Oh deer…LEDs are so much brighter

No, I didn’t hit a deer.

After a couple close calls during my FL to PA road trip, I researched LED headlights and ended up ordering them so they’d be there when I got to my final destination. Luckily I didn’t hit either of the deer, but I won’t need to take any chances anymore.

The headlights came in and after reading the instructions I figured install and wiring isn’t too hard so I went ahead and knocked it out in the parking lot of a local mall. Pretty pleased with the result.

Thanks to all the great input from JL Wrangler Forums, I saved some money and lowered the risk level of riding at night in the Jeep. The DRL (halo rings) stay on while the iginition is on. The LED projectors are powerful, have a very clean lighting pattern, and a very sharp cutoff. I’m a happy camper. 🙂

Will be seeing some apartments tomorrow, hoping to be settinged into peranent digs soon. I had a couple hours to kill so I went to look at one that was listed on Craigslist. It was built in 1860. The apartment is upstairs, and you need to go up a steel fire-escape style staircase. You share the garage with the owner of the building. The floors have 1″ holes leading to who nows where, guessing they’re pine knots.

The building manager was very cool. If it weren’t for the fact that this apartment is in an alley, and has no fire escape…myea. Nope.

Day 4: Harrisburg, PA to Malvern, PA (84m)

Short trip, I know, but needed to rest for these final miles. I went too far the first three days, planned to do 250 miles per day, based on some input from friends who have gone long distances in Jeeps. I ended up doing 350 or so a day. I’m rested up now.

After doing research every night since I left, I ordered some LED headlights. Reading and posting to some Jeep forums, the most widely recommended headlights seem to be the Oracle Oculus Bi-LEDs. I’m not a fan of “halo” headlights, but the Jeep doesn’t have Daylight Running Lights (DRL), which isn’t safe. So DRLs are right up there with being able to see farther at night. So I’ll have to suck up the halo stuff.

No video for today, it was just an hour and a half. I’m finally here, gonna grab a cheap hotel and scout the areas. My temporary housing will be ready tomorrow (Jan 8).

Day 3: VA to PA (371 miles)

Last night’s Gloden Globes monologue by Ricky Gervais was the best, since, like forever. I have coffee on my iPad because of that bastard! Ricky has cojones grande for that bit.

Here is the full clip:
Ricky Gervais, Golden Globe Monologue

As expected, driving long distances in the Jeep isn’t as comfortable as the CR-V used to be. I’m getting used to it, realizing now that I need to make hourly stops to stretch and move around a bit. That’s actually a good thing, since I used to drive for hours at a stretch before I got this Jeep.

I’m really hating the headlights in the Jeep. I expected them to be bad, since they’re the halogen reflector type. My CR-V had halogen projectors that were better, but still not great. I’m researching LED projector headlights, hoping to pick up a cheap(ish) set once I get to my final destination.

Today’s drive was 371 miles, about 100 miles short of the total trip. But I’m tired and need to get some sleep. Here’s today’s route:

Day 2: SC to VA (317 miles)

One thing for sure, Jeep Wrangler seats are not made for touring. I mean the front seats are (manually) adjustable and have lumbar support, but they are definitely not cushiony. If its any consolidation, I’m getting decent gas mileage.

Started the day at 41 degrees with 2,041 miles on the odometer. Took it easier today for my butt to recover. I found a cheap hotel that’s Harley-Davidson and Jeep friendly.

If you travel a lot, you’ve got to use Pelican Air luggage. Tough as heck, waterproof, and if you pack camping clothes you can pack enough for 4 days.

Got word from HaulBikes. They’re picking up my Harley-Davidson Road Glide is getting picked up tomorrow. If you’ve ever seen the inside of their trucks, you’ll understand why special equipment and care is needed to schlep an 840 pound motorcycle.

The bike’s front wheel is rolled into a steel bracket and the bike is strapped down using special motorcycle straps. No fork lifts or kickstands involved. #tongueInCheek

Gonna tune in to watch Ricky Gervais’ monologue at the Golden Globes before resting for tomorrow.

Todays route:

Day 1: FL to SC (386 miles)

“No parking spaces.” – said no Jeep owner ever

Starting the trip with 1,646 miles on the odometer and Hootie And The Blowfish on CarPlay.

I changed my mind and decided to slab it this first day, since the terrain is flat. I was impressed, stable even at 115 mph. Wait. Wat?

Not smart doing 115 mph in a Jeep, honestly thought Jeeps were electronically limited to 97 mph. When I noticed I slowed down right away. I’ll have Jeep check that once I’m in PA.

Here is today’s mostly boring route:

1,000+ miles by Jeep? No problem…

After 4.5 years at my current company, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. So on Sat, Jan 4th, I’m relocating from Florida to Pennsylvania. Brian’s Valley Forge Harley-Davidson recommended using HaulBike to ship my Road Glide to them for storage. Its being picked up a couple days after I leave. Another company is handling my household goods.

I’ll be driving my Jeep Wrangler Sport (JL) 2 door the 1,000 or so miles. I won’t be slabbing it, since short wheel base is less than ideal at Interstate Freeway speeds. I’ll be taking some regular roads, even some unpaved if I get lucky. I’m giving myself 5 days, and might avoid fast roads. I want to get there in one piece.

I’ll be buying cool/cold weather clothing as I head north. Its slim pickings here in Florida. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Once I get to Pennsylvania I’ll be staying in a temporary place for 30 days, then on to permanent digs. Hoping to find a place away from congested areas, and garage space (at least for the Harley-Davidson). Now that I have the Jeep I’m not too concerned about getting around in the snow. #fistpump

So today I’m putting all the remaining stuff into the Jeep for the early morning departure. I shipped everything I wouldn’t need for a month, so I have roughly 300 pounds of stuff that’s going into the back of the jeep. I bought a few Craftsman and Lowes Commander totes, amazing how handy those things come in for packing miscellaneous stuff. 🙂 Clothing is going into a large check-in and carry-on luggaeg and . Putting a sheet over it and a couple racheting tiedown straps to keep stuff from moving around.

Good thing I removed the back bench seat. That really opens up the back to fit more stuff. I stopped at Lowes to buy some 5 and 10 gallon heavy duty totes for packing hard to pack stuff. My clothing is going into my two motorcycle sissy bar bags, since they hold a lot. I’ll put a moving pad over everything, and a bed sheet over it all, then I’ll use a few racheting tie downs to hold it all down.

I won’t be camping, but I’m bringing the gear in the Jeep. Figured I might get lucky with weather, besides its light “fluffy” stuff that’ll help cushion stuff in back. I did however pack a tow strap since its too early to figure out what I’m doing with a bumper/lift/winch kit (crossing that bridge in the Summer time). Planning on 2.5″ lift and 35″ tires.

Bye Honda CR-V, hello Jeep Wrangler

I promised myself I’d trade in my 2016 Honda CR-V Touring before the 60,000 mile mark. This way I get maximum trade in, since Honda can certify it for the next person. It wasn’t my first Honda CR-V but it was my last. I won’t go into detail on why, but a pain point was our beta testing a CarPlay firmware update that never materialized. #vaporware #scam

For what its worth, my 2016 Honda CR-V Touring was an All Wheel Drive (AWD) function is not all its cracked to be. Its great for driving in the rain, but that’s about it. Drive it up a snowy incline, and it doesn’t do so well. Its a reactive system, not very good to be honest, though it isn’t a total design failure.

The third generation CR-V line has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds which isn’t quite enough for a small camping trailer, and the rating is only any good on smooth road. Forget about pulling a trailer through any rough roads, or over mountains. What’s the sense in pulling a trailer if you can’t go anywhere fun?

So I finally decided to get my dream car. A two door 2020 Jeep Wrangler JL with manual shift and a 3.6L V6 engine. Jeeps with 2L I4 engines are just silly if you ask me. I didn’t want to go with a four door, since I rarely have more than one passenger, and the difference in gas mileage is substantial between 2 and 4 door models.

The ugly.

Manual seats (yes, a huge PITA but used to it already). Manual widows (yes you have to reach over to roll the passenger window up and down). Manual locks (yes no keyfob with buttons). Manual mirrors (yes you have to get out of the car to adjust the passenger rear view mirror). Manual headlights (yes if you forget to turn them off you’ll get a reminder but if you ignore it you’ll be calling AAA). No remote start (because its a standard).

The awesome.

8 speaker sound system (even though it really can use a more powerful amp and better speakers and a subwoofer). Powerful engine (if you’re too aggressive, you’ll spin your wheels when accelerating). Decent gas mileage (20 mpg so far in first 750 miles). Soft roof that’s simple and easy to roll back, remove, collapse, what have you. Easily removable rear seats (much more space). Removeable windshield, doors, etc.

The mediocre.

Towing capacity is 2,000 and that’s even if you go over rough terrain. The 3.6L V6 engine is the same one that’s used in the 4 door model, which is rated 3,500 towing capacity. Jeep explained its due to the longer wheel base and higher weight on the four door. Guess it makes sense, I just know I love the engine. It has serious kick on the highway, although its a Jeep so sticking to the speed limit. Really.

This is a basic, vanilla Jeep. The only feature I paid for is AC. Having lived in Texas and SoCal, and now Florida, homie needs his AC. Didn’t get a navigation head unit, since its $3K more, figured there are several third party options that support CarPlay and are plug-n-play. Including fully supporting the stock steering wheel controls, and backup camera. This baby has just the right mix of feaatures for the road as well as for some minor off roading (though the JL ain’t no JK).

Memories.

I just realized the last time I drove a manual was in the US Army, when I was usually the guy who drive the Battalion Commander around in a M151 MUTT. I enlisted at 17 and having never owned a car before. In the 40 years since, I’ve only owned automatics. Not by choice. They just don’t make manual transmission cars anymore. Well, honestly Jeep has always offered a manual shifting model, just thought it wasn’t the right time to get one.

I drove a M151 MUTT in 120 degree weather (Fort Campbell) as well as in -40 degree weather (Fort Drum). What a piece of shit it was. But it always worked. Uncomfortable as all hell, but it always worked. Ugly as heck, but it always worked. I guess that’s the point, it always worked. At this stage in my life, having branched out into motorcycle touring, I want my car to just work.

So a few weeks ago I went into the Jeep dealer with guns blazing. I want manual. Yep, we have that. I want black. Yep we have that. I want a 3.6L V6 engine. Yep, we have that. I want AC but I don’t want your overpriced navigation unit. Yes, we have that. They kind of fibbed, they had to swap one of their stock Jeep Wrangler JLs with another dealer who had exactly what I wanted.

I want to trade in my 2016 Honda CR-V Touring. Yep, we’ll take it off your hands…especially when they found it to be 95% condition which is rare for a 4 year old car with 57,000+ miles on it. 🙂 We went through a few hours of negotiation, to get the best deal possible. And yes I threw the expected “Jeep gas mileage sucks” at them to troll them. LOL

How tough was the negotiation? It came down to a slight disagreement over what my car’s trade in is worth. I wanted to get at least the minimum amount for the 95% condition of the car. I was serious enough to walk out over a $300 deficit. The next day I get a call that they’ll add it, and the next day I went in and signed the paperwork. And yes gimme GAP, and yes gimme extended maintenance.

A week later and I’m happier than a pig in shit. Or so my Texas buddies would say. I’m trying to resist the urge to mod the Jeep. Why? Because the three biggest mod markets are (1) Harley-Davidson, (2) Ford F-150, and (3) Jeep Wrangler. So I have to exercise restraint. But not so much. I mean I do need running boards. And a hitch. And wheel lock nuts. A short rubberized antenna. And an iPhone mount. I’m trying, not sure how long I can hold out before I order more mods. 😀

EDIT: Forgot to mention I declined the CarPlay 7” head unit since I could buy the exact OEM item, install it myself and save $2,000. Its ordered and I expect to install it by Dec 28th. here is a stock photo: