Sitting at dinner last night, one of the waitresses in a local restaurant we love, asked about stuff to do in her Jeep. My first reaction was “Everything!” There are probably a hundred “bucket list” out there for Jeepers in magazines, blogs, and forums. I look at a lot of these and they seem to alienate some Jeep owners and make the list for “elitist” in some aspects. Other list were pretty profane and not family centric.
We’ve made interesting memories in ours including pulling our 87 XJ up-alongside classic cars in a parking lot and letting kiddos crawl all over it to driving our 94 YJ to some of the most remote areas of the Owyhee Desert. We thought we would add our own thoughts on a “must-do” list with your rig that is more of a “fun list” of things to do as well as add to life experiences with it. So after an evening of brainstorming, fleshing out ideas, and going through several bowls of chips, we narrowed it down to a semi-practical list with just enough challenges to provide you with great stories with your rig. Take lots of pictures along the way.
Put a hundred random Jeeps in a parking lot and you won’t find any two alike. With so many options out there for aftermarket products, you make it your own when you begin to add your own thought and creativity to it. Bumpers, lift kits, and lights are just the beginning. Doesn’t matter if it’s an old CJ, a Liberty, or even one of the newer Wranglers, any Jeep with aftermarket goods looks and performs better.
Camp With It
Jeeps are made for the back country. There are few things better than a slumber party with your Jeep. It’s great to look back at family photos years later (be sure to print and place in an album for later years) and see “the old Jeep” in the background of camp fires and tents. Bonus points for week-long vagabond trips in the woods.
Drive Across Your State on Dirt
We have a dirt road addiction. Forest roads, desert roads, dirt, gravel, “improved surfaces…its all part of the fetish. Here in the west this is much easier than those who are out east. If not on dirt, do it on two-lane byways and farm to market roads. You will see more of your home state than you thought existed. Last year we did Idaho from Jackson, Wyoming to Jordan Valley Oregon on the paths less traveled. For 5 days we saw every aspect our wonderful state has to offer. I have attempted this type of “pilgrimage” in every state I have lived in for the past 25 years. If you live in Texas you get bonus points and probably have to use more farm-to-market roads. If you are in those tiny states out east, come on…. Put a couple of them together for it to count.
Drive to the woods, park with the rear tire about 12’ or so from a tree, and hang a hammock up for the afternoon. When traveling on back roads, I use this as a rest stop for quick power naps.
Coffee with Your Dog
Dogs love Jeeps. Make a routine of taking your pup for a Saturday morning Java run. Hit a drive through that offers treats for your pup and then head to a dog park or some place you can overlook all the land God touches while you and your dog get some bonding time over a hot cup of coffee. Sunrises are perfect with a dog and a Jeep.
Sections of Route 66
I thought long and hard about this one. It’s not off-road. We are not even requiring you do the full length. But there is something magical about doing Route 66 that requires it to go on our list. Maybe it has to do with that nostalgic area of the automobile- and especially more rugged rigs that appeals to us. Let your conscience decide if you get to check this one-off.
Attend Overland Expo, Easter Jeep Safari, Jeep Jamboree, or other Life Style Event
Think of these things as “church camp” for the believers. Going to an event allows you to connect to others of the faith. At major gatherings like Overland Expo, you have opportunities to attend classes and workshops, drive your vehicle under the guidance of an instructor on a terrain course, as well as find new accessories for your rig. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to others who have made modifications and show off your own rig as well. Bonus points if your rig gets photographed and posted in a newsletter, blog, or even Twitter/Facebook post.
Take it on a Date
Chicks dig Jeeps while guys dig chicks that have Jeeps. While not a Jeep, my Suzuki Samurai was a chick magnet for a few solid relationships. Jeepers have an advantage though…much like Harley Davidson guys do over Honda guys. There is something in the brand that has no substitute. Bonus points if you attend submarine races. Super-Duper bonus points if it’s an older rig you built or modified. The Liberty, Commander, and the new Grand Cherokee have a way of attracting a higher income species, so take full advantage of that as well. We find drive-ins to be the ultimate cool for a Jeeper. Bonus points here if you score a sugar mama/daddy in the deal.
My 94 YJ gets tons of compliments on the color. Jaws drop when they find out its Krylon. It’s not so much what you paint it with, it’s the prep work and how well you do the job. Some Jeeps are made for painting, while others would not fair well. The more self-modified the rig it is, then the more “rattle-can ready” it becomes. Bonus points if fix back-country pin striping on the spot with a can you carry.
Go to Moab
There are several destination spots you need to go to. Big Bend National Park is one, and others will scoff that we have not included the Rubicon Trail. While those are feature destinations, the true Mecca for Jeepers is Moab. Even if you don’t want to take your rig down a gnarly trail for fear of damage that can leave you waiting for parts in Utah, at least take your rig there and then rent a rig to do some of the more difficult trails.
Build Something for It
Even if it’s something small, make something for your Jeep. A dog hammock, a bumper, a mount for your CB all adds the pride of “I built this” to your rig. My first few wins were grab handles and door handles for the YJ as well as wood block stands for my hi-lift. Take a basic welding class or learn to sew upholstery so you can do your own modifications. Soon you will be adding your own gas can racks and pull out kitchens. Bonus points for a full rebuild of a rig or better, build a Jeep trailer to pull all your gear behind it.
Go Top Less
Keep your shirt on- here we are talking topless and for that matter door-less. Jeeps are made to be wide open. Cherokee and Liberty owners check out the options for tube doors available for your rigs. Commander and Grand Cherokee folks—we are happy when you roll down the windows.
This is a Jeepers version of a picnic basket. Built from wood, it has everything you need to prep a meal in locations as wild as the Rubicon Trail or as tame as a local park. There are tons of instructions out there and lots of help videos. Make sure you finish it off with either a great clear gloss to bring out the wood finish or plaster all those Warn and Teraflex stickers you’ve been saving up. Bonus points for pulling it out at a tailgate party.
Flaunt Your Faith
It’s a Jeep thing…so much we have shirts and stickers that say so. Short of getting a tat on your arm of your best rig or “1941” as a tramp stamp, there are various ways to share your passion for your Jeep religion like an 8th grader who went to their first Stryper concert back in the day. I have t-shirts for everyday of the week, bottle openers, Matchbox cars, models, hats, and even a clock that displays my love of Jeep. On really long epic adventures, we even select an icon or “mojo” to travel with us to bring about “luck”. After the trip it get s a place on the mantle for “delivering us” back home safely.
Get it Stuck
Help a Stranger
Do an EPIC TRIP
There is no greater tail than taking your Jeep on a trip that in the end, you can’t believe you took your Jeep on in the first place. We thought our 700 plus miles across Idaho was pretty cool, then we took the same 94 YJ to Arizona for Overland Expo pulling a trailer and fully loaded. After 2500 Miles, with 2000 of it dirt and bck country byways, the slip-yoke died on it in the parking lot of an auto parts store. Still, great memories were made in our multi-week jaunt through the desert.
Probably other things we can add—but this should get you started on having a great life and many adventures to share about your rig.