image: wikipedia

Never mind the contraption in this image. I’m talking about bolting on a big ol’ steel blade to a big ol’ Murican pickup truck and pushing snow around like a boss. But not with a Boss, those suck. Fisher FTW, amirite?

But seriously, it seems like some Oppos would really enjoy plowing snow, just so long as you don’t have to do it all day (or all night).

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Growing up, my father had a Scout with a plow, I even got to drive it some before it finally, completely fell apart. Actually we sold it to some friends of mine in high school who no doubt drove it deep into the woods until it would go no more and just left it there. We replaced that with a “modern” 1985 F-150 shortbed, 4-speed manual with the venerable I6-300. This poor truck’s former life was with a neighbor who beat the living hell out of it. It was $800 for the truck, and probably another $500 to have the plow from the 1966 scout made to work on the Ford.

I plowed our own driveway with the F150, and a few years before having a license my father somehow let me plow our neighbors’ driveways for money, which I got to keep. What kind of deal is that? I even plowed a guy’s driveway that was over 1/2 mile long, and my dad still wonders to this day how that truck survived that task.

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Years later, he gave me that truck when he bought a new-to-him 1997 Ford F250 with a plow, which once again looked modern by comparison. Fuel Injection! Power Windows! I drove the F150 until the brakes no longer worked at all, the clutch was toast, the heater core caught fire, and the frame quite literally broke in half when I hit a snowpile too hard one time. Then I bolted it together and kept driving it. The bed and cab were rubbing hard, and were the only thing keeping the rig together.

the ‘85 when we finally shipped it off to plow truck heaven

Now it’s 2017 and I’m 35 and yet my father’s 1997 Ford is still the Family Plow Truck. I live just 3 miles from my parents with my wife and kids, so we still get to use his truck for our snow removal purposes. And like its predecessors, it’s a piece of shit at this point. The Big March Nor’Easter of this week? It wouldn’t fucking start. I had to caress the coil with a hair dryer just to get the thing going. I check the fuel gauge: 1/2. That sounds fine except there are two tanks, but only one works. So it’s small, and I’ll probably use 1/4 tank plowing two driveways and traveling between.

there it sits today, kids playing, blissfully unaware of its menacing presence...

The plow works well (see my earlier endorsement of Fisher, they’re indestructible) but the headlights only work on high beams. The truck also has a massive exhaust leak, like, the pipe must be pretty much broken right after the cats. It’s loud. I drove this thing over to my parents’ place in the middle of the storm the other night to plow their driveway since they’re out of town, and the damn thing backfired on me and died at about 30mph on a narrow dirt road in a blizzard with 8" of unplowed snow in the road. In fact, a few years ago it did a similar thing, only the plow dropped at the same time, covering the whole truck in a cloud of snow. However, in both cases I was able to continue on my way after some tinkering. 

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Which brings me to my point, finally: Plowing is FUN. What could really be better than taking what should be completely routine driving (navigating your own driveway and/or local roads) and turning it into a challenge comparable to off-roading in slick mud, but without any actual mud. Not to mention driving a truck with a gigantic steel blade hanging 3 feet out in front. It’s cold out but always toasty warm in the cab (not in the scout because there was no tailgate), and you get to smash into huge fluffy piles of snow like a kid having a pillow fight. And you might get stuck, and have to figure that out - but that’s the fun of driving in adverse conditions, right? Doing this all in a shitty old truck just makes it all the more “exciting.”