About two years ago I wrote this post about what vehicle to buy next. While this subject is probably not directly related to gender for many people, it is actually something that I have given a lot of thought to in regards to my gender expression. A couple of weeks ago my quest to find my next ride came to an end. I had mostly decided that I wanted to get a small SUV like a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback. I never drove the RAV-4 but both the Honda and the Outback had scored very high on their test drives. Candace is also looking for a new vehicle and has been pretty sure for a couple years that she would either get another Honda Pilot or a Toyota Highlander. After testing the Honda and being disappointed in it we needed to go look at the Highlander. At this point I had mostly decided to get an Outback in green with all wheel drive.
This was going to be my next car:
I like the color, it’s small agile size, muscular lines and incredible intelligence. This car practically can drive itself it’s that smart. Not the manliest vehicle, for sure, but still a handsome driver in my opinion.
I’ve been driving this truck since 2007 and have loved it:
This time around I wanted something smaller with a hatchback and all wheel or 4 wheel drive. I wanted something rugged and masculine looking that didn’t make me look like a little old lady. I was pretty happy with my decision to get the Outback, even though it’s not super masculine. I’ve had an affinity for them since they first came out in the 1980s.
Basically, there have been four vehicles that I’ve always wanted to own. They are the Ford Mustang (owned a black 2004 Anniversary model for about two years. It was fun to drive), the Toyota Celica (no longer being produced), the Toyota 4Runner and the Subaru Outback. I was on the edge of owning another one of my dream cars but I wasn’t really very excited for some reason. One night I was outside with my dog and my eye caught sight of my old faithful truck sitting in the driveway. Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t ready to not have a truck anymore. When I went back inside I pulled up the Toyota dealer’s website to check out their used inventory so I could see what options they had on the lot. I had basically ruled out buying a 4Runner because of the cost. They were more than I wanted to spend and usually when I found them used they had over 100k miles on them. I didn’t want something that old. But, I got lured into looking closer at the 4Runner because they had a used one with 47k miles within my price range. When we went to look at the Highlander for Candace I was going to take a look at it.
Well, I loved it. It was grey with black leather interior and looked very handsome parked up on the curb. The fact that the salesman had to drive it off the curb for me to test drive only made me like it more. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t drive as stiff as I’d imagined that it would and had a very comfortable ride, while still delivering a truck-like feel. The interior was very handsome and comfortable. When we came back from the test drive I parked it in front of what I thought was a new blue truck. Candace commented on how pretty it was. Yes, it’s very pretty but I don’t want to pay for a new one. The salesman informed us that it was used and opened it up for us to look at. A couple of years younger and with only 17k miles on it, a little spiffier interior and a really beautiful blue color, a few features the older one didn’t have that I had wanted and we started to make a deal. Ultimately I drove that blue 4Runner home that night and we did the paperwork the next day while Candace ordered her new Highlander in red (Ooh la la Rouge, to be exact! Where do they come up with these names?).
Here’s my new baby:
So far I’m happy with my decision. This is not my favorite model year of the 4runner to be honest but it is actually the nicest as far as the interior features they’ve ever made. I don’t intend to do any off-roading, which this is very capable of doing, but it’s nice to know I can. In some ways I actually liked the older grey model better because it looked a little less pretty and a bit more rugged. I definitely wouldn’t have been worried about getting it dirty or scratched. I’ve always liked this blue that Toyota puts on some of its cars though, so I’m really pleased with that. The interior is very handsome in black leather and I definitely feel like a cool dude driving around in it. We took it on a week long trip to visit family a few days after we got it and it performed very well and handled all of our cargo as well as keeping the dog comfy on the long trip.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with my 4Runner and the vehicle in general since obtaining it. I watch YouTube videos and look at photos online, read the wiki page about it and generally obsess over it. I wanted to look back at the history of the truck because I was having trouble remembering when it was that I first saw one. I remember the experience well, just not the year. My ex and I had been invited to help one of our friends do something called a “Loon Watch” in Northern Minnesota. The Loon is the state bird of Minnesota and every year the DNR gets citizens to volunteer to count them. They assign each volunteer a lake (they have 10,000 of them, ya know?) to go to on a specified day and count how many loons you see on the lake then report back to the DNR your results. So we had met our friend who had brought another friend to join us. Her friend (can’t remember her name) had just bought a brand new Toyota 4Runner and I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever laid my eyes on.
This is what it looked like:
It was basically a small pick up but the top could come off and it had a back seat. I drooled over that truck all weekend. The next day we woke up at the crack of dawn and launched our two canoes into the first of several lakes we would need to traverse to find our assigned lake. After several hours and a couple really scary portages across swampy muck filled terrain we finally arrived at our tiny little lake. There were no loons anywhere to be found on that lake (which was more like the size of a small pond). The trip was a grand adventure though and I’ll never forget it or the cool truck I met. I’m still not sure on the year, but it had to be around 1988 or 89.
While the 1st and 2nd generation 4runners are still my favorites of the 4runner family, the current, 5th generation, is probably my next favorite. Sometimes I look at the truck sitting in my driveway and can’t believe that I finally have my own 4runner after all of those years of admiring them on the roads. Candace’s mom always names her vehicles and she’s got us starting to do it as well. I used to call my Avalanche Megatron because it’s kind of a transformer truck, similar to how the old 4Runners could morph into a convertible. When Candace asked me what I was going to name my new truck I immediately told her it’s name is Sapphire. Then I told her that we should call her new Highlander Ruby, which she liked a lot. Hopefully they’re both going to be beautiful jewels that we will enjoy for many years to come.
Just for fun, this is the picture I’ve put on my computer’s home screen, to further prove my incessant obsession with my new truck.
Now that truck is ready to climb some rocks and ravines. I think this could make me want to take up the hobby of off-roading.
Thanks for indulging me my obsession.
On a personal note, I have put in motion the pieces I need in order to change my gender on my driver’s license and passport. I’ll write a post about all of that once it’s completed.
Note: If you happen to be interested in learning about the Minnesota Loon Watch here is a link to the DNR site: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/loon_survey.html
Also the loon has a very unusual, beautiful call. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU
Note 2: It occurs to me that, though I named this piece “Ode To My Truck”, I really didn’t talk about my old truck much. Suffice it to say that I still love it and I didn’t trade it in, so it’s still sitting in my driveway. I drove it last night for a couple hours and it felt like a nice old broken in pair of Levi’s. I need to keep it until we sell our camper or at least move it to a sales lot somewhere. After that, I guess I’ll have to sell my truck and that will be a very sad day for me. I’m a little bit in love with it, though not obsessed. It’s probably the coolest vehicle I’ve ever owned. Of course, that’s my opinion only. Perhaps I should have called the piece “Ode to My Love Affair with Vehicles.”