My first Jeep was a 1990 Grand Cherokee Laredo. I bought it second hand, but it only had 11,000 miles on it. It was a classic 2-door model. I bought it -- quite literally -- to celebrate the beginning of my new adventures with Nuri. We were still courting at the time, and I remember the shocked look on her face when I picked her up at the airport! We headed off for an adventure in the "Jeep Paradise" of the San Juan Mountains in western Colorado. This photo shows me and the Cherokee at 12,000 ft at Engineer Pass. In the years that followed, we pushed this Jeep over almost every mountain pass in Colorado. It has been through raging creeks and churned its way through impossible debris fields of stone. ... In time, we became a two Jeep family, but the 1990 classic XJ lived on and on. Nuri drove it to work with nearly a 100 miles a day. With 320,000 miles on it (and a second engine) it met its end, serving us even in its demise: it was purchased for $4,000 in the "Cash For Clunkers" program of the federal government. "Ariadne," as we called this car, had always managed to bring us out of the most labyrinthian off-road adventures.
And then there is "Radwulf" -- a 1998 ZJ Grand Cherokee that we still own. There comes a point in every Jeep owner's life that one realizes that your Jeep is not a vehicle, it is a member of the family. For me that insight came when Nuri noticed that, while we were on vacation, I was taking more pictures of the Jeep than of people. It was true. Brand loyalty is a phenomenon well attested to in car ownership, but as the slogan goes, "It's a Jeep thing." This is a vehicle that becomes a member of the family for very good reasons. It isn't just "transportation", it is a form of freedom that allows you access to a completely different world. 4x4 is different than 4x2. Jeeps go places other cars cannot. For those who love the outdoors, a Jeep is a passport to adventure. Furthermore, the love affair we have with our Jeeps comes from the inter-dependency we have with these machines: we take them into uncharted territory and rely upon them to get us safely back to civilization. They, in turn, are very reliant upon us for a level of care and maintenance that will allow them to do what we want them to do. It says something that there are more "after-market parts" for Jeeps than any other vehicle. We baby our Jeeps, and treat them to untold improvements to enhance their abilities to do their "thing". Radwulf is now a respectable 19 years old and has logged 260,000 miles. He has a second, and more powerful, engine. Lift kit. Bigger and more aggressive tires. Armor plating below. Rock sliders on the sides. Better air system. Bull bar and Warn 9000 winch. Off road lights. Canoe rack and Yakima Rocket Box. Yes, it is a Jeep thing. And we love it.
Stephen the Elder
Eldest of the Clan.
Matt N Randy
Jeep Enthusiast, Pastor, Photographer, Artist, A husband and wife team that loves going out and seeing God's Creations.