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From Missouri to Alaska,... how far would you go to get your "ideal" plow truck?

Discussion in 'Equipment, Tools & Vehicle Pictures' started by Alaska Boss, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Well, it was time. The 'ole '92 is pushing up against 300,000 miles, and even tho it still runs great, it's getting worn out in other smaller ways. So, as I thought about what to get next, I considered everything,... but nothing made as much sense as getting the same thing as my last two trucks, which have proven to be far & away the most trouble/problem free pickups I have owned to this point,.. (about 15),... so that's what I did. And I know that most guys would not consider this truck to be their "ideal" plow truck, but that's ok. For me & my conditions, I couldn't see how anything else would be much of an improvement,... here's what I considered,...

    A) Buying brand new made no sense to me, dollar wise. Sinking $35k to $50K in a brand new truck, and then subjecting it to the abuse of plowing like I have around here would never pay off. I could buy 6-8 trucks like I just did for the price of one new one.

    B) Switching to a different "make" made no sense either, and even tho I don't consider myself "brand loyal", I have most certainly had better luck with Chevys than I have with Fords ( have owned 5 Fords, 1 International, a couple Datsuns, have never owned a Dodge). At this point I feel like the best I could do with something else, is hope they would hold up as well and as long as my last 2 Chevys did, but it's really not possible to do too much better than 300,000 on a plow truck,... by that point everything is wore out. Plus, I know these trucks pretty well now, and have all the shop manuals, etc., so starting over with something else just didn't seem like the best move.

    C) Going to a diesel didn't seem to me to be any advantage either, at least in my area. The trucks will cost more to begin with (all things being equal), parts and maintenance costs are higher (10-12 quart oil changes, and $35 oil filters,... around here), extreme cold causes more starting issues around here (at least my buddies do), and diesel fuel is approx 50¢ to 80¢ higher per/gal than gas to boot. Do diesels last longer than gas engines? I don't know,... maybe,... but who owns/drives their trucks long enough anymore beyond 300,000 miles to prove it? By that point, the rest of the truck is worn out, so it doesn't matter. And all my 5.7's have had plenty of power to plow with, so more power didn't seem to me to be of any real advantage, especially if it drinks more fuel to get it.

    D) And, going to an automatic tranny is just not going to happen with me, as long as my left leg still functions. I swore I rebuilt my last auto tranny when I got rid of my last Ford. I have never known anyone around here who has tried to plow as a business, that has gotten 2 full winters out of an AT,... and I can replace 10-12 clutches for the price of one rebuilt AT,... but that will never happen.

    So, for the last couple years, I've watched everywhere in Alaska for a good - used Chevy 3500 SRW reg-cab pickup,... and they just don't exist,... every 1-ton is either a crew-cab or a dually, and I don't want either. And trying to find that with a manual tranny is like trying to find Bigfoot. So, I looked south,... on Auto-Trader and Ebay,... and could find one here & one there, but never quite right, or it was a junker, or a former plow truck, etc. (too many issues that I could not see). Ideally, I wanted to find something south of the snow belt,... so it wouldn't be a rust bucket either. And finally, I found this truck on Auto Trader (and the next day it was on ebay), in Jackson, Missouri. A 2000 Chevy 3500 SRW reg-cab with a 5.7L engine & 5-speed,... in mint condition! After calling the dealer, doing the carfax report, getting more pics, etc, I felt that this truck was just what I was looking for, but I was going to have to buy it on ebay now. And buying a vehicle sight-unseen is never a good thing, but I had no choice. I was determined that I was not going to let this one get away, because a truck like this, in this condition, is just too hard to find. It had right at 100k miles on it, (which is only 1/3 of it's life, if I have the same luck with this one), and even tho I may have paid a little more than I wanted to, (a little over $6k, but doesn't matter, it'll be paid for before the winter is over anyway), I wasn't going to let a few hundred dollars make any difference,... and I have to say that when I checked it over in person, it seems even cleaner than what the pictures showed,... this is the nicest/cleanest used truck I have ever bought,.... wesport

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  2. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    So, when I clicked "Confirm Bid" on ebay with 4 seconds left in the auction, I now began a trip of retrieving this truck which is sitting somewhere in southern Missouri,... a point of latitude farther south than I have ever been,... almost 5,000 miles away,... and I haven't even seen it yet in real life! Is this nuts,... to go/risk/spend all that time & money just to get a used pickup?? Maybe,... but there's no un-doing it now,... so I found a one-way ticket from Anchorage to St Louis for less than $300,... so off I go. And even before I got on the plane,... as soon as I cleared security past the gate area,... I saw one of the things I've wanted to see for myself more than almost anything,... the World-Record Halibut !!! It's hanging on the wall of the hallway of one of the gates in the international side of the Anchorage International Airport,... I have no idea why they would exhibit the biggest halibut ever caught on a rod & reel in a spot where almost no one can see it, but here it is !! (I'm a halibut charter boat skipper during the summer months, fishing out of Valdez, Alaska). So, at least my trip started on an exciting note,.... :bluebounc:drinkup:


    (that's the ceiling lights reflected off the glass case,... I didn't see it when I took the pics :realmad:)

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  3. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    So, approx 10 hours later, we land at the airport in St Louis,... and I'm met there by rep of the company that I bought the truck from,... and off we go for a 2 hour drive down to Jackson, MO,... in 88° heat! (it was snowing all over the place in Alaska when I had left earlier in the day!). So, I checked it all over,... took it for a short spin to make sure everything worked,... we shook hands, and I now own another 1-ton Chevy,... :dizzy:


    (and tried to not pass out from a heat stroke,... :nod:)

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  4. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    By the time I took off from there, it was evening,.. and soon it getting dark. I headed back up toward St Louis,... and from there was going to head over toward Chicago, where I have a brother, so I figured since I was this close, I better stop by & say hi. I'm not used to seeing "flat country" like so much of the lower 48 states are,... and several things struck me as being kinda weird,... one of them is how fast it gets dark! In Alaska, when the sun goes down, it just goes behind a mountain, but it's still above the horizon for awhile. But down there, when the sun sets, it's set below the horizon, and it's dark almost instantly! :eek:


    (I think this was Interstate 55)

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  5. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    It was dark by the time I got to St Louis,... and I filled up with gas before setting my "nuvi" for Chicago,.... this was the cheapest gas I saw on the whole trip,... :nod:

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  6. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I drove into Illinois then for maybe 100 miles or so, and crashed at a rest area for the night. Next day I continued on toward Chicago,... and as I got closer, the traffic got worse fast,... and it's like the more cars there were, the faster everyone tried to go,... trash was blowing around all over the place,.... half the roads were under construction,... I don't know how you guys from there can deal with all that,... I'd eventually have to.... :gunsfiring:


    (I think that's the Sears Tower there, but not sure)

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  7. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I kinda wanted to see some other things in Chicago since I was there,... like Wrigley Field, etc, but I just knew that someone was going to side-swipe me if I didn't get out of there asap,... so I just went straight to my brother's place before I got in a wreck. I stayed there for a couple days & he showed me around some, but didn't have too much time to goof off. (he's a high-school physics teacher). He's also a big-time Dodge guy,... and has a 2000 Dodge/Cummins with more than 800 hp,... and always looking for more. He drove that truck to Alaska a couple years ago, and took it to the biggest drag strip in Alaska, and beat everything he ran against,.. cars & trucks. Now he's trying to put methane-injection (or something like that) in it,... it'll never stop.

    (He's the only one in our family that left Alaska)

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  8. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    So, after I left Chicago, I headed north into Wisconsin. My parents' family roots are in Wisconsin, so I decided to go see places/relatives, etc, where my folks lived when they were kids. The landscape, roads, etc, looked the same as Missouri & Illinois for the most part. And I actually found the farmhouse where my mom lived when she was a little girl,... :nod:

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  9. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Looks to be it was a very very worthwhile trip in all regards Dave. Good to hear the new purchase made the trek with flying colors as well. :drinkup: Did you get the relay installed ok for those long dark stretches that you mentioned, or did you simply squint and bear it? :D
     
  10. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Then I found another very weird thing,... trees that had apples growing on them !!!

    (I thought apples came in bags from the store,... :dizzy:)

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  11. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Yep, I did HID/quad-burn relay thing at my brother's place there in Chicago. Couldn't use high-beams much tho until I got well into Canada,... but boy it sure was nice then. Thanks again Mike for the help!! :waving:

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  12. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I decided from this point on, I was going to travel the back roads and just take my time going back and see things that I maybe wouldn't see if I just raced along the interstates. Such as these wild turkeys,... and sandhill cranes,... :)

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  13. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Here's another very weird thing (to me) that I noticed while traveling thru all this "flat land",... which way is downhill ??? I keep crossing all these creeks & rivers all over the place,... and for a creek or river to not be a lake, it has to run somewhere,... but as I look around, I sure can't tell which way is downhill.... and since everything eventually drains into the oceans,... this water here in Wisconsin has to travel downhill for hundreds & hundreds of miles,... :dizzy::eek::dizzy:

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  14. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I met up with a couple of my cousins while here, and they said no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a tour of the most famous thing in the Cheese state,.... Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers,.... :nod:

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  15. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Outside of the stadium, there's two statues,... one of Vince Lombardi, and another of Curly Lambeau,... the founder of the Packers. We took the 1 hour tour, and I found out that the Packers are called that, because in 1919, Curly recruited most of his players from the meat packing plants around Grenn Bay, and the team was first called the Acme Packers, and wore blue-gold jerseys, not green-gold. Curly paid the grand sum of $250 to enter his team into the NFL, whereas the Titans had to pay 870 million to join,... (the latest team to join, I think they said).

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  16. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    They took us up into the luxury "suites",... this one costs $168,000 for the season, and has 30 seats,... (I'll take 3 of 'em, thanks,...), we went thru the "tunnel", where the Packers come out of as they enter the field,... we could touch the grass, but not step on it,.... :nono:

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  17. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    So, I finally left Wisconsin & headed into Minnesota,.... I think I was on I94,... and as I crossed over on this big bridge,... I wondered if maybe this was the new one they had just rebuilt after that huge collapse that happened here a year or two ago,... ??

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  18. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Of course, I then went right into the middle of Minneapolis/St Paul,.... and now I know what a rat feels like when he's forced to run thru a maze,... :eek::eek::eek:

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  19. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    I don't even know what any of these things/buildings are,... it was all I could do to snap a few pics & not cause a major pile-up,.... :cool:

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  20. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    One of the more cool things I saw in Minnesota, was when I visited this huge Cabela's store,.... I don't even remmeber where it was,... but I think they said it was #3 biggest in the US,... in any case they have built an actual mountain right in the middle of the store,... and it's covered with animal mounts,... :drinkup:

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