Back in the day, even further back then my day, there was a song entitled, "Jeepers, Creepers". It was a catchy little tune and one that I have caught myself singing in my mind a thousand times. Why? Because I used to be a Jeeper! Yes, you read that correctly, I used to identify with a Jeep. I was definitely a Jeeper!
When I met my husband he had two vehicles. Well, I guess you could say two vehicles. He owned a four door sedan of some sort and a grey, 1960 something, rag top Jeep! Now, being as I met Jim in 1983, the Jeep was at least 20 years old, but it was beautiful! Never mind the fact that when it rained and went through standing water it tended to stop dead in its tracks. I still loved it. In fact, that was one of the reasons I think I fell in love with Jim!
Jim was a Jeeper from way back. He had been president of one of the local Jeep clubs for a while and had gone on many an off road trip by the time I met him. He worked on Jeeps, he talked about Jeeps, he drove Jeeps, yep Jim loved Jeeps. So, it is a good thing I feel in love with old grey when I first saw her. Needless to say, the first vehicle I bought after we got married was a Jeep, a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
At this point you are probably thinking, well big deal she bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And you are right it was not a rag top, nor was it not air conditioned, nor did it stop when it got wet! It was a really nice car inside and out. However, that did not stop us from going Jeeping in it on weekends and me driving it to work on Monday morning. Also, it was the first Jeep that Jim had driven that had the capacity of changing to 4 wheel drive inside the vehicle instead of having to get outside and turning the hubs on the wheels. So, he thought he had died and gone to heaven.
This first Jeep also presented me with a new challenge. I was about 35 years old and had never driven a stick shift! And, yes, the new Jeep Cherokee had just that! But, with the help of Jim's sister, I was out and driving the thing on the streets of Knoxville and Oak Ridge in no time. I also fell in love with straight shifts and drove nothing else until I got too old, or so I thought, to hold the clutch down in traffic.
So, we had old grey when we first got married. Then we went into a Jeep Grand Cherokee. We had great times in the Grand Cherokee. We went on 4 wheel drive trails you would not have believed. We forged trails in the thing. But still, there was something missing and we finally figured it out. Old grey was still in our blood and we had to get a "real" Jeep. The next Jeep we owned, and the likes of which we continued to own, was a red rag top. It wasn't old grey, she had long died. But it was a rag top and that was what was important, at least to us it was. Hello weekends, here we came!
Eventually Jim took the big step and ordered a custom made red Jeep Rubicon. It was still a rag top, but it had all the bells and whistles on it. Plus, it had a sticker on the inside that said, "Made especially for Jim Wester." Now, he really thought he had died and gone to heaven. It was absolutely beautiful.
We now had the vehicle of our dreams, so we had to take it on the trip of our dreams. And we did. We left Knoxville early one August morning and headed out west, on back roads not the interstate! We took state roads up north and out west through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and just a small speck of California. We started back east through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and then on home. We were gone close to three weeks and traveled more than 2,000 miles. We did get on the interstate at some point coming back home, but the majority of those miles were either on state roads or off road. We had a great time and great memories.
But, life happened and the good times came to an end. I eventually went back to buying just cars, Jim and I divorced, he got sick with pancreatic cancer and passed away, and now it is just me and my baby dogs. Well, I was doing good until I got to this point. What else can I say? Life did truly happen!
In any event, I am so thankful for those memories. The jeeps, the trip, the 4 wheel drive outings, and me and Jim in love. Those were great days and I will always have those memories. Life is good today, just different.
Oh, the song, I found the song, Jeepers, Creepers on youtube! Thought you might like to hear it. Like I said, catchy little tune!
Until the next time...happy trails to you!