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169,716

Last week I said goodbye to The Jeep. It deserves, at least, a good eulogy.

Early History
The Jeep entered (its 2nd, or 3rd, or ???) life in 2004 for the sole purpose of moving from WA to NY. Sitting on a used car lot along the highway between College Place and Milton Freewater with a $1,500 price sticker, it seemed crazy not to buy it once it was known that the cost of renting a truck from UHaul was over $2,000. I was forewarned of its colorful future when, on the test drive, it ran out of gas in front of Sager Middle School, basically without warning.

Moving East
The Jeep was enlisted to tow UHaul’s largest trailer, a 6′ x 12′ with a loaded weight of 4,500 lbs, about 3,000 miles, which it amazingly accomplished without complaint. On the downside, it accomplished this at a maximum speed of about 55 mph, making for some very, very long days across the plains states.

Growing Up
The Jeep really started to cut its teeth on the gritty, potholed roads around New York City, especially once winter rolled in. A January storm that brought 18+ inches in an evening was initially no match for its low-range 4-wheel-drive goodness, but things got tougher once the snowplows rolled through and encapsulated it with a slurry of snow, ice, dirt, and salt. That was likely the beginning of a slow decline in the desirable qualities of its shiny blue paint. The Jeep felt very privileged, at such a young age, to experience life in the city, including waiting in line for the Holland Tunnel (in tribeca!), driving storied roads such as the BQE, the LIE, and the Brooklyn Bridge, and getting valet parked via an auto elevator.

Moving West
Evidently, The Jeep really, really did not want to leave the city, and proceeded to throw a cross-country temper tantrum that involved multiple strandings, a taxi ride, roadside repairs, and generous strangers in Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, and California. Perhaps it just didn’t like the feel of the lighter (3,500 lbs), but homemade and not-so-aerodynamic trailer that it carried on the way back.

The Golden Years
The Jeep entered a happy era of retirement upon arriving in the Bay Area due to the excellent transit available. It served only for weekend trips, occasional grocery runs, and the rare “take-your-car-to-work” day. At the end, its (interior) roofline had started to sag, motor mounts were failing, and the paint was just not what it used to be, but the spirit of The Jeep showed strong and true in its epic consumption of fuel even up until the last day. The Jeep never once visited a car wash.

The Jeep, in this incarnation, traveled approximately 35,000 miles and visited 33 states. It passed on September 22, 2009 with a mileage of 169,716.

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