive, and easy on gas -- 32-34 MPG around town, 40-42 MPG on the interstate
with two people, luggage, a/c on, driving at 65-70 MPH. Purchased from Flow Mini in
Winston-Salem, NC -- great people to do business with.
Here are two photos of Flash.
I am an amateur radio operator and in January 2006 I installed amateur radio
equipment in Flash -- here are articles that describe the
amateur radio equipment installed in Flash.
And here are Bubba and Flash.
Photo taken January 2006 at our apartment in Knoxville, TN, where we lived after
Hurricane Katrina -- October 2005 to November 2007 -- moved to the Virginia
Northern Neck in November 2007.
In August 2007 we purchased a brand-new 2007
Mini Cooper -- Chili
Pepper Red and White; automatic; 16-inch tires; leather seats; lots of other
June 2008: Here's Cooper -- with 12,000 miles on his odometer -- sitting
in the grass behind the house we are renting in Wicomico Church, VA, while we
build a new house.