random #14: I bought a truck tonight!

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 05-06-2009 10:14 AM 7491 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Bryan Nash Gill's Hemlock Relief Print Part 14 of random series Part 15: New truck pics - 2005 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road »

No pics yet or anything, but after looking at an ‘06 Ranger at the Ford dealer with 42k on it, I kind of fell for an ‘05 Tacoma with about 85k on it at the Toyota dealer. A little older, a bit more used, but it just had a lot more I wanted. It’s a certified pre-owned with 3yr/3k bumper-to-bumper, and 7yr/100k drivetrain warranties, power everything, AM/FM/CD, access cab – 2-door, but has a small back, and little half-doors that make loading things/passengers back there easy – lined bed, knob-lock tie-down clamps, and my favorite weird extra (maybe it’s common?): a 400W max grounded power outlet with spring-cover built into the right inside wall of the bed area. This means I can plug in my electric chainsaw whenever I find a fallen tree, or large branch, without needing an inverter! Now I don’t need one of those. It’s a shiny deep royal blue (color was the least of my concerns, but it’s quite nice), handles very well, and has new, rugged, off-road tires.

I don’t know a whole lot about car pricing, but I managed to get him down from $17k to $13k. What’s the consensus? Sound like an okay price? Everything was in perfect condition – no dents, scrapes, dings, broken plastic, scuffed whatevers. It looked pretty much like a new truck to me.

If you’ll permit me a moment of reflection for the old ‘00 Ford Focus hatchback that’s pretended for 9 years now to be a truck. You were a trooper, and you never once complained, nor broke down whilst hauling my absurd loads. You will be missed. Let’s reflect a moment on just a small subset of your honorable service…

Ah, my old Rigid shopvac, and a bunch of 8’ lumber. I think those melamine shelves were 9’. How did you do it?

2000 Ford Focus hatchback with shopvac and lumber

The Delta 6” jointer I got from Rockler at 50% off! What a day! We got there at 5AM, and got the 7th of their last 8!


My old Halloween ‘05 Star Wars AT-AT costume! This was the year my new truck was born!

AT-AT costume from Halloween 2005 in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Here’s how I looked in the costume. What a nerd!

me in an AT-AT costume on Halloween 2005

Supplies for the wood storage shed, a project I keep meaning to post here (soon, hopefully!). We made so many runs like this, or far worse, while building that thing. Btw, if you were wondering, 26 is the ABSOLUTE LIMIT to the number of 96” 2×4s you can cram into this thing. Seriously, a 27th cannot fit (w/ windows shut):

2000 Ford Focus full of project materials for wood storage shed construction

The giant treadmill! I never thought we were going to fit that one. The guy at Sears was gobsmacked when it dropped into place. It was an oversized model that could handle up to 300lbs (I was 280 at the time! I’ve lost quite a bit since then).

treadmill in box in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Then there were the paperbark limbs from the tree cutters that fogged up your windows.

paperbark limbs in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

paperbark limbs in 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

foggy windows of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Those same tree guys told us to come back the next day for an entire other tree (possibly an olive).

possibly olive logs filling back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

There was that enormous fallen Eucalyptus we took home in 3 or 4 trips, full cargo area each time:

2000 Ford Focus hatchback filled with Eucalyptus logs and branches

Eucalyptus logs and branches filling cockpit area of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

And of course the highly sappy Pittosporum undulatum, or Victorian Box, aka Australian cheesewood, which blew over by the El Pollo Loco Mexican restaurant, which we picked up in 2 very dirty trips. The huge trunk base you handled on the second trip was the largest piece of wood you’ve ever carried, easily over 200lbs, maybe even 250lbs. You will not, my old friend, be asked to do that again. Not by me:

Victorian Box wood in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Pittosporum undulatum stump and branches in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Let’s not forget the huge branch of that as-yet-unidentified tree we found late at night while out scouting for fallen trees after a very windy day. It took us 2 trips like this, a great deal of elbow grease to get those limbs in your cargo area, and even more to get them back out!

unidentified branches in back of 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

unidentified branches in 2000 Ford Focus hatchback

Yes, you have been a real trooper. I will do my best not to cry when I trade you in. I imagine the guy at the Toyota dealership might weep a bit when he sees how much sap is dried into your roof fabric, though :)

As a final note about the possibilities this new vehicle will afford me, I will say only this: 4X8 SHEET GOODS, FINALLY!!!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

11 comments so far

View PG_Zac's profile


371 posts in 4723 days

#1 posted 05-06-2009 11:05 AM

Good on you Gary, it’s about time.

I’m glad you got a real truck, and didn’t just upgrade your existing one.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4725 days

#2 posted 05-06-2009 11:58 AM

No trees will be safe with you having a truck! Nice get Gary!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4776 days

#3 posted 05-06-2009 02:05 PM

what, no gun rack? and how the hell did you drink beer and score chicks in that costume?

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View MyOldGarage's profile


93 posts in 4762 days

#4 posted 05-06-2009 02:22 PM

Wow—nice score. I’ve got a 1991 Dodge Dakota with over 180K miles on the clock, but it still is purring along (with the 2.5L – 4 cylinder / 5 speed). It’s not quick, but man it’s nice to just go to the store and not worry about how to fit things in. I’ve been there for a lot of years on the car pics you posted though. For a number of years I made do with minivans, but never dared to load them like you have there . . . wow. Now way back I had two awesome cars for hauling (stuff in one case, and some booty with the other)—a 1979 Dodge Omni and a 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger. The Omni was fantastic —it held two 15” subs in an outlandish speaker box . . . it could carry my old RC racing stuff, pit boxes, tables, etc… The Shelby was great for long things—the computer desk I have fit perfectly in there, right up against the rear seats. (Later changed it to Lunati camshaft, Hooker header, dual 40mm Weber carbs . . . it was fun!) Now with the ways the front passenger seat folds flat on some cars – man, who needs a truck? Especially after seeing your pics! :-)

The best part of life is no car payments though—my old Dakota looks a little rough, but everything on wheels in my driveway is paid for and someday doing that Dave Ramsey thing, I’ll be able to drive like no one else, because I’ve driven like no one else now. :-)

-- Bradley Miller, Blue Springs, MO -

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5120 days

#5 posted 05-06-2009 03:24 PM

I have a 95 tacoma…with 153k on it. She has a V-6 and runs like a champ, although I have a newer nicer truck I would rather drive the old Tacoma.
I’m sure you will love yours.Good luck w/it and congrats.
BTW you put that poor car through HELL!.....Good Man.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4983 days

#6 posted 05-06-2009 03:50 PM

congrats…. you chose wisely.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5062 days

#7 posted 05-06-2009 07:00 PM

Aww man. I feel like we used to have a bond. You with your Focus and me with my 96 civic. I could fit a 9’6” board in that car (and did often). I brought home 200 bd ft of walnut in that thing.

Anyway, I guess I’ll still read your blogs… lol

There is no way I’ll be getting a truck anytime soon. Its just not an appropriate choice for me considering I only haul stuff a few times a year, but based on the photos above, you sound like you madea good choice. Good luck with it!

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4911 days

#8 posted 05-06-2009 07:06 PM

WOW did you need a truck . I’ve always heard good things about Toyota, they sometimes get up to 300k without problems. I’m not up to pricing, not much help there. Congrats


View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 4732 days

#9 posted 05-06-2009 07:54 PM


I always find your posts fun and informative. Congratulations on the “new” pickup. And thank you for taking the time to write about what you are doing. You have inspired me to keep on the lookout for “free” wood, even if it has just blown down.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23277 posts in 5010 days

#10 posted 05-06-2009 09:16 PM

I’m afraid yoiu will be disappointed in the truck. Things will fall off when you try to load it like you did the statiion wagon :-))

Congrats on moving up. I don’t know how anyone gets along without a truck?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 5025 days

#11 posted 05-06-2009 09:50 PM

why waste your money that looks fine to me i have a audi estate 200,000+ miles on the clock and she is still going strong and i love the fact that No one can or would to get in there with me lol…....

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

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