Before I jump into this, I will freely admit what I am about to outline is definitely a first world dilemma. There is no right or wrong answer for this situation and I wanted to see what the CC Commentariat would think.
I have some large items to transport a long distance, items that if considered independently are not an issue but when combined create the dilemma.
Later his month, my wife, daughter, and I will be traveling to Alto Pass, Illinois to visit my parents. Google says the shortest route time-wise is 241 miles.
At some point in our trip we will also be in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, thirty-five miles southwest of Alto Pass. If we head back home from Cape, that will be another 237 miles.
The dilemma is which of the two chariots seen in the lead picture we should take. Before you answer, let me explain what there is to move.
Some time ago my mother expressed desire in giving her modestly sized cedar chest to my daughter. Being just enough too big to fit into the Volkswagen, I figured the cedar chest would fit nicely behind the rear seat of the van. Easy peasy.
But that was premature.
Back in July we were there to clear out my grandparents house so it could be sold subsequent to the death of my grandmother “Iris” (introduced in these pages previously) in February of this year.
Taking the pickup that time was a no-brainer as there was a trailer to pull locally and there was stuff to haul back.
As an aside, I laugh when people claim crew cab pickups are untaxed commute-mobiles. For having only a 5.5′ bed, you can see what I hauled returning from that trip – a washing machine, four wrought-iron lawn chairs, luggage for three people, two patio type coffee tables, eight pairs of shoes, a bunch of record albums, three furniture dollies, and my bed extender – with there still being open bed space.
But we had accidentally left the garden tiller I received from my surviving grandfather. This is the other item I need to fetch and what has prompted this dilemma.
At this point, both of my options have strong and weak points. The fuel mileage in either will suck, being around 16 to 18 mpg, so that’s a moot point. Mileage is also as the van has 120,000 miles and the pickup has 130,000 miles.
Option 1: Take the van, a 2000 Ford E-150 equipped with a 5.4 liter V8.
Strong points: It’s quieter and more comfortable than the pickup while being more powerful – and there are some mighty long and steep hills to climb on the way. Everything can be inside with no concerns about weather.
Weak points: I’ll have no concerns about weather to a point. It’s a heavily front-weighted rear-drive van built on a twin I-beam Ford pickup chassis. It’ll be November in the lower Midwest, so it may or may not snow; it’s a crap shoot this time of year.
Also, this situation encapsulates my hesitation about vans in general. I’ll have large items in the cabin with us. Given this van’s passenger hauling bias, there is nowhere to easily tie down a tiller and, another concern, I have no clue how much old gasoline it contains and there will still likely be oil in the crankcase. Yes, I could drain both but the aroma will linger and I still can’t easily tie it down. I’m not wild about having nothing but air between large objects and my family’s heads in the event of a panic stop.
Option 2: Take the pickup, a 2007 Ford F-150 equipped with a 4.6 liter V8.
Strong points: Unlike the van, cargo is in a separate location. Items will still move during a panic stop but two steel walls separate the cargo from our heads. It’s also better suited than the van should we encounter unfavorable weather as it has more suitable tires and four-wheel drive. There are abundant tie-downs in the pickup. It also handles much better than the van.
Weak points: It’ll be November so temperatures are unknown. An annoyance with the pickup is for whatever reason cold air will blow on your feet in the winter despite how high the heat is on; it’s likely a simple fix. I rarely drive it very far in the winter so I keep forgetting about it.
While the pickup has a folding tonneau cover, and the bed has always stayed dry despite intensity of the deluge, hauling the tiller will mean lying it on its side so I can keep the cedar chest covered in the event of precipitation. I will need to ensure any leakages from the tiller don’t assault the chest. Keeping the two physically separated won’t be an issue. Also with the tiller lying flat and the tonneau cover closed, I’ll feed the perception of driving what appears to be an unladen crew-cab pickup.
If this is you, which option do you take? And, no, I’m not renting a trailer to haul a forty year-old tiller!