The first time Alex and I went exploring the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument we made a pit stop at the BLM station located in the tiny town of Escalante. We grabbed a map, and talked to the ranger about where we were planning on going so we could get our camping permit.
I told him I wanted to camp out at sooner rocks and the first thing he asked me was what vehicle we were in. At the time we were driving our Honda Fit and he told me there was no way we were gonna make it there. We head back to the car, close the doors and the first words out of my mouth were “Silly Ranger”. We camped at sooner rocks that evening, but not until after we experienced some quite stressful situations in deep sand as well as passing washed out road with the minimal ground clearance. I learned quickly how to stack rocks and use a shovel in the desert heat.
After this trip I KNEW I had to get something that was more capable off road and after a foolish KSL Classifieds impulse buy I now owned a 1989 Jeep Cherokee XJ.
Looking back, the badge on this vehicle was the epitome of what this vehicle was. Naturally we just called it the eep
While I loved this “eep” very much and how capable it was off road it was a terrible experience. I was in over my head on this car, it had holes in the floor, some from rust, some had been cut, the AC was busted, the dash was destroyed, and parts were literally falling off while driving on the road. I would turn the ignition with a screw driver because it was more effective than using the key. Road trips in here were miserable, loud, hot, and uncomfortable. From what I hear that’s just part of the Jeep life. Shortly after our first outing I discovered the oil had turned to chocolate milk and the issue seemed to be the cylinder head had warped allowing coolant and oil to mix. With the help of my friends and a few months of down time the eep was running again.
I’ve often heard of that the name for a Jeep is an acronym for Just Empty Every Pocket, and while I would laugh at that but it really was the reality of my situation. The eep was a money pit and I couldn’t keep up with it or put any more money into it. It was time for something solid and reliable.
After the eep the Avalanche was a chariot of comfort. A 2002 vehicle with comfortable heated seats, AC that is so cold it gets too cold, solid power, great off road, feels safe; it has been perfect. Go ask Alex how many times I say “I love this truck” on every outing, I would bet you she would say at least 3. It is easily the best car I have ever had and I haven’t regretted a thing. Currently at over 225,000 Miles it hasn’t required anything beyond some off road damage repairs and regular maintenance (knock on wood for me please). I look forward to seeing how far she will take us!