Despite my best efforts at avoiding this particular cliché, the Fieldses became a two-Subaru family earlier this month.
Last year, after I wrote about leaving my keys under the wrong Subaru at the Mount Sanitas trailhead (I’d parked next to an identical one, headed up, paused and headed back down to leave my keys… under the wrong car), a reader sent me a photo of six Outbacks lined up one after another in a parking lot in town.
They’re everywhere. And we already had one. So I wanted to look for something different, some other car that would still meet the demands of climbers/skiers/cyclists who like to load up the car with toys and drive to the mountains in nasty winter weather.
And I didn’t want to give our friends an excuse to laugh and say, “aw, cute, twins!”
Truck envy struck me one day this winter — when we were still a one-car family — when I loaded my crash pads into the back of a friend’s 4Runner.
One of my crash pads is so big I have to put the back seats down in the Suby to make it fit. But the big pad slid into the 4Runner like butter. I sat in the back seat smiling, having found a possible solution to a conundrum I have over my upcoming bouldering trip to Hueco Tanks.
Conundrum: For this trip, I need to get two friends and the giant crash pad — which requires putting the back seats down — into my car.
Possible solutions: Strap the pad to the roof rack. Strap a friend to the roof rack. Buy a truck.
When I envision option one, I see my crash pad floating above the car, not only killing my gas milage but also creating a freak anomaly of aerodynamics in which my car flips off the road in West Texas with all three of us in it. One of my colleagues will be forced to write an obituary that cleverly but sympathetically sums up the irony of my crash pad both causing the crash and not saving us during it.
I could get a smaller crash pad instead of a bigger car. But experience has told me that my vehicle should accommodate my sporting goods, not the other way around.
When I first started mountain biking, I had a tiny Honda Civic and no roof rack. My bike barely fit inside. One day I met my friend Jim for a ride, and Jim was determined to carpool to the trailhead — which meant he was determined to get both of our bikes into my diminutive Honda.
He removed the wheels and was wrestling the frames in the backseat. I stood to the side, nervous, because Jim’s a bull in china shop.
“Jim, I don’t think they’re both going to fit,” I said, wringing my hands.
“No, they’ll go,” and he gave them one final shove.
We heard a distinct tear.
I opened the door opposite of him and found ripped fabric. Then I ripped into Jim.
If I’d had a truck, that wouldn’t have happened. If I had a truck, I could load all of my gear into it and even sleep inside, spooning with my bike or giant crash pad or both.
So this January, dreaming of driving a truck to Hueco, both friends inside, none on the roof rack, I stopped on a lot to look at a newer used 4Runner. Sadly, sticker shock killed my truck envy.
I’d have to get a much older truck, or sell my crash pad rather than spoon with it.
The next Saturday, after spending the morning at Eldora, we pulled into the Subaru dealer with wet skis atop our dirty car (skis next to the empty bike rack). I felt a little sheepish, like we were the Colorado-Subaru cliche incarnate.
Though I’d begged my husband to look at other cars, he didn’t want anything else. I still wanted a truck (and to avoid the “aw, cute!”), but after weighing the choices (and crawling into the back of three Subarus, to make sure I could sleep in the back while camping) I couldn’t deny it was the right choice for now.
So a few days later, we bought one. So we’re a cliché. So what? I have bigger things to worry about now, like how to strap a friend to my roof rack.