It’s been far too long since I’ve driven an ill-prepared off-road vehicle across country for a week of ‘wheeling. Combined with the pitiful truth that I have a Jeep in my garage that I love and haven’t had it out off-roading for more than 15 years, I crafted a plan to revive the old Flatty, drive it roughly 1,700 miles from my home to Moab, Utah, for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari and have a blast running trails with friends.
That sounds easy enough, but there’s a bit involved in this. I have pretty much neglected the Jeep – which you may recognize as the 14-Day Flattie if you read off-road magazines decades ago – and relegated it to the corner of my shop.
Last year, I moved it into the “work zone” and started taking things off that needed attention. But haven’t turned up the wick yet to get this project done. I roughly have 10 weeks now to do the following:
- Replace the fuel cell and fuel filters
- Replace the steering box and plump new power steering hoses
- Install the new Flex-a-lite radiator and electric fan
- Plumb and wire the rear ARB Air Locker
- Install the Sam’s Off-Road traction bar to the rear axle
- Install new Beachwood Canvas seat foam and cushions, and a new top
- Replace the Percy’s Speedglass windshield with a new one that doesn’t have 20 years of age cracks
- Figure out what else doesn’t work and fix it
There are a few more things I’d like to do, but we’ll see how things go.
There’s something I need your help with, though. I want to pick a route where I can see as many four-wheeling friends as possible along the way. It may be just for a cup of coffee or picture to post to Facebook and Instagram, but this is what makes a trip like this real. I’ll most like be taking I-80 through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and into Colorado where I’ll jump on I-70 to cross the Rockies. Let me know if you’re somewhere along the way and want to try to connect.