The road ends, but the journey continues...

The Last 10,000 Miles

Around this time last year, I noticed the odometer on our 2003 Toyota Camry read a little over 290,000 miles. And I remember thinking, “Wow, almost 300,000!”  Okay, that’s an obvious, yet  normal reaction.  Along with it came a heightened sense of wonder each time the car was driven.  Would today be the day it’d get to 300,000?
We do a lot of driving.  We figured it’d get to 300,000 in no time.  Feelings of tingly anticipation for the imminent occurrence of the momentous event were close to the surface of our emotions. And yet, those 10,000 miles seem to have taken longer to accrue than ever.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville. Impressive.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014). Impressive.

Michelle and the Smokin Thighs food truck, Nashville

Kicking around town with Michelle during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014)

Even after our trips to Atlanta, Nashville, and crosscountry to our roots in Colorado and back, that odometer just didn’t seem to budge. Soon, we left our vigil, but not our curiosity of when it would occur.
Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Everyday mileage:
While driving back and forth to work, daily errands and events, along with weekly commutes to exits 131 (Wounded Warriors horse therapy) and 98 (Camden Writers critique group), the miles just kind of tagged along and tallied up slowly but surely.
Laura Bruno Lilly and Dennis Bruno (Orlando 2014)

Me, my cousin Dennis and Wizard Mickey (October 2014)

Thrown in for good measure was a trip to Orlando, Florida with cousins Chris and Dennis which added some mileage as well.  Oops, they drove, so those miles don’t count.
Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Visits from the kiddos meant excursions to the Lynches River/Swamp, Pawley’s Island and even a trek to the stables.
Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle (November 2014)

Darn, but that odometer stubbornly hovered slightly above the 295,000 mark.  Not much closer to the big 300K.
Startled into alertness:
It wasn’t until I drove to Camden one fine morning in April for Brenda’s celebratory luncheon that I happened to glance at the odometer. It’s 298plusK didn’t quite register, until my math-mind insisted upon doing the numerical calculation.  Something clicked – we were a mere 1500 miles from the elusive 300,000 milestone. Again with the “Wow, almost 300,000.”  Note the fact that there is no exclamation point.  Aside from the fact that the Camden writers routinely point out they should be used sparingly if at all, it also reflects the fact that I was more keenly aware the big event wasn’t as imminent as it looked numerically.
“Almost” is still not enough:
Shortly thereafter, the car ‘got a new pair of shoes’ as hubby says.  Woefully in need of new tires, we splurged and got a great deal on a set of Michelin’s complete with a 90,000 mile warranty.  This baby was gonna get closer to 400K in no time…Ahem. Let’s just get to 300K, ‘k?
Anxious to break in those ‘new shoes,’  hubby got out the map and plotted a spontaneous day trip to St. Augustine, Florida.
Lighthouse St. Augustine, FL

Lighthouse St. Augustine, Florida (May 2015)

We thought for sure that adventure would tip us over the 300K mark.  It did not.  The following weekend was Mother’s Day.  I wore my new top purchased at a little boutique in the historic district of St. Augustine.  Surrounded by cards, gifts, phone calls of love and a doting husband, my day was made even more special by the prospect of the turning of that darn odometer.
Laura Bruno Lilly Mother's Day 2015

I am loved…Mother’s Day 2015

Today’s the day:
Well, we almost blew it.  Last night after filling up the car with the old guzzleline (gasoline) master mind hubby looked down on the odometer.  “What are you planning on doing tomorrow?  There’s only 34 miles left to go.”
Nursing this puppy to greet 300K with both of us in attendance was top priority so I stayed home doing this blog post along with music related items on my Swimming with Swans project.
299,999 miles 2003 Toyota Camry


After work, Terry picked me up and away we went to countdown the final 8 miles left after a day of frugal driving.


Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Laura and Terry sitting on the bumper of the car

Happiness is… journeying together for another 300K



  1. Jill W

    This is great, Laura! I’ve owned many Toyotas, they run forever. I love the pictures! Have a great weekend.

    • laura bruno lilly

      They do run forever…perhaps they’re the original Energizer bunnies! HA!
      Thanks for stopping by, Jill. Enjoy your MemWeekend.

  2. L. Marie

    That’s so awesome! What a car! I’m so glad you have a good one. And how nice to see your photos.
    My Accord died before it reached that mark. I miss it a lot. And it doesn’t look like my Civic will last too much longer either. I’m not even at 200,000 miles.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I always struggle with the photo-thing…try not to get too personal, but every once in awhile it comes together nicely. Thanks for the “L.Marie mark of approval.” How’s about a few with you, too, in a future article???? Tho I do love ‘kitty’! 😉

      • L. Marie

        I might at some point. I’ve avoided photos since I’m using a pen name. But I might break down and use one or two.

        • laura bruno lilly

          Our Writer’s Group has bandied about the issue of using pen names…does it work well for you?

  3. Anna Scott Graham

    One of the reasons I love this post is that I’m a driver, and while we had several cars in the UK, I’ve been tooling around in the same vehicle since our return. I’m looking forward to hitting 200K, but 300,000 miles is tremendous!
    The other reason for my fondness is how anticipatory was this journey, lol, and yet it seemed to take longer than expected, which of course is at times how these things go. Then, when it is suddenly near, a shock emerges, oh my goodness, here we go! I’m reminded of this in part that my eldest is due today, hee hee, but other issues occur in a similar vein. Great photos throughout this entry too. 😉

    • laura bruno lilly

      I know your fondness for the UK, but you are also one of us…”Westerners” for whom driving is salve to the soul in addition to being a lifeline in the great open spaces…
      And yes, the underlying message of this account is clearly encapsulated in your waiting-for-baby analogy! 😀

  4. Bob Cloud

    300,000 miles! Wow, to the moon plus a victory lap/orbit. Makes the 152,000 on my ol’ F-150 seem meager in comparison. 300,000, I wonder how that equates to people years.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You and hubby Terry are of the same mind…he’s always equating our mileage in moon miles. 😉
      He told me to tell you we’re taking in that victory lap and going for a return trip!
      And 152,000 on an F-150 ain’t bad at all…keep on truckin’…

      • Bob Cloud

        When ya’ll get that victory lap done send us up a flare so we’ll know back here then head on back. We need you here amongst us. The return trip should go way shorter, down hill and all.
        The old F-150, he goes by Mule, has been a good’ n. He needs to get back off road though, he misses it.

        • laura bruno lilly

          HA! “Copy, that.”

© 2024 Laura Bruno Lilly

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑