Let us start with the regular Jeep owner. They are the ones that go out and buy themselves a Jeep. Sadly they have no intention of doing anything with it. Nothing with what the Jeep is made for. None of the doors off, top off, or ruggedness one can handle that goes hand in hand with the iconic vehicle that is a Jeep. We call them Mall Crawlers here in Houston. They are a fickle breed. LOL. With them there will be no lift kits, winches, or modifications. Not that you have to modify your Jeep to be considered a true Jeeper, or even a Wrangler owner. But to them, it is just another vehicle no different than your typical Toyota or Honda.
Now we have the Jeepers. If we call the regular Jeep owners the spectators in life who just want to sit back and watch then Jeepers are the participants. They can’t just sit there and watch life go by them when they can be in it, live it, experience it, and also contribute to it in a positive way. I add that last part because of what I have seen the last few years in the Jeep community and groups I am and have been associated with. Even with Jeep meaning “Just Empty Every Pocket”, these people have shown me what it means to be charitable. Giving of themselves, their hard earned money, time, and effort and labor, for those in desperate need. They have given back way more that they have taken in having a Jeep. I look at it this way…they bless others because they know they have been blessed.
A little about me... my first Jeep was a ’79 CJ-7 Quadratrac and was a love/hate relationship. I loved it when it was running and hated it when it wasn’t. Which was usually half the time. It had the 304 V8 and my philosophy was just give it a little more gas. When it worked. It had an issue with vapor lock. I never got it stuck though and other than slightly larger tires, it wasn’t modified in any way. In fact, it was red with a primer grey fender. But it took me places I never would have been without it. Places where few have trod. That was the beginning of my long journey with Jeep that has lasted 21 years and five Jeeps.
I knew very little about Jeeps back when I owned the CJ. Along the way I have picked up a few things but I definitely don’t know it all. However, I do know the potential of a Jeep and all you need is just a little imagination. This is why I consider myself a true Jeeper.
In order I have owned the ’79 CJ-7, a ’96 Cherokee Sport, 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited, 2004 Grand Cherokee Limited, and a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport (Modified). I have taken all of them off-road; most of them in Colorado. They all managed to pick up a little nature’s pin striping in their respective lives and each of those was a story in and of itself. The only Jeep that I modified was the Wrangler. So when I said above that you didn’t have to modify a Jeep in order to be a true Jeeper, I meant it.
You see, the potential of a Jeep isn’t necessarily what you put on it, but what you do with it and where it takes you. Anyone can drive on a road. Anyone can drive a car. A Jeep however, can do so much more. A car can take you down the road, a Jeep can take you anywhere. Because when your kids are older, they aren’t going to remember when your car got 38 mpg. They will remember the trips exploring the great outdoors, seeing God’s creation, hanging on the side of a cliff on a narrow trail, when they were covered in mud, getting caught in the rain with the top off, driving doorless and topless.
These are all adventures that are unique to one vehicle that was made just for it. The Jeep. It is kind of like owning an airplane. You don’t buy a plane to let it sit on the ground, you buy one to fly it. You don’t buy a Jeep to just go to the mall. I mean, it doesn’t have a seven slot grill because seven is a lucky number. It is because Jeep was the first vehicle to drive on all seven continents.
Last year my Jeep group, Prison City Jeepers, had an event that took eight Jeeps and 21 people to the mountains of Colorado. There we explored some of the back roads and Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails that are more famous in the Silverton/Ouray/Telluride areas. The trails ranged from easy to difficult and our Jeeps ranged from stock to heavily modified (Retribution, story for another article). I would almost venture that this was the Jeep trip of a lifetime, but honestly, when I lived in Colorado a number of years ago I did this fairly often all over the state. Never in a group this large though. There was so much to see that takes your breath away. The views were stunning, the trails were treacherous in places, nature was calling, and the company was fantastic. I would wish that everyone could experience a trip like this one.
You see, I refuse to let life pass me by. I want to get out and see it and be a part of it. With a Jeep I can see what most will never experience. So I can’t just own a Jeep because there is so much more to it than that and I choose to see it. And there in lies the gist of this article. Those who choose to see and those that let it pass them by. This is why we “Jeep Wave.” We get it. Jeepers vs Jeep Owners. Let’s face it… But please, don't forget the unsung Jeepers and give them a good wave too.
It’s a Jeep thing, but you have to open your eyes to understand it…