Base Ops

Picuris Peak

What a concept

I was wondering what kind of vehicle to get. I want to be able to get out in the boonies or drive cross-country if I need to.

Back on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when weirdos and hippies could rent old houses on the water for fifty bucks a month, my old friend and fellow Texan David Ashworth drove a heavily-massaged first-generation Ford Bronco that sat up high on great big wheels and ran a mean V-8 with dual exhausts. David was tall with a big bald head and most of his Green Beret physique. He’d sit up ramrod straight with his sunglasses on and whip that thing around, and it would scoot, too. I went with him once on a trip across the Bay to Annapolis and learned it ran on beer. Well, he did. We did that time, actually. One of the fondest memories of my manly life so far is pissing in the parking lot that day. It was the middle of the afternoon and we had just pulled in beside some office building. The point is, we had to go, and David was just a few years out from being shelled by the North Vietnamese.

No, this isn’t off the track at all. Mobility, nerve, and great desire. Exploring with a camera and laptop. Scouting missions to unknown realms, getting into trouble. Whoa!

Damn, I need a garage.

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  • Rita May 10, 2014, 2:05 AM

    Toyota anything. Honda cars are cheap to own and reliable. Toyota trucks are built to last. I once had a 1988 pick up. Daughter has a 1973 4Runner. Her man has a 2007 Tundra. Her dad had a 98. The bigger trucks cost a lot more in gas and upkeep. My little truck never needed anything but tires, brakes, battery, oil, gas. My 05 Civic gets nearly 30 mpg. I am about to get a second vehicle and ought to get a 4×4 but if I get an old van, then I can live in it. And I cannot bring myself to get a gas hog. All the GM recalls make me wonder, but Dodge and Toyota have them, too. I am studying this topic intensely right now.

    The Scion xb is cheap, great cargo space, 30mpg, too low to the ground, made by Toyota, and ugly as sin, but I might get one. Or one of the old and rare 4×4 cargo vans. No way to get it all.

    • JHF May 10, 2014, 2:16 AM

      I need a 4×4. I wish I didn’t, but look at where I am. 🙂 I see a ton of Tacomas around here, must mean something.

  • Mike Walsh May 10, 2014, 2:08 AM

    My vote would be a 4cyl tacoma.

    • JHF May 10, 2014, 2:11 AM

      Is that what you have, Mike?

  • M.J. May 10, 2014, 10:27 AM

    We have a Dodge Ram truck. My daughter calls it the Hover craft. Great riding. But I’ll tell you, riding on those ridged new dirt roads in Taos are a pain. I can only go 5 miles an hr. and that’s pushing it. It will take me forever to get down one of those “new” dirt roads. I used to have a Jeep Cherokee 4 wheel drive, loved it best car ever but the stupid motor doesn’t last as long as the car. I say research, research, by the way our other car is Toyota Suv. Ok, but not a work vehicle, I think Toyota’s have lousy paint jobs. Mine has rock damage. Maybe the 4 runner would be better and built for rugged terrain.

    • JHF May 10, 2014, 12:34 PM

      I love the older Cherokees (’97-’01) A few people have done V-8 conversions with those. THAT would be nice. 🙂

  • Rita May 10, 2014, 11:35 AM

    My 88 was a 4 cyl and got way better mileage than my old beloved 70 chevy, which was one of those that would never die, even when you wished it would. That little Toyota would go anywhere. It was lifted the max. I could fill it with wet horse manure, river rock, firewood, whatever and it would crawl up out of the hollows. But I will get a winch on my next truck. Those 80s trucks are still around. The good ones are from $6,000 to $12,000 on CL here in southern oregon. Once in a while a Craigslister will complain about it, but people rebuild them. When you look under the hood, it is uncomplicated. I even had an automatic, which I always thought was weird in a truck, and it was ok, but stick shifts last longer, better mileage and easier to get unstuck, you can roll start it, peel out, etc. good on the highway, too. Look around, that many long hairs cant be wrong. Parts are available, too, unlike some old trucks.

    • JHF May 12, 2014, 3:21 PM

      Whatever I get, and whenever I get it, also has to be able to cruise at 70 mph plus without blowing up or shaking my teeth out. I saw a perfect used Toyota last year for twelve grand. Had all the off-road goodies, plus the V-6 and a 5-speed, owned by an environmental lawyer who’d equipped it to the max. But we were just starting to look at houses. Still have neither house nor truck. Just about ready to say “fuck it” and buy some wheels.

  • Mike Walsh May 10, 2014, 12:53 PM

    Nope. I have a 2000 Ford F350 diesel 2WD that tows a fifth wheel. Those Toyota Tacomas run forever around here. They rust badly in New England and fall apart around the awesome drive train.But they all can do 300,000 miles.

    • JHF May 10, 2014, 3:41 PM

      Appreciate this, Mike. Good to know.

  • Marti Fenton Whitedeersong May 12, 2014, 11:57 AM

    Old Toyota trucks must be the most reliable ever. There are still lots of them here in Taos and they are the most common war trucks in the world. All those warriors of Afghanistan and Iraq used Toyotas against U.S. Hum V’s.

    • JHF May 12, 2014, 3:22 PM

      True, dat.

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