Governor Culver and his family on farewell tour.

Governor Chet Culver wrapped up his “thank you” tour with a major purchase.

Culver made a farewell swing around the state, with events in eight cities on Wednesday and Thursday. He drove himself to the last event — in a blue pickup.

“I got a Ford F150, used,” Culver said.  “Nice big old truck. Four door.”

Culver bought the truck in Lone Tree and drove the pickup back to Des Moines late this afternoon. A reporter asked Culver if he had driven above 65 miles an hour.

“No sir. Not that I recall. Actually the speed limit was 70 much of the way, so I kept it where it needed to be and I buckled up, too,” Culver said.

The reporter followed up:  “Nervous?  Or just law-abiding?”

Culver responded: “I had a blast. I had the radio cranked up — all by myself.”

After a governor was killed in a car crash decades ago, Iowa law requires the state’s governor to be driven by state troopers. Culver’s last day as governor will be next Friday, so his days of being driven in a state-leased vehicle are dwindling.

“I need a car. I need a truck. I need a vehicle. I don’t have one so I thought that was important to figure that out before the troopers drop me off somewhere,” Culver told reporters, laughing. 

Culver’s last “thank you” tour stop was in a Des Moines restaurant. His wife and children joined him and the kids rode home in the pickup with their dad.

Culver, who lost his bid for reelection in November, is the first Iowa governor in 48 years to leave office involuntarily. Culver said last month he hopes to land a job in the renewable fuels industry.  Tonight, Culver told reporters he’s drafted a resume and the governor joked he should have brought copies to pass around to the crowd that had gathered to wish him well.

“The voters have spoken and I’m going to get out there and find a different way to contribute and I’m looking forward to that,” Culver said.  “It’s pretty exciting to try to figure out what’s around the corner and what’s next and I’m optimistic that I’ll find a good fit.”

During his remarks to the crowd, Culver seemed to call for a temporary cease fire in partisan warfare as he leaves office. “I wish Governor-elect Branstad and his administration all the best,” Culver said. “I really believe that we need to set the politics aside right now. We’ve got to govern, at least until the next election and we’ve got to get the people’s work done.”

Culver was upbeat.  There were no tears. Culver told reporters losing is “just part of the business” of being in politics. “Got to take a few chances in life,” Culver said.  “It’ll all work out.” 

Culver was Iowa’s secretary of state for eight years before winning a term as governor in 2006.

Listen to Culver’s remarks to the crowd, plus his wife’s introduction — as she explained how she broke her finger while walking the family dog.