Undesirable Forms of Transportation

I am reminded of undesirable forms of transportation each time Ellen tells the story of her first trip to Wyoming to visit me. She stopped to refuel at a gas station about 10 miles from my house, and there were three horses tethered to a railing outside while the riders were inside getting a snack.

She likes to say, "Only in Wyoming...."

Well, I've seen more unusual things than that. How about a guy who brought his horse into the bar with him to have a drink? It's true. It happened in Ten Sleep, Wyoming.

Anyway, back on the subject here. I want to talk about undesirable forms of transportation that you should probably avoid when you're considering alternative transportation.

I write this as a way of having a little fun, but also to show that extremes probably won't be a good choice, whether you're looking at a Hummer for the occasional trip to the grocery store, or a new pair of tennis shoes for your 38 mile commute to work.

Both are extremes and probably won't work for most people - but then everyone is different.

Here are alternatives I would stay away from:

  • A service or utility vehicle. Listening to "Click and Clack" on NPR one day, a woman called in to ask if it was wise that her high school age son wanted to buy an old 1960s ice cream truck as his car of choice. I think it's an odd choice, kind of like a step van or garbage truck.

    Such unique vehicles are fun, but the value of such a lark only lasts a short while. When it comes to regular use of such vehicles, they will likely prove to be inefficient, inconvenient, expensive, and of limited use.

  • Roller blades or roller skates. There is a delivery guy in San Francisco who skates around doing errands in town on a pair of wheels like this. If you're only carrying small and lightweight items, that's fine, but even a briefcase makes it difficult to keep your balance. Perhaps that's why many executives don't choose these forms of transportation.

  • Skateboards. If you're going to school and you're only a few blocks away, this would be fun during pleasant weather, but otherwise it just isn't a good choice. Skateboards would be fine if your errands found you going slightly downhill both ways - not likely.

  • Pickup trucks and SUVs. I'm going to get a lot of grief from some people for calling these undesirable forms of transportation, but for the most part, they really are. Unless your job requires that you carry something back and forth in your truck, or you use the truck on the job, a pickup truck is more of a statement than something that provides good function.

    SUVs are similar. Yes, there is the occasional snow storm and muddy road, but I've driven my two wheel drive sport coupe through all kinds of snow and mud, and never got stuck. If conditions are so bad that a passenger car won't make it, then chances are you should just wait until conditions improve.

    Pickups and SUVs that allow you to be a hero once or twice a year just aren't worth owning as forms of transportation for daily use. They're just not aligned with frugal living. And, worst of all, they are very commonly the vehicles in the ditch or turned over alongside of the icy roadway. Imagine that!

  • Hitchhiking is another of the less reliable and highly undesirable forms of transportation. I picked up a hitchhiker one day. He was on his way to Mount Rushmore, and he needed a lift to the airport so he could rent a car. He was an attorney from New York that had hitchhiked all the way out to Cheyenne.

    In his words, "Just to see if I could do it."

    While it may be a fine type of adventure, I just wouldn't count on it for anything other than emergencies and fun.

  • Horseback is one of the fun yet undesirable forms of transportation. There is a reason we only see horses during parades and during the occasional civil disturbance. Horses are large animals that require pasture and hay at one end, and a pitchfork or large flat blade shovel at the other end.

    I know plenty of people who own horses. They turn into large pets, and are only practicable when my friends go hunting for elk in the mountains. I don't know anyone who rides them to work. They don't even ride them over to my house!

  • Golf carts and small utility vehicles such as the three wheeled meter reader carts are used in certain environments, like golf courses, warehouses and other places where the distance to travel is relatively small, speed isn't a factor, and the activities are indoors or otherwise reserved for fair weather.

    Golf carts and small utility vehicles have plenty of capacity to carry groceries and such, but aren't used on the street mainly because of their low speed. They are relatively energy efficient, but they are too slow and don't have the range necessary to make them a useful vehicle except within the confines of something like a university campus.

  • Four wheelers can be made street legal, but they don't have much carrying capacity, they leave the user completely out in the open, and they really aren't all that comfortable. They can be made street legal, but still don't have much speed to deal with regular travel of more than a few miles.

  • Crotch rockets are also a poor choice for the person looking for serious transportation. Any vehicle that you essentially lie down on in order to operate, is built for fun and show, but won't do you much good on a regular basis.

    The proof is in the pudding. Take a look at how many miles are displayed on the odometer of the next crotch rocket you see. I'll bet they don't have 7,000 miles on the vehicle. How could they? You'd be sore and bent out of shape after riding it about 10 miles.

    Besides, any vehicle that has a speedometer that goes up to 220 miles per hour is a vehicle I'm going to watch someone else operate.

  • A dune buggy is also one of the undesirable forms of transportation. It's great for chasing predators around the prairie and having fun on the dunes, but other than that, it should stay at home until the next weekend of fun and frolic.

  • Minibikes and go-carts are also on the list of less than desirable forms of transportation. They just don't cut the mustard, regardless of how much fun they might be.

Okay, I've had my say and I've had my fun with undesirable forms of transportation. The idea is simply this - focus on what you're going to use it for, and get something that meets your needs the overwhelming majority of the time, without going overboard.

Something may appear to be a good value or nice to have, but you have to think about using it day in and day out. If it's only going to be useful some of the time, it shouldn't be your first choice among other regular forms of transportation.

Done with Forms of Transportation, back to Alternative Transportation

Done with Forms of Transportation, back to Save Gas

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.