Alice Skadsberg: My ’99 red Mercedes SLK 230 Kompressor convertible

Every mid-May I put insurance on my 1999 Mercedes convertible, and it becomes my summer car. It is a way of declaring that the weather will be fine — for at least the next four months — for that top-down experience.

This year it has rained, been below freezing several mornings, and has been generally unpleasant. However, if it is at least 55 degrees, I am out there. Heated seats make this possible. The feeling I get driving along looking at the open sky is truly grand.

You see, I have had a bucket list for the last 20 years or so and a blue or red convertible was on it. My husband, a big car guy, found it and it was fairly inexpensive and in good shape. I checked off one more thing on my bucket list. So, I put on a fun hat and sunglasses and off I drove.

I get a variety of reactions when I am on the road. Young guys cannot believe an old lady has such a sweet ride. Some of my friends think I am nuts to have one since we live in a colder climate. My 88-year-old neighbor Donna loves it when I pick her up and we go up the North Shore for an adventure. She refuses to have the top up and will not wear a hat — and says she loves the wind in her hair. I love the look of pure joy on her face as we drive. Everyone seems to want a ride in my 1999 Mercedes convertible, even those who have no desire to own one.

I have had a few close calls with the weather and have pulled over just in time to put the top up for a cloud burst. And, there have been a few occasions when I wear a winter jacket and gloves, but all in all I love every minute of it.

It has a newer radio so I can listen to music on my journey. It has gotten me to venture out of my comfort zone and explore Wisconsin and Minnesota a little. I never return home without a smile on my face.

So, now you have heard all the good stuff. I want to share a recent journey I took down I-35 that was not so great:

I’s traveling down the freeway listening to tunes with the top down on a beautiful day in beginning of June, when some stuff started to fly at me from in front somewhere. At first, I couldn’t figure out what it was. I foolishly ignored it until I got right behind the source. There I was, behind a semi load of giant hay bales. Hay was flying everywhere in chunks. Hay in the car, in my hair, under my sunglasses. Some straws even made it down my shirt front. Yuk. The semi finally turned off the busy freeway so I could pull over and clean the car and myself.

I share this story to illustrate that nothing is ever perfect all the time. Not even while driving my 1999 red Mercedes SLK 230 Kompressor convertible. Hard to believe, I know, but true nontheless.

‘Till next time, if you see me, wave, because I am still going to be riding around in it. I do not expect perfection, but I do love the adventure.