I wanted a jeep for as long as I can remember. I think my infatuation started to blossom one summer nearly 50 years ago when we were visiting our relatives in far Northern Minnesota. One of my older cousins had acquired an old Willys jeep. There was certainly nothing fancy about his first vehicle, but that didn’t stop any of us from begging for a ride in the rusty vehicle out to the lake or even to Earl’s Drive-In on the outskirts of town for a soft-serve ice cream cone. The seats were well worn and the ride bumpy, but that was part of the appeal. It represented freedom, the ability to have a little adventure. A very different ride than what we were used to in our family station wagon or our Uncles’ sedans. By the time we left a couple of weeks later to return to our home in Southern California, a seed was planted that would not come to fruition until many years later.
When I got my driver’s license at 16, a car of my own was out of the question. My Dad bought a 15 year old Chevy station wagon from our neighbor for my older brother and I to share. While it was a nice gesture, Share was just a nice way of saying I could drive it when my brother didn’t need or want to drive it. Eventually, I got a part time job at Brick Shack, a hamburger joint near my high school and I saved up enough money to put a down payment on a new Pinto Station Wagon. I put over 100,000 miles on that little car and it served me well throughout college and graduate school. The idea of owning my own jeep took a back seat as I worked to establish a career, got married, and had children. But it always had a place in the back of my mind …wouldn’t it be fun? When the kids started school, I had an opportunity to get a promotion at work that would cut my commute from home to less than one mile. I started thinking that if I got the job, it might be a good time to finally get that jeep. My husband and I even talked about it. I got the promotion, but the jeep was again put on the back burner as we looked ahead to college and retirement expenses. Ever practical, at least that’s what we claimed.
With college expenses fully paid, the kids out on their own, and my husband and I finally comfortable that our retirement planning was successful, maybe it was finally time to make my dream of having a jeep a reality. Two years ago, we gave out 15 years old pick-up truck to charity and put in an order for a brand new Wrangler Rubicon.
I always wanted a yellow one, but I had to settle for “ampd”, a sort of cross between yellow, gold and orange, as that was one of the few years that Jeep didn’t offer yellow. No matter, when we picked it up from the dealer two months later we couldn’t eat to take it out for our first Rubi on the Road adventure. We have since wandered the back roads of Maine, taking in the fall colors, exploring Acadia National Park, looking for photo opportunities, and just seeing what is around the next bend. It has been and continues to be a lot of fun. The only thing I would have changed would be to have done it soon. Live your dream.