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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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November 01, 2014

Fishing for a New Outdoors Vehicle

by Bob Banfelder

Donna and I are dinosaurs in that we had driven both our family sedan and 4-wheel drive pickup truck for many, many years. We bought those modes of transportation new in 1991 and 1992, respectively, maintained them properly while having used the latter extensively for outdoor activities; namely, our fishing ventures as well as my hunting endeavors. Seeing that we were to extend these activities to include the mountainous areas of the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York on a regular basis, and in all kinds of weather (I'm talking snow and ice), a new truck to replace the old one was on our short list. Actually, we wound up replacing and giving both age-old vehicles to the kids. A good deal of research had gone into deciding what new vehicles we would select. We knew we needed an all-wheel drive vehicle that would carry loads of fishing and hunting equipment simultaneously because our game plan was to combine the two outdoor activities throughout the entire year; call it our semiretirement. When the bitter cold turned lakes to ice, ice fishing would be on the agenda as well.

We had originally ordered a Honda Ridgeline; however, the deal fell through mainly because of corporate headquarters' poor policy. They were horrible to deal with, but that's another story. On a more positive note, Dale Cha of the Nardy Honda dealership in Smithtown was absolutely wonderful to work with, a great guy. We had ordered and purchased a 2014 Honda Accord to replace our 1991 family car at the same time we ordered the Ridgeline. Donna was quite sad when the latter deal was dead, believing that it was the only truck out there that suited our outdoor needs. "Yes, the only truck, but not the only vehicle," I had insisted. In retrospect, the fiasco turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We had known from the onset that the Ridgeline received poor grades for gas mileage: 15 city/21 highway. What we hadn't realized at the time was that there was a vehicle out there that far exceeded our expectations.

We needed a vehicle that would dependably traverse secondary mountain roads twelve months out of the year; that is, elevated terrain and tracts of land that are generally advisable to avoid from December 1st to April 1st. That is because these unpaved roads, becoming narrow pathways in some instances, are not maintained during this period of time. Since our extended trips of three weeks to a month at a clip would involve transporting a combination of angling and hunting gear, clothing, and many ancillary items, we had to have a vehicle that would safely carry all of it—and in a single shot. After we received delivery of the new vehicle (won't say what just yet) that replaced our 4-wheel drive truck, we packed up for our first outdoor venture to the southern tier. Keep in mind that we were transporting gear re the angling scene that included spin, bait casting, and fly-fishing setups, boots & chest waders, fly-fishing vests, nets, creels, foul weather gear, tackle boxes, and proper clothing for two. On the hunting front, it's solely me and my equipment—loaded for bear in a manner of speaking: shotgun, rifle, compound bow, arrows [all in their respective hard cases], tree stands, ammunition, gunning belt and bow pouches, packs, boots, game hoist/gambrel, field dressing and butchering paraphernalia, binoculars, range finder, cooler, related outdoor and civilian fall apparel. We had packed (actually overpacked) for the three-week stint in the Finger Lakes area.

On top of transporting both of us and all the above-mentioned items, we wanted a vehicle that would do so fuel efficiently. Tall order, yes? Unless you're a contractor or the like, needing to haul 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and/or masonry board within the body of the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need a pickup truck to transport your fishing and/or hunting equipment. We discovered a vehicle that would more than carry what we needed to enjoy the great outdoors in virtually any weather Mother Nature might throw at us, and in a wagon/crossover (call it what you will) that boasts 73.3 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats folded down; 35.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats. If you needed more cargo volume, the 2015 Subaru Outback (there, I've said and shown the vehicle) comes standard with a roof rack incorporating a crossbar system that conveniently converts the rails perpendicular to the roofline as well. Very neat, indeed. New for the 2015 model are metal tie-down brackets located in each corner of the rack. Safely securing a luggage carrier, canoe, or racks for kayaks poses no problem.

Now, what if I were to tell you that we received 40.2 miles to the gallon for the 415.2 mile trip while transporting all those items over hill and dale as enumerated? Would you be delighted and surprised as we were? Bet you would be. The mileage was read off the computer screen as shown here as well as corroborated arithmetically at the gas pump during fill up.

Our 2015 Subaru Outback, a go-in-the snow virtually anywhere vehicle, is the perfect crossover for the outdoorsman. When not packed to the rafters, the retractable cargo cover conceals and protects your gear within the vehicle, not outside its body. Considering enclosing a pickup truck will cost you thrice: price of a cap, added weight, and consequently extra dollars at the gas pump. Why not enjoy fishing, hunting, and exploring (along with your other outdoor activities) in style and comfort? I could go on about the many, and I do mean many, features that come standard with the new 2015 Subaru Outback. However, both space and protocol do not and should not allow for it, lest I be accused of blatant advertising. Therefore, I'll head for the finish line, and in a moment, with big money-saving advice. Many of you know that for the past four years, Donna and I have our own monthly Cablevision TV show titled Special Interests with Bob and Donna [Channel 20] that airs 4 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays. During October, we covered our new 2015 Subaru Outback as it related primarily to fishing and hunting. The response was overwhelming.

As the theme of my article writing for Nor'east Saltwater is to educate and often save readers considerable dollars in the bargain, I'll conclude by telling you to shop carefully when considering your next vehicle. If it's a Subaru you seek, see Andrew Mongru, Sales Consultant at Competition Subaru of Smithtown for the absolute best pricing. Believe me; I've been around the block and can tell you firsthand that Andrew and members of the team (Lisa Sessa, Sales Manager), et al, are the best of the best. Having shopped quite carefully, receiving over half a dozen so-called "best-price quotes," Donna and I saved over two thousand dollars by purchasing our vehicle from Competition Subaru of Smithtown! They ought to change their name to No Competition Subaru of Smithtown.

Additionally, Donna and I were up in Ithaca and had several questions regarding our new vehicle. Remember, we are dinosaurs, not having purchased vehicles in practically a quarter of a century. David O'Neil, Sales Consultant for Maguire–Family of Dealerships–Subaru in Ithaca, knowing he wasn't going to make a dime in realizing from the onset that we had purchased our Outback in the Smithtown/St. James area, still spent a good half hour with us, thoroughly answering all our question while physically going over each bell and whistle in detail—not that Andrew hadn't; it's just that there was lots of information for two old souls so close to retirement to digest. These are the kind of folks you're dealing with at Subaru dealerships. Top-notch professionalism.

Finally, here's a tip for those of you in the car-buying market. Generally speaking, the bigger the dealership, the greater chance you have of getting a far better price. Why? These larger companies deal in volume and can afford to give you the best possible price. So don't be afraid to shop around. The two thousand-plus-dollars $avings can buy you plenty of outdoor gear.

Hitch your wagon to a star. Safe driving, folks.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

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