Yesterday, I sold Daisy, the loud, gigantic pickup truck I’ve been awkwardly rolling around NorCal in for the past three years.
Never in my life have I owned a vehicle cool enough to warrant its own blog post, but Daisy was different. She was special.
Daisy, who came with the name, was a 1992 Dodge Cummins 5-speed truck. She had a huge dent in her right side from when I side-swiped a cattle fence. At various points in time, various doors or windows didn’t function. She boasted the jankiest of sound systems- a couple of free box speakers I dissected with the sawtooth attachment on my Leatherman and threw behind the bench seat.
She wore a gently-peeling shade of gray I never quite got into, always fantasizing about the day I was going to get her painted seafoam green, like the Forest Service trucks. Then, she would have been like a giant, growling mermaid, I thought
I bought Daisy three years ago in Portland. I had just migrated to California from eastern Washington, where I was working on a vegetable farm. On that farm, I drove an old Dodge Cummins truck for the the first time. It was a few years newer, and a 4×4, but I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I was allowed to get behind the wheel of that rig.
It wasn’t until after I bought her that I realized these trucks have a cult following. Daisy brought me a fan club. Daisy got respect. Daisy was a goddamn boy magnet.
Even before I knew this, even before I laid eyes on her, I knew she was special.
Never in my life have I traveled more than an hour to buy a vehicle.
I spent nine hours, including breaks, in a Craigslist rideshare from Arcata to Portland to meet Daisy’s previous owners. I had to stay in a motel because I arrived after dark.
Before Daisy, I didn’t know how to drive stick. I learned with her, in Portland, during rush hour. I stalled all over the place amid swarms of commuters and children walking to school.
And then, I drove her out to eastern Washington, where I spent another night visiting friends before making the 13 hour trip back to Willow Creek.
Instead of taking 97 to I-5 to 299 like any sane person would have, I let Google Maps lead me through the backwaters of northern California (where I live right now), and down through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on the narrow, twisted and sometimes cliffy route 3.
It was on this trip that I learned my truck needed new brakes.
Side note: it was also on this trip that I pulled off at a vista point somewhere and stopped to gaze at Mt. Shasta for the very first time.
I had no clue, back then…
To give you an idea of how it felt to drive a heavy truck down a windy mountain road with shaky brakes, imagine trying to do the electric slide while wearing sticks of butter as shoes.
I used to love the double-takes I’d get whenever people noticed who was behind the wheel. Expecting an old man, no doubt, they’d see me rocking out to a Spotify playlist called, “Sad Cowgirl,” or perhaps twirling my hair with the semi-dazed expression my old boss used to describe as “ditzy schizophrenic.”
I had someone tell me, “You don’t seem like a big, diesel truck kind of girl.”
I probably come off as the Prius type, right?
Fuck your Prius.
Ya’ll don’t know what kind of girl I am, and that old truck was more environmentally friendly than a shiny new hybrid, anyway!
In the past three years, I dated two different guys who drove a 4×4 version of the same truck.
I know what I like.
I can’t tell you how many times strangers have approached me in parking lots to admire my truck, affectionately patting her on the hood and thanking me for taking care of her.
But really, it was Daisy that took care of me. Despite the many signs of age, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a more reliable vehicle.
The only issue I had was getting stuck in mud, and I did that often. At least five times, I had to summon one knight in shining armor or another to rescue me from a sticky situation. It happened again just a few days ago, in fact.
But getting stuck was almost always user-error. She was a damn good truck, and I found an awesome young farmer to pass her on to.
I’ll always remember this chapter of my life, these past three years in Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, as that time I owned an old, first generation Dodge Cummins pickup named Daisy.
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.