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Throwback Jeep Memories - Trail Head

Jeep Highlights

Pete TrasborgPhotographer, Writer

It’s funny the things you forget. I’ve been talking to some new people recently, and we’ve been sharing stories. Bear in mind I have been Jeeping a long time, but recently, some stories have bubbled up I completely forgot about. I’m not gonna get into all of them, but here are the highlights.

There was night I got the four-day-old ’98 TJ stuck in a dried peat bog with my girlfriend and my buddy in his ’92 YJ. We left the Jeeps there that night and hiked out. Or how about the New Year’s Eve I dropped that same TJ into a frozen lake after breaking through the ice? I got it out and then ran over my girlfriend. She may also have been launched off of a 25-foot-tall sapling while trying to get out of that area.

Oh, or how about the time I got my ’89 YJ stuck on the front and rear bumpers while crossing a stream? That’s right, the bumpers were on opposite banks and the tires were in the air. Let’s not forget the time I took that same YJ up to the Order of the Arrow ceremony grounds and slid it down a moss-covered rock. I crumpled the fender on a tree, and while I tried to beat it out with a hammer, I knocked myself out.

We can’t talk about stupid Pete tricks without talking about driving the ’46 CJ-2A home with no oil in it. Or the time I drove the ’80 CJ-7 home with the rear AMC 20 passenger-side axleshaft unbolted and falling out—I had to stop every 1⁄2-mile to kick it in. The kicking-it-in process was to stop the Jeep, with it running and in Neutral with the parking brake off, and to push it. Then, I’d run around to mule kick the tire until the axleshaft was back in the axle. Of course, then I’d run around the front of the rolling Jeep (no one ever said I was bright) and jump in to drive it. I’d drive it until the tire was completely out of the body and I could see it in the mirror, and then I’d repeat the process.

Looking back, I had some good times. I once had a girlfriend hold the ground wire on the 220-amp Lincoln Electric welder while I welded the spider gears I had just blown up that weekend on that same ’80. This was so that I could take her to our first real date at Hooter’s. Oh yeah, I started welding in the rain in the driveway and it turned to snow while I was lying in the puddle and she held the cable.

Oh, and who can forget the time I electrocuted one of my girlfriends with the amp wires in the back of the Jeep? Or the time I almost ended up with a girl with only one hand because the 8274 almost ate her hand? Oh, and the tampons! That’s the other picture in this column. I drove through a pond. Repeatedly. I was giving tours. Yes, I’m dumb. I had snorkels—no big deal, right? Yeah, not so much. Lost cylinder seven and eight on that one, but my bright idea was to drop tampons in the cylinders to dry them out. Let’s just say when you crank a high-compression 304 with tampons in the place of spark plugs, confetti ensues.

Anyway, somehow I’m still alive. I never killed a girlfriend, but I can’t say I never hurt one with my shenanigans. In this issue, we’ve got a beginner’s service by a new freelancer. Justin is a heavy equipment operator whom just got a JK. I’ve known him for years, and his first story worked well here. Look for more in-the-dirt tech from him in the future. We have the Disposable Hero almost done, and the garage flatfender comes back. We’ve got a unique Spring Special CJ-7, and of course, as the cover says, lots of wheel and tire tech so you guys can better pick your tires for the summer wheeling season.