Dog days of summer. Where does that phrase even come from? As I write this, the dog days are beginning on our favorite wheeling season. It’s 7 a.m., and it’s already almost 90 degrees. For me, that means it is time to put my M-715 away, because even thinking about firing it up will make it overheat. With a 366ci gas-powered V-8 that I can’t keep cool, maybe it’s not such a good idea that I’m looking at swapping in a 7.3L Power Stroke. Hmm, no one ever said I was that smart.
But beyond the overheating green truck, we’ve got summer! I don’t know about you guys and gals, but one of my favorite things to do during the summer is to take my Jeep to a place only a Jeep can go. Preferably by a lake, the ocean, or a river. Sometimes I’ll fish; sometimes I’ll camp. I usually have a good book with me, maybe a beer, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll have a couple of good friends or a good woman on my arm. Usually I’m on my own, but that’s OK too. The important part is getting out, enjoying the Jeep, enjoying the weather, and for me, enjoying nature and getting away from the grind and all the nutjobs that fill our society today.
We always talk in these pages about never going wheeling alone, and I’m not changing that here, so don’t go getting your panties in a bunch. Whenever I do go on my own, someone always knows exactly where I’m going and when I’ll be back. Not too long ago, I had our 2007 JK out with a friend in his 1963 CJ-5, and I smacked a rock hard enough to bend the control arm, drive the upper control-arm mount into the engine, and crack the oil-pump housing on the JK. We were 20-plus miles from the nearest road and the shortest way we knew to get out (which was not the way we got in) ended up being washed out. I spent at least 60 miles on a strap behind his CJ-5 that night. The CJ-5 was burning some oil, and I couldn’t run the JK, so he spent all that time towing a dead JK. We had about six quarts of spare oil between us and burned all that oil out of his Buick V-6. His engine was knocking really hard, I couldn’t even fire mine up, and it took us over 16 hours to get the two Jeeps out. But even a really bad day Jeeping is still worth it.
I guess my point is to get out there and enjoy the summer. Enjoy your Jeeps. It will be snowing, raining, and otherwise miserable again soon enough. Have fun with summertime camping, wheeling, and summer tunes on the radio (if you have one). Throw the top down or away -- whichever -- and have fun out there. Sure, it’s hot, but snow is months away (unless you are in Alaska and it might already be snowing there; sorry) and we now have time to enjoy the lakes, beaches, and rivers, or however you enjoy cooling off and getting out there. For this issue, we put together some fun summer-ish camping/wheeling/nature/getting-out-there related things. We’ve got a burrito box, manifold cooking 401, and a neat camper-top JK that can actually still be wheeled, just to name a few. I’ll catch you guys next time, and as always, thanks for reading. I hope to see you on the trails this summer.