Friday, May 5, 2017

Creating the Perfect Tow Vehicle Out of Imperfection

Wiser men than I have fallen victim to the 'previous investment trap.' That is my official excuse for taking so long to turn an imperfect -- and steadily worsening -- tow vehicle situation into a drastically better choice. 

(Since I refuse to carry a mountain bike on the outside of a vehicle, my tow vehicle choices are restricted to a van or a pickup with a heavy, expensive cap on the back. I am afraid the white cargo van has become such a stereotype that it will receive prejudicial treatment from rangers.)

In fact I haven't been this pleased and excited for a long time. There really is something to be said for agonizing over a problem for a long time before finally 'hitting the ball out of the park.' It adds drama to life.

When I put the doggie door into the rear cargo ramp in my cargo trailer, I finally broke free of the Previous Investment Trap. I abandoned the idea of making a screen room out of the back of the trailer, and decided to see if the mountain bike could be mounted on the cargo ramp.

Could it really be this easy?

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But won't the bike snag or jam something as you raise it to the inside?


Nope. It is the same each time, so the empty space around the bike can be filled with storage bags or boxes.

But what about the chain reaction this was supposed to cause inside my trailer? It only took a day to work all that out. A bit of downsizing helped. Having the bike inside has only made things slightly more cramped.

The end result is that my next tow vehicle can be 'anything.' It will probably be a Chevy Silverado pickup or a Nissan Frontier. No cap will be necessary. I'll put a couple wheel-well tool boxes in the bed of the truck.

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But how does any of this help the reader if they are under different circumstances? The details don't, of course. But if we back up a step at look at the principles involved in the problem solving, it can be useful. 

1. Rebelling against the Previous Investment Trap.

2. Hitting a 'double' on the rear cargo door before trying to hit a 'home run.' (Think of the cautious, build-on-small successes taken by the USA and the UK in rolling back the Wehrmacht in North Africa, then Sicily, then Italy. Also, consider the island hopping by General MacArthur in the Pacific war of World War II.)

3. Being nudged by comments on this blog and on other blogs. Not trying to operate in a vacuum. Not surrendering to the romantic nonsense of the solitary inventor.

4. Realizing that I am dissuaded by a half dozen small disadvantages to some approach, because I have a tendency to exaggerate the cumulative effect of all of these. Perhaps it is the messy clutter that makes me lazy.

5. Solving the tow truck conundrum by not falling into the 'take that hill, boys' approach of a stupid general. The general should try a flanking movement or move his offensive to an off-center theater of operations. (Consider the success that General Sherman had in the Chattanooga/Atlanta/Savannah theater in the American War Between the States. I believe that, despite its failure, the Gallipoli operation in the Great War was brilliant. It failed because of tactical mistakes.)

6. The consequences of stubborn, moral intransigence. Even though my current mountain bike only has garage sale resale value, I have simply refused to transport it on the outside of a vehicle. That created the conundrum in the first place.

But I'm glad I didn't surrender on this point. 

7. Forcing myself to give in on something before I could expect to gain something.

8. Although it has never been a habit of mine to look back at a solved problem and lay out the principles involved, it should have been. It should be.

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a clever solution. Now you won't be yet another conspicuous white van in the woods. ;)

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  2. Yes, I think white cargo vans have evolved from "stealth" to conspicuous, over the last few years.

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  3. I'm curious, how has the white cargo van become "stereotypical" and why might the rangers be prejudiced against them?

    Savvy solution to your bike storage problem.

    Chris

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    1. The white cargo van: an old man living alone in the forest, illegally. There may be some fearmongering there.

      In addition, I don't really like the new "Euro" style vans, with low ground clearance, small engines, and front wheel drive.

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  4. I really liked this post. Not just for the solution, which is sweet and simple, but for the whole decision making and thought process involved. When you have a good imagination that comes up with a lot of possibilities, it isn't easy to decide which one to go with sometimes. "There really is something to be said for agonizing over a problem for a long time before finally 'hitting the ball out of the park'." And nothing like watching your van steadily wearing out to concentrate your thinking and spur a solution and decision. :)

    " One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star." Just the other day, my friend Jed, came up with that Nietzsche quote after I told him about agonizing over whether to camp alone on a remote Arkansas mountain top laced with violent graffiti. I had stayed and the next morning got a great inspired photo. I interpreted the quote to mean that internal turmoil can sometimes stimulate the imagination. Sorta like you're saying, it adds drama to life.

    Also enjoyed the military analogies. While I never studied the full Gallipoli plan, I do remember that when it went bad Churchill got put on the 'bench'. Lucky for Great Britain they didn't decide to 'trade' him!

    Boy you seemed to move through Northern New Mexico quick this year. Any reason you care to share? Gonna be moving into that 'area of operations' soon myself.

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    1. JackPineSeed, Great quote from Nietzsche.

      Yes, I have blasted through New Mexico in order to report for duty in Colorado. I have sold my soul to the devil. I've sold out to the Establishment. That is, I start as a campground host tomorrow in Colorado.

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  5. It is, indeed, the chief mark of a man emerged from the general that he has lost most of his original certainties, and is full of a scepticism which plays like a spray of acid upon all the ideas that come within his purview, including especially his own. - The American Credo, H. L. Mencken & George Jean Nathan

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    1. I see that the Quotemeister is up to his old tricks. (grin)

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Comments are appreciated. Feel free to disagree as much as you want with any idea in the post or other comments, but resist the ad hominem approach. Please don't be discouraged if I don't respond to every one of them.