Fishing Rigs & a Government Rant

BDD

Active Member
Last summer Freestone and I fished a small stream; we met at a spot along the way and I loaded my gear in Freestone's vehicle and off we went. Freestone has a Honda Element; I had never been in one. As we went off road to look for creek access, the road was getting worse and I made an comment about if it got worse, we might want to walk without have 4-wheel/all-wheel drive. She looked at me funny and said something about the Element having being all-wheel drive. I had no idea and was blown away. Later on, I started noticing things that I really liked in a fishing vehicle. I liked the all-weather flooring, the storage space in the back, the fact that the seats fold up or can be even removed for additional storage. Knowing that it was all-wheel drive, combined with all the other features...well, I thought it would make a good fishing vehicle. It offered lots of space, could tow a raft or pram trailer, could haul a boat on the roof, got decent mileage. I started thinking more and more about it that fall, I decided it would make a very nice fishing rig. The problem was they stopped making them in 2011; I started looking around Thanksgiving and looked for about 3 months for one with relatively low miles. I found a few but most were on the east coast.

I finally started seeing a few around here, or at least within a half day drive. I found a few around late February/early March and each one sold before I could see it in person. I could see there was a decent demand for these vehicles and it seemed like clean ones with relatively low miles were snapped up pretty quick. Around the third week in March I saw two in the Portland area; one had 60,000 miles and the other had 14,000 original miles. I test drove the higher mileage one first and I'm sure would have been very happy with it. But I just couldn't pull the trigger without seeing the other one first..which I did and wound up buying. This was right when things started getting serious with Covid so I made the purchase and was in and out within like 20 minutes with the rig I had been looking for for quite some time. Five months later, after getting a roof rack and wiring trailer lights (already had a hitch receiver) and changing the oil for the first time, I have been very happy with it. Thanks @Freestone for taking me crick fishing and showing me your Element.

They extended the normal title transfer and registration because most licensing agencies were shut down. Finally on Friday April 24, I found there was a private licensing agent in Ellensburg that was open; the one in the court house that I used for the past 15 years was still closed. Wanting to finish the transaction, I masked up and visited the other place. I traded in a CRV on the Element and wrote a check for the remaining balance. After filling out the paperwork, the gal said the grand total for sales tax and other fees was like $1700. It seemed higher than I expected but wanting to minimize my time in an office space, I wrote a check and away I went. Over the weekend, I reviewed the paperwork and it turns out, I was charged sales tax on the trade-in value, which turned out to be like $800. I masked up and went down the following Monday, April 27 to asked about the transaction and they agreed, I was overcharged about $800. So here it is, with a good start on August and I have still not seen anything from the government, not even so much as an acknowledgement on their behalf. I have stopped by the licensing office and called the number they gave me a couple times to no avail. The worst part is they have sent me three other licensing notifications on other vehicles that are due and I can't help but wonder if the role was reversed, would they be as patient with me as I have been with them?

Anyway, love the vehicle but not real happy with the 3+ months for the refund. I feel fortunate I don't need that refund to buy groceries or pay the electric bill but there might be folks out there in a similar situation who can't wait three months. In a case like this where the problem was clearly upon the government or its licensing agency, I'm thinking there should be a quicker way to resolve the issue.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
@BDD & @Freestone , a friend of mine got one of these for his Element.
He built some custom cabinets and it makes a real nice solo camper rig; a little tight for two. But add a lithium battery/solar panel charge controller/isolater, and this would make a nice solo overlander that gets decent mileage.
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
BDD, it is amazing that truly useful, actual utility vehicles like the Element and Nissan Xterra, have gone out of production. Instead, every manufacturer in the world is making little cookie cutter cute utes that are far more suited to the urban jungle than real world off road. You would think they could at least throw us a bone once in while and make something that wasn't all bells, whistles and electronic nannies.

The Subaru Crosstrek leans in the right direction as well as the Trail Rated Jeep models but you would think with all the interest in off roading and overlanding that some purpose built vehicles would emerge. Hopefully the new Bronco gets into that space but I have little confidence that Ford can produce it without loading it up with a lot of unnecessary shit that is more urban than outdoor. And a nosebleed price!
 

Freestone

WFF Supporter
@BDD & @Freestone , a friend of mine got one of these for his Element.
He built some custom cabinets and it makes a real nice solo camper rig; a little tight for two. But add a lithium battery/solar panel charge controller/isolater, and this would make a nice solo overlander that gets decent mileage.

Brian, I lusted after one for years! I have crawled around in a few of them, including a neighbor’s. Then, when I thought about how many times a night that I would be getting up and down, I realized that they are probably better for men or for women with younger bladders, LOL! That was confirmed last summer when I went to a van expo, mainly to look at the Ursa Minor Ecamper one more time and either pull the trigger or go a different way. I struck up a conversation with a couple about my age who had just sold their second Element with an Ecamper. They were looking at a Sportsmobile instead and when I asked why, she said that they loved the Ecamper but for her, climbing up and down all night long was getting old.

So, I went home and made a simple bed for my Element for when I am solo and bought a tiny old Toyota RV for when I bring Mom. Here’s a pic when I was loading up for a trip to Ive’s house last week. Honda made a multi-purpose tailgate tent enclosure and full 360 degree curtains for the windows. I have both the tent and the curtains and with the tent attached, it is really spacious inside.


764DEB6F-FF38-4D5D-9C8C-E413D05BDE9B.jpeg



88AC4FF6-9842-4B42-A868-CA4A58785777.jpeg
 

Jim Darden

Active Member
I bought mine because I could put 4 guys over 6' tall, in waders, comfortably in the vehicle, the back seat has tons of knee room. most of my friends are getting over 250k miles out of them without problems. Would love to find a newer one to buy (mine's a 2004) but haven't found one yet, you really scored!!
 

BDD

Active Member
Freestone mentioned there were lots of accessories for sleeping and whatnot. I did not get the Element with those things in mind though I did spend the night in the back of mine once just to see how it would work (it was fine). But it's nice to know that if things change for me in that regard, I'll have options.

Another friend (who's also on this forum) has the Nissan Xterra and I've been in it a few times too. It also seemed like it would fit the bill nicely for a fishing rig. Of course an old Bronco would be a classy way to take in the hills after trout as well.
 

Thomas Mitchell

corvus ossifragus
WFF Supporter
I had a 2003 Element that I bought new, drove it for 11 years then gave it to my son who drove it for a few years until he got rear-ended and the insurance company totaled it. Never let any of us down.

The Element is awesome for all the reasons BDD noted as long as you don't need to tow or have a lot of ground clearance. The main downsides for me are: poorly insulated/loud inside, small gas tank, soso gas mileage = not a very long range.

A friend of mine and her husband drove their Ursa Minor equipped Element to Ushuaia (southern most tip of SA) and back over the course of a year. I liked their camper so much I got one for my 2017 Rubicon. I now have a new JLU Rubicon and I'm waiting for my new Ursa Minor camper to be made this fall.

Here's what the Ursa Minor looks like on a Jeep where it replaces the hardtop. In an Element, you access through the sunroof. It's a more involved install.

2018-05-28_02-05-07 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 

kmudgn

Active Member
BDD, it is amazing that truly useful, actual utility vehicles like the Element and Nissan Xterra, have gone out of production. Instead, every manufacturer in the world is making little cookie cutter cute utes that are far more suited to the urban jungle than real world off road. You would think they could at least throw us a bone once in while and make something that wasn't all bells, whistles and electronic nannies.

The Subaru Crosstrek leans in the right direction as well as the Trail Rated Jeep models but you would think with all the interest in off roading and overlanding that some purpose built vehicles would emerge. Hopefully the new Bronco gets into that space but I have little confidence that Ford can produce it without loading it up with a lot of unnecessary shit that is more urban than outdoor. And a nosebleed price!
I had an xterra for about 5 years. It was a good vehicle with only 1 repair beyond maintenance. Unfortunately, I never got better than 15 MPG. I sold it and got a 6 cyl. Tacoma in which I get better MPG
 

BDD

Active Member
I agree with Thomas that the Element doesn't have the ground clearance of a truck, is relatively noisy inside, and doesn't have a long range (small gas tank). If I need more clearance or longer range, I can use a 25 year old 1 ton flatbed Ford 4x4 crew cab twin tank turbo diesel. I'll guarantee one thing, the Element is quieter than the Ford however.
 
I had an xterra for about 5 years. It was a good vehicle with only 1 repair beyond maintenance. Unfortunately, I never got better than 15 MPG. I sold it and got a 6 cyl. Tacoma in which I get better MPG
My 2018 Tacoma gets 23.6MPG routinely, travel Portland to Maupin OR driving 75mph much of the way.
 

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