As I write this from my third story apartment in Watford City, my truck sits down below in the parking lot, parked gangster-style facing away from the building.
Garth Brooks' greatest hits are in the CD player. A winter survival kit sits squarely in the back hatch. The cardboard box I used to bring some pictures to Watford from Fargo in lies across the backseat with CD cases and a plastic bag on the floor.
This is the last night with my truck. After seven years' driving, my 2001 Mercury Mountaineer will be traded in tomorrow for a 2014 Jeep Patriot.
It's been a long run, and I've been there since day one.
I remember the test drive with my mother back in September 2002 when I was 8 years old. Mom taught me how to drive in the Mountaineer, affectionately called "the warthog" because of its all-wheel drive.
The warthog got stuck all but once in 14 years, while pheasant hunting with my father and uncle in January 2008 in rural southeastern North Dakota. The snow locked her in, but we pulled her out.
I took the warthog to college, drove it to and from my many jobs and all around the state of North Dakota on my photography travels. From Medina to Medora, Pembina to Zeeland, she never failed me.
The warthog did blow its alternator in traffic in downtown Fargo in June 2014, and I had a collision one late night in an intersection last year in spring, but aside from those two mishaps, no troubles on the road or problems.
The warthog took me where I needed to go, which included Cashwise tonight for frozen pizza, peaches and corn.
I drove that faithful truck for seven years, more than most people can say, according to my salesman at the Williston dealership. Most people last three years with a vehicle.
The Duras last over 10.
My father has had his Dodge Ram 2500 since 2004, and Mom celebrates five years with Babs the Ford Fusion this month.
My Mountaineer was a fun ride. The trips with friends, adventures across the state, even everyday errands like running to the grocery store or to downtown.
The Patriot felt right. I don't think I'll be disappointed with what the new truck does.
I'm not exactly sad to see the warthog go, but I do feel a tinge bit wistful.
That truck has been with me on the road since my sophomore year of high school up to my first postgrad job.
The Williston dealership traded her for $1,000, which isn't bad considering the crack in her windshield, broken driver's side door handle and 161,000 miles.
I was told she'll go to a dealership out west for folks trying to rebuild credit or go to some other kid for a first car to drive.
When I take her to Williston tomorrow evening, I'll think a bit about my past with the warthog.
After all, it was a good ride.