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by Rich Loney, NOCBMWCCA Pilot editor

ryanIn the fall issue of the Bimmer Pilot you may recall my excitement to have scored a great deal on an ’05 Honda Element for my youngest son Kyle. Not only was it a somewhat underpriced low-mileage vehicle, but I found it in late January and Kyle wouldn’t get his driver’s license until May. Beautiful! For the first time in my existence, I’d have a bona fide all-wheel-drive “winter beater.”  Kyle’s birthday (Cinco d’Kyle) arrived, and, upon the successful passing of his driver’s exam, the keys to the Honda were officially transferred from my pocket to his. So far it’s been an awesome father-son bonding experience. We’ve logged many amazing hours of garage-time togetherness modifying his new ride with projects ranging from bolting on nerf bars and a flashy billet aluminum grill, to installing a black acrylic hood guard and hula girl dashboard ornament. We even teamed up on a brake pad and fluid change with the finishing touch being painting the calipers bright red. It’s been a blast spending time with him. 

Which brings us to today, Sunday, August 17. In exactly one week I’ll take possession of my next winter beater. No, I didn’t find this one on Craig’s List or parked in the back of a buddy’s service station lot.  Truth be told, I’ve actually owned my new winter ride for close to 10 years. When the snow starts falling and salt saturates our roads I’ll park the 135i and saddle up in our family’s trusty ’03 Toyota Highlander. However, as thrilled as I was in January when the Honda was added to the fleet, when I drive the Highlander it will be with a bit of a heavy heart and, quite possibly, a tear in my eye. You see, in a week my oldest son Ryan heads off to The Ohio State University and will leave behind both the Toyota and a mom and dad who are totally stunned by how quickly time has passed.

Cars and the time you and your kids share with them are special. I cherish each of the memories. My only wish is  that I had a thousand more memories. Ryan was probably 14 when I taught him how to drive behind the wheel of the vacation rental in a huge Orlando parking lot. When Kyle was just 8 he began helping me with my seasonal tire changes on the Bimmer. Back then he was my wheel chock guy. Now, at 16, he can swap the wheels and torque the lugs like a NASCAR pit crew pro and is probably strong enough to bench press the car in the absence of a floor jack.

Next week, as the family piles into the Highlander and drives Ryan to Columbus, we’ll make another special but bittersweet car memory. A memory of how proud I am of my little boy for growing into such an amazing young man, but how sad I’ll be to see him go. So to my son:  May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back, and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.