My Good Ol' Honda

When I bought my '90 Honda Civic from a dealer in Annapolis, MD, it already had 48,000 miles on it. It suited me fine with the size, roominess of a hatchback, and the great gas mileage. Little did I know that I'd not only hold on to the 'ol girl' this long, the admiration I have for my Honda has grown with the 475,000-plus miles she now has!

This car has been a true friend, and I wouldn't trade her for a brand new car. As entertainers, we do a lot of traveling … she's taken us all across the country, with trips to the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Canada, and many times to our favorite place, New Orleans, just cruising down Bourbon Street, crossing the Mississippi, or discovering the bayous.

I take it personal when a stone flies up and hits the windshield, or puts the dings on the hood. And, in a parking lot, I purposely will park far away from everyone to try and avoid the people who like to swing their doors open into other's cars.

When the 'ol girl' turned 200,000 miles, I thought that was really something! But we kept going and going, and pretty soon, we had 300,000 miles! (I take pictures of each milestone, and leave my 'mark' wherever she turns another hundred thousand.) It started to be a joke as to just how far she'd go because I never planned to hold on to a car that long. As she got to 350,000, then 375,000, and then the big 400,000, I wanted to treat her to something special. For one thing, our local Dairy Queen in Romney, WV threw us a party, right along with an ice cream cake with a photo of the 'ol girl' and the '400,000. And, when I went to get new tires, they said I had a bent wheel, and Danny started looking online for a replacement. We didn't find one to match the other three, but he did find the very best looking Honda wheels I've ever seen. They were an eBay item from a Honda dealer on the West Coast, and I was determined to win them. I bid a ridiculous amount that no one would care to match, and yes, I did win them! You can see them in the photo, they are a unique honeycomb design, and they look real sharp against that gold color! That was my 'something special' for her turning 400,000.

This photo of the odometer was something that I had to pull over and take a picture of. It reads 444,444.4! (That was somewhere along the highway in Mississippi.)

The engine is the original, but some parts were replaced because I didn't want to have someone's rebuilt engine. The 4 speed transmission started acting a little funny, so our mechanic recommended that we replace it with a 5 speed because of the highway driving that we do. I really didn't like that idea, but decided to go with it, and when I asked him what he was going to do with the old 4 speed, he said they'd just junk it because hardly no one rebuilds the 4 speeds anymore…I said, “Put my original 4 speed in the back because I'm taking it with me”! So, there I have it, right along with the very first, original timing belt, rotors, wheels, and any other original part that I've had to replace! It's a very sentimental thing with me when it comes to my Honda!

She started rusting out on the usual places known to Honda owners, so in 2009, I took her in and had the rust removed and replaced with new metal. It sounds crazy, but I didn't have the heart to go ahead and paint the entire car because I felt like I'd loose a little of an original part. So, they matched up the paint just beautifully, and does she ever look sharp!! I get people stopping me all the time to ask about her, how many miles, and telling me how good looking she is. She is my true friend, and much more than just a car. When I'm performing and tell the audience about the Honda and how many miles she just turned, the 'ol girl' gets a big round of applause every time!

I have no plans to get a new car, and if she completely stopped running, I'd still keep her. Some people have negatively told me that I'm going to have to give it up someday. The only way I would do that is if someone crashed into me … Lord help the person who does that!

Update, Aug. 2011

Several TV stations featured the Honda as it closed in on 500,000 miles:

WBAL-TV, Ch. 11, Baltimore, reporter, Jennifer Franciotti came to the house and did a story on Thur. 8/18. The car was at 499,630 miles. The segment aired several different times.

WHAG, Ch. 25, Hagerstown, MD, reporter Lynn Lawson filmed the Honda at the Frederick, MD location, it aired on Tues. 8/23.

On Thurs. 8/25, the Honda hit the "final 100 miles to go" mark on I-70, mi. 48, just outside of Frederick, MD! The last hundred are the most nerve-wracking! By the time we got back to Baltimore that night, I was down to only 22 miles to go! I almost made it happen on Fri. 8/26, but it is just so hard to let go of those last miles.

I more or less planned to wait until 8/29, which is the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and that’s just what I did! Just about 5pm, on Perring Parkway & Taylor Ave. in Parkville, the Honda turned the big 500,000 miles! That was a lot of years and a lot of miles to finally get to this major milestone!

On that same day, 8/29, Ron Matz called from WJZ-TV, Ch. 13 and wanted us to meet him the next morning at 5:30am!

Ron Matz met with us the next day, Aug. 30. We did the live segment at 6:15am with Ron and Marty Bass, who was in the Ch. 13 studio. Then, we filmed a segment that would be aired on the 4pm and 5pm news. After the WJZ news story, we left and headed for Winchester, VA, where we met with Sarah Robarge of Ch. 3, and filmed a segment for their station.

It will be an ongoing goal of mine to continue with the TV stations anywhere we might travel, and appreciate every one of them who were so kind to tell the story of this incredible little car!

Now, on to 600,000!!,0,5763556.column