Monday, November 3, 2008

SOMETIMES YOU'RE THE WINDSHIELD, SOMETIMES YOU'RE THE BUG

I flew out today, and after 4 hours on an airplane I'm settled in safety at my hotel. No work today other than the search for a perfect steak somewhere. Most days I do have a beautiful drive to work, through open countryside, cornfields, and barns for most of the way. It was a nice change from my drive through the city where I used to live, where, with the roads I was on, the little VW was a fun little vehicle. This beautiful drive now involves the above country roads head on traffic, usually doing 50-60 mph on narrow pavement that may have had a plow sometime this month. There are also several four way stops through which some people sometimes don't. . . stop. With my county growing fast, the number of vehicles taking this route into the city is increasing.

When I first moved from living right in the city to a more rural smallish town, I was almost twice smooshed by another, much larger, car piloted by a driver inattentive or coping with some unexpected ice. We stopped before paint met, but the screaming of brakes and the image of something much bigger on the automotive food chain filling my window got my attention. Driving home one night in heavy rain and fog, I realized that not only was I only a few feet from the oncoming traffic but that I was essentially looking directly UP at their license plate as my car was about the size of a shopping cart. If they went over centerline, I was toast. Plain and simple.

I've lost a family member in a vehicular accident in a small car. It's something that shadows my mind. Sure I get 30 plus miles to the gallon, but what good is leaving a smaller carbon footprint if I have no footprint to leave. Yes, you don't need a 5 ton SUV to drive to the store in suburbia or to take one child to soccer. I DO need one out here in the country on less than stellar roads. So I did the math. With the miles I drive, including car pooling with a coworker with a large truck who lives a mile away, I'm only going to use an extra 25 gallons a month to commute and go shopping and see friends in the city once or twice a month. So before the Fall and Winter set in I bought a truck. Al Gore will have to get over it.

So what did I get? The Secret Service uses GM. They're good robust vehicles for the mission. They've got good electronics and transmissions. But that's a bit TOO big for what I need, though I do haul stuff for the Range. So my final choice - a Chevy Silverado, with the bigger engine. 5,967 cc, 6 liters, V 8 front engine with 101.6 mm bore, 92 mm stroke, 9.4 compression ratio, overhead valve and two valves per cylinder LQ4 for those of you that think that way. Four wheel drive. Four door extended cab. Truck liner. 2800 pound payload (I can haul some GEAR in this thing) It's a 2007, with only 22,000 miles. I got a good price. (well good is relative in quality large vehicles. It was more than my old car and less than purchasing say, Vermont.) And it's black with tinted windows in the back.


For those covert missions to Fresh Market.

22 comments:

pat houseworth said...

Nice Ride, my little Jeep Wrangler can go through anything{off road wise} but is not a match for something that big face to face.

LauraB said...

Suhweet ride!! And a kind thankee for getting something to help ensure you are around a lot longer.

Anonymous said...

Brigid,

Did you get a promotional deal with GM?

Mike

Rio Arriba said...

An excellent choice, arguing good taste and sharp powers of reasoning. Once you've driven a nice, sturdy truck and had the pleasure of look downwards at just about everybody else you'll never go back to a mere...car.

My big ol' 6.6 liter diesel gets 22MPG when empty on the open road and I can haul a 1-1/4 ton payload.

Bite me, Al.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow, that truck is a stunner! Now I'm having pickup envy! 3 of my 6 vehicles have been trucks, and I admit I prefer them, in or out of the city. Going to the range, or going to the opera - there's something so much more secure-feeling to me about driving/riding in a truck. Congrats on your sweet ride!

ronin555 said...

I'm a new reader and have been reading older posts. I noticed that you seem to be in Indiana and have a family connection to Idaho. I'm in a similar position only the state of residence is reversed. I'd love to hear the story sometime.

Great blog, thanks for all the interesting stories.

RobD said...

Now that is a nice truck! There is always something about dogs liking to ride in trucks.

My Chevy truck is a 1964 vintage and what a wonderful year that was. Straight six 292 engine and a transmission so low you start in 2nd gear. It has a wood bed and weighs about 2 tons empty. They don't build them like that any more. I only drive it when I need a truck (and the 14 mpg it gets).

tanksoldier said...

Nice, except for the part about it not being a Ford. ;)

At least you like Sigs.

Old NFO said...

Good choice, although the Tahoe would have been more appropriate :-) Or at least got the neighbors going :-0

Anonymous said...

you'd lose it in the mall parking lot with all of the other ones down here.. But all of the nice people are at your level on the road and will wave.

Max in the Heart of Georgia.

KurtP said...

RobD- But you put it in granny and you can drive straight up a wall.

Brigid- Not sure about you pick-up knowledge, but they ARE light in the rear (as the wife found out one rainy night). You'll need weight over the back tires for traction...even if it's a 4x4 ...monrabto help keep you going straight down the road.

Roberta X said...

Makes me miss my Suzuki Samuri. (I know, I know, but it was "big" by my standards)

Brigid said...

Thanks for the hints guys but I know about that. (I'm the girl that stuffed a 440 big block into her 67 Cuda so I'm not without some car knowle4dge :-) And no, I was NOT the original owner of that fine car. . wasn't driving for quite a while after that one came out but was lucky to pick it up.

Of course then I had to stick new headers on it but the old ones were barbecuing my brake booster after the engine change. . and then I had to. .

girls and their cars, always changing their minds. . . .

John B said...

Any truck is a good truck, I have a weakness, apparently, for Dodge trucks. Got an 85 3/4 ton for next to nothing. Dad has a Toyota mini PU for light work. Ruby has demanded more OUT time since Chester died.

Good looking Pickup.

stbaguley said...

Funny, I pictured you more the invisible jet type. ;-)

Anthony said...

Now that truck is a beauty. All you are missing now is a gun rack.

Jay G said...

Big black pick-up truck. Very nice.

Aw, hell, insert Tim Allen-esque grunt here. Rrrrr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r! More power!

Don't worry too much about the weight in the back as long as you've got a limited slip rear diff and decent tires. I've not had to put a single ounce in the bed of my hemi-powered Dodge, and last winter (which was a pretty snowy NE winter) only had to use 4WD twice...

Crucis said...

I used to drive a red, GMC Yukon. I got 14-15mpg in town and 18mpg on the highway. I traded it in a fit of pique when I first spent $50 to fill its 25 gallon tank.

Wish I still had it.

DirtCrashr said...

I used to have a Karmann-Ghia that was low to the ground. I've seen license-plates nearly above my roof. You may not need one for groceries, but you do need a truck to haul your dirtbike. :-)
As a F-150 driver in a bigger and more powerful vehicle I feel I can assume a bigger responsibility for on the road behavior, and even possibly provide some protection to the little kindergarten-cars around me, especially in hazardous conditions - by positioning and size I can part the waters or slow the flow. "To whom much is given, much is asked."

Eric said...

My '03 Taco Double Cab 4x4 was rear-ended by an older Toyota truck in 2007. The trailer hitch assembly took out her radiator and helped keep my frame from twisting. The bed box turned itself into a crumple zone and was easily replaced, unlike a unibody car or SUV.

Like rio_arriba said, once you go truck you can't really go back...

J.R.Shirley said...

Very nice. May it always carry you in safety and comfort.

The Freeholder said...

Nice truck...1/2 ton if I'm counting the lug nuts right? Good capacity for that platform. Not a fan of the 6 liter engine though. More power for about the same gas from the current GM big block, if my wrench-turning buddy is to be believed. Or better mileage and nearly as good performance from the 5.3 (I think that's the size).

But at any rate, I'm envious. My current commute would not allow me to have such. Be safe.