I’ve got minivan envy. I drool at everyone that passes me, mentally checking off the features in my mind-stow and go seating, DVD players, sliding doors, etc……. And the thought of actually getting one scares the daylights out of me. One reason-STUFF.
Let me explain. When we first started in agility, we attended our first trial with a borrowed, heavily oxidized X-pen. We had a water bowl, 2 $5 fold up lawn chairs, and some cut up hot dogs for treats. Our dogs were lying on the dirt, and to be honest, were probably cooler than their cohorts as the temps were in the 80’s. And then, we started to look around. We saw a world of tug toys, miniature tent cities, reclining chairs, camp tables, battery powered fans, enough string cheese to make a mid-sized dairy herd despondent, and all kinds of dog treats from all kinds of protein sources. It was enough to make one feel like a first cousin of the Clampetts!
Well, we had to get our own X-pen. A shiny one. And no more comfortable dirt-we went all out and bought a chunk of Astroturf. (As you can well imagine, dog hair sticks to Astroturf. Like Velcro.) And toys. And meds. And food containers. And a sun shade. And….etc, etc, etc.
However, there is one limiting factor. Our mode of transportation is a Toyota Yaris. Not that it is a small car, but if you can’t find parking you can put it in your pocket and carry it into the store. The word “Yaris” roughly translates as “clown car”. So, two adults and three dogs must take advantage of every cubic inch of space. The “stuff” is packed into a Rubbermaid tub, which is further compartmentalized for food, shade cloth (old sheets), toys, treats, records, etc. Chairs and other items are carefully fit into nooks and crannies, the pop-up ex-pen and mat bags go underneath the foam pad for the dogs, and blankets for the “castle” are put down for extra padding. The soft sided cooler rides on top of the tub, clothes bags wedged behind, and shoes fill up micro gaps around the edges. We can actually pack enough stuff in the car to survive a 9 day trip to Champs-we proved that this year. And the incredulous looks people give us are a source of never-ending entertainment!
What scares me about a minivan is that if we can put that much stuff in the Yaris, how much stuff could we put in a Grand Caravan? It might cost the equivalent of the Gross National Product of some 3rd world country to load the thing! So for now…..Long Live the Yaris! (oh look, the Pet Store is having a sale…..)
Written by Craig Coonrad