2015 Ford F-150: Making a Move to Rainy Rose City - Part 1
by Rich Kuras, Video Producer on February 3, 2016
My mission in October was moving my girlfriend from Los Angeles to Portland. Fresh out of school, she got a job in the Rose City. My 2008 Ford Escape could've done the job, but it would've been packed to the gills with books, kitchen supplies and clothes, like the opening to a modern-day Beverly Hillbillies.
With such a long journey, I'd hoped for something a bit more suited for the move and was fortunate enough to score the 2015 Ford F-150. Long-distance driving is never fun, but sometimes necessary. My girl was starting a new job on a Monday, so we decided to drive straight from Santa Monica to Portland starting at 7:30 on a Friday morning.
That's one day of driving, 964 miles and about 14-plus hours of actual driving (not including pee breaks, leg stretches, coffee, food and a stop in Ashland for a nice Italian dinner).
The first part of the journey took us through flat California farm country, seeing first-hand the effects of the state's long drought. A few hours north of Sacramento, after passing the bone-dry Shasta Lake, the road turned hilly and winding. The F-150 never lost a beat. There was always plenty of power and nice handling through every long corner.
With a ridiculous 36-gallon gas tank, we only had to fill up for gas once, ranging more than 600 miles and averaging about 19 mpg. Both times, I preferred to fill up in California because I like pumping my own gas and I'm not sure if I should tip the station attendant who pumps for me.
(Footnote to Oregon gas pumping: While in Portland, when a station attendant approached, I totally forgot about the "law" and what looked like an approaching carjacker scared the crap out of me. Those men and women need a uniform, like in every TV show from the 1950's).
We arrived around 1:30 a.m. and stayed with friends, then picked up the keys to the new place early Saturday morning. On arrival, I somehow found street parking for that great blue beast. After quickly unloading her granite-filled boxes, as timing would have it, we were greeted with a healthy dose of Portland rain.
The F-150 did an excellent job of maintaining the bug population, watching nature wash away the insect carcasses splattered all over the windshield and side-mirrors.
To help get my girl's new place operational, we made separate trips to Sleep Train and Ikea. A queen-sized bed easily slid into the F-150's bed, as well as a 91-inch couch (packed into two big boxes weighing in at about 200 pounds). Both boxes may have been a bit long for the cab, but after a few bungees, it easily made the trip home, wrapped conveniently for frequent Portland weather.
After hauling all the big items, the Ford became an errand truck, making trips to Trader Joes, Walgreens and, most importantly, Vinopolis. My biggest fear was turning our F-150 into some Internet meme about obnoxious truck drivers. I didn't feel confident parking the blue whale in a typical store parking lot. Instead I would opt for a space way in the back, where lonely shopping carts hang out.
When I did get a close spot, it was easier to back in rather than park head-in. The backup cam made it easier to see what was around me versus guessing what was in front of me. I could have driven over a shopping cart and probably wouldn't have known. Even after doing the "best" job, the truck still stuck out by a few feet.
Clearly, tight city parking and apartment living is not what this beast was meant for, unless you like driving your parking garage neighbors nuts. Portland driving, with lots of small streets, smaller Subarus and mid-sized Jeeps SUV, is not an environment where a behemoth like the F-150 can thrive.
One side note about the key fob: I set off the alarm several times. This was before I knew about Josh's experience with the same issue, but I didn't know if it was just an overly sensitive fob, poor placement or if I just had odd pockets. It didn't matter where I had it, in my jeans, hoodie or jacket pockets, I must have set that thing off 5 or 6 times.
We got most everything in place and I still had about a week to enjoy the new place and the city before setting out for the 14-hour return trip. Time to set up the couch and cable, and rest.
Rich Kuras, Video Producer @ 27,845 miles