The reason for my change of heart is not for the attention I get with this vehicle. It’s about hearing that internal wake up call: Hey man, why fix what ain’t broke? The TJ’s been good to me, so I sauntered out to the garage on a Sunday afternoon to explain this to the Jeep. I had to have a discussion with her, let her know about my revelation – no, inspiration – to keep her around, and dive into a new phase of the TJ project. In the interest of good karma, one ought to treat one’s car like a buddy; I don’t think you can get 300,000 miles out of someone whom you don’t respect, love.
As I stepped into the garage, I was overcome with guilt – it was like the Jeep knew what was going on the whole time.
“Mark,” I heard, “you know, 5 years old isn’t that bad. 95,000 miles. And I think you owe me a little something after all those miles.”
“Anything you want, but I’m on a budget.”
“Well, I’ve got some things fading and looking tattered. Like my fender flares and wheels. Especially the wheels. They’re original and all scratched. What can you do for me?”
“New paint sound okay?”
“Deal. Don’t you think I could use a new top, too? I like the bikini, but I’ve been wearing it for over a year and a half straight.”
“We’ll see about that one. How about a rack up there? Want a new rack? I’ve got a great idea for our next camping trips. You can be my support vehicle on an extended bike tour.”
“A rack, huh? Sure, Mark, I’d like that. But I want a good one.”
Thus launched the roof rack challenge. Did you know that there are at least 11 commercial roof racks available for Jeep TJs? That’s a lot to consider. So I penned my absolute conditions for a rack:
1. Compatible with the ARB snorkel position
2. An attached basket not necessary, nor desired
3. 150 lbs capacity or more, yet lightweight
4. Hinged supports for easy rag top removal/install
Only two racks batted 1000 with my four specifications: the Olympic 4×4 Sports Rack (901), and the Congo Cage by Kargo Master. I ended up with the Sports Rack by Olympic 4×4 in this cool eco-color they call “Sierra Chrome.” Pardon the word ‘chrome’ as it’s really a fancy-looking gray. For it’s lightweight, yet durable construction and hinged rear supports, I thought this was a perfect rack for the adventurer who brings along kayaks, canoes, snowboards, or bikes.
Fixed up with an Eezi-Awn roof tent and a Yakima SprocketRocket bike carrier, I’m ready to take off for some isolated cycling. I’m thinking of riding a length of the Mogollon Rim, a wall of rock that separates the Colorado Plateau from high desert between Arizona and New Mexico. My Jeep smiles at me each morning and asks, “When are we going?”
Related – Abbas Fahmy’s 1995 Jeep YJ Wrangler
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.