“I take it off 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
- Car’s Nickname: Tons o’ Fun
Q: Hi Eric. Great truck. Why did you nickname it 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 went to Gifford National Forest recently? What did you do there?
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 farthest place you’ve driven to?
A: That was actually probably the furthest. I just got it in April, so that was probably the farthest 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 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.
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. 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 30 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: 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: 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: 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. He 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!
Photos and interview by Lisa Palmer
View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at CBSMinnesota.com/Autos.