Last week, my venerable Ford Explorer Sport-Track started having transmission trouble for the second time. Since I had no intention of putting more repair money into a truck its age, this necessitated a search for a new truck. Since I tend to plan ahead for such things, I already had a good idea of what I wanted. I managed to find one in my price range, and here it is!
The Honda Ridgeline was definitely a step up from the Sport Track. It’s a larger truck, with a spacious four-door cabin. The back seat’s big enough that even Adam Cerubini and I (both 6’4″) could sit comfortably upright without squabbling over the armrest. There’s a whole bunch of fancy electronics and voice control stuff, but that has little bearing on the main function – wood hauling.
The bed is a little short, but adequate. It’s 54″ wide, with 49″ between the very low wheel wells. The diagonal distance from the bottom front to the top of the tailgate is 61″, so strapped-down 8′ stock should ride fine. Alternatively, you can lower the tailgate and slide plywood sheets between the wheel wells to ride flat. If you’re interested in the Ridgeline, clicking on either of the above photos will take you to the CarMax-provided webpage of photos of this truck – a nice touch on their part.
The real deciding factor for me is not immediately obvious to the casual viewer. The tailgate also swings out like a station wagon’s. Once this is done, you press a button in a small recess, lift, and:
Voila! An under-bed storage area – a trunk! That’s right, gentle readers, a pickup with a trunk! How many times have we pickup drivers wished for someplace to store things out of the view of passerbys? Well, the Ridgeline lets you do it.
This is no little cubby, either. The trunk is 48″ wide, 22″ long, and 19″ deep, not counting the spare tire space. By the way, unscrewing a pair of wing nuts allows the spare tire carrier to slide out to the rear, providing easy access to all tire changing components. I realize that this could be a problem with a bed full of wood, but I actually spend a very small percentage of my time with a load in the bed. Hopefully the numbers will work in my favor – I just hope Mr. Murphy isn’t listening.
So, as you can understand, my week has been rather full of car-shopping and purchasing adventures. As a result, the next article in the blanket chest design series has been delayed a bit. However, this next one covers some very interesting design observations with graphics, and I didn’t want to rush it. There are points there worth taking your time on and pondering, so I’m going to do the best job I can on it over the weekend and have it ready next week. I think you’ll find it worth the wait. Stay tuned!