Last: My Jeep Adventures
This whole jeep thing started in the spring of 1993. I was living with Al, Steve, and Erik at the time in Northgate. The summer before we had gone camping a lot in Al's Chevy stepsider and at the time my vehicle's consisted of my Toyota Corolla GTS and Suzuki Katana. What I really wanted was something with four wheel drive. I figured I could do without the Corolla and just ride the bike around town, to school and to work. It was fast, fun, cheap to insure, and easy to park.
Al sold his Chevy that winter and bought a '74 Landcruiser. I thought I could sell my car and get a cheap 4WD like Al to use to go camping and exploring in the summer. I saw an article in a 4WD magazine that talked about converting Post Office mail jeeps to 4WD. You could get one for about $600 and they were in very good condition for the price so I made up my mind to sell my Toyota and buy a mail jeep. After a little hassle I sold the car to some guy and his girlfriend then went looking around at mail jeeps. It turned out the only place in the area to sell them was the downtown postal service so I went down there to check them out. There were lots to choose from including some straight 6 models. All I had to do was show up one day for an auction which started at 8 am.
The day of the auction came and I decided there were a lot of jeeps so I didn't need to get down to the PO real early and showed around 8:30. Well, they were all gone. I was so pissed and wanted a jeep so bad that I came home, got out the paper, and looked in the jeep section. Listed there in the classifieds was a '52 Willys jeep for $1300. I thought, cool, that's not much more than the mail jeep was and it probably already had 4WD so I called up the guy who lived down in Kent and arranged to go down and check it out.
John, the guy I eventually bought my jeep from, was a diehard jeep fan. His parents belonged to one of the first jeep clubs in the area and claimed to be the first to run oversized tires on their jeeps. Anyway, he was divorced, had a couple of kids and couldn't afford the jeep. It was sitting in a low garage with some small bald tires on it so it could fit in the door. It was a couple shades of primer gray with orange roll bars. This was his second jeep. The first one, which he showed me pictures of, he sold because he had to choose between "the jeep and his marriage" and he said he chose the wrong one. I told him I would think about it and drove home.
I went out again later to look at it with Mark, Steve's cousin who was living with us. It was out of the garage now, sitting on the law and John was trying to get it started. The battery was pretty much gone but we managed to get it started. The gas peddle was really jury rigged and the clutch was real stiff but we drove it around a bit before it died and had to be jumped again.
When we got back to Mark's car we found he had locked his keys in the car. We ended up driving around with John's dad looking for a slim jim and got talked to death. This guy had a story for everything and just wouldn't shut up. Anyway, we finally got home late that night. I don't know when I finally decided to buy the jeep but we agreed on $1300 which included some 31x11.5 tires on 8.5" chrome wheels and some other miscellaneous parts. I drove down there on a Saturday on my motorcycle and called AAA to tow the jeep home.
Next: The First Day