So I bought this Jeep and set about the process of preparing it, along with my small trailer, to provide me with the means of self sufficiency in the woods of Maine and beyond. The concept may seem foreign to many, but my idea of control over my life begins with the absolute assurity of knowing I have at the very least a place to sleep tonight. That one aspect of life holds in it’s grasp the power of knowing I am safe and warm, secure and assured of at the very least a good nights sleep. No good day begins without a good nights sleep.
In the recent past I set about trying to prepare a sailboat to live my life upon, a safe haven that no one could take from me. As much as I wanted that path to carry me forward, I realized I will never have the funds to achieve that goal to a level I could sustain. Reality sets in and better judgement forces one to accept the limitations of ones income, the promise of freedom must be found in a way attainable at the level of ones means. Such is the balance of what is and what shall never be.
My goal has not changed, my dream has not subsided into regret for what shall not come to pass. In order to attain my dream I must change the vehicle that will carry me to my goal, I have changed from water to land. With this Jeep and trailer I can still maintain a simple lifestyle, reduce my overhead to a point that a smaller income can produce the means of sustenance and comfort agreeable to me. I can take care of myself in a way that is comfortable.
I wish to live a simple life free from all the strain of an existence in today’s fast paced society. Working a job I love, instead of working a job to I hate only to sustain a certain level of competition with the Jones’s as it were. And so I set about restoring this vehicle to a state that will support my dream.
My Jeep has been in the capable hands of Tony at Bernatche Auto Body here in Bangor Maine. My Jeep is 29 years old, and the salt and other products used to treat the roads in the winters here have taken their toll on the under side of my chariot. I paid $4000.00 for this jeep, and Tony and I agree it was a good deal. Compared to many Jeeps of this era, mine has very little rust in the crucial areas such as the frame.
Tony and I looked over the project a few weeks ago before my camping trip so I could purchase many of the repair parts needed. I was pleasantly surprised at the small cost for the patch panels, new shock mounts and the cross member.
This was the cross member before replacement. I’m happy to say this was the worst rust on the Jeep. This is located right above the rear axle and supports the front side of the fuel tank. Glad it never let go!
All shiny and new! Welded in place and just as strong as new. Now for the rusted holes in the frame that support the rear shock mounts.
This is the drivers side of the frame with the tire removed. The welding is the small tab of the plate that covers the top of the frame that was rusted through. The new shiny bolt is the new shock mount inside the frame.
Here’s the inside of the frame. The panel extends most of the way down the frame and is welded around the entire edge, then the mount is welded on the panel. Good as new!
Here’s the other side done the same way. Now don’t let the visible rust in these pictures fool you. It’s all on the surface and will be remedied by a strong pressure washer and complete spray undercoating. I will post some pictures when I get back next week and it’s completed.
As I left Maine this morning I know I am one more step closer to my goal, one day closer to what I hope will be a life I will be happy with. My dreams are about waking up every day looking forward to whatever comes, instead of dreading what’s next. By the time spring arrives I will have given away or sold most of my belongings, I will keep only what I truly need and what will fit in the Jeep and trailer. Not much space so one must choose wisely. Again I ask myself…”What are you willing to give up to get what you want?” And again I say, whatever it takes!