In the summer of 2001, I hit a deer en route home from from a newspaper job – and shared this essay online via my own website.  Soon thereafter, protests at a local FORD dealership prompted my editor to send me over. In the interest of full disclosure, I send him a link to this online tidbit.  I still covered the protest, but like so much of my writing there – my copy was very closely scrutinized for handedness.

Here’s the original post and photos. In fact, it’s still floating around at my own site – though not linked to anything.

I’m sick of all the complaints being aired against sport utility vehicles

Though I doubt I’ll ever buy another Ford EXPLODER, the truck is serving me well. You see, I live at the top of a mountain — between two ski areas. There’s a reason the winter trade is centered here. There’s a lot of snow in the winter and winter lasts a few extra months. BUT I work off the mountain, or The Hill, as I like to call it. So the SpUt helps me get on and off safely and reliably.

What’s more — the vehicle it replaces was my ’73 Dodge Dart, which runs (ran) great but requires several cinder blocks in winter. Here’s the prickly, tricky part. The Dart gets about the same, or worse mileage as the SUV.

SO, unless there’s a subsidy to replace my Dart with a fuel-efficient four-cyl, four-wheel-drive, I’ll stick with what’s available.

Now, I’m the first to wonder why folks in the snowless south drive these bad boys. I don’t comprehend the status attached to the SUV thing. I mean, have you seen some of these beasts? They truly are land-whales. It’s kind of sickening really.

But, I would be remiss not to mention that in May 2000, when I clobbered bambi on a state Highway not too far from home, the deer went down and under my nice tall Ford Exploder. Had I been driving the Dart Swinger, I’m fairly certain the giant animal would have joined me in the front seat, probably totaling the car. Who can say? The SUV, is basically as good as “new.”

So, all you complainers and commentarians put a cork in it. Get those greedy corporations to design the smarter, cheaper, more fuel efficient 4WDs, you and I both know they’re capable of building.

I hear Toyota will be putting their hybrid engine, capable of around 50 or more mpg in the belly of an SUV soon. Well as soon as they’re available used and affordable, count me in.

In the photo below, you can better see what happened when SUV met wildlife.




SUVs have come a long way. Hybrids have come a long way. Deer are still a problem on these mountain roads – though I left the paper over a decade ago.

Thanks for reading.

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