In 1997, I bought a 1992, already w/c lift-equipped, van. The man who owned it had died. His mother sobbed when she handed the keys over. His sister whispered that the first day he drove it, he came by her house and said "Get in, drunken road trip to the Keys." And she did. And off they went.
And off I've gone. Many years it's to the Everglades. Natural disasters have interfered - Hurricane Wilma, my mother's illness, times when my equipment (manual wheelchair to scooter to power chair) hadn't yet caught up to what I needed. But this year I took along a friend and I managed.
We kayaked among orchids and crocodiles. We took long walks past bushes covered in a snow of butterflies. We (not really me, actually) pulled my chair through the sea wrack thrown up from the Florida Bay. Rafts of shorebirds flew past us at eye level. And I wrote. I wrote with a thrilled satisfaction I've not had in a while.
The van has 145,000 miles on it now which by my calculations is just a little older than me in my human mileage. More road trips are in our future. I can still smell rotting seaweed in the wheelchair's axles. So, despite my lack of drinking, the best I can, I figure I've been doing right by the spirit of the van.