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To be used as a general guide for the Driftless Area fishing vehicle.

I spent my first couple years driving a gas guzzling Ford F-150 to the creek, it did the job and was in some cases ideal. Fishing til dark, making camp quickly, crashing in the bed of the truck under the protection of the topper so I could wake early and fish another day through. In other aspects that vehicle was very impractical bordering on almost immoral. Poor gas mileage is a deal breaker, period. I’m taking this moment to pay respects to the new Driftless Fishing Ride that will soon (getting a new radiator) carry me to the creek countless times and continue it’s gloried past. This ride came care of a good friend and has seen it’s share of steep grade gravel roads, carried many a full creel back home and always been [singlepic id=3035 w=320 h=240 float=left]reliable. For me the fishing ride must contain a handful of attributes, others are ideal but not deal breakers. Things like good gas mileage make driving over an hour and passing up incredible water along the way to get to someplace less often visited more tolerable and acceptable in my mind. Bumper stickers, worn like badges of honor let those around you get a glimpse of what your all about. The DFR is another piece of gear that gets dirty, scratched, maybe a bit abused but ultimately loved and well used, not like most people’s cell phone, replaced in two years when something more fashionable comes along. No, the DFR is your best [singlepic id=3033 w=280 h=200 float=right]friend, it takes you to the land of relaxation, clean air, quiet, nature and perhaps above all (but not really)…trout.

Required Driftless Fishing Ride Attributes:

  • 30mpg+
  • Over 100k miles (less issue with driving on gravel roads/general damage from driving to the creek)
  • Trunk loaded at all times with necessary fishing gear for the current season
  • Road and MN Trout Stream Maps present at all times
  • Must get MPR radio stations
  • All flies that meet a George must be lodged in the ceiling for posterity’s sake
  • Must be reliable but if I got stuck on a MN Trout stream it wouldn’t ruin my day much

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Ideal Driftless Fishing Ride Attributes:

  • Is a Subaru (perhaps the next one)
  • Has AWD (perhaps the next one)
  • Coffee maker mounted in the center console
  • Possesses a Mounted Rod Holder
  • Current State Parks Pass mounted in the lower right corner of the windshield
  • Plastered with Good Things/Trout/Fly Fishing Bumper Stickers
  • Has enough room to sleep in
  • Has enough room to gear up inside if it’s ~5degrees outside

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  1. For the record, I recall using a coat hanger to wire the muffler back on that beast on one trip. Another year we had to keep the heat going full bore to prevent the engine from overheating…in August. Good times. Glad to see it still making the rounds.

  2. I think that old truck has served you well…much as mine has. But I realized how much gas I was burning weekly when my beloved fishing truck took a dive one weekend and I started using the everyday car on my fishing trips. Huge difference. And to be honest, the minimum maintenance roads don’t require 4WD assuming there are no fallen trees or recent torrential rains washing them out. I will still use the truck on my winter trips though, just because I am leery of winter driving conditions. And I won’t care as much if I skid off the road and nail an occasional obstruction…=)

  3. My DFR: 1996 Honda Accord–295k miles

    You can access the trunk through the cab by lowering the armrest in the back seat. This allows you to keep a 9′ rod fully rigged as you wander from stream to beautiful stream.

    Sleeping is not too comfortable, though.

    avatar Evan
  4. I opt for the NFR (national) which is a 86 Cherokee wagoneer, its not the best on gas but I’ll take 20mpg+4WD. I need it for Midwestern winters and the un nammed logging roads that are traveled in the summer months. Back seats have been removed, a radio delete package, no heat, constant cold air blowing from the defrosters and the drivers side window does not roll up. The plus side only 69k miles on it bought off an Airforce base. Its a fly box on wheels and I can sleep in the back.

    avatar WT
  5. This is a more than adequate tribute. A few notes:

    (1) The bumper sticker addition is outstanding. I need one of those.

    (2) JM and I did lose the muffler once; it was in Lanesboro, and she took a dirt road bump a little two hard and the mounting bracket gave out. We limped into town looking for a solution. Eventually someone gave us some speaker wire and we made it work from there. And I left that wire on there for a very long time before I eventually caved and got a new muffler. Neighbors appreciated the fix.

    (3) Why are you getting a new radiator? Attempt to solve the overheating issue? That was something I just lived with. Blasted the heat in the summer. You are better about addressing problems.

    (4) On the buy American note, I offer two responses: (a) Any used car has lost its “made in XX” sticker; I bought that car from a guy named Mark, who lives in rural Rice County; and thus I “bought used”; there is no more cut and dried “American” vs other car situation out there; parts are made all over the place, vehicles are assembled all over the place; etc. If you are only worried about the citizenship of the CEO, then by all means, purchase a Ford if you’re buying new. But who knows who got paid to make the parts, how far they came, who got paid how much to assemble the vehicle, etc.

    This works out well all around, becuase the Blue Car is still in the family really.

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