Training Tomorrow’s Heroes

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in their life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers

When it comes to turning wrenches on a Jeep, too many people would write it off as dirty, knuckle-busting work. While this conclusion is more than substantiated, it fully dismisses the larger truth that hard work, and in this case mechanical work, can be nothing short of good medicine.

In the foothills of southern Tennessee, there is an organization that really “gets it”. The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has made it their mission to not only erase the effects of childhood cancer but to optimize the quality of life for these kids as they experience the impact of diagnosis and as they brave the trials of their ongoing treatment. The Foundation has found a way to give these kids and their families a valuable tool with which to fight those daily battles- best of all, it’s a tool that already lies within them. They only need to learn how to access it and perfect it’s usage. In my opinion, what better subject with which to develop their craft than on a Jeep.

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While the Jeep seemed a perfect blank canvas for Hatch’s Kids to practice their magic on, it’s not every day that a brand new Wrangler JKU lands in your lap either, at least not in the real world. Fortunately, the fine folks at the Mtn. View Auto Group see things a little bit differently. They jumped in and fired-up a brand-spanking new Wrangler, hopped on the freeway and dropped it on their doorstep…literally. It still had the paper floor mats in it. But not for long.

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The Austin Hatcher Foundation’s goal was to transform this bone-stock JK into a modern interpretation of the classic Jeepster Commando, an early-70’s rarity that added popular muscle car styling to the time-honored CJ persona. Rugged Ridge donated pile upon pile of parts to accomplish this massive undertaking while Truck ‘N Trailers USA provided enough shop space, lift and tools to build a space shuttle. And to top it off, they’ll accomplish this task with manpower sourced from the families that they serve on a daily basis. Yes…they’re gonna build this beast with kids.

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It was a brilliant plan whose full perfection would not be realized simply or quickly, but through a series of scheduled “Build Days”. Days that were carefully planned to insure success with a project checklist for all to see. A list detailing what needed to be accomplished that day and providing a visual reminder of the team’s successes as items are checked off. While these were likely some tough build days, they are not nearly as tough as the kids who’ve fearlessly tackled them and found ways to laugh and smile through the entire process.

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And now, with all those pesky words out of the way…bask in the glory of Hatch’s Kids building a super-sweet 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Hurst Edition. It doesn’t get any cooler than this.

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So let’s hear it for the Austin Hatcher Foundation family and the outstanding influence this project has had in the lives of these young people. Be sure to keep any eye out for this beauty making appearances at automotive events over the upcoming year. It is possibly half-as-cool as the kids that built it but still way cooler than most anyhting else on the street.  You can find out more about the Austin Hatcher Foundation and the amazing work they perform in the lives of kids affected by cancer by visiting https://www.hatcherfoundation.org/  OlllllllO

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Identifying One Man’s Goodness as Greatness

It was with considerable sadness that we learned a few weeks back of the passing of our longtime friend and company spokesperson R. Lee Ermey, or as he was better and more affectionately known, The Gunny.

1The Gunny was, of all things, a movie star. It’s a little bit hard to see how a man who has made a name for himself by acting in movies could be held in such high regard by so many. Let’s face it – Ermey’s role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket may have been his defining role and anyone who has seen it would have to agree. His performance likely left you blushing a little bit and certainly breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of attending boot camp. Despite his sheer brilliance, that is not to say that this role defined The Gunny at all. He was remembered for his acting but he was only truly defined by his character.

It’s impossible, at times like this, to begin to gauge how much his presence will be missed. For anyone that ever had the privilege to meet the man in person, the experience could only be described as an honor. Gunny had a knack for making each and every person he met feel like they were important to him and, in some little way, I believe they sincerely were. His fans and supporters meant everything to him.

For those who never really had the opportunity to get to know him, the Gunny could best be described as a man that loved his country and his value for those who made it their job to defend her was beyond measure. He loved his family, he enjoyed his collection of firearms and his old Jeep, which he was quick to tell you was nothing fancy- just the way he liked it.

Part of our company’s relationship with The Gunny was his ongoing appearances, on our behalf, in the Rugged Ridge Off-Road Success Center at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas each fall. Despite being in his 70’s, Ermey would tirelessly tend to a never-ending line of fans and admirers for hour after hour and for days on end. Surrounded by military Jeeps and waves of adoring fans, never demanding a break from his post or neglecting to greet every face with a confident smile and a firm handshake. He always seemed to bubble with enthusiasm when one of his more dedicated groupies would beg to be called “maggot” or “scumbag” in that unmistakable stern tone they’d grown to revere. He would never decline and his followers couldn’t get enough.

And then there was the sweet lady who jumped into the line to meet The Gunny at the last minute, right as we were closing down for the day. She knew him, of course, from his role in Full Metal Jacket and was anxious to actually meet him. As we stood there and made conversation during her wait, I mentioned that she should tell The Gunny that she loved him in his role as the Sherriff in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. She clearly was not familiar with this obscure role, as most people aren’t. Take my word, this was by all accounts one of the most-vile characters anyone could ever imagine. Fortunately, she was trusting enough and wanted to make a real impression during her brief interaction with him. When she finally reached the front of the que, she delivered her prompted line so well that The Gunny froze, slowly looked up and stared back at her with a look so aghast, as though he might just run for the exit. It was though he could not fathom a female that would find anything appealing in such a despicable role; nonetheless, she was standing in front of him. Impression made!

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My own personal observations of R Lee Ermey in the times I was fortunate enough to be around him made a pretty deep impression on me too. The Gunny had given so much of his time over the years lending support to law enforcement and giving of himself for our military troops, that it was very common for fans to show up and spend an hour waiting in line to share just a few moments with him, often holding old pictures of themselves with The Gunny. Photos from a time past when they were stationed overseas or serving on a military base in some bleached-out desert somewhere and The Gunny was there for them. Two soldiers who, despite being world’s apart, shared common values and a mutual respect for the sacrifices each has made for the good of others. The Gunny truly got it and he wanted every soldier to know it.

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Ermey’s longtime manager and friend Bill Rogin borrowed from the U.S. Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed as a written tribute to a man who clearly established himself in a class all his own: “There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.”

Semper Fi, Gunny

Godspeed

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The Fine Art of Computer-Assisted Time Wasting

Have you ever seen the children’s book series entitled “Where’s Waldo?”. The premise of the books is over-illustrated pages of mind-boggling artistic detail in which the reader is supposed to scour the colorful artwork in search of the books namesake Waldo, an odd French-looking fellow with a red & white striped shirt and coke-bottle glasses. The task of finding this whimsical character proves to be so eye-straining that I fail to see where the actual enjoyment lies. I usually end up slamming the book shut in frustration and mumbling ill sentiments about this Waldo guy, wherever he is.

But I recently had a revelation while utilizing Google Maps to map out a local wheeling trip. As I scrolled my wireless mouse along the low-res images of miles of back-country Georgia roadway looking for a landmark with which to demark an important side road turn-off, I saw it… a bright red 2-door TJ Rubicon in all of its pixelated glory. Complete with a mild lift and a winch!

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It occurred to me that I was quite possibly on to something and this something could be big. A pasttime for the ages in which one could drive around a virtual world, as captured by Google’s odd little camera cars, and look for random Jeeps, or maybe even Waldo’s Jeep if he were to have one. However, I think Waldo might actually drive a little Fiat 500 convertible or maybe a bicycle with a sissy bar and a basket. Since a retro-themed game is three times as likely to succeed as a completely original game title, I decided to call my new online endeavors “Where’s Waldo’s Jeep?”.2I have to admit that the game and it’s subtle intracacies do not makie it the obvious choice for scientists or people of higher intellectual stature. But if you’re like me and love driving around town spotting Jeeps in traffic and calling them out by their 2-letter designations, you might just find some satisfaction playing “Where’s Waldo’s Jeep?”. And with that, it was time to head to Moab!

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Of course, it didn’t take long to find a jacked-up YJ cruising the town with nothing but a bikini top and a set of balding mud-terrains. Although I can’t make out the text across his windshield, I suspect it says “As Seen On Where’s Waldo’s Jeep”.

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While out west, a short stop in Buffalo, Wyoming yielded this burnt orange JK Unlimited Rubicon parked outside of some random business, possibly a Bank & Trust or a General Merchantile, as they both seem to abound in the old west. With this rig sporting completely stock attire except for an aftermarket bull bar across the front bumper, it makes me ponder whether I should develop some sort of points systems where highly-modified Jeeps can accumulate a higher points value than a bone-stock vehicle. Or vice-versa?

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This Firecracker Red 2-Door cruising the Pacific Coast Highway with the hardtop ON is a true tragedy and honestly nearly drove me to abandon this game and it’s further development entirely. I amagaed to regain my composure and press on to my next destination.

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Stuck in downtown traffic in Haltom City, Texas is where I spotted this nicely modified JK. It’s really hot in Texas so maybe the closed roof is just so that he doesn’t suffer a severely scorched scalp.

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Ooops….that’s a rusty Geo Tracker in Lincoln, Nebraska. That AIN’T no Jeep!

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A blue Wrangler JK in Peoria, Illinois, once again with the hardtop firmly intact. Maybe there needs to be bonus points when you find soft tops or no tops at all. Or any Jeep spotted anywhere in Alaska for that matter. I even looked around four-wheel drive shops in the booming metropolis of Anchorage but still found nothing! I will assume the fact that soft top windows crack like candy glass in cold climates might be at the root of this rarity. I’m not done searching the great white North for a Jeep although I am convinced that they’re hiding way up in the mountains with the yetis.

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No bonus points for a hardtop TJ in Minneapolis, Minnesota but since it is parked in what might possibly be a high crime area, we will pardon this indiscretion.

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This 4-Door JK does have a soft top… BONUS!!! And it’s a fastback-style so that’s extra good. Pretty nice rig wheeling the pavement of Oklahoma City, OK. On a side note: If your vehicle is gonna be featured in a world-reknowned navigational app, you’ve gotta replace that passenger side turn signal bulb.

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Yet another soft top chilling curbside in Niagara Falls, NY. We’re in the Northeast so we might as well swing by the factory in Toledo, Ohio and see where they’re made. Lots packed full of newborn JK’s with no miles doesn’t hold the same thrill as seeing them out in their natural habitat.

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Admittedly, finding Jeeps in the parking lot at the manufacturing plant is much like shooting fish in a barrel; finding them wherever they roam is where the purest thrill is found. Like crossing a bridge in North Bend, Oregon or looking adventurous in full trail gear near the Rubicon Trail in South Lake Tahoe, CA.

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So go to your computer or laptop and log-on to Google Maps, switch to satellite maps and zoom down to the street view to see what you can find and, most importantly, have fun! It’s a tremendous day when your great Jeep adventures never have to end. OlllllllO152106b4ca367891a36776fcdb10f2edd9

Rugged Ridge announces release of new Spartan line of Bumpers for 2007-2018 Wrangler JK/JKU

Tough, Trail-Ready Bumper Designs for Budget-Minded JK Enthusiasts

Suwanee, Ga. (April 17, 2018) – Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the release of its new Spartan line of Front and Rear Bumpers for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK / JKU models.

The new Spartan Front and Rear Bumpers were designed to give JK owners an affordable alternative to today’s typical off-road bumpers by offering attractive styling and high-quality components that won’t break the bank.

Rugged Ridge’s Spartan line of off-road bumpers offer a variety of styles to suit any taste and budget. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge’s Spartan line of off-road bumpers offer a variety of styles to suit any taste and budget.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge Spartan Bumpers are assembled using high-strength steel plate featuring fold and weld construction, and are then finished with a rich black textured powder coat to protect from hazards regardless where the trail leads.

The Rugged Ridge Spartan bumpers are direct bolt-on replacements for stock JK bumpers, engineered to provide a uniform fitment and trouble-free installation. They also utilize the factory JK fog lights in the design to minimize the expense of a pricey lighting upgrade.

There are several Spartan front bumper variations available to suit a range of individual tastes, including models with standard ends or with a more muscular high-clearance end for an off-road oriented look. Each bumper can be fitted with an off-road winch using the included winch plate or can be accented with an optional over rider.

Each Rugged Ridge Spartan Bumper utilizes a pair of D-ring mounting plates and includes all necessary installation hardware as well as detailed instructions for the do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

The Rugged Ridge Spartan line of bumpers is backed by an industry leading five-year limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep® and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP starting at 399.99.

For more information about the new Spartan line of front and rear bumpers, or any of Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an authorized retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com.

Part Number Description MSRP
11548.01 Spartan Front Bumper, HCE, W/Overrider, 07-18 JK $533.99
11548.02 Spartan Front Bumper, SE, W/Overrider, 07-18 JK $466.99
11548.03 Spartan Front Bumper, SE, W/O Overrider, 07-18 JK $399.99
11548.04 Spartan Front Bumper, Overrider, 07-18 JK $106.99

If I Say Work Load Limit and You Say Breaking Strength, Who’s Right?

When it comes to off-road recovery gear, there has always been a bit of a dispute when it comes to weight ratings and making sure you match the components in your gear bag to the potential use that they are lying in wait to fulfill.

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To begin to wrap our minds around the issue at hand, it’s vital to understand the terms and what they actually mean. If you went to buy a new car and the bold MPG numbers on the window sticker were in the single digits, you would be wise move along to some other dealership, wouldn’t you? But what if you thought that a lower number was actually preferred, like in a golf score? Could such confusion be the root of how our highways have become congested with massive fuel-guzzling SUV’s? We just didn’t know any better…right?

You will likely see two different terms commonly tossed around when shopping for shackles, straps and recovery appliances today. The first one is “Breaking Strength” which, admittedly, sounds about as cool as a term possibly can. Doesn’t it? This number is usually a gargantuan figure with tons of zeroes and it’s easy to be swept away by the size of the number when positioned next to a word like strength. The Breaking Strength can be defined as the average force at which any given product, in brand new condition, has been found to break when a constant and ever-increasing force is applied to it in a direct line and at a uniform rate of speed. Essentially, it’s a number arrived at in a testing laboratory under strict conditions; a number whose actual existence outside of that laboratory is highly unlikely.

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I like to think of the term Breaking Strength in a slightly different fashion that helps put its value in perspective. I’m reminded of a story I read once about a Soviet airman during World War II named Ivan Chisov. While embroiled in a heated and volatile air battle with German forces, Ivan’s bomber took on heavy damage. While disaster for the crew seemed imminent, Chisov knew that parachuting from the failing aircraft while in the midst of an intense aerial dogfight would give the German fighters a slowly descending target at which to take aim, making him an unwilling sitting duck. For that reason, Ivan exited the plane and rocketed towards earth, chute unopened, waiting until he was well-clear of the fray to deploy his chute and slow his descent. Ahhh…the beauty found in such a calculated plan!

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Contrary to his crafty plan, falling at nearly 150 miles per hour unfortunately caused Chisov to black out completely, making him a less-than-likely candidate to execute the timely pull of the ripcord, as his hastily-made plan required. Henceforth, falling from an altitude of more than 22,000 feet with nothing more to break his fall than the clothes he had on and the snowy bank resting below seemed a certain and fatal end. Somehow, despite insurmountable odds, Ivan Chisov survived the fall and lived to fly again, only months later, after recovering from his slew of injuries.

While Ivan’s story is pretty remarkable, it stands to show that amazing things can happen when the conditions are just right. It goes without saying that the Russian Air Force did not revise their training manuals based ON Ivan’s experience to show that a standard airman can survive a fall from 20,000 feet due to their incredible inherent breaking strength, although in certain scenarios under precise conditions it is somehow possible. It is certainly NOT the rule and to count on it as such would be a first step in the wrong direction.

That’s where the WLL, or Working Load Limit, comes into the picture. When defined, the WLL is the maximum load which should ever be applied to the product, even when the item is new, with uncompromised integrity and the load is uniformly applied. When the WLL is applied to any scenario, it introduces a factor of safety into the equation so that the margin for an accidental failure of equipment is virtually eliminated. For that reason, the WLL is usually 1/3 of the products breaking strength. This introduces a little bit of breathing room into the equation; accounting for things that are not as ideal as the laboratory conditions. Things like the resistance of the aired-down tires, the tree that is 25 degrees to the right of the vehicle instead of perfectly inline or the D-shackle that might have tumbled out of the tailgate a time or two in the past.

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Since the Working Load Limit is still founded on a straight line pull scenario, it is of vital importance that every effort is made to abide by this standard when rigging for vehicle recovery. This standard would make necessary a variety of items to suit the wide array of scenarios one would encounter on the trail: straps, shackles, pulleys, snatch blocks and the list goes on. Much like playing Red Rover in grade school, your recovery chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you are wheeling in a newer Wrangler JK Unlimited, you need to know the weight of the vehicle is around 5,000 pounds and then plan your gear accordingly.

In the same breath, don’t outfit your recovery gear for your JK 4-Door and then think you can safely snatch a stray ditch-bound semi out on the way home. You’ll need some superhero-grade powers or an advanced Engineering degree…or both. Even if your snatch strap is rated for 10 million tons, the trailer hitch you hook it to is not even close to being up to the task. The importance of sizing up the task and assembling appropriate gear to accomplish it safely is critical; otherwise, we don’t jump out of the plane.5Bottom line? Consider a products breaking strength as a “good to know” while keeping the WLL as the number to count on. Prepare for any possibility, plan for every situation but always make sure safety is the tool you rely on most often. Keeping all your recovery gear in good working order is as important as selecting the right gear that is rated adequately for the job at hand will help insure a safe and rewarding wheeling experience. OlllllllO2106b4ca367891a36776fcdb10f2edd9

The Name’s Bessie…With a Little Heart Over the ‘I’

I’ve noticed an alarming trend over the past few years. It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with “it” but, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, it’s a fad that bothers me more deeply than I should admit to. What is the popular trend that I’m referencing, you ask? It’s the practice of naming your Jeep. There! I said it!!

1One of my earliest automotive memories was of my dear mother calling our car by name. Not talking to it like a member of the family or even an acquaintance as that might be insane. I can only remember her resorting to vehicular name-calling when things weren’t going pleasingly. When the turn of the ignition was met by labored sounds of a dying battery, she would mutter “C’mon Bessie” between consecutive pulses of the throttle pedal chased by turns of the key. Always calm as if coaxing Bessie to life hinged on this very personal utterance.

 

I can’t remember her ever referring to the car by name on any other sort of occasions. Never did I hear say “Go get in Bessie, kids! We’re going to the package store”- never…not once. She would, however, cheer on Bessie enthusiastically whenever climbing a steep grade that proved burdensome. Never did she comment to my Dad that Bessie was filthy and due a good cleaning. “Bessie” was only used in second-person dialog exclusively and always somewhat impersonally. In fact, I’m fairly certain that my mom used the same moniker of Bessie regardless of what car she was addressing. Whether it was the old VW Beetle, the ’84 Bonneville or any of my father’s vast collection of pickups he owned over the years- the name Bessie was always a constant. One could argue that a classic German model like the old Volkswagen might be more appropriately named with a label that points to its …maybe Ingrid or Helga. While a crude pickup might pass for a “Big Red” or “Ol’ Blue”. And yet Bessie still prevailed.

So what purpose does someone have in naming their vehicles today? I have a strong feeling that cars or, more importantly, Jeeps are given names as a means of expressing a close relationship between driver and carriage. I’ll admit that it does make sense to me that a person would desire to apply a name to an object that occupies so much of their life that it becomes a part of the family. Add to that the fact that I strongly object to calling a Jeep merely an object and I find myself pondering the possibility of beginning a search for a suitable name for my own Jeep. But not really.

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I do think that it would be cool to have a nickname for a car at those times when you take the vehicle in for service. Filling out the shop’s paperwork with only the Jeeps nickname and then requesting you be paged when it’s ready could be quite entertaining, especially if you choose the name carefully. Watching the looks on fellow customers faces as the intercom shamelessly announces “’Nobody’s Business’, Your car is ready” ranks fairly high on the fun scale. Maybe not as fun as having the neighborhood kids help search for your lost dog, who just happens to be named “Poopie”, but still pretty fun.

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We’ve established a questionably firm foundation for giving your beloved Jeep a name but that only brings me to another problem that is not so easily overcome. Why would anyone go on a public forum, such as social media venue like Facebook, and plead with a group of total strangers to assist with the naming of their own Jeep? How is it that this makes any sort of sense?? A creative consensus has never been reached before this day, which means you’re really just volunteering to be endlessly bombarded with horrible name suggestions, everything from nursery rhyme references to obscure movie taglines and everything in between. Nothing original or fitting, at least not in the eyes of those who have fully evolved.

I wrestle with the warped ideals of a person who entertains the thought of bestowing the privilege of choosing a proper nickname for their Jeep to a total unknown, possibly even the likes of a transient or no-account drifter. Is this the type of individual who would also toy with the thought of allowing their own human offspring to be so titled by strangers, Tweeting out from tense confines of the labor & delivery room asking for sir name suggestions for Junior? Is this how we end up with kids named Moon-Unit or Glitter?? Seems pretty likely to me. Who else would find it acceptable to name their children after compass coordinates?

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I would encourage anyone who fancies the idea of giving their Jeep a name to give the concept its due diligence and don’t just resort to soliciting the absurd input of outsiders. If you are unable to compile a list of at least a handful of potential candidates from which to choose, based on color or appearance, then maybe referring to your Jeep as just a Jeep seems a reasonable alternative; at least until the perfect name reveals itself to you in a fever dream or through an other-worldly voice speaking to you from beyond. It’s then and only then that you will know the perfect name for your beloved Jeep.

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And with such supernatural powers combining to reveal that perfect name to you, you’ll want to have special vinyl graphics crafted and tastefully installed on your hood and/or windshield; possibly even have your local tag office stamp your pride & joy a special vanity plate for all to see, so long as your chosen tagline is not considered potty-talk. The clerk at the tag office might not catch it but you can bet that your local peace officers will. Having your Jeeps name proudly displayed will help other motorists gain some sense of the admiration you hold for your Jeep. I can almost hear them muttering it as you drive by them in all your grandeur. “Hey…Look! There goes Dirty Girl!!” OlllllllO

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“Seems Like There Is Always a Hitch”

There are a handful of television program on any one of the hundreds of semi-useless channels on your satellite or cable lineup that fail to deliver on their given title. “Finding Bigfoot”, however entertaining it might be, has never actually seen a legitimate sasquatch, much less had any deeper level of engagement with one that c1ould be deemed as “finding”. They’ve certainly never coaxed one into the bed of the rust-stricken dually and toted it home to show the better half. Heck, the entire premise of “Dancing with the Stars” would lead a viewer to believe that the old soft-shoe would be glamorously displayed for us by actual identifiable superstars, rather than some lesser breed of reality show outcast or Hollywood ne’er-do-well breathing heavily and sweating profusely. It seems as though the title is quite commonly not an accurate description of what one can expect to observe.

Have you ever noticed that just about every Jeep you see is equipped with a trailer hitch? Even if not so equipped from the factory, the price of an aftermarket hitch is so minimal that adding one is a virtual no-brainer. Yet, how many of these Jeeps are ever tasked with towing a trailer? I would guess-timate less than 25% of the hitches mounted on Jeeps are ever used for pulling a trailer of any type, maybe even less. Two-door Jeep’s short wheelbase makes pulling a trailer a hair-raising venture at highway speeds while four-door models are often too under-powered for pulling any significant weight, especially on a grade. So what’s the payoff for hauling around the extra weight of a sturdy steel hitch, enduring the reduced departure angles and the constant threat to your tender shins?

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As it turns out, there are plenty of valid purposes for that rear-mounted hitch outside the confines of pulling a trailer. One that I have used on numerous occasions is to increase your Jeeps cargo carrying capacity with the addition of a cargo rack. In seconds, you can add a couple of hundred pounds of payload without sacrificing precious interior space. It’s a must-have for almost any outdoor excursion or a run to the home improvement store. http://www.omix-ada.com/receiver-rack-20-inches-x-60-inches.html

3Another practical use of a trailer hitch is to equip it to serve as a recovery point with the addition of a D-Shackle. While this might not appeal as much to a Jeep owner who stays primarily on the paved roads, the uses can extend well beyond those off-road scenarios. Using the hitch to pull shrubs out of the ground and other landscaping jobs are tailor-made for such a set-up. And then there’s an all-too-often ignored art form called
“Brute Force Lumberjacking” that begs for further exploration. Plus, it just looks cool! http://www.omix-ada.com/receiver-hitch-d-shackle-assembly.html

Maybe the practical and understated is not what you’re all about. If so, consider making a real visual spectacle with a Giga Hook. It has all the same pulling practicality as the D-shackle mount without any of the subtlety. It’s big. It’s strong. It’s a friggin’ gigantic hook. See for yourself- http://www.ruggedridge.com/giga-hook-black-2-inch-receiver-11237-20.html

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If your rig is one that actually spends any time on the trails, your hitch could really stand for a handy upgrade like this one. While there is no replacement for being resourceful when you go off-roading, it sure is nice to have the equipment on hand that makes the inevitable mechanical misfortune more manageable. If you have ever tried to replace a broken universal joint on the trail like a caveman, with stones and sockets, you can truly value the worth of having a press while in such a situation. But a press is in a shop or garage…definitely not on a Jeep. Hence the rocks and bloody knuckles.

That’s where the Mac’s Trail D-Vise proves invaluable. A simple and sturdy hitch-mounted vise provides the ability to press bearing caps, clamp suspension components for welding and any other mechanical wizardry you can muster.

Its simple design doesn’t incorporate a lot of excess materials or bulk, for overall lighter weight, and includes an onboard handle suitable for smaller jobs. For those major repairs, the vise works with standard sockets or a tire tool for greater leverage and maximum grip. Rumor has it that there is even a bottle opener built into the design- seems as though they’ve thought of almost everything. Check it out at http://www.macscustomtiedowns.com/product/TrailD-Vise/trail-d-vise

   Depending on your particular pastime of choice, there are any number of attachments and accessories for trailer hitches that can suit your needs; for everything from hauling bicycles to stowing snow skis. Putting that dormant trailer hitch to good use will help you get the most from your Jeep and help prepare you for that next adventure. OlllllllO

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Rugged Ridge announces releases of Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder

New Trail-Ready Design Incorporates Secure Containment & Quick Access

Suwanee, Ga. (April 3, 2018) – Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truck and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the release of its new Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder for Jeeps and various on and off road applications. Constructed of stunning cast aluminum, the Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder is designed to provide a secure extinguisher mount on any flat surface with the included hardware.

Rugged Ridge’s Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder features a smooth quick release mechanism for one- handed access. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

Rugged Ridge’s Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder features a smooth quick release mechanism for one- handed access.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

The Elite Billet Style Aluminum Fire Extinguisher Holder is engineered with an internal spring loaded release mechanism fashioned from 316 Stainless Steel, enabling quick one-handed access to the extinguisher if the need arises. Designed to work with standard 2.5 lb extinguishers (not included), the Elite Billet Fire Extinguisher Holder is a highly-functional addition to any vehicle’s safety preparedness package.

Each Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder is finished in a premium matte black textured powder coat to provide an attractive appearance for years of service in the harshest of conditions.

The Rugged Ridge Elite Fire Extinguisher Holder is backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty and is available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $66.99.

For more information about the new Elite Billet Style Fire Extinguisher Holder, or any of Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find an approved retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com.

Part Number Description MSRP
11238.40 Elite, Billet Fire Extinguisher Holder, 76-17 Wrangler $66.99

Rugged Ridge expands line of cargo area protection products for 2007-2018 Wrangler JK

New C3 Interior Tailgate Protection Cover and C4 Canine Containment Cube Offer Greater Function & Versatility While Preserving Interior Surfaces

Suwanee, Ga. (March 20, 2018) – Rugged Ridge®, a leading manufacturer of high-quality Jeep®, truc

The C3 Interior tailgate Protection guards the entire tailgate surface from damage while adding valuable storage space. The C4 Canine Cube gives four-legged Jeepers a secure and stable area all their own. Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

The C3 Interior tailgate Protection guards the entire tailgate surface from damage while adding valuable storage space. The C4 Canine Cube gives four-legged Jeepers a secure and stable area all their own.
Photo Credit: Rugged Ridge

k and off-road parts and accessories, today announced the addition of its new C3 Interior Tailgate Protection Cover and C4 Canine Containment Cube to its line of interior protection products for 2007- 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK models. 

The C3 Interior Tailgate Cover is constructed of heavyweight ballistic-weave nylon with sturdy reinforced seams. It incorporates a spacious storage pouch and multiple tool loops for added utility. A built-in mesh screen maintains proper air flow through the factory tailgate vent. Installation is simplified with the included hook and loop fasteners for all 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK models.

The new C4 Canine Containment Cube’s innovative design utilizes the Jeep Wrangler’s sport bar as a means of suspending a self-contained compartment for transporting pets safely & securely while preserving the rear cargo area, protecting it from damage from claws and accidental stains.

Made from a sturdy ballistic weave material, the C4 Canine Cube is lighter than most conventional pet carriers and has durable mesh-screened walls for better air flow and greater visibility. The integrated anchor system keeps the cube firmly in place while its soft-side construction allows it to fold flat when not in use. Plastic reinforced floor panels add an extra layer of interior protection.

The Rugged Ridge C3 Interior Tailgate Cover and C4 Canine Cube are backed by an industry-leading five- year limited warranty and are available online and through select Jeep and off-road parts and accessories retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $66.99 and $199.99 respectively.

For more information on these or any of Rugged Ridge’s complete line of high-quality Jeep and off-road products, or to find and approved retailer, please contact Rugged Ridge at 770-614-6101 or visit www.RuggedRidge.com

Part Number Description MSRP
13260.09 C3 Tailgate Cover, 07-18 Wrangler JK $66.99
13260.20 C4 Canine Cube $199.99

 

 

The Top 10 Reasons to Observe May 19, 2018- Jeep “Go Topless Day®”

1The 11th Annual Go Topless Day® is swiftly approaching; a day set aside to celebrate our beloved Jeep in the best way we know how…by removing our tops and driving around with reckless abandon (within the strict confines of your local laws and ordinances, of course). Even better, this year’s event is sponsored by the Jeep fanatics at Rugged Ridge! As if any pure-blooded Jeeper needed an excuse to take their Jeeps out and enjoy a gorgeous spring day on the open road; we’ve come up with ten, count them, TEN reasons why you should get those Jeeps out and expose the world to a little peek into what it’s like to be a diehard Jeeper:

#1Jeep is an American Icon – Very much like our countries stars and stripes, the revered Jeep deserves to be on public display for everyone to see, appreciate and enjoy. When darkness sets in, fret not; Jeeps are equipped with their own onboard illumination systems so that you can still see and be seen with the press of a button or pull of a knob (depending on your particular model). It is absolutely revolutionary!

2#2 Gasoline Prices Are Going Up – While this seems like more of a ‘con’ than a ‘pro’, just think about it for a minute. Driving the wheels off the old Jeep is gonna be cheaper on this day than it will be on any given day in June OR July. Consider, if you will, the kind-hearted folks of Finland who are paying in excess of $5.00 a gallon for petrol! With gas prices like those, you can very well imagine that, even if those poor Finns were lucky enough to have Jeeps, before “Go Topless Day” even got started, it would be Finnished. So fill those fuel tanks up to over-flowing and wheel those Jeeps like there’s no tomorrow. Do it for our Jeep-less friends on the other side of the pond.

#3 – This IS the 11th Anniversary of Go Topless Day® – Just think about it…this tops-off celebration is in its second decade of existence and it’s getting bigger every year. And it’s not just the western hemisphere, folks. We’ve got topless bashes as far away as Australia making Go Topless Day® a true global phenomenon.

#4 – Kids LOVE Jeeps! – I am not insinuating that you need to go out and adopt kids for “Go Topless” Day, if you don’t currently have any of your own. I am simply stating one of the simplest truths that exists today, and that is: if you take a kid for a ride in your Jeep, smiles will be sure to follow. Smiles so genuine that they can only be enhanced by the likes of ice cream and amusement parks- they’re that good. If admission to your rig is strictly limited to adults only, at least take the time to wave and smile at kids when you see them out on the road. You’re in a Jeep, so you can bet they will already be looking at you. You’ve gotta let them know how much fun it really is!

#5 – It’s Saturday!! – I would understand your hesitance to venture out too far from the house on a weekday school night but “Go Topless Day®” falls on the weekend, so any and all excuses fail. Get out there and enjoy a care-free ride knowing you’ll have all day on Sunday to recover.

4#6 – ‘Jeep Hair’ Looks Outstanding on Almost Everyone – With the exception of completely bald individuals, looking somewhat frazzled like you just came off a rollercoaster is a good look – crazy, but good. Case in point… Go to ANY dating website and browse through the hundreds upon hundreds of profile pictures. Every one of these hapless romantics is well-groomed with their hair perfectly in place and yet they are hopelessly single. What could they be missing?? You might try sacrificing those hairdos to the wind gods, jump into a Jeep and live a little. You won’t be sorry! If you just can’t take the risk with those precious locks, may we suggest a ball cap? Follow the link and you’ll see it’s really just a win / win situation.

https://www.allthingsjeep.com/jeephats.html

5#7 – You Get to Relive the ‘Good Old Days’ – Do you remember when you were just a kid and your neighborhood friends would come knock on your front door and ask your parents if you could come out and play? Well, your Jeep friends are going to be out playing on May 19th and we want you to come out and play too! The Jeep community is a family; a brother and sisterhood of people who share in the same enjoyment of the outdoors and an undying passion for Jeeps. You’ll see them out there, so make sure you wave and don’t worry about being home before the streetlights come on.

#8 – You Can Throw the Map Right Out the Window – Actually, if you don’t have a roof you are probably deprived of doors, as well. So the map kinda throws itself out with no help from you. Nonetheless, Go Topless Day® is all about the journey you’re on and not any given destination, so set out for the great unknown. You’ll never know what you might find when you chart a course for nowhere. Set out with a friend to find a new trail to hike, take in a handful of a postcard-perfect views or a new out-of-the-way restaurant to experience. This adventure is not scripted so you can make it up as you go. Most importantly, set out to see as much of the world around you as you can, from the best seat available.

6#9 – Man’s Best Friend Will Likely Lick You– The only characters that seem to love a Jeep ride more than Jeep owners are the Jeep owner’s dogs. When canines go for a ride in a normal car, they have to poke their heads out of the lowered window, which requires standing on all fours for a vast majority of the time, equating to much more work than dogs usually prefer. The well-known cliché “lazy as a dog” is somewhat unfair in that dogs actually prefer to exhaust their energies in more thrilling pursuits, such as chasing balls or Frisbees, scavenging for people food, disassembling consumer textiles and intently sleeping on pricey furniture. For this reason, Jeeps are the ideal method of getting around for dogs. They are able to be completely surrounded by refreshing breezes while enjoying a much more comfortable reclined position; so take your four-legged friends along with you BUT don’t forget a leash or lanyard so your pooch can stay safe & secure in the cab.

7#10 – Taking the first step is super easy!! – You can get an unbelievably FREE Go Topless Day® decal from All Things Jeep.com by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope (US addresses only) to the address below. Every request is opened by a living, breathing human so feel free to include a friendly note. We hope to see you out on May 19th! OlllllllO

All Things Jeep

GTD 2018 Bumper Sticker Request

20 Mill Street, Suite 136

Pepperell, MA 01463

For more information on AllThingsJeep.com’s 11th Annual Go Topless Day® 2018 sponsored by Rugged Ridge, please visit https://www.allthingsjeep.com/go-topless-day.html.  

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