Adventures in Buying a JEEP...
Purchasing the Jeep was thrilling yet daunting. I was sure all day that at some point, some annoying piece of bureaucratic red tape would pop up and declare me unable to buy the Jeep. The man I bought it from was wonderfully helpful and stood by me every step of the way. Too kind. We shook hands, I thanked him for all of his help and generosity, and I headed out on the open road to pick up the Precious Boy for his first ride in my new Jeep.
The ride home was something else. I hate to admit this mistake that I made to the entire Internet, but I must.
Something was wrong on the road. Merle Haggard was Sing(ing) Me Back Home when I first noticed an odd odor. I continued on my way, but could not escape the unmistakeable smell of burning rubber. I put the window down and vowed to be more gentle with the clutch, but as I continued, the smell only got stronger.
The drive home was a perfect hour long, and about half way there something was terribly amiss. I couldn't get enough speed, the burning rubber was permeating the vehicle, and I was beginning to panic. I made it to the highway that leads to CowTown, stopped for some gas and a breather, and convinced myself that I am terrible at driving manual and that the smell must be me burning up the clutch. I was super careful with the clutch the rest of the way. I was supposed to stop and pick up the Precious Boy but didn't feel comfortable to put him in a vehicle that smelled of burning rubber and that wouldn't accellerate, so I brought it to my neighbor's house.
He was outside and waved when I drove up. I was close to tears at this point and I brought it to a stop and told him that something was terribly wrong when I saw the billows of smoke coming out of the wheel-well. A friend was there and yelled that we might need a fire extinguisher and I burst into tears.
I had just purchased a flaming vehicle that wouldn't accellerate and I had spent MANY MANY dollars on. The world may as well have swallowed me whole. My neighbor very kindly offered his car so I could pick up the Precious Boy. I called my mother and wept. I managed not to cry when I greeted the Boy.
Upon return, the smoke and heat had gone from the wheel-well and my neighbor said that he should take it for a spin and see if we could make it smoke again to pinpoint exactly where the heat was coming from. So we did that and made it carefully down the road. We stopped after about three minutes and the wheel was very, very hot.
At this point I asked him if he had put the emergency brake on before driving. He had not.
And I, the moron that I am, had driven for over an hour in a brand new (to me) vehicle WITH THE EMERGENCY BRAKE ON. I would name all the surfaces that I would love to smash my head against right now, but the list would be too long and I fear that all of the Internet does not have enough bandwidth for me to create such a list.
We turned the brake off, drove a little more, detected no more heat, and decided to look for some MUD. (It is a Jeep, after all. A Jeep without mud is like a horse without hooves. It just doesn't work.)
My neighbor drove as I was exhausted from the day's events and I am entirely inexperienced in four by fouring. So he carefully took us through some trails at his house. The mud there is quite minimal, but exciting enough to make me want to learn how to drive there myself. We got the tires quite dirty, scratched one of the plastic fenders, tried out some hills, got water on the windshield, and squealed with delight the entire time. The 4X4 works great and I have to say that I love it.
After that we did some grocery shopping and there is no room whatsoever in the Jeep for anything more than about four grocery bags. Fortunately I am a single person and I hope that the Jeep's little capacity for food will prevent me from buying all of the food in the world and eating it in one sitting. I see this as a positive.
In all I must say that it was a very exhausting day, but certainly taught me a lesson I will never forget: Don't depend on little lights and bells to tell you when you're doing something stupid. The first thing I should have checked is the E-Brake and I think I might just put a little post-it on the dash that says "Turn off the damn brake, you IDIOT" until I am conditioned to turn it off.
I'm exhilirated with my purchase and I can't wait to spend more time ripping up trails and basking in the glory that is a six speaker sound system.