OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Hunting With Old Beat-up Vehicle

By Gary Miller

My hunting vehicle is a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder. For the past three or four years, I have been thinking how that anytime, it is going to bite the dust. I am the second owner. Its first owner totaled it in a wreck years ago and I bought it from the insurance company. It was salvageable so it became my son’s first vehicle. Many of the cosmetic parts that should have been replaced were simply beaten back into submission. We only fixed or replaced that which was absolutely necessary for it to run safely.

After a few years of good service, my son moved into a car (not literally, but I thought about it sometimes) and I made the Pathfinder a full-time hunting and fishing vehicle. Since that time, it has eaten two transmissions and was “retotaled” when a deer ran in front of it. And that doesn’t include how I went for a couple of years without any dash lights working and the headlights would only work on dim. Finally got that fixed but now there is a big hole in the floorboard that has given way to rust. The good news is, the engine runs, the air-condition unit only needs to be refilled with Freon every other year, and as long as I smell oil, I know it’s not dry. I think it can make it one more year (I do need some tires though – used of course).

Did I mention I’m having a birthday this week? Really don’t know what made me think of that. But on second thought my Pathfinder and I do have a lot in common. I can imagine years ago when its original owner let Metallica rip through its cassette player. Today Metallica is driving. He has silver in his hair, gold in his teeth, and lead in his butt. And while me and my little SUV may be consistent, we also need to make sure we stay in the slow lane. You ask, what about the dings and scratches?

Well, the dings have given both of us character and the scratches are bookmarks that serve as reminders for some great stories; stories that new and shiny can’t offer. I’m getting to the place however, where parts cost more than the vehicle is worth. Oh yeah, my candles this year will probably cost more than the cake. Maybe the comparisons are endless, but there is one thing I know – some things only get better with age and it’s not only wine. It’s those who have let God guide their path. A long time ago I knelt in recognition of the One who would direct my steps. I still kneel today. The only difference is, I look around while I’m kneeling, to see if there is anything else I need to do while I’m down there.

Gary Miller can be reached via email at

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