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|TERRESA'S TIARA TALES - PART THREE
Somewhere along the way Terresa acquired a second, and then a third Tiara. Her eventual goal is to restore 'Little Fart' back to
showroom condition. In this chapter Terresa reflects on some of the good old days driving her Tiara.
RUNNIN ON EMPTY by Terresa Holmes
Whether I call it a “simple pleasure” or a “cheap thrill,” I enjoy driving my Tiara. The three on the tree was never considered
cool but has always suited me. Unique dependability always takes me farther than trendy style and a pleasant drive on a sunny
day is still fun in my Tiara.
Any road trip starts with a full tank of gas. But it's illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon. The law requires that drivers
passively wait while the gas station attendant does the work. My cheap thrill is to drive my Tiara into an Oregon gas station, ask
the attendant to “fill it with regular,” and then watch while he walks around the car looking for the place to stick the gas nozzle.
The experienced old- timer attendants can usually figure it out but the unseasoned young bloods always need help.
“Ma'am, where's your gas cap?”
It's at that point that I get out of the car, walk around to the back and flip open the rear license plate. There it is...a rubber
stopper secured in place with a nylon cord. The gas tank holds 10 gallons and while it's filling, the attendant will ask, “What kind
of car is this?”
This is my moment. This is why I drove the little car across the mighty Columbia River from Washington. I answer, “It's a 1965
Toyota Tiara.” Then they always respond with some variation of the same thing.
“Well, I sure have never seen a car like that.”
“It's really cute.”
“My dad used to have a Rambler that looked a lot like that.”
“It's kinda like the Harry Potter car.”
“You should really have it restored.”
After a short while the tank is full, the rubber stopper replaced and I proceed on my merry way. If my 17 or 20 year old kids are
with me, they'll shake their heads and say, “Mom, you really need to get a life. You asked us if we wanted to go shopping at
Janzen Beach. You never said you were taking this car or that we had to stop and buy gas.”
My kids know about how once I should have stopped for gas but didn't. It's 245 miles from the University of Portland where I
attended college to Grants Pass. I got to drive home for long weekends and school breaks and would always fill-up in Portland
and then again in Roseburg before finishing the last 67 miles of the trip. Over time, I learned that the Tiara got about 25 miles to
the gallon on the highway, so I thought I should be able to make the trip on one tank. The adventurer in me wanted to go for it
since Mom and Dad always bought me a tank of gas for my return trip to Portland. That way, I could use my monthly allowance
money for more important college girl essentials like fast food.
But this was pre-cell-phone era and if I ran out of gas, I had to hoof it. So for two years I played it safe and made the trip with two
fill-ups. But one Friday afternoon, the rebel in me took over. I drove past the Roseburg exits without a concern. The Canyonville
exit came and went and still I had no worries. But alarm set in when my gas gage showed that the bottom eighth of my tank goes
down pretty quickly and I was really sweating it out when the assent up Mt. Sexton seemed longer and steeper than ever before. I
relaxed a little when I crested the final hill at Merlin and I felt triumphant when I pulled into the driveway at home just in time for
dinner. I was helping Mom set the table when my younger sister called and said she needed to get picked up from track practice.
Dad said, “Terresa, you got me blocked in the driveway. Toss me the keys to the Tiara and I'll go get Vicki.”
Away Dad went with me forgetting that my Toyota engine was still running on Portland gas. In no time at all Dad was at the door
again. He said, “Terresa, I gotta get the can of lawn mower gas. Your car's as dry as a bone 3 blocks up the road.” Mom and Dad
never said a word about my foolishness and after dinner that night, Dad took the Tiara and had it filled-up with gas for my return
trip. I learned a valuable lesson about not pushing my luck. To this day, I rarely let my car get below a half tank of gas.
Tis story originally appeared in the final issue of the TORC newsletter 'Crossroads' in 2005.
The last time I talked with Terresa, she & David were having one of their Tiara's restored by the same outfit that did a 'concours'
restoration on a Toyopet Crown for Toyota. Hopefully once it is done, Terresa will bring us an update, and another chapter to her