Reader Aaron Headly, who once stole a microphone from one G. Danzig at a Detroit Misfits gig and sang, "TWENTY GUYYYYYS IN MAH BE-E-E-E-D," takes on a big-ass truck in the latest installment of Jalopnik's Rental Car Reacharound. Got a rent-a-racer review of your own? Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep the rants to around 500 words. Danke!
After spending 10.5 years with traveling as part of my job, I figure I'd recognize on odd rental-car experience when I saw one, and I think I've seen one: Enterprise rented me a Double-Cab Ford F-150 4X4 Pickup Truck in Eugene,Oregon.
It was the only remaining rentable vehicle at the airport.
I giggled inappropriately (did you know booze is free in first class? Um, kidding!) and grabbed the keys.
First Impression: these fuckers are huge. When you are used to Taurii, having your eye-height remain the same when driving as standing is an all-new experience. I could claim to be used to this what as I spent two years with a 1952 Chevy 3100 as my daily driver, but the cab on that truck was more VW Bug than Grand Marquis. Every part of the 150 seemed very far away, including the steering wheel.
Thanks to my trusty Garmin IQue 3600, I didn't have to worry about which route to take to Grants Pass [note: the lack of the possessive apostrophe is the correct spelling, believe it or don't] and could concentrate on my driving. Or, I should say, steering. You don't drive these things at all, you steer them. It is an out-of-body experience; it's similar to operating an RC car.
I-5 from Eugene to Grants Pass is a twisty bitch with plenty of curves marked 50 m.p.h. Thank Jeebus they put those signs up, because the truck offered no opinion on how fast I should be going around those corners. It just went in whichever direction I pointed it and left it to me to figure out if we were going to make it. Not pleasant.
The steering does offer some feedback: it gets a little harder to turn the further you turn it. But that's it. Understeer? Oversteer? I have no idea, and the beast wasn't inviting me to find out. "On center" is when the logo on the wheel looks level, not a 'feel'.
Parking the thing was another treat. It was all about having an exit strategy. I ended up getting a lot of exercise walking back and forth from the far corners of various parking lots.
If a had one of these in my driveway, and a wife, I'd drive the Camry I know we'd also own. Unless I loved her.
Aaron Headly [AKA Aaron X]
[Thanks to Trista Crossley for snapping the pic.]
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