(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?
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.
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.