The state truck

Mason Daring

So it’s been a year since I sold my last truck, a wonderful 30-year-old Silverado—it was a guaranteed extra 10 minutes at the gas pumps as folks weighed in on the beauty of classic designs in years gone by. But the Silverado didn’t really work for me in Vermont, for the simple reason it was rust-free and I felt guilty about driving it in winter as in no time flat the salt on the roads would have it for breakfast. So off it went to a collector, and I tried life in Vermont without a truck.

Which really is a no-go. As it turned out, carrying topsoil in the Bentley had significant drawbacks. Okay, it’s not a Bentley, but you get the idea. You just can’t chuck the dump items in your Sunday-go-to-meeting sedan or SUV without repeated trips to the car wash or detailer. 

And you really can’t go fishing in anything but a truck. I’m pretty sure it’s a state law. The penalty for going fishing in a convertible is that it will rain as soon as you’re in the middle of the river. If you drive to the river in an SUV, word gets around pretty quickly. You do know the fish talk to each other, right? Park the Outback next to the stream, and before you know it the snickering begins. Guaranteed skunk time.

Ever see a guy pulling off his waders while he’s sitting on a tailgate? It’s because he caught his limit, and it’s time to go home. It’s a scientifically proven fact that fish fear fisherman who drive trucks. And it’s way better bringing fish home in the back of the truck than in the trunk of a sedan. You remember you have to mow the lawn, after which you need a beer, and then your neighbor invites you over, and one thing leads to another, until a few days later, your wife asks you what the hell is it that smells in the garage? Please don’t ask me how I know this. Really, it’s better to bring the fish home in the truck.

So once I realized my life could only be complete with a truck, I started on the search for a proper Vermont truck. Now I could tell you that this led to a systematic research plan based on the premise that only due diligence would prevent buyer’s remorse. But then I looked around my golf course parking lot. Out of six trucks, five were Toyota Tacomas. I started counting trucks on the way home. Easily three out of four are Toyota Tacomas. It became quickly clear to me that this is the Vermont state truck the same way the TV satellite dish is the Vermont State flower. Mind you, there are lots of other swell trucks—in fact, almost no truck is despised. There are also other flowers. But do a quick head count, and you tell me.

Once you settle on a truck, the next step is actually locating one that might be a good deal. Good luck with that. These trucks were apparently shipped from the factory with a stash of gold bullion hidden in each one because the resale price of a complete rust bucket looks like the annual gross product of Belize. Toyota had a famous frame recall for a series of its trucks over many years, resulting in a bunch of them getting frame replacements. This is like you getting a spine implant, which in my limited medical experience sounds like a questionable practice, but for some it has apparently worked out. 

I somehow managed to locate an older truck, which has apparently spent its last several years buried in a sand dune somewhere because I couldn’t find any rust on it. So I bought it. Now the question is, do I have it undercoated, or do I have oil sprayed on the underside, a practice which sounds suspiciously like some voodoo cult ceremony. My dad swore by this—till he and Mom came home from church one day and she stepped on a deep puddle of oil on the garage floor. Then my mom swore by this, if you get my drift.

The other option is to wash the truck every time I drive it in salt. Not gonna happen. So I’ve got the summer to figure this out. If you see a forest green Tacoma crew cab (I need to find a crew somewhere, by the way) by the stream this summer—just look for the Vermont Habitat decal on the back window—feel free to leave some fish in the back.