The next day we were back on the open road, and the torrential rains continued as we drove right through the brunt of the storm while continuing west on I-80. However, much to the delight of Ken, the rain subsided and beautiful views had taken over by the time we reached the Platte River area in western Nebraska, causing Ken to pontificate on the benefits of a Nebraskan lifestyle for the next several hours. As you might have guessed, Brubaker has some strange sort of fascination with this region of the country. Excitedly awakening me from a sound copilot slumber (hey, the Land Cruiser had Nav, and there weren't a lot of turns coming up in the next several hundred miles), Ken wanted to be sure I saw it, and that I clearly understood why he threatens his family to move there. So all of you in Nebraska, consider this your warning. Ken snores loudly, carries a Mega Blanket when he camps, and has no tolerance for bad Mexican food north of Texas. He also drinks a gallon of OJ before bed every night (no joke). This period of travel will forever be known as the Nebraskan Harangue, and reaffirmed my belief that Brubaker is at least one click off.
With 70mph speeds and continual soakings, the Willys didn't seem to care too much, or show that it was any worse for the wear. Ken laughed at me as with each passing torrential rainfall I turned around to apologize to the old Jeep for ripping it from its dry garage home and subjecting it to an organic cleansing mixed with a touch of road spray. But hey, what can you do? I guess I was just sensitive because I feel fortunate enough to be the Jeep's current caretaker, and I want it to last 56 more years.
By the end of the trip we had covered some serious ground, including a nearly 1,000-mile day, and running through the lovely states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. Too bad we didn't have enough time to stop and investigate the scenery or roadside attractions, like the biggest truck stop in the world and the Gateway To The West archway. However, we did have the pleasure of pacing trains, dodging road closures, and battling truckers. Sometimes I forget how much of a challenge the open road can present.
Arby's in Omaha offers a trailer-friendly drive-thru.
Ken's oldest son David has better fashion sense than his Dad; never once was he caught in
Back in California and finally freed of the trailer, Colonel Mustard wheels for the first
Road food is often a challenge and we were met with a wide spectrum, ranging from lunch at Hardee's to a steakhouse selling seafood in Wyoming. This particular steakhouse advertised "Salt Lake Shrimp" on the menu, and in the menu description under the entre name it read, "Not actually from the Great Salt Lake, thankfully." So it appears the people in Wyoming have a sense of humor against their neighbors to the west, and you should know by now that Ken and I do enjoy the funny.
After days of driving, we finally made it to Hollister in time for TTC, but we weren't the ones to win the long distance award-TTC had teams from the Carolinas, Canada, and Florida in attendance-but we appreciate the trek of our competitors a little more this year.
With the Willys off the trailer, it became my Hollister runabout during TTC week. Everyone responded amazingly well to the little yellow 3A. Old vets appreciate it, little kids wave, and everyone who sees it seems to smile. Even the TTC guys were checking it out. This is a vehicle that just seems to make people happy. And we are happy to include it as the latest addition to our project vehicle stable.
As for the buildup, we see some 30-inch tires, new suspension, steel wheels, an overdrive, and a winch in this project's future. We want to showcase some old tech, and some modern tech, and do some things that will modernize the Jeep and make it more reliable, but without taking away from the charm that is an old Flattie.Don't expect it to tackle Helldorado, but don't be surprised if it you see it out on Mojave Road.
Who knows where the boss will send us next-perhaps cross-country in the Colonel?