So I set out to feel every crack in Missouri’s pavement. As with all stories – and symphonies and carnal acts – it was an uneven ride. Although a dozen friends and a handful of reporters rode with me on segments, my only constant partner was my car. Racking up more miles on her odometer than the distance to the moon, my 1999 Pontiac Sunfire became Trigger and Lassie and Old Faithful all rolled into one. Her sleek lines suggest roadster, and she handles through twists and turns like a dancer. She understands her owner’s commands, as I work through her 5-speed manual transmission to reach her comfort zone.
She has the spirit of a sports car with the gas mileage of a miser. Her flanks show the dings from parking lot encounters, and her roof is a quilt of dents from hail and scratches from hauling my favorite passport to nirvana: a canoe. Her interior transformed into a disheveled file cabinet, preserving an accurate record of our wake. She would star in a Pontiac commercial, if the Pontiac brand hadn’t been put to death. Regardless, my Sunfire is a candidate for Best Pontiac Ever, the only car to cover every road in Missouri, so far as I know.
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