Breaking Bad. Or is it?

I have no idea why, but ever since I was a kid I wanted a Wrangler. I was in my 30’s before I ever got a chance to ride in one. Then about 13 years ago, the Dodge Dakota pickup I had was on it’s last legs. I stopped at the dealer, say a 1999 Wrangler, forest green, less than 55k miles. 5 speed.

1999 Wrangler

Yea, took a bit of finagling, but a couple days later it was mine.

I had that Jeep for nearly 10 years, putting on over 175000 miles. I had a lot of great adventures with that Jeep. In the end, it was a bit beat up, but was still running good, right up until one November morning when I slid thru a stop sign after an ice storm coated the streets of Minneapolis.

I replaced or with another Jeep. Liberty this time. It was no Wrangler, but it has done me good. It got me from MN to WA. But being out here, the mountains, the woods, I was getting an itch fire a Wrangler again.

So here’s what I ended up with. 2008 Wrangler with less than 64k miles. Haven’t even had it a week, already been up to the mountains for some snow shoeing with it.

2008 Wrangler

Merry Christmas too me.

A part of me will miss the Liberty, it will have a special place in my list of cars as the first one I bought while weighing less than 300 pounds. Ok, maybe the one I had just after college I was under 300, but not by much. And my first car in high school doesn’t count, the 73 Mercury Comet, I didn’t buy that one, I inherited it from my grandma.

But as I was thinking about things like this the other day… because yea, my mind does tend to go in odd directions at times… I came to another realization. One that I’m a touch hesitant to reveal because… well… it is kind of embarrassing.

See, the Liberty is special in another way, in that it’s the only vehicle I’ve owned in the last 20+ years that I didn’t … well.. that I didn’t break the driver’s seat because of my weight.

It’s an odd thing to think about. And honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever told anyone this. I suppose there are some who may have experienced similar that will tell me this is a non-scale victory (NSV) to be proud of.

It started with a Dodge Lancer I owned in the early 90s. It was a nice car. Was very much like the Plymouth Sundance I had previously owned, but a bit larger. A 5-door hatchback that didn’t look like a hatchback. I broke the hinge that holds the front seat up. I used a length of shelf lumber, wedged between the back of the driver’s seat and the back seat to keep it upright.

After that, a Dodge Dakota pick up. Sport, extended cab, topper. Similar issue. The hinge for the seat back had a section that bolted to the lower part of the seat, where that connected to the floor of the truck. I snapped the bolt head clean off. Well, maybe not so clean, there was about 1/4 inch of it left, it was just enough I could place the bolt head in place and a piece of duct tape to hold it there, and until it worked it’s way loose again, I was good to go. But yea, after a bit, the movement of the seat would and such would cause the tape to come loose, I’d got to sit in the truck, and the seat back would fall back on me.

The the Wrangler. It took a few years, but I did manage to break that too. The seats bolted down in the four corners to rails that ran front to back on left and right side. My weight, pushing against the back of the seat, I think mainly the extra push as I would get in and out of the Jeep, caused the bolt head to rip right thru the rail at the front left corner.

At first I “fixed” it by using a large hose clamp, wrapped around the rail and part of the seat frame. But the movement of the seat would cause the soft metal of those clamps to break as well. then I was able to put a fender washer on the bolt that ripped through the rail, basically helping it catch on what was left of the rail. That would last for longer periods before finally working it’s way loose and I would have to readjust things. Even after losing the weight, the damage was done, and it would eventually work loose again.

The Liberty though, after having it for 3 years and 1 month almost to the day, showed no signs of any seat breakage.

I don’t know exactly what made me think of this recently, let alone decide to share it. Maybe there is something I should hope you take away from this, but I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s about not being embarrassed for the person I was then, or the struggles I faced. Maybe it’s just one of those things I can’t let myself forget, because no matter the hurdles I continue to have in this struggle with obesity, I’m still in such a better place than I was.

Maybe it was just time.

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