Saturday, April 04, 2009

My Jeep Wrangler

The year was 2001. I was driving up Branford Hill when I passed a Jeep dealership. In the corner of my eye I saw a bright yellow Jeep Wrangler on the lot. Without as second thought, I pulled into the dealership and knew instantly that I wanted that Jeep.

The thing is, ever since I was like 8 years old I wanted a Jeep. I don't know if it was the fun I thought I could have with a vehicle that could plow through deep mud on woodsy trails or the idea of pulling off it's soft top in the summer and being total open to the air around me while driving to the beach. What ever it was, I knew that this was the Jeep I wanted and I was getting it.

The "Wave"

The first thing I was told when I bough the Jeep was that Jeep owners had a secret wave. It's true! When two Jeeps pass each other, it's proper Jeep form to wave to one another. Not to wave back is a down right insult and in time I actually felt that insult when my wave wasn't returned. The "Jeep wave" happened when I passed my first Jeep and it has happened hundreds of times since.

I quickly learned that owning a Jeep was special. It was almost cult like with other owners. The moment you met someone that said they owned a Jeep you were guaranteed to open a whole conversation about it. I understood the "It's A Jeep Thing" slogan and realized the people who didn't have a Jeep would never get it.

People say that everyone's Jeep has it's own personality. Mine was known for it's bright yellow paint and the Superman "S" spare wheel cover. The Superman "S" was special made for me by my friends and became a part of my Jeep that would stand out among other Jeeps.

Not to sound obsessed but I fell in love with this Jeep. There wasn't a moment that I regretted paying what some might feel was far too much money for a car it's size but I didn't care.
Sure I sometimes wished I had a trunk to store something bigger than a shoebox and yes, the sound of the wind slapping on the soft top made it nearly impossible to have a conversation with a fellow passenger when riding on the highway. But that didn't matter much, because the best times I've had with this sun yellow Jeep was usually me riding alone, with the top off and heading toward some adventure somewhere in the country.

"Adventures and Journeys"

I remember the first long road trip I went on was a sunny day in September when I decided to drive from Connecticut to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit a friend. Even as I drove through the twisting roads of Pennsylvania and the green and brown hills of Virginia, I knew this trip was something I would always remember. The highlight was driving through the Smokey Mountains, taking in their wondrous beauty and charm as I could feel the air cool around me as my Jeep drove high up the mountain's road.

My Jeep and I saw the field where United Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. We drove through many chilly October days doorless and with the top off just to have autumn's colors surround us. We plowed through the worse that winter could throw at us. We watched some of the most incredible sun sets while driving and some of the most promising sunrises. This Jeep was my ride through life's adventures and I loved every single minute of it.

"The Long Road"

It's now eight years, hundreds and hundreds of waves and 130,000 miles later. Even though I've taken incredible care of my automobile love, time is starting to take it's toll. There's not a scratch or dent on it's still shinny yellow exterior but it's transmission is starting to slip. The ride is far more rough than I like it to be and on the way to the airport last week she overheated, causing me to miss my flight.

I stepped back and took an honest look. Gas prices are high and my Jeep's 17 mpg is tough to deal with. She needs a lot of work and money put into her. I knew it was new car time but hated thinking about it.

I ended up buying a small Honda with a 33 mpg gas mileage. I admit I love my little car but I don't deny that I don't miss my yellow adventure rider very, very much.
Let's face it, I'm a total Jeep guy and I'm riding in a Honda. That's tough to swallow.

You may ask why I didn't just get another Jeep. My answer is that I had my time with the perfect Jeep. It was a one and only and I have no desire right now to replace it. I think I need some "car" time right now. Something with low gas mileage and a smooth ride. I'm OK with this decision...for now. Maybe down the road I'll feel different but for now I'm going to hang on to the incredible memories and fun that I had and only hope to ride a new road to new adventures with my little white Honda.
OMG, just saying that makes me miss my Jeep.


Fightdog said...

Well good luck with your new car. I hope you get big superman sticker for the back window or something.

Anonymous said...

There are things you did in the Jeep, that you'll never again do.... A Honda just wouldn't be right.

Besides, a Honda would look freakin' stupid with a Superman "S". Maybe be a Power Puff Girl...


Carson Wininger said...

It's kinda understandable why you don't want a new jeep. Your experience with your wrangler is enough of a warning of that.

Rick's Time On Earth said...

No, my experience with my Jeep was an awesome one. I never enjoyed a vehicle more than the Wrangler. I miss having one.

Diane Wilson said...

I get why it was love at first sight for you with the bright yellow jeep. Isn’t she a looker? But that tough appearance isn’t the only thing that makes the jeep special. Being a jeep owner yourself for a while, I’m sure you know the great convenience it brings on and off the road.

Diane Wilson @ Fletcher Chrysler Products