The Jeep Earns her Keep


Having a jeep like Fiona can be all fun and mud pits but every now and then the has to pay me back for all the fun. As a 4 door jeep, she’s basically an SUV, with all the luxuries that any other SUV would offer, except that her roof comes off and she turns into a big toy. She’s pretty, clean, and my small grandkids get to sit in the back in their car seat and booster seat like any other vehicle and I can take my big grandkids 4 wheeling. She’s got a decent sized motor and is fairly fuel efficient. Putting her to work is a good test of what she can handle under a heavy load.


Recently, I had a line on some firewood. It was somewhat last minute so I messaged friends who own a large trailer and asked if I could borrow it & if they wanted to come and get some. They were out of town but said that I could use the trailer. My friend Jen was going to help me so we headed out to my friend’s house and we hooked up the trailer. I had already spoken to the owner of the wood and drove to a mountainside property that he’s clearing for a subdivision. When we arrived, he suggested that we go for a quick jaunt in his truck up to where the wood was, to have a look before driving Fiona up there. We agreed and hopped into the back of his truck, with his daughter in the front seat. As we headed up the mountainside, Jen & I talked with the girl about her horses and how fun they were, as Jen also has a horse, and I used to ride. After about 2 minutes we reached the woodpiles and I realized two things. First, with Fiona pulling that heavy trailer, chances are that she’d have a hard time getting up some of the hills. Second, I would need a large chainsaw to cut logs. I do have a chainsaw, but it’s too small to cut these logs, and it’s so old that it’s finicky and won’t always start. Once we all realized that I wouldn’t be taking wood out of this lot today, we drove a bit farther up the road and saw the land that he & his colleagues are clearing. There will be 2 forty acres parcels and a bunch of 10 acre parcels. The view is stunning.


We went back to where Fiona was parked and the owner said that he had some wood already cut up on his personal property just down the road and that I was welcome to take some. I was extremely thankful for the offer and followed him a short way to his place. Beside a pile of logs was a big pile of cut up wood. It was along the side of a dirt road that was bordering his horse pasture on one side and forest on the other side. There were horses grazing and when they saw us all arrive, they started to neigh and gallop up towards us! Quite the welcome! They ran up to the gate near us where they waited for us to go visit them. We didn’t have time to say hello and had to figure out how to get Fiona and the trailer turned around on this dirt road. The owner said that there was a spot to turn around just past the woodpile but there was also a steep hill & even though Fiona is a 4 wheeler, the trailer was so heavy that I thought I may have trouble getting back up.

I was already parked down the road and parked beside the wood pile and now had to back out all the way to the parking area, with the intent to back into the dirt road to the wood so that I’d be facing the way out. I started to back up towards the parking area, managing to steer the trailer ok, but because it’s a shorter trailer, probably about 8 feet long, it was touchy to back up and I had to stop and pull forward a few times to straighten it out. Then I got to a gentle hill and poor Fiona’s clutch started to burn. It was hard on her. I managed to get out without burning the clutch out, turned around and prepared to back up yet again towards the woodpile. I made a few attempts to get past the big gates, but because the trailer is wider than the jeep, I couldn’t see behind me and even though I backed out of the dirt road, I was having trouble getting back on to it. After a number of back & forth attempts and the trailer just not going straight and thinking about the distance that I’d have to go on the road, I decided that it was going to make me crazy and decided to leave. I was disappointed not only in the fact that I wasn’t going to get wood, but also at my lack of ability to get the trailer backed down the road. I was driving tractor trailers last summer and backing them up without problems!! Why can’t I steer this darn trailer?? (because it’s harder to back up a shorter wheelbase, that’s why.) Jen & I left the property, I was heavy hearted. We returned the trailer back to my friends’ place and we went back to my place and since it was getting to be late afternoon, Jen headed home. Despite the ordeal we had fun hanging out.

Later that night, I messaged The wood owner and thanked him for all of his trouble but that I wasn’t able to take any wood. I thought that if I could just drive Fiona there, I could lay the back seats flat and load her up. I asked if he’d be ok with that & that another friend with a truck might be able to help the following day. He’s so generous that not only did he say yes, he even offered to lend me his old work truck if my other friend wasn’t available. What a great guy.

So the adventure continued!

The next day, my other friend Julie and I headed out to the property. I had put Fiona’s back seats flat and covered everything with a big plastic orange tarp.

Before going to the property, I had asked if I could head back up to the subdivision to take a few photos of the view so Julie & I went up there first. The clouds were covering the mountains so I couldn’t get any photos but I showed Julie around. Then we headed back to the property to load up with firewood! We positioned the vehicles across the dirt road & backed in towards the pile & started to load. First her truck, then my jeep. It didn’t take long with two of us working. We headed back towards my house, but I’m unfamiliar with that area and had to use my GPS, but it was taking me the long way. I thought I had taken a wrong turn and had to pull over to ask Julie if we were going the right way. There are a few different ways that we could go and I thought that a different road would be quicker so we turned around and went up a side street. I don’t have the best sense of direction and because we had stopped at the subdivision first, which was the opposite direction of where we needed to go, my sense of direction was all messed up. Sigh. After a couple of trips I now know where to go but I was flustered and amused at myself for feeling lost.


We got back to my house, quickly unloaded both vehicles, flinging logs into a big pile in my back yard, then headed back for another load. This time I had an idea where we were going, got there quickly, lined up and had the wood flying into the backs of the vehicles in no time flat! One last drive home to unload and we were done.

I’m thankful to have the start of next winter’s heat! Time to get chopping!

Thanks to all for their help!

Happy trails!

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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