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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

HOM: RIP, Jeep -- Pieces, That is!

I told Lyn not to use the Jeep because it was leaking water and I needed to fix it and fill it, but she used it to run to town when I was at work. The engine sort of survived, but the drive with no coolant gave it mortal damage. I traded a Ruger Single Six pistol to a guy at the mill for a newly-rebuilt Chev 350 V-8 and bought a used conversion kit from Stan at the wrecking yard, then had Dave McCoy do the installation. Dave had a repair shop set up across the street from the old Glacier Concrete in a big and drafty old building on the site where the state liquor store is now. I'd tried to talk Dave out of a souped-up 292 Chev six-cylinder he'd built, but since he wouldn't let it go I went the V-8 route instead. With its 4.11 axles, the Jeep had a ton of power but the engine self-destructed on the way to work a few weeks later. I guess it wasn't as well rebuilt as the previous owner said it was. I have to admit I did drive it pretty hard, though. It had a little other damage, too. I'd smucked a door on a stump -- turning too sharp -- and I had a wheel fall off that did some front fender damage. I'd had new tires put on and the outfit, now gone, didn't tighten the lug nuts properly. When I went around the corner by Riedel's, the wheel came off, rolled back under the frame, then dropped the Jeep on its nose. Tommy R. hooked his tractor on it to give me a tow home, but when we tried to turn into my driveway the lugged tire on the tractor hooked the bumper on the Jeep and picked it clear up. It looked like the Jeep was humping the tractor, and I guess that was apropriate because the situation really was effed up. Tommy & I were trying to figure out how to safely get it off the tire when Fanny O'Connell drove up. His first question as whether anyone was hurt! He figured I'd rear-ended Tommy's tractor. We finally got it down and deposited in my yard. I bought new lug bolts (studs) and put them in, and got the tire moved to a new rim. The outfit did that had done the work offered me $75 for my damages, take it or leave it, and I took it. I could have sued them, but sueing is totally against my beliefs and is best left to greedy people and their greedier lawyers. I, sadly, hit & killed the first wild raccoon I ever saw with my Jeep. The coon ran out in the road just as I hit the Ashley Creek bridge on the way home, and I didn't have room to dodge. (One of the neat things about coming home in the middle of the night was the wildlife I saw. I remember counting over eighty deer in Seabaugh's field one snowy night.) I gave up on the Jeep and bought a like-new 1973 Datsun pickup from Chris Ramsey, the Christmas Kid I worked with. I went to Stan Edwardson for advice on the Jeep and decided to part it out, with him advising on pricing. I got rid of everything but the front end assembly -- fenders, grill, etc. I took them up to a consignment place on the south edge of town, bad mistake. I noticed they didn't sit there long, but when I went in to get my money, they said they hadn't sold them and the paperwork said that they weren't responsible for theft or damage. I was a little sad as the Jeep had served the family quite well for over ten years. In a way it was all right, though, as the Datsun served me well for another ten years or so. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)