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January 2013 Trail Head

Posted in Features on January 1, 2013
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Me: Yeah, I’d like that hamburger, but does it have pickles and onions?

Them: Somebody offered me $2,850 for that hamburger.

Me: Uh, the menu says $2,950, but whatever. Does it have pickles and onions?

Them: You can come look at the hamburger.

Me: I just want to know if it has pickles and onions.

Them: It’s a very nice hamburger.

Me: Well, when was it made? Is it fresh, or has it been rotting under a heat lamp for a month?

Them: Hey, it’s a hamburger! Everybody loves a hamburger!

Me: That really doesn’t answer my question. Is it safe to eat or is it gonna make me sick?

Them: I’m not a chef or a doctor. I can’t answer that.

Me: Well, have you eaten one? Did it make you sick? Do you know how many calories in the hamburger you’re selling and do you have the paperwork that shows the FDA has inspected the meat to make sure it’s not rotten?

Them: If you want the hamburger, you’ll have to track all that down yourself. I’m just selling a hamburger here. Everybody loves a hamburger!

Me: Fine, I’ll come look at it. Where are you?

Them: Lakeside, California.

Me: Where in Lakeside? What’s the address? Lakeside is 50 miles away. Why can’t you just tell me if it has pickles and onions, ’cause if it does, I’m not gonna drive 100 miles round-trip for a hamburger I don’t want to eat.

Them: I’ll text you the address.

Me: Forget it.

I recently ended my five-year love/hate relationship with my 6.7L Cummins Mega Cab pickup. After using it to drag countless Jeep projects all around the country, I put it up for sale cheap and it sold fast. Faster than I expected, leaving my ’78 Cherokee Chief as my only vehicle with roll-up windows. Then, literally a day after the Mega Cab left the driveway, the AMC 360 V-8 in the Chief puked a head gasket. So now I’m driving my ’89 Wrangler ’cause it’s the only streetable vehicle left in my stable. I had blocked off time to finally install the 5.3L E-Rod engine from Chevy Performance in the Wrangler this month, so I’m scrambling to find a good daily driver so I don’t have to bump my engine swap plans back six months or more due to my hectic schedule.

Point is I’ve been hitting the online ads really hard. I could go on and on about Murphy’s Law. How when I’m looking for a Wrangler or vintage Willys to buy, cheap Cherokee deals fall from the sky. And when I’m looking for a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee, bargain-basement Wranglers call to me like siren mermaids enticing a sailor towards rocky shores. And this time it’s no different. Cheap Wranglers are popping their heads out of their holes like I’m playing Whack-A-Mole at the carnival, but I need a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. Preferably a Grand with a V-8 that can tow my Willys projects around until I score another tow rig. So this time, I’m keeping my eye on the ball. I just wish all these Craigslist sellers would do the same, ’cause the hamburger analogy I used to open this editorial is pretty close to what I go through with every vehicle I’ve tried to look at so far. Just replace “hamburger” with “Jeep” and “FDA” with “smog” and you get the picture.

Craigslist used to be a wonderful tool to find used Jeep treasures, but nowadays it’s enough to steer you straight to a new car lot. I’ll find something eventually,but it’s not as easy as it used to be. Right now I’m waiting for a guy selling a ’98 5.9 Limited Grand Cherokee to get back to me. Wish me luck that it doesn’t have pickles and onions.

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