Sunday’s 201 class was the most challenging class so far. Mostly due to the Jeep not being modified. No lift. All weather tires. But I still made it! Like the instructor said, its all about doing proper analysis and picking the right lines.
I’m exhausted. I took Offroad Consulting‘s 201 class today. I learned a lot and got a chance to sample a few sections of the Blue trail. Apparently you need a modified Jeep to do Blue trail. I forgot to change the entry form, so it still showed that had the old modified Jeep (which had a 2.5″ lift and 33″ tires). #woops
Well, surprisingly I didn’t have any problems. To be honest, I’m not surprised. I used to drive an M151 Mutt in the US Army, so these trails on a modern Jeep are not that difficult.
I mean I doubt I’d ever try to do the entire Blue trail on my new unmodified Jeep, but I think I can do most of it. Today was a necessary experiment, so I can see what this Jeep can do before modifying it.
So what’s the Blue trail, you might ask. Here’s a sample section, with 30° incline, 8-12″ high rocks, and a 50 foot ledge along the left of the climb. How do you get over it? Pick your line and go slow. I got to the top without bottoming out.
Here’s a line-up of the folks I rode with, clearly their Jeeps were modified.
Sucia didn’t get too dirty today, even if we did much tougher terrain than we did on last month’s 101 class.
Working on getting the lift, tires, etc. all ordered so I can get back off-road as soon as possible. Oh and you’re a Netflix Weeds fan…you’ll know that the hood sticker means. 🙂
After spending the past month stressing about totaling my first Jeep, the nightmare has finally come to an end. A few days ago I logged on to my Geico account and saw the TOTAL LOSS statement. It was a bitter sweet moment.
With COVID making me look like Theodore J. Kaczynski (so much hair!), having to eat at home all the time (which I hate to do, how ironic that I’m getting better at it), my left hand not fully healed (so I can’t ride my Harley), and the rental coverage about to end, I found myself a bit on edge waiting on the final determination.
Ok, so I jumped the gun. With two days left on my rental (exhausted the 30 day limit, and there’s a 3 day limit after total loss is determined), I called the dealer and told them I’d be over the next day to buy the Jeep that I put a deposit on. I was told another salesman sold it to someone in New York. #shit
I arranged to go to the Jeep dealer and look at what low end two door 3.6L two door models they had in stock, since there were no more manual shift models within 100 miles. The dealer told me they had three 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport S two door 3.6L vehicles in the lot, but they’re all automatic.
I absolutely love manual shift cars. You feel like you have total control. I don’t hate automatics, but given the choice, I’d go with standard shift. The problem is they’re so rare…heck even Jeep is sticking the fork in them.
I took one of the automatics for a ride, and as expected it has all the modern features you’d expect. Didn’t expect Remote Start and Homelink, even though the manual shift model I previously put a deposit on had homelink (but not remote start since it isn’t an option on manuals) and LED headlights. Now I don’t hate the suitcase sized key fob (yes the no feature model has the same gigantic key fob as the new one that has remote start, remote lock/unlock, and panic button). 🙂
The test ride was awesome. The heated leather steering wheel and seats are easy to use/adjust (yes I know it was 85 degrees outside). The electric windows and mirrors made me wonder WTF was I thinking when I bought the first Jeep (manual everything). When I got back to the dealer, I tested the remote start. Amazing how it works from 100 steps away!
Well, I was sold. It was an easy decision except that now I needed to choose the color. They had three of this model (red, white, and granite). White gets dirty as soon as you wash it. Red looks cool, until you get frig’n tired of driving around in a billiard ball. Granite is almost as nice as Black. So I went with Granite. It cost $150 or so more, not sure why, but I love the color. Not as much as black though. But it’s good enough.
I have very good credit so I was able to drive the car home before the finance stuff was done. I went in the next day to wrap things up. I missed the Employee Pricing For All offering, which sucked, since it was a $5K savings. But the dealer managed to work the numbers a bit, and my interest rate is incredibly low. Oh, and I said NO to all add-ons. Except GAP.
On the way home I called the repair shop to arrange for me to come over on Saturday to swap out the head unit. The new car came with a low end LCD head unit. The old Jeep had an OEM 7″ CarPlay that I bought through Infotainment and installed myself (the swap took all of ten minutes). I picked up a couple small items I left in the Jeep, including an 8 gauge power cable I had Jeff Daniel’s Jeeps run through the firewall for the subwoofer, and grips I added to the driver and passenger sides to make climbing in to the Jeep easier.
I had a bit of a scare when the CarPlay head powered up and asked me for a Radio Code. After fumbling through all my emails, notes, password app on my iPhone, I found it in my Contacts, under my Infotainment. Why the heck didn’t I put it in my password app like I do for all other important information?
When I left the shop to go home, I bid farewell to the five nearly new 285/75R15 all terrain tires I left behind. I dread having to get rid of the five (also) nearly new original 245/70R15 tires I have in the garage. I decided it would have been a PITA to schlep the smaller original tires to the shop, have them to swap out the bigger tires, and then have to schlep the big tires back home, so I could list them on Facebook Market. Its much easier to sell stuff there than through Craigslist, and cheaper than selling on eBay.
Now that I’m home, I feel like a huge rock got lifted off my shoulders. I suffer from a guilty conscience, so it’ll take some time for me to get over the fact that the accident was my fault, and here I am with a brand new, slightly upgraded Jeep. Compound that guilt with the damage to not only my car, but also the folks in the other car. Thankfully none of them were injured.
I’m ready for tomorrow’s 201 class. I’ll be there with no lift, and with all weather tires, instead of all terrain tires. Not worried about it, since Offroad Consulting recommends doing their 101 and 201 classes with a stock vehicle first. This way when you do it in a vehicle that has a lift and all terrain tires, you learn how much of a difference there is.
I reworked my GoPro mount, so I’ll finally be able to get some good footage. I have the Jeep packed with my Yeti cooler, a bag of ice, half a dozen bottles of water, a few ice coffee bottles, a few sammiches, Powerbars, etc. Heck I even took a few minutes to put my SUSUSUCIO stickers on the hood, even if it was meant for the old Jeep. I’ll have to come up with a clever intro video to show those off. 😛
A few suggestions to folks who read this blog. Always get GAP on new cars, even if you think you’ll never need it. Always report mods, so you’re covered later if you have an accident. Always find an independant collision safety advocate who can help identify/flag damage that the manufacturer will not allow you to repair, or that is too risky and may compromise the owner’s safety. Keep good notes, take plenty of pictures, and be prepared to wait during the COVID fiasco.
The Offroad Consulting’s 201 class we be held on Sunday at Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA…6,500 acres of off road goodness). That’ll complete the two training sessions I had planned for the Spring. Given how I lost a month, I’m guessing I may end up riding my Harley about as much as I take the Jeep offroad in 2020. That’s fine, it’ll give me time to save up for the tires and the Mopar 2″ Jeep lift (even if Mopar sucks at math).
I missed Limpia so much. She’s been in Winter storage over at Brian’s Valley Forge Harley-Davidson, since Feb 3. Today I was able to arrange to get her back home. Brian’s kept her tucked in, and connected to a Battery Tender all these months, and delivered her clean and polished.
The last time I rode her was back in the end of August. Geez, nearly a year ago! Why? Because I broke my ankle after safely getting home, moving stuff around in the garage at the Florida place, to make more room. Ugh.
So now I’m waiting for my Jeep claim to process, so I can get out of this rental and back on my own wheels…and I get to hug and kiss Limpia during the next few weeks while my left hand heals. #sigh
If all goes as planned, I’ll be back to where I was before moving to PA, having a Jeep and a Harley, both functional, and on the road with one of them. 🙂 Its like watching a pot of water boiling.