a weblog by Schuyler D. Erle

Thu, 17 Jul 2003

[16:11] Farewell, O Jeep

So they came and hauled away my beloved 1990 Jeep Cherokee this morning, my first real car, bought from San Matejo just after Folk Fest '99, with a mere 117,400 miles under her belt. When she was towed away, she had gone over 207,000 in total, a distance the Goddess in her infinite wisdom never intended a Jeep Cherokee to surpass, 90,000 miles of it in my possession, and that in about three and a half years. Probably half of those were in the first year and a half, too.

The day after Christmas 1999, she was christened "Faith", since it was our expectation that faith alone would get us from Philadelphia to San Francisco in under a week, but that same night she earned the nickname "Jepé", and it was this that stuck, for the most part. But faithful she was indeed: In the three plus years I owned her, we criss-crossed the Northeast, up the lengths of I-95, 93, 89, 87, 85, and 81, to Boston and Concord and Montpelier, taking to the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn like a cabbie in a Crown Vic with a new V8; then down I-95 the whole way to Miami, and thence to Key West; across I-80 and I-40 and I-10 and I-8, clear across the North American continent three times; up and down I-5 and US 101 and California's magnificent Route 1, countless times from Portland, Oregon to down to San Diego; off-road many times, once through California's infamous asbestos hazard area in the Diablo Range; to Death Valley once, and Burning Man twice; and clear to Mexico, also twice. I practically lived in the thing for almost two years.

Time didn't treat her awful well in my care, either; a series of fender-benders, sideswipes, and being outright flipped over once (depicted above, in a photo entitled "Seat Belts Save Lives") pretty much did her in. With her body rusting, roof crushed in, and front fender completely gone, I decided to reward the faithful Jepé Faith with the only appropriate retirement I could think of: Donation to a worthy charity, specifically In Defense of Animals. (To be fair, I thought about donating her to North Coast Earth First! to be used as a logging road blockade, but I was a little dicey on the legality of being connected by VINs and the like with such an action...)

I've meanwhile obtained a diesel 1983 Mercedes 240D, for the purpose of running it on biofuels, of which I'll write more later. You can browse a recent photo gallery of the two vehicles. Anyhow, since many of my friends, both new and old, have ridden in or driven my old Jeep at one time or another, in some cases for vast and epic distances, I thought I'd share the news. My only regret is having forgotten to make off with the Maserati shifter knob that she, for whatever reason, came into my posession with. May the Goddess commend whatever spirit a car has, and may she rust in peace.

My mother, who still recalls her original red 1969 Ford Mustang with fondness after all these years, says that your first car is always your favorite. I'm inclined to agree. I'll probably never really be able to replace my old Jeep Cherokee. But if anyone happens to know of a reasonably priced black diesel sport utility vehicle with four-wheel drive and decent fuel efficiency, do let me know...

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