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Jeeping Across America Part 6

Posted in Features on July 27, 2015
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

Any cross country Jeep trip has to involve other Jeeps- it wouldn't be right not to! My journey started in Atlanta, Georgia, 4 days prior, and ends when I get home to California. I have a loaner XJ that so far has needed a new transmission and muffler, and I'm only half way home. But adversity builds character and naked for a better trip. Sure it's rained every day, but the sun parted long enough to spot this awesome Willys truck going from Helena, Montana to be restored in Georgia. I found more cool stuff as I trundled on through the rain...

Weather radar? What? Just look outside!! Okay I cheated as I wanted a long distance view to escape Arkansas. My planned route was unfortunately directly through the red stuff.

Instead of outrunning the blustery weather I took refuge in Mom & Sons Cafe in Sulfur Springs, Arkansas.

Best chicken fried steak- ever. Mom even played the guitar while I ate. I was 1,500 miles from home and stopped by chance to get out of the weather and relax, but I'd pay to go back and enjoy.

I'm driving a Jeep Cherokee so I had to stop here! They didn't want trade anything and more rain was coming. Yes, it was still raining but I made it into Oklahoma unscathed.

I really needed to upgrade the center console since it didn't have a lid. Or even a cupholder. A simple fix was a dollar book from a pawn shop that was the right size and thickness. I'll never read 'American Sports Heroes Of Today' (from 1975) so it was a good investment. So was the sticky roll of tape for a cup holder.

The Jeep has always had a shake around 50-60 mph. It was pretty simple to go faster or slower but I kept checking tie rods, tires, and the steering box. When the Jeep was stolen the steering box mounting area was buckled so a big thick plate of steel was welded on. It looked okay here so I kept driving. In the rain.

One good thing was the XJ had great windshield wipers. And no leaks. It rained most of the trip and all away across Oklahoma. The hopping of the old balding tires made for some fun times in the rain.

Sometimes you just have to take a break. I wanted to know where to wheel before I left Oklahoma, so I stopped for dinner at a Rib Crib. Trisha owns two 4x4 Chevy trucks and has excellent rib advice as well. If it wasn't raining, we could have wheeled. Her advice was to 'stay out of the red mud- it's the worst!'

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