Last night I called Sean and Colin to cancel climbing plans, thinking I should look at trucks today. We’ve lived in a fifth wheel for two years now without a truck that can pull it. Oddly we are thinking of downsizing the mobile dwelling, but we’ll still need a big truck. Both of us have disliked the idea of joining the gas-guzzling bigger-is-better American masses, but our plans keep insisting we do it.
Yesterday I got a loan preapproved, so I’m armed, but really I just want to play the field and get a sense for what is out there. I know we need a one-ton diesel long-bed. Blue book values make it look like we can afford something in 1997 to 2000 range. I start early near home, just looking at what is on the lots before places open. There are lots of 3/4-tons, but very few 1-tons. The ones I see have the giant double cab, which makes the thing longer than I’d like. I make my way south on 287, stopping at every lot. It gets hot.
The nice thing about wanting something rare is that I don’t have to deal with a lot of salesman courting me. They just don’t have what I’m asking for. I get to Berthoud before finding a real candidate, a souped-up purple 1997 F-350 regular cab with a chrome shifter and peeling tinted windows. It’s hard to drive, and feels way faster than a big truck needs to be.
I nearly turn around after coming up empty in Longmont, but decide to check out one more big truck dealer a little further south. There’s another Ford dealership at the exit, and I stop to see what they have on the lot. They come up with a 2002 F-350 Diesel Supercab (just a little cab backseat) that was just traded in that morning. It looks nice, too nice. I know I can’t afford it, but test drive it anyway. It’s just right. Now I get to see the salesman song and dance.
I’ve seen it before, and I’m steeled for it. What has changed since my last experience is that they give me the whole monthly payment spiel even though I already have my loan. Apparently they can re-negotiate my loan with my creditor online. This throws me a little bit, but I try to stay sober. They keep writing lower numbers on their scratch sheet, disappearing into the back for dramatic effect or whatever, returning and trying to look uncomfortable. I have no idea how much of it is just show business, but eventually I get a sense that I will not find another deal like this anytime soon, and I bite. The “dealer handling fee” is the only bitter pill in the deal, but even with that I’m feeling fairly satisfied. I finish the deal, pick up Ann from work, and we drive it home.
I suppose I’ll find out if everything has worked out the way I understand it this week, but for now we’re excited about the possibilities this will open up for us! More developments are on the way, that’s for certain, as the Big Truck (BAT) becomes Notre BAT.