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On Getting Back Into Dodge

Admittedly, when Dodge contacted Mile High Mamas during their quest to find 50 local moms to test drive their 2008 Dodge Caravan, I scoffed. To say I am not a fan of minivans is an understatement. My sole reasoning behind my disdain for them was summed up in Chipotle’s recent ad campaign that attested, “There is no such thing as a cool minivan.”

The evidence:

No. 1: My ultra-cool neighbors (who bear a strong physical resemblance to Gabrielle and Carlos Solis on Desperate Housewives) considered buying a minivan last year. Instead of being supportive, I teased them to no end that they were “selling out their coolness.” This would later come back to bite me in the buttocks.

No. 2: During my qualifying interview with Dodge, they asked me if I would ever consider driving a minivan. I, of course, lied and said “Yes.” When asked what kind of minivan I would buy, I could not come up with even one example until they prompted me with, “Well, how about a Dodge Caravan?” Miraculously, I still qualified.

I would like to say it took me a while to warm up to the Caravan given my history. But after my half-hour tour of all its many charms, I was in love. Just like that, a convert. It was like living those many years pro-Diet Coke, only to have a swig of the enemy – Diet Pepsi – and to never look back.

It was just so convenient. With its power sliding doors, trunk, everything, the two LCD screens with accompanying DVD players, SIRIUS Satellite TV and Radio, the GPS to confirm just how lost I can become, the swivel seating system that allowed rear-seat passengers to swivel around to face each other while accommodating a stoable center table. [photopress:IMG_8157.jpg,thumb,pp_image] And not to be forgotten is the rear video camera that transmitted to the dashboard LCD screen, letting me see exactly what I was going to hit whilst backing up.

My husband says he has not seen a sell-out like this since The Simpson’s Krusty the Clown turned corporate.

We took my new love down to Colorado Springs and traveling with the kids was seamless. Imagine that: a seamless road trip. I never thought that possible.

During my week-long love affair, I still had this nagging feeling that I was selling out on my coolness. But then came my epiphany:

I am an unshowered mother of two children and my days of being cool are over.

Thanks, Dodge.

Minivan drivers, unite: what do you love about your set of wheels?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. The sad realities of life. Only I realized this years ago and love my minivan.

  2. I have always loved minivans. I have a wagon now and I miss the room. 🙁

    AND YES.

    I did a total 360 (And simultaneously created more email backlash than I ever thought possible)

    I blogged about my HATRED of skinny jeans! Called for protests! Recalls! Destructive, Jean-fueled bonfires!!!

    Guess who got a pair???


    Guess whose best friend hacked their blog to denounce them as a traitor to the saddlebagged women of the earth with aforementioned purchase?

    It was ugly.

    May you fair better.

  3. Oh, hells bells. Obviously, it was a 180, not a 360.
    Otherwise I would be RIGHT back where I started.


  4. I toldja so! i toldja so!

  5. Um, I mean, welcome to my world. Gratitude can’t even express the joy I feel each time I press my automatic sliding doors on my Chrysler Town & Country! You my dear have discovered WHY automakers offer “free trials.” Now, when are you going to buy it? (You might want to test drive a T&C first, unless that Dodge had more bells and whistles, don’t know, our T&C is 5yo). I also love my minivan because it’s easy as pie for my short legs to get into, but then I sit high with an excellent view! Zowie!

  6. It didn’t accept my last comment, so your friend of few words is submitting another one: Um, I mean, welcome to my world. Love my Chrysler Town & Country’s automatic sliding doors and comfortable, roomy together time. The seats are more comfortable to me than the Honda, and all the hours I spend in their makes a difference. We took out the video and the kids do great (they don’t beat up each other until we get to our destination) Just kidding!!! Um, our aut. back door doesn’t work (our T&C is 5yo) and we just had to put in a $2400 rebuilt transmission EKHHH but otherwise the minivan is awesome. I always wondered if you’d come around to The Light. LMBeeeehonkusO. Don’t you love that they’re easy to get into for us shorties but the view and control is great? Didja buy huh didja??????

  7. Now you know why auto makers offer free trials!

  8. I always told myself that I would never get a mini-van. All of that changed when I had to drive a Caravan for a few days and I fell in LOVE.

    We now own a Crystler Town and Country and it is AWESOME. It’s like a little bit of heaven every time I automagically (as my son calls it) open the doors. Coolness…whatever. It’s all about bliss.

  9. Bah, humbug!
    I’m looking for something low to the road, fast, red and optional top.
    I’m going to do my hair different too!
    serf ‘rett

  10. I had to get one at the age of 26, and I almost cried. I have been uncool much longer than you, but I am just fine with that now. It’s fun to bother my children!

  11. Minivan??? Never settled for something so chic, I went straight for the full size monstrosity. With 5 kids, we don’t do buy anything with the word “mini” attached. Road trips were glorious, parking, not so much so.

    After 12 years, I traded her in for a Suburban. It was good to us, but not so convenient. But I figured my kids were so much older and maybe beginning to move out and get their own wheels.

    Fast forward 6 more years, and I’m cruising down the road in a 2 seater, bright yellow, Honda S2000, with the top down, hair blowing in the wind. I wave to the little faces peering out their minivan windows.

  12. P.S. I tried to convince my daughter of the convenience of a minivan, all to no avail. I think she spent too many years embarrassed to be seen riding around in Big Blue. If I could just get her in one, I know she’d convert. The fond memories of easy travel would come flooding back. Automakers, where are you with your free trials???

  13. It was quite sad watching the guy take Amber’s minivan away. I have never seen a grown woman cry over a minivan before. She tried to beg for more time but to no avail. I am sure she will be getting one very, very soon if she can talk Jamie into it.

  14. Gee thanks, Lisa. I am so glad you were there to witness just how pathetic my groveling was.

  15. I am counting down the days until we can get a minivan. I am planning on having a third child just so we have to get one. lol

  16. I will never convert to minivan-dom! I will resist! Fortunately for me there is only one teenaged stepdaughter to be concerned with so anything that has a backseat would suffice. Sadly I own a Miata still and when the hubby takes the behemoth truck hunting, she and I are stuck with a vehicle that does not allow for her friends to ride too.

    It will be a sad day when I am forced to buy a car with a backseat but it’s coming soon.

  17. Ha! It’s one of those love/hate relationships. Once I succumbed to the dark side of un-coolness, I realized that most of my cars prior weren’t cool anyway, and MUCH LESS convenient. When we have to take hubby’s macho 4 door F-150, I loathe the drive – packing up all those goodies, DVD player, headphones, pains in the bottoms, to accomodate the attention spans of two little boys, spending the entire trip in odd, cramped positions trying to pick items off the floor and getting carsick reloading the portable DVD player, then we both remember THAT IS WHY WE GOT THE MINIVAN. We don’t care too much about being cool, because we know deep down, somewhere behind the minivan, frumpy purse that can accomodate a power ranger toy or emerge a box of raisins at a moment’s notice, practical comfortable walking shoes, eternal jogging suit atire, Raffi music CDs, everyday ponytail hair, and FUNCTIONAL furniture, we are STILL ULTRA HIP!

  18. I love the butt warmer in my Honda Odyssey!

  19. We bought a Dodge minivan a few years ago and recently we traded it for a Toyota. I’m all for trading cool for comfort. My kids each have their own seat. They never have to touch each other. This is a HUGE thing when you have to drive 15 hours to see family…

  20. Personally I just want to throw all the kids in the back of my pickup truck so I don’t have to hear them fighting or whining about me singing along with the occasional Tony Orlando and Dawn song.

    Oh my sweet thing, knock three times on the ceiling if you want meeee.”

  21. Hey the linkie thing really works!

  22. I, too, once swore off minivans. I refused to go shopping for one as I just couldn’t bear it. My DH picked one out himself and drove it home to “surprise” me. I can still recall my mixed feeling of horror and wonder as I looked out the window…

    Now, 5 minivan years later, I have found my peace with it. Mostly because of the sliding doors. Cooler moms might have SUVs, but I can open my doors in tiny parking spots.

    (Okay, it actually possible that I am bitter about driving a mommy-van. Maybe I am a tad too gleeful when you cooler moms can’t get in your SUV. Secretly, I can’t wait to trade-in the minivan for an SUV. But, I will miss the slidey doors…)

    As an aside, the bells and whisltes on the Dodge Caravan looked great on an ad I saw. Is that the one with the spot light thingies so a kid could read without blinding the driver?

  23. We rented a mini-van while vacationing in Hawaii and while it was convenient and all – I’m still not convinced that I would actually be happy as a mini-van owner. I’ll stick with my 4Runner!

  24. I doubt I will ever drive a minivan, partly because my husband thinks, as you used to, that they are the ultimate in suburban dork stereotype. I don’t care for them either. Something about driving a “van” just rubs me the wrong way, but I definitely see the perks and I’m pretty sure I could be swayed if the conditions were right.

  25. I learned to drive in a minivan, lo, those many years ago. I don’t feel safe in anything shorter, and I’m too spoiled by the automatic doors to get an SUV. They’re dorky, but I love my Odyssey (especially the bum warmers on days like today). I’m just hoping by the time I need to replace this one carmakers will wake up and realized I’d spend good bucks for a reliable hybrid minivan. 🙂

  26. I too was a minivan naysayer. Then we moved, sold a car, had another baby and needed a new car all with in a month. We weighed the pros and cons and the minivan won out. I love it.

  27. I have driven many a vehicle since getting my license. I’ve had 3 vans in my life, 1 big honkin’ ugly thing and 2 minis. Hated the 1st, put up with the other 2 until my kids could manage to sit by one another without killing each other. I had a Jeep Liberty. Loved it!! Got hit and it was totalled. Now I have a Chevy Trailblazer and I am really liking it, but I still miss my Jeep.

  28. Holy cow. You sold me. I am in the market for a new van and didn’t know where to beging. Now Dodge can say that their marketing scheme worked! Another buyer may go their way from a BLOG! Cool.

  29. amber,
    you are so adorable how you wrote this. you crack me up. no, don’t go to the dark side. resist resist he he, kathleen 🙂

  30. We have not bought a minivan yet for the very same reason. But, with our 4th child on her way, we had to start looking at a new vehicle. We headed to our cities auto show to check them all out. And, like you, I feel in love with the ever so uncool minivan!

  31. I now openly, and loudly, laugh any time I hear a mother, who is expecting her 3rd baby, say that she will never own a minivan. I was all anti-mini. I was going to get a Honda Pilot. I was going to stay cool despite having kids. I was SOOOOO delusional.

  32. I will be test driving the doge minivan Jan 2-8.
    My husband is sooooo excited!

  33. Okay the van is here, I am a liitle afraid of all of the bells and whistles…when this last load is out of the drier I am off for a solo ride!

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