Sunday, March 09, 2008

Keep On Truckin'

"Um, shouldn't you slow down?" Tom asked, inching his way back into the seat, wishing he had bothered to figure out where the seat belt was...

"Probably." I said, as the red Vans High Top on my right foot pressed firmly down on the gas.

I can tell you, from recent travels, that the speed limit on that stretch of road, as it approaches the three-foot high railroad mound, is 35 MPH.

I'm pretty sure I was pushing 70.

About an hour earlier, we had been at church. We were good church boys. We knew all of the songs. We knew all of the bible stories. I also knew all of the good hiding places around the church for making out with girls, but that is another story...

There was another good church boy there that day. We'll call him "Mike." (Mike's wife regularly reads the Lounge, though I think she thinks I don't know. Anyway...) Mike was eager to show us something interesting that he had just purchased.

As he lifted the lid on the box, we peered inside to find two laser tag guns with matching targets. What more could geeky good church boys desire?

The next 12 minutes were filled with buzzes and beeps as we ran around the near-deserted building. Fun enough, but we all started to think BIGGER.

It was then that somebody, I'm not sure who, recalled that we were all driving pickup trucks. Mike was driving his old Datsun (maybe?); I had my dad's Toyota. Quickly the targets were fastened to the back windows. Test shots confirmed that they worked from a pretty distant range, and we were off.

I was the pilot, Tom was my gunner. Mike was his own pilot, and his buddy handled the shooting. Down side streets and across dark parks, we slid on slippery grass and spun in concentric fishtales in a dirt lot. Many many many traffic laws were broken.

And then we found ourselves in the city of San Dimas, westbound on Gladstone Street. It was dark and getting late on that Sunday evening. The adrenaline was still pumping, but waning. Mike was ahead, but he was pulling away. I was pushing hard to catch up.

I saw the railroad mound up ahead, raised tracks crossing the road. It was a wide gentle hump, but at 70 MPH, it was a ramp. We hit the ramp surprisingly smoothly, and for an instant I knew exactly what it was like to be Bo and/or Luke Duke...

I loved that Toyota truck. My dad drove it for nearly 300,000 miles without so much as an oil leak. I had taken my driving test in it, and Dr. Brian and I had taken our first real long-distance drive in it.

My dad purchased it new in 1984, and he owned it for nearly 15 years. During that time, I purchased my own pickup, an Isuzu. Equally reliable, and a bit more comfortable inside, that truck saw many many nights of adventure, including hauling a ton of gravel at midnight through high water during the great flood of 96. Hell, I could start another blog just to tell tales of the Isuzu pickup...

That was a great truck.

Eventually it up and completely died, but not until it had moved my wife and I into our first house. Homeowners need trucks, so we purchased another one. A Toyota. Toyota trucks last forever, or until your sleepy dad drives it into a telephone pole.

This time, however, my wife drove the truck and I drove the civilized sedan. She drove it mostly on the freeway, and treated it like a baby.

But now with two tots, we can no longer be a tot-car and truck family. So, the Toyota truck is up for sale, listed prominently on craigslist. I have not been without a truck for the last 25 years. The parting seems a little sad.

Perhaps I'll tell truck tales until it is sold as a sort of parting catharsis. I'm certain some of it can be prurient.

If anyone is looking for a 2002 Toyota Tacoma, 2WD, 5-speed manual transmission, with cruise control and AC, let me know. I would like to find the truck a good home...

Oh, and as for jumping the train tracks with Tom? We landed perfectly. No harm-no foul. although, my dad was curious the next day why there were clumps of mud and grass falling from the undercarriage onto the driveway.


  1. other7:16 AM

    Who wrote today's blog? Finally, the return of the writing style that made me bookmark the Lounge!

  2. Anonymous9:12 AM

    Seriously? Using your blog to sell your truck, come on!

  3. Oh, you figured that out, huh?

  4. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Yes, I'm intuitive like that.

  5. Did anyone notice what kind of car won NASCAR in Atlanta this weekend? That's right! Toyota.

    My grandfather's favorite saying was..."I'd rather eat shit then drive a Jap truck." That still makes me laugh.

    I'm on my 4th Toyota now and I have to say that they are the most reliable and cheapest to maintain.
    I've had over 30 cars and I'll always own at least one Toyota.

    So how was that for an endorsement?

  6. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Beautiful. Now if he had any readers he might sell the truck...

  7. Jesus christ, Dr. B, 30 cars??

    How many do you still have?

    Oh, and thanks for the endorsement.


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