Don’t count out an old truck

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida Headshot
Updated Dec 16, 2015
Dad’s 1997 F-350 XLT still does impressive work after all these years.Dad’s 1997 F-350 XLT still does impressive work after all these years.

It’s hard to beat a good parts guy.

There are several in my neighborhood that not only go the extra mile to get you what you need, but also have some good car and truck stories.

Just down the street I got into a conversation about Ford trucks with the counter guy.

I’m pretty proud of my Ford Explorer. After all these years, it’s had no problem pulling boats and loads of God knows what.

You can bet that I’m pretty thrilled that Dad foregoes taking his 1997 F-350 XLT out to the gun range and instead opts to ride in my four-wheel drive Explorer. He’s nearly gotten stuck on the long, sandy road that takes us out in the middle of the sticks.

However, the parts guy down the street is probably the proudest Ford owner I’ve ever met.

Just as I got through confessing how good my ’98 Eddie Bauer Explorer had been to me—and yes, I would pay the extra $5 for the 1-year warranty on the new upper radiator hose replacing the 17-year-old original—he smiled, pulled out his cell phone and started showing me an impressive slide-show.

Thankfully, the store was getting ready to close, so no one else was around, which gave him some time to brag about his baby.

He explained that he had started helping his friend in a unique boat business. Boats that are abandoned in the bayous around here in northwest Florida can prove to be an eye-soar and worse, especially if they sink. He and his friend get paid to retrieve the boats, recycle them for parts and dispose them.

Another friend of his had been summoned to pull one of those hefty boats (I couldn’t tell its size in the picture and I didn’t ask) up the boat ramp, but the truck, a Ford competitor, had failed.

That’s where his 1995 F-350 came into view and saved the day. He explained that it took a few attempts, but that 7.3-liter diesel with 330,000 miles did the job, and he had the pictures to prove it.

That truck, which he found recently online, only cost him $2,200 and arguably has provided him with some of the best truck memories he’ll ever have.

A few days later, I shared that story with Dad. He appreciated it and it reminded him of the time when he tried pulling his friend’s boat up a steep ramp. This ramp, unfortunately, has a steep lip at the end of its run in the water that makes pulling large boats a real challenge.

After trying a few times, the boat’s owner waved him off. Since the boat trailer’s wheels were stuck against that lip, they both decided it best to stop pulling, otherwise Dad might risk separating the axle from the boat trailer. Some times it’s best to call it a day.

Dad helped us out recently with his old truck. He hooked up his flat bed and hauled over appliances to our new house. I was worried about the truck getting stuck in our sandy driveway, but Dad and his truck made it look easy, and taking a cue from my parts guy, I got a picture to prove it.