My Retrospective Look at Toledo Trek 2018

It was many months back, early spring of 2018, that I forged the idea in my rat’s nest-of-a-brain to take my 25-year old Wrangler YJ and set a course northward. To drive to the land long-revered as the birthplace of the Jeep- Toledo, Ohio.

Looking back, I was a bit distressed that my old Jeep might not be up to the chore. She has been known to consume a little oil, which is not in any way uncommon for a Jeep. It’s not been assigned a quart of oil per gallon of gas ratio as of yet, so all is good. I will note also that, after years of dedicated efforts, I can proudly declare that the old 4-liter doesn’t leak oil, in any measurable quantity, at all.

All Photos Courtesy of Evan Coolidge

All Photos Courtesy of Evan Coolidge

So what was I really worried about? My antique Jeep, with its ostracizing rectangular headlights, seemed to make the 1,300 mile jaunt with no real struggles at all. So why would I be, in any way, surprised? She has been hauling my cumbersome structure to & from work faithfully every day for what seems like forever. So I can’t say that I am the least bit surprised. I do find myself cherishing a newfound sense of pride that I hadn’t held before…proud, but not surprised.

What I do find a bit surprising is how much I enjoyed my visit to Toledo. I had heard from more than a couple people how degraded and destitute the city had become. How the city streets were lined with shops that had been boarded-up long ago and either moved on or folded completely. While this perception is not untrue by any means, I can’t help but think that Toledo is a city in need of a second chance.

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To be fair, when you pack legions of Jeeps into one town, I’m probably gonna fall slightly head-over-heels for it. I can’t really help it. Toledo loves the Jeep and she wears her love for it right out on her sleeve for everyone to see. Having the city be completely overrun with Jeeps, if only for a weekend, seemed much like some kind of homecoming. Like all the kids who were born here, had grown up and moved on, all agreed to come back to Grammys house for a reunion. To share a meal, to play on the lawn and show how much they’ve achieved over the years.

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There is no discounting the notion that the Jeep and its loyal followers are more than just a community; they are indeed a family. But the attraction of the city of Toledo, at least for me, goes far beyond its relevance in the history of our beloved Jeep. It’s like the city, with its endless array of aging architecture, symbolizes a way of life that is seemingly nonexistent anymore. The city is romantic. It is historic and it is charming. The fact that time left Toledo behind was no fault of the city at all.

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The Toledo Jeep Fest was originated as a celebration of Jeep’s 75th anniversary, back in 2016, with the plan of it becoming a biennial event, or happening every other year. With such overwhelming success, rumors are adrift that the city of Toledo might try having the show every year. With such a swell of enthusiasm over the Jeep brand and the recurring boost to the local economy that an annual show would provide, I can’t help but dream of the possibility that the town that built Jeep might someday become the town that Jeep rebuilt. I, for one, will anxiously await the opportunity to relive my trek to Toledo once again. After all…my old Jeep can make it, no problem. OlllllllO

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Weighing the Pros & Cons of Insanity

Over the years, I have come to realize that I do my best thinking at night. In that short period of time between lying down and actually falling asleep, I solve some of life’s largest quandaries. To be honest, what I consider to be “my best thinking” is probably substandard to most other people but, at least to me, it’s pure genius-level stuff.

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In stark comparison, I seldom if ever have a lucid thought when I first wake up. At the earliest hint of the first shrill tone from the alarm, my mind is prone to produce such mindless gibberish that I’m left wondering on what occasion I received a head injury. “Where’s the dog!?!!”…”Lefty Loosey” or even “Hello!”, as if answering a phone in my slumber, are some of the first things that come across my mind and therefore cross my lips in mornings earliest seconds. I’ve even been known to grasp desperately at a non-existent handrail, while still comatose, because my mind convinced me I was falling. Trust me…at night time, I am freaking brilliant!

I am currently deeply engaged in the planning of a cross country trek to Toledo, OH for the annual Toledo Jeep Fest in August. And this is not just any trek, but one taken in my 25 year old Jeep. As I laid in bed last night planning what mechanical tasks I needed to address this weekend in preparations for my voyage, it occurred to me that, amongst all the other pertinent planning, I needed to address how my Jeep was going to dress for the trip.

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If you have or have ever had a Jeep, you probably know what I mean. Anytime you take your Jeep out, you have to assess your itinerary and determine the best and most practical set-up for the occasion. If you have a hardtop, most of that decision making is pre-determined for you. Since my YJ is a soft top, I need to ask myself “Do I run the fastback soft top so I have my windows ready in waiting in case the weather goes south or do I roll the dice and don the more-risqué bikini top?” I decide that the fastback top would be the wisest choice and offer the most versatility. See! Nighttime-Me is ridiculously sharp. Isn’t he?

Then my mind progresses to the subject of doors. Do I mount up my half doors to the Jeep with a plan to then store the uppers in the rear cargo area when the weather permits or do I just leave home without any doors at all? I can even store the doors in the hotel room for short jaunts without doors. Or, do I drive half a dozen states away from my home with no means of protecting myself and my vehicles occupants from the elements during what might be one of the hottest Augusts in recent memory? Why, of course I do. Wait…what??

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I think if my wife was accompanying me on this trip, I would have to give the topic of going door-less for 1,300 miles some more intense thought. Bottom line is that I’m taking my teenage son and I love the open-air Jeep lifestyle as much or maybe more than anyone. Face it! I’m never gonna be able to tell my son about walking to school, ten miles each way, uphill in the snow. I need him to remember that time we drove across the country in a Jeep for no reason other than we could. And, worse yet, we wanted to! My exhausted and heavy-eyed self could not pose a single counterpoint as to why I would complete this trip in anything other than true Jeep fashion. Limited top and no doors!

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I hope, beg and pray that you will follow me along my journey beginning on August 8th, 2018 as we make our way to Toledo, the birthplace of Jeep. We’ll be posting pictures from the road and sharing the experience on our Rugged Ridge Facebook page and at YourJeepYourAdventure.com . We hope to see you then! OlllllllO

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How Old Is Your Jeep In Dog Years?

It’s pretty common knowledge that a dog ages quicker than people do. What is also commonly perceived is that one year for a dog is the equivalent to seven human years, which is a bit of a misconception. The very first year a canine is alive, it undergoes significant development and actually matures at a rate equivalent to 15 human years. The following second year of life, the dog ages around 12 years and declines a little each year thereafter. I guess the seven years is a bit of a mean average across a dogs suspected lifespan.

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I think that Jeeps, in general, have a somewhat similar aging pattern to that of a dog, but in reverse. The first year on the road for a new Jeep is equivalent to an actual year, taking for granted that the proper maintenance program is upheld and the mileage is kept to a civil rate. The new Jeep maintains its year-for-year rate of aging for the first few years of its life; until the day the Jeep owner’s curiosity for the unknown has them wandering away from the pavement and searching to discover a little more about their vehicles capabilities. On that day, the clock is quickened to double its original pace. Whether in the first year or the fifth, the Jeep begins to age at a rate of two years per year, once it has adopted the tendency for off-road driving habits.

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As the vehicle ages and compiles mileage, the wear and tear on the frame, chassis and mechanical components begins to compound. By the time the vehicle has reached 100,000 miles, or seven calendar years old, its rate of aging is around 3 years per year. That’s six years per if you’re busy climbing rock ledges or straddling crevasses on a regular basis. At this point, you’ll find yourself performing repairs at almost every turn. This aggressive schedule of addressing issues as they appear is the only thing that stabilizes your Jeeps rapid pattern of mechanical decline. Short of a complete overhaul and major rebuild, your Jeep will continue to age at a rate of 3 to 6 years for every New Year that passes, until that day when its fate is finally sealed.

My personal Jeep is a 1993 model which I bought in 2007. The first 14 years of its life, it was kept almost entirely stock and was fitted with highway tires that would turn utterly useless in the mud. It had compiled some 120,000 miles on the clock in its first dozen or so years. The 11 years that I have owned it, the old YJ has been plagued with massive tires, lift kits, heavy bumpers and tons of less-than-ideal driving conditions while enrolled in an extensive program of perpetual upgrade. By my calculations, my Jeep would be roughly 60 years old in dog years, and that’s if I grade on the curve. 60…That’s a pretty startling number when you stop and think about it; bottom line and best case scenario, it’s truly 25 years old on a regular Gregorian calendar making it an antique in the states opinion. Maybe sixty is not that outlandish…

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So for my YJ’s true 25th birthday, I am going to defy the odds, throw the proverbial caution to the wind and embark on a trek to the place it was born, Toledo, Ohio, and attend the Toledo Jeep Fest in August. In careful consideration for its propsed 60 years of age and the 1,400 grueling miles that lie ahead of it, I am undertaking massive amounts of maintenance on the old Wrangler in preparation for hours of driving at highway speeds. This includes touching virtually every suspension component to validate its integrity, replacing aging seals and bearings, renewing fluids and lubricants; maybe even a few cosmetic upgrades will be in order so my baby doesn’t necessarily look like an over-the-hill has-been. I’ve been around cars long enough to know that, even with the best of preparations in place, the likelihood of some level of catastrophe occurring is pretty favorable. With such impending doom, it’s understandable that I simply can’t wait…

To help document my voyage, we’ll be posting pictures from the road featuring sights and scenery from our travels and blogging a bit about the experience as we go. I am very hopeful that none of the coverage will feature dripping fluids, shredded tire carcasses or billowing plumes of smoke or steam. That seems about as likely as taking a trip to the zoo and hoping to not smell any unpleasantries…or you could say, pretty darn unlikely.

Our trip will begin on Wednesday, August 8th and we’ll share all the fun from the Toledo Jeep Fest when we arrive on Friday, August 10th and through the entire weekend. Make sure to follow the adventure on the Rugged Ridge Facebook page as well as at yourjeepyouradventure.com . We hope you can follow along! OlllllllO

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Holiday Gift Guide

Christmas is just a couple weeks away and we all know it can be tough to find the perfect gift. Well don’t worry, if you have to buy a gift for a Jeep enthusiast we got you covered from big to small gifts.

Sunglass Holder, Storage Pouch, 55-13 Jeep CJ & Wrangler
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We all know you have that one person whose Jeep looks like a hurricane ran through it and they need help. Don’t worry because with our Sunglass Holder, Storage Pouch, 55-13 Jeep CJ & Wrangler is perfect for them to keep everything in one place.

All Terrain Floor Liners
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You can never go wrong with a good floor liner. Not only will you give them a gift of having clean floors but it will also look good with a custom fit! So give them the gift of a clean interior with All Terrain Floor Liners because we all know the outside will stay dirty.

Elipse Sun Shade
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If you know they love riding with the top down than this Eclipse Sun Shade is the perfect gift. Protects you from the sun and easy installation without all the headache.

Drakon Wheel
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If you know they are all about the looks of their Jeep than these Drakon Wheels will sure turn heads. The best fit and style available.

Jeep® Jamboree 2013 Schedule

Jeep® Jamboree 2013 Schedule Announced

The official Jeep Jamboree schedule for 2013 has been released, including several new locations. Registration begins December 1st, make sure to visit their website for more information: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Trip Name Date City State
9th Texas Spur March 21-23 Llano Texas
20th Pine Barrens March 21-23 Hammonton New Jersey
1st Parker Arizona – New! April 18-20 Parker Arizona
20th Cajun April 25-27 St. Francisville Louisiana
9th Tennessee Mountains – 3 DAY EVENT! April 24-27 Oak Ridge Tennessee
23rd Arch Canyon April 25-27 San Juan County Utah
6th Top of the Ozarks May 9-11 Seymour Missouri
21st Big Bear May 9-11 Big Bear Lake California
16th Land Between The Lakes May 16-18 Marshall County Kentucky
25th Palo Duro May 30-June 1 Amarillo Texas
22nd Canyon de Chelly May 30-June 1 Chinle Arizona
4th Badlands May 30-June 2 Attica Indiana
21st Drummond Island June 20-22 Drummond Island Michigan
16th Penn’s Woods June 20-22 Bradford Pennsylvania
7th Killington July 18-20 Killington Vermont
18th Northwoods – Mole Lake July 18-20 Crandon Wisconsin
1st Roof of the Rockies – New! August 1-3 Snowmass – Aspen Colorado
2nd Coal Mountain Aug. 1-3 Shimoken Pennsylvania
16th Rubicon Trail Aug. 8-11 The Rubicon Trail California
5th Big Horn Mountains Aug. 29-31 Dayton Wyoming
21st Black Hills Sept. 5-7 Deadwood South Dakota
3rd Laurel Highlands Sept. 12-14 Farmington Pennsylvania
26th Ouray Sept. 12-14 Ouray Colorado
16th Catskill Mountains Sept. 19-21 Monticello New York
24th Maine Mountains Oct. 3-5 Bethel Maine
24th French Lick Oct. 3-5 French Lick Indiana
15th Moab Oct. 17-19 Moab Utah
20th Gateway to the Cumberlands Oct. 24-26 Williamsburg Kentucky
24th Ouachita Oct. 24-26 Hot Springs Arkansas
4th Cullman Alabama Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Cullman Alabama

Come See Rugged Ridge at The 2012 Off-Road Expo

Visit Omix-ADA/Rugged Ridge at this year’s Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo powered by General Tire! Check out some of our newest products and promotions! The show is held in Pomona, CA from October 6th through the 7th. Find us at Booth# 4719 in Building# 4.

The expo offers you the greatest collection of off-road companies, parts, equipment, gear, and experts ever assembled in America. From off-road racing to rock crawling, trail riding to sand sports, to motorcycles and ATV’s, to camping and adventure travel, you have the unique opportunity to meet and talk with the most knowledgeable people in the off-road industry. With a full weekend of excitement and 10 acres of off-road vendors in one location, you will see everything that is going on in the dynamic world of off-road.

Jeep and USA Basketball Team Up

PRESS RELEASE_________

The Jeep® brand and USA Basketball announced their partnership today as the Jeep Wrangler was named the “Official Vehicle of USA Basketball.” The Jeep brand formed a global partnership with USA Basketball to support the men’s and women’s national teams. Accordingly, the Jeep brand will launch a full advertising and marketing campaign scheduled to begin Saturday, April 28. The Jeep brand also announced the introduction of a uniquely designed special edition model, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude Edition, which will be featured in the campaign.

“Each member of the USA Basketball team embodies inner strength, passion, a drive to win and a true sense of dedication they use to not only represent their team, but also their country,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “The Jeep brand is proud to be on the same team as these talented men and women. Both symbolize American pride, a strong history, a humble spirit, integrity, courage and leadership.”

“We are proud to have the Jeep brand’s support of USA Basketball as we prepare to represent our country both on and off the court this summer,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Chairman. “The defining characteristics of these two American brands make the affiliation feel natural, and the strategic buildup of USA Basketball-themed events, along with the comprehensive advertising and marketing campaign, will put the Jeep brand top of mind with sports fans around the world.”

The Jeep brand also named 2012 USA Basketball finalist and 2008 team member, Chris Paul, as its spokesman for this partnership. In this role, Paul will be featured in the Jeep brand’s advertising campaign and appear in a series of video vignettes that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at various facets of the partnership with USA Basketball.

“Like all Jeep brand vehicles, Chris Paul defines the meaning of true athleticism and capability; we greatly admire his philanthropic efforts and dedication to giving back to the community. His altruistic nature, compassion and drive perfectly aligns with the Jeep brand values and makes him a great fit for this initiative,” said Manley.

“The Jeep brand has always been associated with the American spirit and as a member of the 2012 USA Men’s Basketball National Team, I am proud to serve as spokesman for Jeep’s partnership with USA Basketball,” stated Chris Paul. “The concept of the ‘Power Within’ is evidenced in my everyday life, both on and off the court. It will be that power that will energize USA Basketball and Jeep to maximize this global partnership in support of the Men’s and Women’s National Teams.”

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Read more on the Jeep press release.

Is Your Lift Street Legal?

One of the risks that comes with modifying any vehicle is compliance with the law, and suspension mods can be the most noticeable. Many Jeep enthusiasts want to lift their Jeep to inprove off road capability, but may wonder what their local laws are regarding lift restrictions. It is best to get familiar with your local laws before installing a lift kit on your vehicle to avoid unwanted circumstances as a result. All it takes is a little time to make sure that your mods are done legally and safely. There is a great online resource for enthusiasts to check state by state information, LiftLaws.com.

Office Grudge Match: Tug of War

Jeep Tug of War

The office is basically like the gridiron. A certain amount of trash talking is  expected and even acceptable. In our industry that usually means guys with oversized egos compensating for undersized lifts and tires, if you know what I mean.

The longest running office spat started when a tech guy called out of one of our engineers and asked when he was going to trade in his 2WD Grand Cherokee for a “real Jeep”. The engineer asked replied in kind asked the tech guy the same question. When was he going to trade in his YJ for a “real” Jeep?

To be fair the YJ is the perennial red headed step child of the Jeep family. (How quickly can you say square headlights?) Half CJ7, half TJ it seems the YJ got the worst of both worlds. The ribbing knows no bounds. Example:

Question: Why don’t you see more YJ’s on the trail? Answer: Cash for Clunkers.

Question: What is the best upgrade you can make to YJ? Answer: A TJ

For the better good we decided it was time for this hate fest to end. Love heals all wounds. So, we tried to convince them to fight it out.  They need wounds before they can be healed, right? We have been religiously offering helpful solutions: Duels, Bicycle Jousting, Arm Wrestling, but the absolute best solution we came up with was a tug of war.

So, we ask you: WHO WILL WIN? The grocery getting 2004 2WD Grand Cherokee that is one step above the soccer mom minivan, or the 1993 anemic 2.5L YJ Wrangler? The Grand Cherokee is bone stock (minus the addition of a car seat). The YJ (Yuppie Jeep) is out fitted with a 4″ ORV Lift, 1″ shackle lift and the perquisite 3″ body lift with 35×12.5×12 super swampers.

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Rugged Ridge Jeeps and Girls!

So I get a lot of emails and it is hard to read everything that comes through sometimes, but when I get an email that says “Subject:  Jeeps and Girls Photo Shoot”…   I was sold – didn’t need to read it just sign me up!

A local photographer contacted us to use a few our Jeep Wranglers in a photo shoot with some swimsuit models. He is working on an car calendar and wanted to feature some offroad shots using a few of the built Rugged Ridge Jeeps. For some reason it wasn’t very hard to find guys willing to lend him their rigs for the day. These are some test shots we were sent from the initial shoot. Don’t worry there will be more pics to come as this was first round and we are currently scheduling a multistage shoot for this project.



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