How to Buy an Oliver (tow vehicle edition), Chapter Four / by Dave Hileman

My original plan to tow the trailer with a Subaru was unrealistic so, back in Raleigh, we intensify our search for a vehicle to pull the Oliver. We promised to pick the trailer up in about six weeks so we are under a time constraint. It does not start out well. Most SUV’s are just not up to the task. For the word “most” you can substitute “affordable.” The Porsche Cayenne will do nicely. It is just $60,000 over budget. So we are on to trucks. Then very shortly to four-door trucks. And we find lots of trucks with 200,000 miles and faint lettering behind newly buffed out old paint. 

We narrow our search to three smaller models that seem affordable. Don’t read that as actually small. The Toyota and the Honda are great, but none under 10k look like they would make it to Greensboro. Let alone Alaska. I settle on a Ford Explorer Sport Trac. It is car-like and dropping the K on Trac will drop the weight and save hundreds on gas. We find many we don’t want, and then Jim’s Sunday Truck appears on Craig’s List: one owner, tow package, reasonable mileage, well-maintained, nice guy and not too much over budget and it is white, a bonus. After a very brief test drive, we now own our first truck. Four new tires, new fluids and a new ball for the receiver and we are off to Tennessee to retrieve the Oliver. Along with a few more silver bars to actually pay for it but we have a truck so they fit in the bed.