We’ve been talking about getting a second car for a while, but have always talked ourselves out of it based on a) the cost, and b) whether we really need it. We’ve been muddling through with just one vehicle for the past 9 months, and given the number of extra-curricular activities my kids now attend, I’ve had the delight of retaining the vehicle for the majority of that time. My husband on the other hand, has had the joys of navigating public transport – something he’s not done since being at college and if truth be told, has forced him to socialise with various characters who stand at the bus stops or travel on the trains each day – rather than be nestled into a cocoon in a car listening to the tunes of choice and not having to converse other than offering the odd profanity at the inept driving ability of certain drivers on the road. Don’t get me wrong, public transport in Edmonton is very good and it’s been ideal for what we need and where we need to get to.
But the sun’s out, the temperatures are high, and the lure of the open road with roof down and doors off, is proving too much. We’ve adopted the ‘when in Rome’ approach and have done what every other Canadian seems to possess as their vehicle of choice.
Is it a 4×4 I hear you ask? Why yes.
Does it have an absurdly huge engine? Of course.
Is it bigger than the Jeep? By a long way …
Does it consume gas like my husband consumes beer? The new recruit clearly has the edge.
Can I reach the door on the front passenger side from seating in the driver’s seat? Not a chance.
Will I need step-ladders to get in? Certainly.
Is it quick to drive? Amazingly so.
And the most fundamental question of all, and key decision-maker: can I buy this in the UK? Even if you could, you wouldn’t be able to afford to run the thing.
So, critical questions answered – we’ve bought a pick-up truck.
It’s got a 5.7 litre V8 engine, and does 18mpg in the City, reaching a dizzy 26mpg on the highway. It doesn’t have side-rails so I have to hoist myself in, and driving it is absolutely wonderful. Prior to our recent search, I had never sat in a truck before we found our pre-loved one, and the space and quality inside is amazing. The kids have named it ‘the tardis’ and it’s very true. Driving it, you feel like you’re in a large performance vehicle, with indicative dials and buttons which tell you everything you need to know – if I knew what half of them meant it would be a bonus! There’s a trailer brake – obviously useful for towing, but to the uninitiated, I haven’t a clue what that actually means. I have a sat nav and back-view camera, can only just fit it in our garage (with the side mirrors tucked in), and there are ‘under the floor’ storage bins for filling with ice and beer for those long trips. They’ve thought of everything! Best of all – and for those that read my blog you’ll like this – it’s a RAM and has a ‘goat’ logo on the front and steering wheel. Clearly a sign, and an ideal fit for my ‘goatandkids’ blogsite! Not that I needed an excuse 🙂
Completely different to the UK, all used vehicles have to be registered and number plates assigned – they don’t stay with the vehicle for it’s entire life like they do back home. So, it’s now registered and back home, the critical question is clearly – who gets to drive it on a daily basis? My husband has obtained a parking ‘spot’ in the parkade at the bottom of the building in which he works in downtown Edmonton, but my starting gambit has been to register a concern that I think ‘the tardis’ will be too big to fit in. This was instantly rebuffed by the comment,’it can’t be too big as everyone else drives one of these in Canada‘. Fair point.
I’ve moved onto a swift counter-attack and focused on the opportunities now afforded to my husband for him to concentrate all efforts on ‘pimping up’ the Jeep. Whilst we’ve already removed the hard top, and replaced it with the ‘soft-top’ which folds down; you can also take off all the doors, windscreen, and procure all manner of accessories like ‘bikini tops’, cloth doors, raised suspension, and super-large wheels. My practical nature has always kicked in and prevented all the above, based on having visions of all 3 kids disappearing out of the vehicle (not to mention cuddly toys and goodness knows how many other kid-related items which seem to reside in the back seat), every time we turn a corner.
So, it looks like ‘the tardis’ will be coming in my direction on a daily basis. Having the obligatory cowboy hat, boots and coffee cup at the ready, I satisfy the majority of Canadian requirements for getting behind the wheel of a pickup.