Here's to the reliable ol' Jeep
As much as I write about the troubles of the Jeep, I don’t give it enough credit when it does get me to where I’m going.
I like to travel and it’s especially enjoyable when the weather is favorable. It’s also better traveling when I can trust the Jeep, and though it has been uncomfortably shaking lately when I get up to 60 miles per hour on County Road 2 en route to Glencoe for work, we’ve managed to get from Silver Lake to Minneapolis Thursday for yet another Trampled by Turtles concert, to Plato for White Squirrel Festival and to the Mall of America in Bloomington where I met my brother to go to a concert in Minneapolis Sunday.
I get around.
I noticed the Jeep shaking last week and having been given several diagnoses from friends and coworkers, I found it could be the rotors, brakes, drive shaft or a missing wheel weight and maybe even mud or dirt packed onto the axle. Any other suggestions to add?
This is almost a “Dear Abby” column in reverse where I’m asking for advice. Oh jeez. Oh Jeep!
I know I need to get my tires rotated and thought that might be an issue, but found it doesn’t always shake, so I contemplated the concrete road terrain contributing to the vibrations.
I also know a mechanic would be the best source of information, but by the time I remember to make an appointment, it’s the weekend and the shops are closed and it’s just me, the ailing Jeep and that old TV in the back seat.
It’s times like these I really miss being close to my dad as he was always the guy to help me out with any issue I had in my collection of vehicles.
He would diagnose the problem and we’d go to Menards or Napa or O’Reilly’s or sometimes the junk yard for parts and head home with a great plan to “fix ‘er right up.”
We’d stay up late in his shop, our heads buried under the hood, replacing spark plugs and checking fluids.
I’d lay next to him on the grimy, dirty cardboard under the autos, and hold the portable shop light and hand him pliers and wrenches and screwdrivers, watching in fascination as he always knew what to fix.
If I were in Wisconsin, I know our weekend plans would be spent in the shop under the Jeep.
But until I make an appointment or break down beforehand, I have to give the Jeep credit for getting me to and from all my destinations safely so far.
I was very thankful we didn’t get stranded in the traffic jam on Highway 62 on my way to my best friend Sarah’s place before going to Trampled by Turtles last Thursday, and I’m so happy we didn’t make a scene in Plato for the White Squirrel Festival on Sunday.
I had only been to Plato a few times, and was excited to photograph the event and meet friendly faces in the town who were quick to introduce themselves and ask me about my job with The Chronicle and time in Silver Lake.
One said he heard there was a rumor that Bohemians and Poles populate Silver Lake and I said, “You’re sitting right next to one!”
I loved meeting and getting to know the community of Plato, and not to mention, enjoying an egg omelet stuffed with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, crispy bacon and chopped ham with a side of fruit, sausage and blueberry muffin thanks to the Plato Lions.
After capturing the face-painting and balloon-making activities, the Jeep and I headed to the Mall of America and on a prayer, made it safely there with little to no shaking involved.
And this time, at the mall, I took a picture of the parking ramp and level so I wouldn’t forget exactly where I left the Jeep. After spending an hour searching five different levels last time for the gray rig with its yellow Sven and Ole’s bumper sticker, I learned my lesson.
Since our trek Sunday, the Jeep has actually been running pretty well and knock on wood that I can hold off on any repairs until my next visit home to Wisconsin.