August 15, 2011 6:00 AM

dyr sacramento11

“It’s tons of fun! I live in it. I take it off the road. I drive in the snow. I drive in the desert.”

The Ride
The Driver: Eric
Car in Question: 2003 Silvery Toyota Tundra SR5
Spotted at: Cal Expo
Odometer: 100,000 miles
Car’s Nickname: Tons o’ Fun


Q: Why Tons o’ Fun?

A: Because it’s a Tundra and it’s tons of fun! I live in it. I take it off road. I drive in the snow. I drive in the desert. I just came back from Gifford National Forest, so it’s tons of fun. It goes everywhere with me, it takes me everywhere.

Q: You seem to travel a lot.

A: As much as possible

Q: What did you do at Gifford National Forest?

A: Gifford Pinchot National Forest…I just hung out there for about a week doing the Rainbow Gathering and I was out there from like the 28th to the 6th. Just hung out with a bunch of like-minded people that were praying for peace and meditating for the same purpose, world peace and world love.

Q: What’s the furthest place you’ve driven to?

A: That was actually probably the furthest. I just got it in April, so that was probably the furthest trip I’ve actually taken in it, which was 10 to 11 hours, so like 800 miles or something like that. Maybe even a little more.

Q: How many miles have you personally put on the car?

A: I got it when it was at 93,000, so I’ve put about 7000 miles on it so far.

Q: Wow. Since April?

A:I drive a lot! I go from between here and Tahoe because I live between the two. I mean, I live in my truck, but my boys—my two dogs—live down here, so it’s constant travel between here and Tahoe.

Q: How did you get the car?

A: I searched for about two months. I had a Nissan Xterra. Four-wheel drive is inevitably the only way to really get around in Tahoe. Snow tires are okay, but really the best way to get around is four-wheel drive with the lift and all terrain tires on it or snow tires, you know with the thick tread. I had an Xterra that worked for quite a long time for that and then it got crushed by a thirty-foot snow bank.

Q: Ouch.

A: Yeah. Broke the windshield. I had just bought fenders for it, just painted it all custom camouflage. It crushed the whole side of it and the front fender and the windshield and what not. But as it was, it was kind of a sign. It was reaching 200,000 miles, so it was kind of a “hey, maybe you should get a new car!” And it was April 1st, by the way, when it happened, so it was a great April Fools. My friend came running into the office, “Hey, you’re car just got crushed by a thirty foot snow bank.” I was like, “Yeah, great April Fools!” He was like, “No, I’m not kidding with you, come out here and see this.” And sure enough, it was what he said.

Q: So you were at work when your car got crushed?

A: Yeah.

Q: That sucks.

A: Yeah, I’m glad I have my truck now. It’s sealed. It’s warm. It’s padded. There’s like an inch of padding on the bottom of the actual bed rugs, but I actually put a Therma Rest on the bottom of that. It’s so comfy back there. I have my laptop and my laptop runs off an inverter that runs off the lighter socket. It’s awesome, I just kick back there and relax, watch a movie and fall asleep.

Q: So you go back and forth between Tahoe and Sacramento a lot. Where do you spend most of your time?

A: I’d say Tahoe. Like five days out of the week, six days out of the week. I’ll have three days off and occasionally I’ll come down here just because I leave my boys down here and I’ll come down to see them. Most of the time, I try to take at least one, if not both of them with me to Tahoe.

Q: Nice.

A: Yeah, for a V8, it actually gets really good gas mileage. Unless you’re romping on it, you know, it’s a V8, so it’ll guzzle the gas. But traveling-wise, it does pretty good and it has enough power and torque to do what I want.

Q: How much time do you spend in your car on an average day?

A: Well, is that including sleeping in the back? I sleep in there probably about six hours to eight hours a night and then I take lunch in it. I drive down the hill to this place called Bear Creek, which is right down the road from my work. I’d say about 10 hours total in my car every day, including sleeping, probably 2-3 total driving around and hanging out in my car. I try not to be in my car.Considering that it’s my home, I try to as much as possible to find somebody that wants to hang out and do something—go out to the lake, go for a hike, you know, go out and do something. But most of my friends up there just want to hang out at their house.

Q: Do you have any rules in your car?

A: I don’t like people smoking in the back seat because I don’t really have windows, I only have pop windows on the sides, but that kind of flexes. There aren’t too many rules.

Q: How would you describe your driving style?

A: Recently, in this truck especially, I have kind of started driving a little bit more cautiously, a little bit more—people have told me I drive like a grandpa, which I do. It’s my nice new truck, I don’t want to mess it up.

Q: What do you listen to in the car?

A: Recently, it’s been a flood of bluegrass. I like bluegrass and psychedelic jam rock. It’s like really good driving music to me. Because when I’m traveling, I like a mix of Can to Split Lip Rayfield, Hackensaw Boys, back to King Crimson. Just a weird mix.

Q: If your car had a theme song, what would it be?

A: Da da da da da da da da fat girl!”It’s like Batman, but with Fat Girl because my truck is a fat girl. She’s beefy! It’s a she, yeah—I don’t ride dudes. I can’t think of a better theme song for her, she’s the Bat Mobile. Anywhere you want to go—you want to go down a dirt trail, romping through the forest, or drive downtown even.

Q: What brought you to the State Fair today?

A: Splash Dogs, honestly. I was going to go anyway just because I heard about all the delicious food and the awesome attractions that were going to be there. But I’ve been playing with Blayz, my dog. I’ve been playing with him in the pool and next thing you know, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to check out where these dock competitions are taking place.” You show up and register early, you give them $20 and they let you practice all day long between each of the actual competitions.

Q: How did your dog do?

A: He got second place in Extreme, which to even qualify for Extreme, you have to do the qualifying jump at 23 feet or over and got 23 feet even. On his actual finals, he did 23 feet five inches and 23 feet two inches, but the dog that beat him did 23 feet six inches, so he lost by one inch.

Q: What are your favorite features of the car?

A: For sure the giant bed. That, and the stereo in it and just the music system. I’m not used to having such a nice music system. And then the fact that it’s my home. It’s my home on wheels—that’s my favorite thing about it, honestly. It’s just so versatile.

Q: What’s your absolute dream car?

A: That’s a hard one to answer because as a dude, just adrenaline-seeking guy, I want to say the Bugatti Veyron would be my absolute dream car that I’d like—if I had $500,000 or however much it costs—I’d buy it and race it. But affordable, nice car that I actually dream about achieving one day, probably something like a nice work truck or a 98 Z28, a Camero. Or like I said, a work truck—a diesel that runs on biofuel or some kind of non-pollutant fuel like hempoline or something, but like a big rig—a full bed, big wheels, lifted a little bit more than my truck is right now, but an actual workable truck where I can go out and tow a trailer full of cattle horses.

Q: Cattle horses?

A: Yeah, cattle horses, you know? Just like salmon chicken! You know, when they used to roam free—I remember those days.

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Photos and interview by Lisa Palmer