The Joy Of Daily Driving A Bigass Truck

Illustration for article titled The Joy Of Daily Driving A Bigass Truck

Whenever I go back to Texas I feel the need to get a car that seems impressively Texan. Last time it was a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 which, with its mix of German and American might, found a place deep in this Texas heart.

This time, I'm returning to the place one state supreme court justice called "God's Country" in order to welcome a new niece to the world. Only something as robust as a Ford F-250 King Ranch Edition would do. I've got nothing to haul and no trailer to pull, but that doesn't mean I can't use a big diesel engine to go pick up lunch or visit my financial planner.

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Just like daily driving a sports car, it's about the possibilities as much as the practice.

Picking up the monster truck at the airport I remember, of course, the immediate challenge of driving such a vehicle. It's as long as one of Colt McCoy's spirals, about as wide as three Earl Campbells linked together, and about as tall as the tales I spin about that time I got punched by a USC fan at Disney World (true story).

Illustration for article titled The Joy Of Daily Driving A Bigass Truck

But Ford is ready for this. There's a nice little button that pulls in the massive mirrors so you can sneak between parking barriers, toll booths, and other people's equally ginormous trucks. It's just like driving a Prius, if the sound of your Prius caused deer to scatter.

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Sure, you can go and get barbecue in your Toyota Camry. A lot of good Christian people drive Toyota Camrys. No one, of course, will look twice at your Toyota Camry when you pull into Rudy's Country BBQ Store to pick some up.

There's something prideful about the stares and nods you get in a truck like this. Pride may be a deadly sin if you live in Delaware, but God himself granted Texans an exception on account of them being half as slothful as the average human. We get shit done, no sense in denying it.

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A little note about Rudy's. I'd say it's the best place in Texas to get BBQ where you can also get all three grades of gasoline. This I can say because I'm safely back in Virginia. In Texas, debates over the tastiest barbecue are the #3 cause of shooting deaths after blown little league calls and, of course, the company of loose women.

Illustration for article titled The Joy Of Daily Driving A Bigass Truck
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Does it suck gas? No. That's a common misconception of trucks like this. It sucks diesel. Lots of it. The tank on the F-250 has roughly the same displacement as the Alamo Dome. If you're doing really well you can get a full 17 MPG, which isn't bad, but you're going to be eating a lot of BBQ.

The advantage, though, is that when you're stuck in traffic you don't have to wonder what's happening ahead. No GPS needed. In this truck you sit up high enough to see what's going on a full three counties away.

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There's also plenty of room for five full-sized adults, with my family happily and easily squeezing into the back without a complaint. No yoga skills are necessary to ride bitch in one of these.

Did I mention the cupholders? Four in the front console: two for drinks, one for your spitting cup, and one for sunflower seeds. Lockable storage is a must, otherwise where are you going to put your handgun?

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Illustration for article titled The Joy Of Daily Driving A Bigass Truck

My friend's dad best summed it up in a conversation we had about car ownership.

"No, I can't see myself ever owning a car ageen," he said in his Central Texas dialect. "It just ain't practical. What if I need to haul wood or tow a boat?"

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This, of course, from a man I remember driving around in a hilariously undersized Daihatsu Charade for my childhood. I can see why he might yearn for space.

I have to agree, though, with his sentiment. Some people drive trucks because it's a status symbol in Texas. They don't need the space, they just need the attention that comes from owning a vehicle roughly the size of Rhode Island. It's why they make "Platinum" F-150s.

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Yet, I can't help but feel there's something else at work here, too. I don't know if my friend's dad has a boat or, even, a pressing need to move large amounts of firewood. I assume he doesn't.

What's happening here is something deeply psychological. A fear that, at any moment, someone's fixing to come up to you with piles of wood that need to be hauled off and you'll be sitting there, looking at your Camry, unable to help.

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It's perhaps, why, we have an entire month dedicated to trucks. It's called, of course, "Truck Month" (pronounced: truuuuuck muuuhnth) and it seems to come around three times a year.

If Texans hate anything (besides Oklahomans) it's being unprepared.

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DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

Rudy's is pretty good BBQ, There was a great little gas station place in Lubbock that I liked better but I can't recall the name of the place. Anyway, I recently spent a goodly amount of time away from my normal ride (a 2005 forester XT 5 speed) in a big truck (1997 k2500 suburban supercharged 454) and I can say that, in Utah at least, it was a mixed bag at best.

On the one hand, its a hugely manly experience to power over-steer through an intersection in a barge with which has what is loosely described as "bench seats". 600 ft/lbs does something to a man...good things...like mesquite does to meat, torque does to the truckly experience. Also, as I was using it to move my house (not literally, though it could probably do it) I noticed that my house wasn't as big as i though, because it swallowed all my non-furnitures in a low number of loads....who needs a moving truck? And another thing, recently I was employed to pull out giant deadly rose bushes, and I had to brake in 4 lo to prevent it from doing it too quickly. I couldn't have felt much tougher and manly if Johnny cash and Chuck Norris were building a bridge out of old battleships in the back.

On the other hand, 10mpg on premium fuel is...not so great. Neither is bouncing over every bump on massive leaf springs, and turning the wheel 15 degrees in either direction before the wheels realize I need them for stuff, like turning. The biggest problems was that despite the fact I can leave big tracks of X-radial in my wake, every other car on the road treats me like I'm going to impregnate them with some type of sewer/alien hybrid....in a bad way. Try to change lanes and people will speed up and close the gap as if they thought you might deploy an army of radioactive trunk monkeys for the funsies if I got in front of you, same with merging. It was an infuriating experience, here I was with all the power and menace of Zeus and I was being boxed out like a common badger.

Frankly I'm glad I'm back in my forester; sure its a lesbo machine, I get it...I don't care BTW, lesbians are welcome in my car anytime provided they bring snacks or oil. Do I miss the rough and tumblyness of the truck from time to time? Sure. But its kind of like the romance image of a welder, or cowboy or some manly Mike Rowe narration worthy job...its fun to try it out, get your hands dirty, but at the end of the day, its nice to come home to a shower and a clean bed. Trucks are like work boots, they do the job, but no one who needs to wear them wouldn't rather slip into something more comfy when the work is done.