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Jeeping Across America Part 8

Posted in Features on August 20, 2015
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

My trip started in Georgia with a well used, borrowed Cherokee with 350,000 miles on it. Destinations LA, with good wheeling thrown in along the way. So far I've had all days if rain- 6 in a row, and plenty of mud. I finally hit Route 66 in New Mexico- and some of the best junkyards ever. I was looking for a used grille and fender for my ride but ended up with good friends and new Jeep views while scouting the back roads.

Lots of vintage iron still basks in the desert sun, as long as you get off the interstate to find it. Near Gallup, NM, are plenty of treasure troves to drool over.
I found Oscars Auto Parts near Grants, NM while looking for a grille for the XJ. Even though it was after hours, Jimmy took me for a tour of the yard in search of my parts. Jimmy told me the owners plan to open a craft brew pub here eventually, even keeping the same name.
oscars actually had a bunch of 4x4s set up as a sign of sorts to attract customers. Even the Montero looked good amid the Jeeps attacking the hills.
Here's some cool trivia. This is an early CJ-5 hardtop on a '76 and later windshield frame. Notice the filler pieces used to make the tapered windshield fit the straight top.
The coolest Jeep wasn't for sale though. The CJ-2A was bought from a local rancher years ago to plow the high desert snow away a few times a year. Complete with a hydraulic plow and external roll bar, this was my favorite find.
While only used a few times a year to plow snow, the stock L-134 4-cyl. had been yanked out replaced with a Buick 225 V-6. Check out the custom mods for the swap!
The sun finally came out once I hit Arizona. No more rain, and a lot of heat. And a lot of heat. I finally started to dry out and the must, mold, and mildew smell started to leave the inside of the Jeep.

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