Category Archives: Wally

The Rig Apple

This alarmingly intimate sales letter arrived the other day from Wally, of Wally’s Intimida,   home of the Sherpa – the world’s biggest SUV.

My Dear Dream Customer,

I’m grateful for your business even though you’ve never bought anything from me!


Because I had a dream that you did!  And I believe in dreams because all salesmen are crazy optimists.  And that same crazy optimism  has me feeling very “up” about the car biz right now!

It’s no secret that all the world’s giant tech and communications companies are looking for the Next  Big Thing  – that “must have it” device or app or piece of software.

Well, it’s starting to look like the Next Big Thing is a Big Old Thing – the automobile!  Because one of Apple’s bigwigs said the other day that his company views the car as an ‘ultimate mobile device’.  

Small thinkers took that to mean Apple is going to develop a bunch of gizmos to go in the dashboard, but I immediately saw it as something bigger.

Yes!  iHere iComes the iRide!

In my dream, we were standing together in a vast parking lot.  I wore an iWatch, but the iRide wore you!

When you strapped yourself into it, the iRide had already guessed where you were going because it checked the time of day against its extensive records of everywhere you’d ever gone before.

You were headed to work, but when you got to work, you didn’t have to get out to work because the iRide  already had all the trappings of your office built into it!

And yes, it was a massive vehicle.  A Very Familiar and Famously Massive Vehicle.

I’m not saying I know for sure that the Apple designers are building their automotive masterpiece on the Intimida Sherpa platform, but I will say this – if I knew they were doing it, I wouldn’t be able to say!

Unless it was just a dream.  Draw your own conclusions.

One thing is surely for sure – if Apple built a car,  you would not be able to afford it.  Which is why there’s no better time to buy a new Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida.  Because a primal version of The Next Big Thing might only be within reach as The Right Now Big Thing!

Yes, you could own one tomorrow.  Think about it, but not too much.  Dreams come true for those who act!

The Sherpa – it’s a mighty big, mighty sleek, sophisticated, smart, intuitive, trendy, iconic, game-changing car!

Thanks for being in my dream!


I do think Wally’s desperation shows through here.  All the retail excitement these days is around electronic contraptions, and those enormous SUV’s like the Sherpa are no longer riding a sales bump from cheaper gas.  Long gone are the days when customers looked to the introduction of a new automotive model year with the same level of anticipation the bring to the unveiling of the latest iPhone.  

But it’s nice to have a dream. 

 When have you rushed to buy a newly introduced product?

The Audacity of Heft

Today’s post comes from Wally of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa SUV. It’s a mighty big car!

Greetings, Road Hogs!

After reading yesterday’s comments on driving, I know most of you are not actually “road hogs”, but you each could  become one if only you had the right set of wheels.

Wally here to remind you that the Sherpa from Intimida is still the world’s widest, tallest, longest and heaviest passenger car .

And that’s saying something at a time when car designers are obsessed with “lightweighting” their products.  They take steel out of a vehicle’s frame and replace it with aluminum, carbon fiber, and carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRC’s).

By doing this, it’s possible to improve gas mileage, drive-ability and customer acceptance.

But so what?  Some things are so basic to your identity that they should never be changed, and for the Sherpa one of those key things is heft!

No, we’re not embarrassed by weight.

That’s why Intimida engineers always opt for the heaviest, densest materials available. The frame is made out of steel-reinforced steel and skyscraper-construction-grade I-beams. Our paint is made from a paste created when crushed bedrock is combined with super-strong limpet teeth by melting both ingredients in blast furnaces as hot as the sun.

The reason is simple – a car as big as a mountain doesn’t need to get good gas mileage.   Because it’s such a massive object, the Sherpa  has stronger gravity than everything around it, so people and things just naturally come to it.

But when you do start it up and decide to go somewhere, the world will take notice!  That’s because a Sherpa is designed to be impressive, meaning it leaves a permanent scar on the landscape.

That’s why so many crumbling highways are closed shortly after an Intimida Sherpa passes through.

Yes, you did that.  But you pay taxes, so get your money’s worth!

So if a lightweight car is what you want, there are plenty of options out there.  But if you want to turn heads, collapse bridges and cause earthquakes wherever you go, there’s only one choice for you – the Sherpa from Intimida.

It’s a mighty big, profoundly heavy car!

Come see me today – my office is right in the middle of a Mountain Range of Cars!


About what are you unapologetic?  



Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

First Friday at the Fair

Today is the first Friday of the Minnesota State Fair.

For Eighteen straight years while I was working with Tom Keith at Minnesota Public Radio I didn’t have to think about what would happen on this day – it was our routine to do a live broadcast from the grounds. We had wonderful fun each time we went out, thanks in large part to our amazing producers (Nora McGillivray, Silvester Vicic, Mike Pengra) and a loyal audience that, in many cases (I’m looking at you, T.G.I.T.H.) managed to crash the gates before the fair opened at 6am.

The fairgrounds are lovely just before dawn and Pronto Pups smell surprisingly good in the morning air. Our technical crew (Mike Osborne, Rick Hebzynski, Scott Yankus and many others over the years) arrived literally in the middle of the night to have everything ready for us at 6 am.

In the later years, Eric Ringham would appear just before air time with his backpack and his DCOTY (Discardable Clothing of the Year), completely prepared to go hide on the fairgrounds for the “Where’s Eric” game.

Yes, we knew there would be at least one costume change.

Through the years, all of Eric’s pursuers made it fun but Leslie Ball and Ochen Kaylan stood out for their familiarity with the terrain and their eerie ability to unlock the clues. In the final year we took to hiding decoys just to slow them down a bit.

I shed tear for this tradition every time first Friday comes along, and I know many Babooners feel the same way.

You can still hear our final broadcast from the fair online. I’m proud of it – we had Ann Reed, Dan Wilson and ‘Pert Near Sandstone on stage and many of the standard Morning Show characters making what we knew would be their last fairgrounds appearance.

What will you do at the Minnesota State Fair this year?

Slush Rush


Because the Trail Baboon blog is not, on its own, a financially sustainable venture, it is sometimes necessary to kick ethical behavior to the curb and yield the space to some unscrupulous lowlife with cash to burn.

Having a bit of space on the world-wide internet, even an obscure location like this one, fills some minds with visions of a vast, global audience that exists only theoretically.

I’m not about to discourage that line of thinking when there’s money on the line. Reaching the right audience in today’s complicated media marketplace is a dicey proposition, and with so many choices it’s inevitable that some messages will miss the mark completely.

And sometimes that’s the very best outcome for everyone concerned.

I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here today. But it’s also true that I can’t fully endorse the following message.

Hello SUV shoppers!

Car buyers don’t really need a reasonable reason to purchase a new sport utility vehicle. When it’s time, it’s just TIME! And that’s the only explanation you’ll need to justify today’s purchase of a new slush-beating Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida!

I’m especially talking to all you Tibetan Soccer Moms out there!

And don’t tell me you don’t exist! I did a Google search and found out you have your own line of “parking only” shirts and hoodies! If it’s happening on the internet, it must be real, right?

So pardon me ladies, if I don’t know much about Tibet, but I just read that the glaciers there are warmer right now than they’ve been at any time in the last 2,000 years! And you know what happens when a glacier starts to melt – slush!

I’m certain any Tibetan woman can handle ice and snow, but shlepping those soccer squirts through the slushy discharge from a softening glacier can sure slow down a speedy squad! That’s why it’s important that you have a chance to make the trip from Lhasa to Apso in a Sherpa from Intimida.

I’m not talking about a real Sherpa, which is something I know you have in Tibet.

I mean the car that’s as tough and versatile as a real Sherpa. Plus, it’s the biggest car on the planet – plenty big enough to make an impression at the foot of the world’s biggest mountain – Everest!

Some killjoys out there will claim greenhouse gasses from cars like the Sherpa are the very reason your glaciers are melting in the first place.

Maybe so!

But why should you be denied the privilege of plowing through a sliding section of glacial shrinkage just so the soccer moms of Shakopee can continue sit on the sidelines and watch their offspring play from the comfort and solitude of their air conditioned crow’s nests – relaxing at altitude behind the wheel of an idling suburban Sherpa?

Let the rest of the world rough it for a while. No one deserves a Sherpa more than a real Sherpa. You’ve earned a break!

Come on, Tibetan soccer moms (and dads)! Make the Intimida Sherpa your last line of defense against the increasingly hot glaciers that we’ve forced you to face! Find us online at Wally’s Intimida – we can handle the purchase digitally and we’ll swiftly ship a Sherpa to your location, just in time for the squishy season!

Your hopeful pal,

I don’t think any actual Tibetan Soccer Moms read Trail Baboon, nor are they inclined to buy a mammoth SUV. But you have to be impressed with Wally’s optimism. Or his audacity!

How are you at making the hard sell?

Millionaire Surplus Chases Story Shortage

Today’s post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa S.U.V. – the world’s most massive car.

Hello buyers!

Today is a great day to add a Sherpa to your collection of things that took a bundle of money to own.  I say that knowing  we have just been through a few years  when spending was something that even people with too much cash simply did not do.

But there was great news coming out of California last week – someone spent 27.5 million dollars on a car! And I don’t mean a car company – I mean one single, individual car.

You have no idea how this cheered up people in my business who have spent countless hours haggling with stubborn cheapskates who balk at forking over an extra $300 for the paint treatment. Finally, a great feel-good story about gaudy excess. It’s about time!

The car in question, a Ferrari NART Spyder, is special, there’s no doubt. In fact, the auction house produced this beautiful, lump-in-the-throat video about it.

What a great story – a fondly remembered father’s well-loved prize benefiting charity and helping to soothe the pain of loss. This tugs on the heartstrings of exactly the type of millionaire who buys a collectible automobile. I wish I had something as sentimental to give the Sherpa buying public, but our commercials only show the Sherpa plowing through muddy fields and crushing things. Of course it can look as fetching in the misty early-morning light as a pricey, rare Ferrari, but being a plus-plus-plus-size automobile, the Sherpa has to conform to the limited expectations of a public that is not ready to accept that a package brimming with raw power can also be alluring  in a skimpy, sexy negligee.

But another thing that does wonders to sell a 27.5 million dollar car is the paralyzing fear that some other rich cat will swoop in and buy it before you can. And there was one quote in the story that spoke to this – from McKeel Hagerty, CEO of a company that insures collectible cars.

“The supply of millionaires is exceeding the number of available great cars. An awful lot of collectors are now clamoring for event-eligible models, and they’ve become a permissible splurge. The values are climbing.”

This is music to my ears – the very idea of too many millionaires chasing too few desirable cars spells opportunity for Intimida and the Sherpa, especially when there are signs that car lust in general is on the decline. All a great car really needs to break into the uber-million dollar category at auction is a great story, and while I’m sure potential buyers would like those stories to be true, it can account for a lot if they are, at the very least, good.

Some of the story lines I’m thinking about attaching to specific cars for future sales –

  • The Sherpa that drove Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the top of Everest
  • The Sherpa the Von Trapp family took over the Matterhorn in The Sound of Music
  • The Sherpa that made the wheel-well slush chunk that grew into the Titanic iceberg
  • The Sherpa where Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address

There’s more to come as the automotive business transitions from being about transportation to being about nostalgia. But there’s still time left to buy a Sherpa of your own, so you can start making memories that will mean millions to your descendants, down the road. 

No pressure, honest.  Just think about it!

Your faithful car peddler,

What value-boosting story could you tell about your car?

Most Likely To Exceed

Today’s post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa – the SUV that’s so large, it has its own gravity.

The Car Is A Butte
The Car Is A Butte

This is a great day to buy a Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida! Did I say great? I meant PERFECT!

But then I say that about every day. Too bad some people just don’t get it. Most people, actually. But the day will come when you will feel sorry that you didn’t buy a Sherpa when it was possible.

This car is mammoth. It can be seen from space. Not only does the Sherpa have its own gravity – it leaves a giant footprint. Park the Sherpa outside your house and it will begin to re-shape the landscape by changing wind and weather patterns. Set the parking brake and leave it for a million years, and you’ll have a butte in your back yard – guaranteed.

But one thing the Sherpa can’t do is make the list of the Most Frequently Stolen Cars in America. That top honor goes to the Ford F-250 four-wheel-drive crew cab. The Chevrolet Silverado came in second. The top ten targets of theft were all large or Very large pickup trucks or SUVs.

So why didn’t the Sherpa make the list?


Thieves don’t know they can steal it because it registers as part of the landscape. It exceeds their expectations of what a car can be, and they simply cannot imagine themselves behind the wheel of something so gigantic. They can’t understand that it even has a wheel – the car looks like foothills to the uneducated observer.

And this mind-numbing-through-size happens to miscreants who regularly steal Ford F-250s. That’s got to tell you something!

Today is the day to get your own Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida. Bring it home and leave it unlocked. The car simply is too awesome for the criminal mind to comprehend.

I’ll see You In The Showroom,

I suppose on one level, having your product become the car-most-stolen IS a sign of success, since covetousness is what automobile marketing is all about.

What item would you steal if that was the only way to get it?