Every time that I hop in my wagon now, I think back to those 2,000 miles we put on the the rental Dodge Journey. It was a traumatic time. Just shortly before it came into my life and then slightly more traumatic while it was in our lives. It was by random chance that we crossed paths with that specific specimen. It would have have been a Nissan Rogue, a Jeep Cherokee, or a Ford Flex, but no. As fate would have it, we picked the Journey. Or did the Journey pick us?
Some things I’ll remember most about that magnificent beast.
The headlights. I can only describe them as romantic. So gentle, they could not blind a fly even at their brightest. We crossed through much of the country by candle light. They also had an aquarium-esque feature where regardless of how much snow, rain, or fog that existed outside, ginormous drops of water would appear on the inside of the lights.
The engine. It was the worst of all worlds in it’s Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde demeanor. From a stop, it was incredibly eager to prove itself and the might tap of acceleration would cause wheel spin and a sudden jerk of your head. It took a very educated right foot to properly tame that behavior. At speed, however, it showed no such ambition. From a stop, it’s mantra was “I am speed”, but at 30mph, the only words it could barely muster were “I think I can I think I can I think I can…” From 55 to 70, it accelerated in ways that wouldn’t rouse a rocking chair into action.
The transmission. A weak 2.4 liter engine, coupled with a 4 speed gear box. As I mentioned before, the first gear was Lightning McQueen aggressive. Cruise control didn’t often demand much of the car except when going up a modest hill in 4th gear. It would dive, dive, dive below the requested speed only to realize that it was futile and down shift. It always let you know that it needed help because if cruising speed was around 2400rpm in 4th, when it wanted power and shifted, it was up in the 4500rpm range. This shift was amazing at drowning out anything that might have been playing on the radio or waking a sleeping passenger from a shallow sleep.
But with all that said, it did get us where we needed to go.