07-06-2016, 05:05 PM
Join Date: May 2016
A tale of 3 Jeeps from NC or Back in the saddle again
You may want to grab a cup of coffee before settling down to read this tale of love lost and love found.
My Jeep journey started back in 1972 when I took a job at an AMC/Jeep dealership selling Jeeps, along with Gremlins, Hornets and other “Ramblers”. We had an established Jeep demo route that we would use for test drives that included a short woods trail, a steep hill climb and ended with a jump. Nothing too radical because we were, after all demoing new Jeeps. Needless to say, I was hooked.
Later that summer I married Liz, the love of my life, and we honeymooned on the Outer Banks. I soon discovered that you could rent a Jeep and ride on the beach which we did. We returned the next summer with a brand new tent and my Toyota Corolla 1200. No money available to rent a Jeep this time but boy did I miss it. Especially since our camping neighbors came and went in a topless Land Rover with big balloon tires.
I had by that time moved from the sales department to the parts department and had developed a reputation as a Jeep specialist. So we did what any young couple that had been bitten by the Jeep bug would do. We bought a brand new 1974 CJ5. Blue with a white top. Since I was commuting from Greensboro to Winston we traded Liz’s car and the Blue Ox became her daily driver. Nothing in the world is sexier than a good looking woman driving a Jeep. IMHO.
One of the first adventures in the new Jeep was, you guessed it, OBX. We became charter members of the Triad 4WD club and the Jeepin began in earnest. Liz and I put over 100k on the Blue Ox and took her on many, many adventures. Then came kids.
With 2 foster kids and a new baby, a CJ5 was somewhat impractical for Liz as a DD. So we bought a 4x4 Subaru. I was still racing a tricked out Cherokee and driving a J10 Golden Eagle but the trail riding and Jeep adventures came to a halt. Soon the money got tight as it does when you have kids and the race Jeep was sold for parts and the J10 became a car.
Fast forward to last summer. With the kids grown and gone, 6 total, we decided it was time to return to the outer banks and rent a Jeep. We rented a Wrangler TJ from @Island Cruisers and loved it. It was a little tight on me but we really enjoyed driving on the sand again. That started a 4x4 desire in me again and I started looking. I initially ruled out Wranglers because OMG the 4drs were expensive and the 2drs just didn’t have enough room to pull the pop-up and carry all the camping stuff.
I ruled out a YJ or a TJ because they were a tight fit for big ol me and again did not have enough room for a long trip. So I decided on a F150 FX4. I found one I thought I could afford with low enough miles so we went to drive it. It was an hour away. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Fords and have owned several but right out of the dealership, I just couldn’t see myself making that climb everyday and enjoying it.
Happened that the F150 was at a Jeep dealership so I took another look at Wranglers. Maybe a JKU wouldn’t be too hard to climb in and out but oh the high price! Read that as payments. And the 2-3 year old Wranglers were bringing as much as a new one. So Liz suggested I look into a lease. That way I’m not going into a 7 year debt. So I did.
On Memorial Day weekend I took delivery of the Big Blue Ox. A 2016 JKU Sport with a soft top. Our 1st off road adventure was a trip to Fort Fisher State Park and a ride on the beach this past weekend. I’m lovin it and looking forward to many new adventures. This summer’s OBX trip is scheduled for August.
Thanks for reading.