Back Among the Dinosaurs

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Is that snow? Why yes, I believe it is. Which is why, I’m sure, I did not leave the back porch in my slippers to bring you a close-up of my “new” truck.

Fresh on the heels of the highly disturbing United Nations report that humans are predicted to cause the extinction of one million species, plant and animal, in the not-so-distant future that could possibly bring about our own demise, I have a confession that doesn’t help the cause: I bought a truck.

Yes, I am once again the owner of a gas-guzzling pick-em-up-truck and no, I am not particularly proud of this — although here’s another confession: I do like trucks.

My first vehicle, back in college, was a Ford Maverick. It was sold to me by my grandparents, and this is the price they exacted: I had to wear my seat belt every time I got behind the wheel. That was a price I could pay. Then, on my 21st birthday, I traded up with them: I returned their Maverick in exchange for their Chevrolet Scottsdale three-quarter ton pick-up — and the promise to always wear my seat belt.

I loved that truck. I still love that truck. It was my only vehicle for roughly 10 years, until I bought a Geo Tracker with 13,000 miles on it to serve as my road vehicle. (I did do a lot more driving back in those days. I was working at the paper, and hit the road for a variety of sports play-offs, going to Delta, Grand Junction and/or Denver at the end of every sports season.)

And then I was done buying cars. The truck I drove less and less — actually, I drove both of them less and less, investing in first one and then a second bicycle. No longer at the paper, I pared down my out-of-town trips as well. I thought I mostly used my truck for work, taking it to the car wash on screen-reclamation days.

It also came in handy for hauling things, sometimes mine, often others. (Here’s a true story: when I first got the truck, my mother wanted to know why I thought I needed it. Who do you suppose was the first to ask to borrow it because she needed to haul something?) And my dogs, until we got to Oz, have always liked riding around in trucks (mostly in the cab, before you yell at me).

But my truck wasn’t holding fluids, and although the engine only had 80,000-ish miles on it after 37 years, other parts were wearing out: mirrors hanging by threads or not at all, brakes sometimes more functional than others, a door that sat ajar, a fading transmission, tires with innertubes in them . . .

I asked my body guy (car body — the other body guy would be a doctor) about fixing it up, and he advised against it. “Just drive it until it’s done,” he advised, adding he had his own truck like that.

And then my Tracker, 10 years younger than my truck (so, my “new” car, only 27 years old), started having problems. My mechanic left a message on our answering machine: “Lynn, tell TL he needs a new car.” I went out the next day and test drove an electric car, from which there was no looking back.

Right after I bought my barely-used Nissan Leaf (three years old, but with a mere 500 miles on it), my mechanic phoned again: he had fixed my Tracker, to the tune of $900. I didn’t need a car collection, so I listed my beloved Tracker for sale.

The first call I got came from a young artist who supplemented her jewelry-making as our favorite waitress at a downtown restaurant. She had owned a Tracker until a garbage truck backed over it, so she was very excited to buy mine — and I was pleased it would be going to a good home.

When she came to drive it, she brought her then-fiance, now husband, and his eyes went right past the Tracker to latch onto my truck, and it was love at first sight. My vehicles went as a package deal (so they’re still together) to young people with old souls who have mechanical skills I can only envy.

At first, I was fine without a truck. As part of the purchase price (which included exacting a promise from Wes that he will always wear his seat belt), I was supposed to get a trailer that I could use behind my Leaf, even though the owner’s manual clearly forbids towing anything.

Neither my mechanic nor my body guy showed much enthusiasm in helping me locate an after-market towbar, and due to an entire bank of lithium-ion batteries in the floor of my Leaf, welding is ill-advised, so I never pushed the issue. (We recently altered the terms of our purchase agreement, so Lynn and I will instead be getting a custom-made art piece for our new home.)

I discovered I could fit 46 screens in the back of my Leaf, so I used it for reclaiming, but I wasn’t loving how it was scuffing up the newest car I’ve ever owned. And it was logistically a lot more work than recklessly piling screens in the back of a truck.

Too, as we’re getting closer and closer to moving, the need for a truck becomes more apparent. People have offered the use of their trucks, and if there’s one on the lot, you can rent from U-Haul for $20 per day, but after 30-odd years of having my own truck at constant disposal, those options didn’t seem ideal. While I wasn’t sad to have sold my truck, I was a little sad to not own a truck.

Add in that we’re planning to utilize my work Dumpster for trash collection and no longer access to curbside recycling, and I was starting to envision a fair amount of hauling in my future. I started looking around at trucks for sale.

Now, let me just say I am a total convert to the Electric Way of Driving. I love my electric car. If there were an electric option for pick-ups, I’d be there. Maybe. At this point they would be horrendously expensive.

There are electric buses that haul all kinds of weight, so I don’t understand this, but in the electric vehicle world, pick-ups appear to be a long way off. The batteries make electric vehicles (EVs, for those of us in the know) very heavy to begin with, so if you offer a space to haul a big payload, like half or three-quarters of a ton, you’re making the motor work overtime.

If current gasoline models start around $50,000, where do you suppose that would put an electric version, even if its name weren’t Tesla? Way out of my reach, that’s a given. So then I have to wait for the “pre-owned” market, which certainly sounds classier than “used,” and now we’re way down the road. My truck needs just can’t be put on hold that long.

And so here I am, pulled back to Earth (way down in the Earth, where the extraction takes place) with the rest of you gas-guzzlers once again.

Who knew I had so much to say about trucks? You’ll have to tune in tomorrow for the very exciting story of how I acquired my “new” (actually very used) truck. Are you on the edge of your seat? I know I am.

 

One thought on “Back Among the Dinosaurs

  1. Congrats! But here’s my pressing issue: when Tia and Don move to Gunnison, who’s truck am I going to use??

    Like

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