The clouds had finally spared some room for the sun, the temperature was just cracking the freezing point. By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, a generous four inches of snow had fallen. The main thoroughfares in and out of town had been plowed, scraped, and salted some moments earlier, while the side roads still bore their coat of white, now growing threadbare in places from the blowing wind and the steadily creeping tires of cautious travelers.
It was on one of these faux polar passageways that the driver of a lifted red Ford F-150 decided that today was not the day to share the road with other passing motorists. And, unfortunately for me, I was a passing motorist asking to share the road. He had almost a foot to his right to spare. I didn't. I had a ditch and I was forced into it.
No, in case you were wondering, the driver didn't stop. He instead moved down the road at a relatively brisk pace for the conditions. Thanks to this considerate driver, I was now stuck. Was I furious? You bet.
I wasn't just upset at Mr. Red Ford Truck, though. I was also a little upset with myself. You see, in the Fall of 2013 I sold my four-wheel drive 2000 Jeep Cherokee because I had grown tired of throwing money at it. At that point, it had 283,000 miles and it wasn't trying to hide its age anymore. Since it wasn't my primary vehicle, I figured the time was right to give it a new home.
Now, as I sat in this ditch, I couldn't have regretted that decision more. It's not that I believed that I wouldn't have wound up off of the snow-covered tarmac if I still had it. I just damn sure knew that I wouldn't be struggling to get back on it.
I could try to buy my Cherokee back, of course. The new owner lives locally and I still have his number stored in my phone. However, from what I gather about him, I seriously doubt any reasonable offer of mine would transfer its ownership back to me.
That leaves me where I'm at right now. I'm more than willing to allow another four-wheel drive wagon of the sports-utility variety in my life. Not only would be it extremely useful during the winter months, I could also see myself using it for light off-roading and camping trips. That's why I had the Cherokee around to begin with, anyway. I'm also willing to swap out my Dodge Charger to get back in the four-by-four game.
There's a problem, though.
While I would be happy behind the wheel of another Jeep or even a pickup, I'm unsure how long I could live with it and it alone before I would start yearning for another rear-drive car. Let's face it. The SUV and the truck alike would be fun off-road and useful in inclement weather, but 90 percent of the time, they'll be driven on paved roads, in dry and sunny conditions. In other words, prime weather for a front-engined rear-drive car.
Obviously, the answer here is to buy an inexpensive four-by-four and an inexpensive sports car. In fact, I started to research this approach earlier today. While window shopping on Auto Trader, I discovered a peachy 2007 Pontiac Solstice for $8,000 with only 60,000 miles on the clock. From there, I hopped on over to Craigslist and found a ZR2 Blazer for under $2,000.
Perfect duo, right? Sure, and it would actually be cheaper than the payoff on the Charger when the dust settles. But insurance premiums for the pair ... man, oh, man.
I eventually made it out of that ditch, by the way, with the help of two guys in a pewter Silverado. It wasn't lifted. I'm appreciative of their hospitality. Now if I could only get someone to tow me out of the rut I'm in when it comes to preventing this story come next winter, I'll really be all set.