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T u e s d a y,  O c t o b e r  4,  2 0 1 6

    I have always been fascinated by using math to equate one thing to another.  For a mathematical equation “a + b = c” to be true, the expression on the left of the equal sign must be equivalent to the one on the right.

I realized a numerical expression of my life on May 12, 2016.  I was at a red light in Long Beach, California.  The odometer on my 2005 Honda Pilot displayed 299,999 miles.  Numbers are the basis for truths in math and in life.

The Pilot was actually my wife’s second choice for a SUV.  Robin initially fell in love with an SUV that could be converted for use as a pickup truck.  The northeast Florida dealership only offered the SUV Truck “blinged out” with chrome accents, big wagon wheels, and low profile tires.  I could understand if this was the more expensive version offered under the luxury company banner, but this was a working-class vehicle.  My ulterior motivation was to tow boats, but I knew the glitz and glam wasn’t her style either.  The salesman suggested that I buy it then purchase standard wheels and tires more suitable for towing.  The numbers did not make sense so I left.

On the way home, I passed a Honda dealership.  It was a classic case of not seeing the forest for looking at the trees.  The dealership was only about a mile from our house.  They had serviced my 1994 Honda Accord from 2003 until I sold it with almost 200,000 miles on it.  They also serviced my wife’s Civic until she terminated the lease.  I was impressed with Honda sedans, but did not know if they had a vehicle that would satisfy our SUV interests.  I had heard of the Element with its numerous features suitable for our active outdoor lifestyle – biking, camping, fishing, hiking, and road-tripping.  Unfortunately, it was only available with a four cylinder engine.  I also heard about the Ridgeline.  It was set to be released in 2006, but I wanted a vehicle that had an established production history.  I wondered if Honda offered a larger, more powerful SUV currently in production and on the street.

Instead of stopping at the dealership, I decided to do some research online first.  It only took a few keystrokes and mouse clicks to find the Pilot.  It had a better engine than the Element, but not as much power as the SUV Truck.  The six cylinder engine had ample power to handle a 16ft fishing boat, but I wasn’t sure my wife would like it.  I was surprised to find out that she was already very familiar with the Pilot.

The next day I called the dealership, but hung-up to answer another call.  A few minutes later, my phone rang.  It was a salesman from the Honda dealership.  He apologized for not being available to take my call.  We talked briefly about the Pilot and he invited me to come take a look.

At the dealership, I gave the Pilot a good once-over, but did not test drive it.  All new cars drive perfectly fine.  I told the salesman that I’d have to bring my wife back to make a final decision.  In my mind, though, we only needed to choose a color.  He offered to let me take one home to pick her up from the airport the next day.  I declined.

By the time I returned to the dealership with Robin, she had already picked out the accessories that she wanted – rubber all-weather mats, retractable cargo cover, and a bike rack.  I had found more information about the Variable Torque Management (VTM-4) that allows the Pilot to automatically transfer more power to the rear wheels when it detects poor traction through wheel slippage.  That was perfect for launching and retrieving boats on Florida’s steep and slippery ramps.

This time the purchase made complete sense.  Within an hour, Robin and I agreed on a Pilot in the Sage Brush color.  It had only had two digits illuminated on the odometer.

More than 299,000 miles later, I only had one mile to decide where to safely stop and record this momentous occasion.  Ancient people used objects to mark distances along a path.  This was our milestone.  It was just as significant for our lives as it was for our Honda Pilot.

I calculated that if we had driven these 299,999 miles an average speed of 50 miles per hour (between surface streets and highways), the vehicle was in motion for 5454.5 hours or 227 days.  We spent almost 8 months inside the Pilot.  In that time, we towed small boats and carried recreational equipment throughout Florida.  Robin and I drove to weddings and funerals.  We towed a fully loaded utility trailer when relocating from Florida to California.  We toured Los Angeles, drove to interviews, and commuted to new jobs.  We have carpooled with friends, enjoyed drive-in theaters on date nights, and even driven through Christmas displays at the zoo.  The Honda Pilot has safely and reliably moved us mile-after-mile through our lives.

I took several pictures with my smartphone and attached the best one to a message to Robin.  “We did it!” was delivered at 3:30pm.  Too bad I didn’t send it a half-hour earlier.  That would have been perfect.


photo taken 10/5/2016 at 10:22am

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