Back in 2005 I bought a new truck, specifically a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 with the Cummins Diesel. Prior to that, I’d never considered myself a “truck person”. My first car (that I bought myself anyway) was a 1989 Toyota Supra. I owned a couple of Subarus, including a WRX wagon.
Despite my normal preference for sport(y) cars, I decided on a truck for 2 reasons: cave diving and automotive racing. Even with the WRX wagon, technical diving involved to much gear, never mind towing a car on a trailer. No part of me though driving a truck would be fun. It was all about the utility.
Fast forward 14 years. It’s hard to imagine living without a truck now. That same truck just rolled past the 300,000 mile mark on my last trip back to Texas.
I’ve grown to love this truck and even been known to explain the relationship with it as “my millennium falcon”. I’ve made some very special modifications. It once left me on the side of the road and it’s a little dinged up and doesn’t look like much. But, it’s also home away from home and freedom to explore my world.
Despite the occasional maintenance or part failure (mostly minor stuff like water pumps, but once a fuel line blew), it’s been essentially rock solid the entire time. It just goes and goes as long as you swap out the oil and keep adding fuel. I’m not sure I’d survive my current lifestyle (driving back and forth between Sacramento and Austin) without it.
Oh, the Places We’ve Been
It’s hard to remember all the places I’ve been in this truck and I won’t bother to list them all. But, my first trip is illustrative. I road tripped from Houston to central Florida 3 days after Hurricane Katrina with a couple of dive buddies for a cave diving class. We had to detour around the zone of destruction adding about 12 hours to the already long drive. I made similar trips (without the long detour around Baton Rouge) many times in the following years.
I trekked back and forth between Washington DC and Texas multiple times, stopping along the way at many places like Great Smoky Mountains NP, Ozark National Riverways and Mammoth Cave. I’ve explore most of Texas, from Big Bend to Amarillo to Padre to Caddo Lake, no small feet.
In 2017, I drove to Jackson, WY to see the solar eclipse and then on to Banff to photograph a friend’s destination wedding and then rushed back to help friends dig out from Harvey flooding in Houston.
More recently, I’ve begun exploring the west coast and western deserts. My truck has been a constant companion, providing shelter and hauling anything I asked it to from my new DIY teardrop, a low boy car hauler to a large box trailer loaded with our stuff during cross country moves.
It seems weird to think that most people would consider a vehicle this old past it’s prime. My truck might die tomorrow. The same is true of me. But, at the moment we are both ticking over nicely. I’ve already got a bunch of future trips planned from “local” spots like Yosemite National Park to places further afield like Olympic National Park. Maybe one day I’ll have to swap to another vehicle, but for now, I’m going to keep on trucking.