Farewell to THE CLAW

I guess when big life changes happen, there can be a ripple effect. The same day I bought the new-to-me 2007 Toyota Prius that’s now my sole vehicle, Brad proposed. I had no idea the proposal was coming, of course, so I was already pretty emotionally spent from the process of signing away more money to a single object than I’ve ever paid in my life (but excited, too). Being engaged offered a total energy surge–What new car? What money? What stress? Who cares! We’re getting married!–and we spent that evening with Brad’s family and extended family (who showed up with a jar of moonshine).

Needless to say, parting with THE CLAW was bittersweet. I’ve driven this 1989 Volvo Station Wagon 740GL for 7 years. Half of that time, this car was my home. No exaggeration there. My home. (If you have any doubts, visit this page.) I have driven THE CLAW across the country and back 3 times, driven it 4 times to and from NC and northern Michigan, and even been featured in an interview regarding THE CLAW’s superior powers. This car has been through a cattle drive; over 9,000 foot mountain passes (at a crawl); through the Pigeon River Gorge in a blizzard; through a Texas drought which involved 58 consecutive days of no rain and temps over 100 degrees (without air conditioning); journeyed along the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky; and so much more. It has parked at somewhere around a dozen artist retreat havens across the United States and ferried backpackers to trailheads near and far. It has blasted Pearl Jam when I needed to stay awake, The Pines when I was heart-sick, Andrew Bird for countless hours, and Death Cab for Cutie when I needed nostalgia.

Most of all, THE CLAW has served as a metaphor for going after life. Claws grab what they want. They see something and go for it. The antlers came along later, and of course the final, completing decoration was the typewriter with wings painted across the hood. Here are a few sweet memories in photos. Farewell sweet home, badass friend, and protector of all deeds writerly and road-bound:

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Yes, THE CLAW is in this photo!

Weymouth Center for Arts & Humanities

The morning after the Pigeon River Gorge blizzard.

Imnaha River Canyon, OR

Wallowa Mountains, OR


Authors and friends John & Julie Rember add elk antlers from Idaho.

Printmaker Maranda Allbritten ties a streamer on in Nebraska…

Poet Mendy Knott meets THE CLAW in Arkansas.

The ranch handler at Madrono Artist Residency in south-central Texas added these…and then the fawn came along.

Painter Gavin Post adds the esteemed typewriter to the hood.

German author Barbara Krohn and German painter Ingrid Floss adorn THE CLAW in Virginia.

Road trip to best friends in Milwaukie, WI!
[ad infinitum…]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.