If you’re a serious, committed motorcycle rider, the odds are more than passing good you’ve also got some kind of pickup truck.
At the most basic, owning a motorcycle, at least historically, meant that sooner or later, you would need to transport one that was unable or unsafe to move under its own power.
A 10 foot length of 2×10, a 1967 Ford F-100 Camper Special, and a set of Harbor Freight ratcheting tie downs will allow you to transport any immobile motorcycle – whether barn picked, suffering from some form of Italo-English Unsolved Electromechanical Mystery, flat tired or having been subjected to a round of non-scientific random corn sampling. Roll it up, tie it down, and Bob’s Yer Uncle.
So that simple thing is how it starts. Once you’ve got that pickup truck, though, work materializes out of thin air for it about which you’d formerly not had a single clue. There are friends that are moving, stuff which must be dumped, lawnmowers and bicycles with places to go, trailers that need trailing, and inconceivable volumes of lumber and plumbing fixtures and nearly the entire Freaking Home Depot. And that doesn’t even count a half million motorcycle swap meets, beds full of frames, wheels and motors, transmissions that require ministration, 27 crates that once were, might have been, or could again be Norton Commandos, or your buddy Chet that’s ‘decided to go racing’.
So yeah, I’ve got a pickup truck. You’ve no grounds on which to feign surprise.
I have a lot of unfashionable opinions. One of them is that a pickup truck is a tool. Tools do not have leather interiors, Rockford Fosgate Subwoofer 12 Speaker Stereos, DVD Players, Streaming Audio, WiFi or SatNav on a 15 inch dash mounted tablet. Tools have stamped steel interiors, and if they start when I turn the key, have a heater that works and windows that open, that’s going to be just fine by me.
My tool is a 2013 Ram 1500 2WD Extra Cab Tradesman. When the regular 1500 model was awash in silliness like a V-6 engine with autostart, fully air adjustable suspension and a raft of equipment that was unnecessarily complex and likely to be expensive and needy to maintain, Ram’s Tradesman Model came with a small block 4.7L OHC V-8, heavy duty metal springs all round, and a factory tow/haul package complete with receiver and brake controller. It also has plastic trim on the doortops where a plusher truck has a padded place to hang your arm out the driver’s window.
No matter. We’ll take it.
Business travel, recently, had me spending a week down in Plano, Texas. Texas is large enough to think of as a Nation, and The Nation Of Texas is big enough to have three National Vehicles. The first is the Chevrolet Corvette. The Second is the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban. And the Third is The White Work Pickup (Brand Not Material). Driving around the Greater Dallas Metroplex, where I was not enjoying their unavoidable network of expensive toll highways, and not enjoying even more my rented Hyundai Accent, I could not help but be struck by three things. The first thing was that said toll roads seemed to be in a perpetual and significant state of constant demolition/reconstruction. The second thing was the army of people effecting said demolition/construction had an army’s worth of the above noted White Work Pickup (Brand Not Material). And the third thing was that these myriad White Work Trucks were all as filthy as any all-white vehicle can possibly be – so filthy, in fack, that they resembled two tone paintjobs – white from the beltline to the roof, and sand colored from the beltline to the rockers.
The never ending parade of these 50% Filthy White Pickups awakened in me an enormous sense of guilt for the mistreatment of my pickup. My pickup, which is more frequently known as Sweet Doris From Baltimore’s pickup (long story), likely had not been washed since before the beginning of the Teardrop V 2.0 Construction Project. My pickup, which was well on the way to joining the brotherhood of 50% Filthies. Were I to survive my sojourn in The Nation Of Texas – whose only directly observed positive qualities were The Hard Eight Pit Barbeque and Deep Ellum Brewing – I resolved to make things right by my truck.
Of course, upon my return home from TNOT, mother nature decided to tow Texas climate home to my place – on the appointed day, it was about 98 degrees f with low humidity and unbroken sunshine – perfect weather for hard exertion scrubbing about 500 square feet of sheet metal. Perfect, anyway, so long as one has a garden hose in one’s hand and isn’t afraid to spend as much timing hosing oneself as hosing the pickup. So I grabbed myself a liter insulated water bottle, my handy orange Homer Homeowner 5 gallon bucket, a gallon of Turtle Wax auto soap, a six foot handled car washing brush, and went to town.
After about the third full liter of drinking water, and the 8th or 9th time I’d taken the hose to my whole upper body, I’ll admit I did question my emotional decision to minister to my pickup in this way. Two more liters and 7 drenchings later, though, the good and considerate thing that I had done lifted both my truck’s spirits and my own. The Ram’s white sheet metal was blinding white in the sun – she was standing prouder, too – it seemed like she’d picked up a full 2 or 3 inches of additional ground clearance. Then again, maybe this was just heatstroke working on an overactive imagination, but no matter. After a 15 minute drive around the block – with the A/C Blasting on Full – to air-dry the Ram, my truck-filth-induced guilt was reduced back to background levels.
It’s a good thing that this small neurosis doesn’t seem to apply to motorcycles. Still, the LT is looking a bit grubby, now that I think on it.