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Life Inside the Shoe: Tales from the L.L.Bean Bootmobile


Our trusty Bootmobile driver Eddie Flaherty has been up to some pretty interesting “shoenanigans” since the last time we spoke to him. Now he’s back for a guest blog to tell us exactly how a size 747 L.L.Bean Boot fares in its natural habitat.

Does That Thing Have a Hemi?

When we’re on the road, we get asked quite a few questions fairly consistently. They usually start off silly, such as “Is this the right or left boot?” or “Where’s the old lady?” But the most common question is “How does that thing drive?” We would like to say it handles pretty similar to a car Mario Andretti might drive, however, there are certain factors that make driving the Bootmobile a bit more challenging. Just like our products, our Bootmobile braves many conditions: wind, rain and people.

The Bootmobile in Philadelphia

The Bootmobile at the Outdoor Discovery Tour in Philadelphia, PA.

The Wind: While car ads confidently show off the aerodynamic ability of their vehicles, most drivers won’t notice the developing wind unless it really starts to howl. But our 13-foot-tall boot-on-wheels can create a pretty memorable experience with just a light breeze. As we like to say, “The Bootmobile can weeble, wobble, but it won’t fall down.” It takes a few weeks to adjust to the wind, but once you get used to it, we like to think of it as smooth sailing.

 

The Rain/Sleet/Snow: What’s waterproof, guaranteed to last and loves to splash through puddles? That’s right – the Bootmobile. Just like our outerwear, the Bootmobile can withstand all the elements that Mother Nature can throw at us. It’s got four-wheel drive when we need it, phenomenal windshield wipers and enough weight to make it through any kind of standing water.

Keeping up the smiles from the road.

Keeping up the smiles from the road.

The Highway: You may ask yourself, “Why is the highway so difficult for the Bootmobile to drive on? It has everything that the Bootmobile needs. Wide turning, no overhanging branches, plenty of space, what more could we ask for?” While the actual driving may be pretty smooth, those who drive around us make it interesting getting from place to place. What happens in the Boot stays in the Boot – but I can say that there have been some interesting happenings along the highway. As we were driving one day, we counted 57 photos being taken over an hour as we went through the Boston area. While most people do this in a safe manner, the trials and tribulations of taking a picture while traveling 65 mph can make our driving a little chaotic.

 

Pedestrians: You may be thinking that this is a hazard common to almost anyone driving. With today’s technology, people continue to walk while texting and pay no attention to vehicles around them slamming on their brakes. While we certainly have to deal with being careful as people cross the street, the Bootmobile often has issues that make it truly unique. Unlike any other vehicle, the Bootmobile has constant requests to stop in the road for photo opportunities. Typically, this can’t be done or we would completely stop traffic, however, people are clever and do find ways to make us stop for a photo. One of these is to cross the street in front of us at a stop sign and snap a candid shot.

 

As you can see, the Bootmobile offers quite a different driving experience from most. While it might seem like a daunting task to deal with these extra variables, there’s nothing like driving a vehicle that puts a smile on someone’s face. And after driving the Bootmobile over several days, it feels very odd to drive a regular car and not have anyone paying attention to you.

 

Want to hear more about Eddie’s adventures on the road? Follow @Bootmobile on Twitter or llbean.com for updates.




  1. rickyj | November 3, 2013 | 5:40 pm

    Just saw the boot on 495 Southbound in its new new paint scheme! Very nice…GO SOX!


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