Sunday, March 20, 2016

JK Day: Part 2

Morning struck the next day, and we were both awake before our alarms.  While my brother got ready early, I simply laid there contemplating how this keeps happening.  We were up and ready by about 6:45, but wound up not really leaving until about 7:30.  I had to take a few shots of the Grand Cherokee before we trekked it to the trade-in spot.  They always look good in the morning, especially when you're about to go give them away.

Who doesn't love the smell of exhaust in the morning?
The Jeep was looking good, but the photo-bombing Vic had drained its air springs overnight... again.
The ride was pretty laid back and fairly uneventful.  We got to tour the Illinois Tollways and a bit of the Indiana Tollway as well.  Ben went flying through a sweeping turn in the middle of Chicagoland doing about 85 in a 50, just to see if he could roll it, I assume.  We stopped at a truck stop that seemed a little extra creepy compared to the ones I'm used to stopping at.  We saw a motel on the side of the road that I was surprised Ben didn't book a room.  It was called the "$tay 4 Le$$" and had a giant banner advertising $35/night rooms.  It didn't look nearly as bad as the De Luxe Motel he booked us for Power Tour though (that story will come in June).  On the way back, we also saw one called the "Econo Inn" which I'm sure would meet his wallet's approval.  Eventually we got to the dealership and found the new Jeep, a shiny 2-door JK in hairdresser - I mean, Detonator Yellow.

We parked right next to it, and automatically started moving stuff from one to the other.  Whatever was left, that is.
Not gonna lie, they looked good together.
 We met the salesman and talked for a little bit, but we were motivated to take this thing for a test drive.  Not five minutes had passed, and both Jeeps went out for a test run.  The 3.8L V6 wasn't a slouch compared to the 4.7L V8, but I'm fairly certain that the 6-speed manual had a hand in that, and I'd bet they've got it geared pretty well too.  It was surprisingly not doggy, and at speed, it was also surprisingly not twitchy like I expected a vehicle this short would be.  Overall, it road pretty well and was really fun to drive...  I'm putting most of that blame on the stick.  It was kind of a rough ride, but it wasn't bad, and was by no means nauseating.  I've ridden in minivans that had worse ride and handling characteristics than this JK.  The wind noise on the highway was also something to get used to, but after an hour at 70 mph, you didn't really notice it that much.  I didn't find myself yelling either, which reminds me of the time we drove his wife's XJ to my mechanic to fix the exhaust pipe that fell off just behind the front seats.  We were still yelling our conversation when we got inside, and were promptly reminded we had gotten out of the Jeep.

They had it real shiny for us when we got there.  So un-Jeep-like.
Lens flare for the win!

 Eventually, we took it sight seeing for a quicky photo shoot, so we had some cool pics to show off his purchase with.  When I Googled the town of Marion, OH, the pictures of the town showed this... whatever it is with the columns and whatnot, and since we drove by it to get to the dealership, I suggested we stop by and take some pictures there by it.  So we did.  It's like shooting engagement pictures, but with your new car, as though to say, "I'm committing myself to this beautiful, yellow Jeep for the next 13 years!"  (at least by Ben's Theory of Automotive Depreciation)

See?  Again, lens flare for the win!

I was an interesting comparison to drive the JK right after a 9-year older WJ.  The Grand Cherokee definitely drove clunkier and had a lot less feel and precision.  The brakes on the WJ have always been numb and unresponsive, and the steering had a wicked dead zone that liked to wander quite a bit more than you'd like.  This made the Wrangler feel so much more tight and responsive.  The brake pedal actually did something, and I'm guessing that has a rack and pinion because of how stable and tight it was.  The Grand Cherokee had a lot of body roll which the Wrangler didn't have very much at all that I can recall.  The Grand Cherokee also bounced around a bit and drove kind of like a truck.  The Wrangler also had some bounce, but it was a good kind of bounce, a new bounce that made you feel like everything is new and doing what it should be still.  Some of that too can be attributed to the shorter wheelbase, but it didn't have that jarring, slammed Civic kind of bounce.  It was good, really good.  I'm so glad he bought it, but at the same time, I will kind of miss the Grand Cherokee - not much, but some.  All around, though, this Wrangler is definitely the better Jeep.  Is that age or engineering?  I don't know, but it feels like a more entertaining and enjoyable driving machine.

If you look closely, he's actually sitting in there.
 Eventually, we got back on the road heading for Milwaukee once again.  The trip was pretty uneventful, but we did see some speeding motorcycles in Chicago, and almost got hit by some douche in a Trailblazer SS splitting lanes like a motorcycle doing about 60 when all the traffic ahead of us was slowing to a stop.  Dude almost took our plastic fenders with him.  We also saw what we think was a guy driving around on the freeway at night with his dome light on as a woman administered fellatio from the passenger seat.  Ben saw it, and asked me if that's what I saw, but I had been looking the other direction.  We then pondered what kind of person would drive around slowly passing people on the freeway with the dome light on in his '01-ish Mercedes SUV with no license plate while a girl has her head buried in his crotch.  We couldn't decide if he was looking for attention, thrill-seeking, or hoping for a litany of citations when he got pulled for not plates.  There was also the question of what was that relationship, but some things the world will never know.

 In Fort Wayne, we happened upon Sweetwater Sound, which just so happens to be one of the biggest competitors for Kraft Music, where my brother works.  He felt compelled to stop in and note the fact that he was there.  We took the obligatory photo of the Jeep in front of their sign, and while doing so, we parked in some "Tesla only"parking spots.  I'd be surprised if anyone even owns a Tesla in Fort Wayne, IN.  Maybe just one of the higher-ups at Sweetwater, and they convinced the place to give them a decent parking spot with a charge to use, so he can drive it home again.

We had to take a picture in front of the sign of the competitor
Didn't they stop making these cars?
All in all, it was a great trip.  My brother and I got to go on a fun road trip, we got a new Jeep, and we got to see some cool new places along the way.  We got home at 11:15 that night, so it wasn't even crazy late that we would wind up sleeping all day Sunday.  Google said it would be about fifteen hours of driving to do the whole thing, but we didn't time it ourselves.  It was just fun to get out on the road for a day and see what was to be seen.  I'd never been to Ohio before either, so that's cool.  This really makes me wish I could save up enough to buy a car again, so I could go on another fun car-acquisition trip like this.  Granted my trips don't usually go as smooth.  (In May, I'll tell you about when we went to pick up my Vic.)  It was just fun to go on a road trip with my brother, and picking up a new ride was just a bonus.  It'd be a better bonus if it was a new ride for me.

Just two brothers, two Jeeps, and the road.

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