Brian quickly heated up the bent and torn track bar bracket with the torch and used the channel locks to easily bend the ears of the bracket back into place. He then used the grinder to clean up all of the contact points for the weld. He picked out the right welding rod, tacked everything in place, double checked the axle position and then deftly laid down some beautiful weld seams. Before we were finished, the farmer himself showed up and was thrilled that his barn was being put to such good use. Brian had me ship-shape in less than an hour and we still had time to meet everyone back on the trail. I slapped a quick hundred into the farmer’s palm insisting that he take it since he had saved this wheeler’s weekend hands down. And then I promised Brian that beers were on me that night.
And, not surprisingly, it was at this particular juncture, my dear Jeep compatriots, that the coveted DFBT eluded me. In a nutshell, I was bamboozled. After getting off the trail after dark, Peter, Jr. and I headed into town with some of our fellow VTXS club members and parked the JK in the Romp hotel parking lot (mistake # 1). Upon entering the hotel (mistake # 2) and being offered libations by said club mates, I refused same explaining that I had to stay in shape for the night off-road. In almost perfect chorus, my club mates proceeded to argue that, because we had exited the trail after dark, I had already off-roaded at night and had thus satisfied the night off-road itinerary requirement. Oddly, this all sounded perfectly reasonable at the time (mistake # 3) and I proceeded to partake of beverage as is the Saturday night Romp tradition (mistake # 4, a big one).
Shortly thereafter, we cabbed it to dinner and, afterwards, Jr. and I called it a fairly early night, cabbed it back to the hotel parking lot, and hit the hay in the JK (note, truck camping Vermont Overland style: http://www.vermontoverland.com/2011/01/truck-camping/.
The next morning, immediately upon entering Big G’s, who of all people do I run into but Bruce himself, shaking his head at me while tick-tocking his index finger in the air and saying, “Someone was conspicuously absent on the off-road last night,” to which I pleaded, “But, but, but, I, I, I…I was bamboozled.” Needless to say, Bruce had no sympathy and denied me the lustrous and brilliant DFBT.
But there’s one consolation. No one else won it either. Next year, that baby’s all mine!
Related – Transylvania: The Land Beyond the Forest
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.