Author: Campbell, Bruce

The Sissy Truck Drivin' Man

I havenít owned too many vehicles in my 40 years of driving, compared to some people. I find the process of selling and buying vehicles too stressful so Iíve kept my conveyances a long time.

But one thing I have discovered - the favorite ride for me is, hands down, the pickup truck. My first was a 1954 Ford F100. I had saved some money and wanted to get a pickup, and I was picturing a late 60ís model, but I happened to be driving down a street in Pleasant Hill and saw this OLD pickup for sale. It was wonderful - VERY funky. 223 cubic inch straight 6 motor, single barrel carb, three-on-tree transmission. It had super low gears - a ďstump pullerĒ as the owner called it. Driving it on the freeway, it rattled and bumped so much the seat belt (after market of course - there were no seat belts in 1954) was the only thing that kept me flying out the window.

But there came a time when I needed to upgrade my banjo and selling the truck was how I got the money. I ended up selling the truck after 6 or 7 years for a little more than I paid for it.

The joys of driving a pickup stayed with me. I like the amazing visibility - youíre sitting up much higher than a regular car, and the rear window being just a foot or so behind your head means a glance over your shoulder gives you a clear quick look of the road beside and behind you. The cab of a pickup heats up quickly in the winter and cools off quickly in the summer.

And of course, itís handy. Tossing stuff in the back of your pickup is an American pastime! Whether youíre going camping, going to the dumps (I still love doing that, God help me), going to a bluegrass festival, going to a football game or to Home Depot, the pickup is just the ticket! Anybody thatís camped near me knows I sleep in the back of my pickup at bluegrass festivals.

No camper shell for me, boys - my pickupís bed needs the open air to be happy. I have become a whiz at tarping my loads after arriving a few times at destinations with somewhat less in the back than I started with. As a former Boy Scout, my pickups are always Survival Vehicles. They have tools, tarps, rope, blankets, books, pencils, carabiners, knives, duct tape, WD40 and warm coats in the back. Oh, plus extensions cords, spare power cords, and a collection of bunjees.

This past Saturday, I sold my silver BRUGRAS truck that I had for 12 years and 233,000+ miles. Two days later, I bought a new one - same make and model. And herein lies the dark secret. The secret that Rick Cornish, a true country man, spotted right away. I drive wimpy trucks. There - I said it.

The 223 CI motor in my Ford F100 was by far the biggest motor Iíve had in my trucks. The rest have all been teeny, tiny, mini pickuips: Chevy S10 and Nissan Frontiers. What can I say? Two factors have led me to this shameful place.

One, I am cheap. 4 cylinder motors get good gas mileage, and I put a LOT of miles on these little vehicles. And I drive gently, and I am fastidious about maintenance, so I make them little motors last a LONG time.

Secondly, I am a city boy - well a suburban guy, anyway. I donít haul hay, livestock, or big rocks. I donít tow boats, trailers or cement mixers. I live a light-duty lifestyle. I try and make up for it by being the guy who will help his friends move or pick up their new fridge or take their spring cleaning detritus to the dumps. But none of these things can hide the sad truth: I drive a sissy truck.

Does it matter that the Nissan Frontier is now a ďmidsize truckĒ? Or that I kept my BRUGRAS plates?

Posted:  1/22/2014

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