Author’s Subaru achieves lunar orbit — illustration by Bob King
How many miles do you have on that Chevy? Some of us know exactly what the mileage reading on our odometer is. We even have goals for our cars. A fellow photographer at the newspaper is surprised that her Toyota appears to be giving up its soul just shy of 150,000 miles. "I mean, it’s a Toyota," she said. Others will drive their vehicles into the ground before they buy a new car hoping for 200,000 or even 300,00 miles.
I’ve had a long-term goal for my 1992 Suburu that was recently achieved this year. I finally made it to the moon. Well, give or take. The moon’s orbit is oval (elliptical), and so its distance varies from 214,000 to 244,000 miles with an average of 238,000. The rusty, white Suburu’s odometer stands at 222,000 today, putting me in the lunar distance comfort zone.
Now the bad news. The car needs new brakes, the transmission’s leaking and it struggles in reverse gear. On Monday, my mechanic Larry will examine the vehicle to determine if it’s worthy for future missions.
Will it make it to average lunar distance? Dare I hope for a journey to the closest asteroid? Only Larry knows for sure.
If any of you reading this have "traveled to the moon" in your vehicles, I’d love to hear about it. Bon voyage!