Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Field Scrub Jay (Reliabus rustica dodgii)

Every biologist needs a field truck. During my thesis work I had access to field trucks provided to me by Boise State University. On previous jobs I was provided a truck by the Idaho Fish and Game. As I now transition into an independent consultant role, I need a good reliable field truck to transport and compliment the field motorcycle I already own.

There are a number of critical requirements for a good field truck - reliable, cheap, and reliable. Did I mention cheap? Some of my jobs pay, some don't... None pay very well. The biggest non-requirement for a truck is that it be pretty. Field trucks provide a required utility which often contradict or are incompatible with niceties. For example. one cannot hesitate when the "road" narrows to a goat path through scratch prone Ceanothus brush and you must be willing to get bird crap on the seats.

I recently acquired my truck! It was cheap and it is not pretty!

The Scrub Jay

I call it the Scrub Jay. The mix of blue, silver, and primer grey with a little rust brown mixed in provide the perfect blend of colors.

The truck has reasonably low mileage, but hadn't been driven in a few years. I spent more to bring it into reliable shape than I paid for the truck itself. I basically replaced everything made of rubber under the hood and everything that "pumps". The result should be a reliable truck to get me to where the birds are.

My biggest concern is that it's a Dodge. My late father always told me to never buy a Dodge. He apparently owned one once and after a number of incidents my mother refused to push it any more! In college (the first time), I owned two different Plymouth Dusters. Both died horrible deaths - engine seizure on one and engine fireball on the other. I am apparently a little slow in learning... a decade or so ago I bought a Dodge Durango. After that piece of crap I swore I would never again drive a Dodge. Here I am - a Dodge owner again... Karyn says she won't come and get me when it breaks...