Saturday, 14 March 2015

Jeep reborn and Storage Wars......

Once upon a time long long long ago I purchased a 1975 CJ5 Jeep, it was in 1983 to be precise.
Jeep in the Underberg
I loved my Jeep, I drove it everywhere which over time led to a couple of interesting adventures and then came the end and she was relegated to a storage garage No.85.

But before I continue let me go way back and relate a few interesting incidents surrounding her........

The Petrol Incident(s)
I drove the Jeep daily, to work to the shops basically everywhere, but it had one teeny weeny problem, the petrol gauge didn't work, so I contrived a method of ascertaining how much petrol was in the tank, incidentally this here Jeep is a straight 6 3.8 litre engine so it is a tad thirsty and I couldn't always afford to fill it up.
So back to the method of gauging the petrol I contrived what shall hereto forth be known as the dipstick method; i.e. i stuck a dipstick down into the tank to see how far up it was wet.....

Nice solution until the day (and there were many) that I got it wrong and I would run out of petrol.
Now this was before the days of cellphones (can you believe it we didn't have cell phones once upon a time) so I would foot it around until I could beg or borrow the use of a phone from a kind shop owner or householder or I could find a payphone, and I would phone my then girlfriend Pam (now my wife - she didn't learn fast that me and the Jeep were a troubled pair) to bring me a jerry can of petrol and off we went again.

The Hartbeespoort incident
Then came the disastrous day that will always be etched into the annuls of history as ....Hartbeespoort Dam day; Hartbeespoort Dam is a large irrigation and water sports dam near Johannesburg and Pretoria, well, I managed to sink my Jeep in a small river feeding the dam through a combination of stupidity and ... oh stupidity.

This incident I must confess led to great hilarity on the part of my brother in law Brian, and the burnt clutch of his brother Jimmy's car who assisted in the recovery.

The incident was made worse by the fact that every loose object that was in the jeep now became floating debris - papers, tapes (before cd's) chip packets, that surrounded the Jeep like a halo, it looked like the sinking of the Titanic, minus iceberg.

After a day of blood sweat and tears during the recover, I took the now waterlogged Jeep home parked it in the garage and proceeded to strip it down to the last nut and bolt and clean everything, and I mean everything.
It took a year to accomplish this task, and included a welcome or not so welcome small box of unnecessary nuts and bolts left over, but the Jeep carried on merrily - still with its rather consistent thirst and occasional stoppage.

The Smashed bell Housing Incident

Then there was a very unfortunate incident of the smashed bell housing.
We were dropping some stuff off at the home of a friend of Pam's mom when their psychotic son let their psychotic vicious rottweiler loose on us as we were reversing out the drive in an open Jeep (I often drove with the roof off or the doors off).
On exiting the property at excessive speed and not wanting to just storm out onto the road I did a very sharp turn onto the verge whence stood a large psychotic rock...... over it we went and smash went the cast aluminium bell housing, fortunately I was still in gear so we could keep reversing back up the road to Pam's house where the Jeep was deposited on her verge until I could find a mechanic who could do the repairs (I had walked back down the road and gathered up all the shattered pieces.
The story ends well, the local garage had an ex-aircraft mechanic who could weld aluminium, so repairs were duly carried out.

The Underberg Incident (Trip)

The Underberg incident wasn't so much an incident as a trip with a couple of minor incidents thrown in.
Friends of ours Mandy and Owen had an uncle who owned a pretty derelict farm in the Underberg (you can read all about the Underberg here) and they invited us to go down for a week, it'll be great they said, its in an old farm house they said  ...... It's GREEEEAAATTTTT tents (see the next "exciting" story to come - You want me to camp in a What)
The road to the house

The road to the house

Underberg area

The road to the house

So off we trundled, (with Jerry cans of petrol and my faithful dipstick) Pam and I in the jeep and Mandy and Owen in a small Volkswagen Golf.

Once we got to the Underberg we then had to leave the main road and traverse approximately, give or take a kilometre or ten, twenty kilometers on gravel roads.
At least the roads were good, but the house.... oh my lordy lordy lordy, it was a wreck, I could have done with a tent, but the view and the peace and tranquility, it was awesome, until the incident of the snake..... dum dum dum dum duuuuuuuummmm...

We found a Cape Cobra under the porch and if there was one there were probably trillions of them waiting to savage us, well one of them chose to make the first attack so we unfortunately had to put an end to it before one of us got hurt.

Then there was no electricity at the house so we had to use gas for lights and to cook, and to wash we drove down to the river to bathe - all very rustic.
THe front of the house

The Snake

The back of the house


The river for swimming and bathing, Jeep in the middle background


Jeep up close

And then the rains came and they came with a vengence, I must admit I got a tad concerned that the neighbors might start building a large wooden boat and start loading up animals.
But the rains stopped and we headed for home, up gravel roads that were now transformed to mud baths.
Mandy and Owen's car wasn't up to handling the mud so the Jeep towed and towed and towed until we arrived at a  tree that had fallen in the road, again the Jeep was pressed into duty to pull said tree out of the way so that the journey could continue.

Soon it was back onto the main road and onto the town of Harrismith were upon I was assailed by a debilitating migraine, Pam had to take over the driving from here on through pouring rain again, a task she handled admirably - I never mentioned previously - the Jeep is a three speed manual, with a comfortable top speed of about 110 km/hr - Johannesburg was a long way off and doesn't have auto-return on the steering so on turning a corner you have to turn the steering wheel back to centre.
Jeep in the mud with Pam

Owen & Mandy in the VW Golf with us
Our river in flood after the rains
Fallen tree

Storage Wars incident

And then came the beginning of the end so to speak......
I used to store the Jeep at my mother's house and would go and pick it up on the weekend to give it a run, but this became less and less, and then my mother passed away and the Jeep got moved .... into Storage garage No.85.....
And so she came to live out the next 13 years ensconced in the garage.

This fact caused no amount of how shall I put it...."tension" between Pam and I, we stored junk there, we stored a trailer there, we stored my mother's stuff after she died..... and  the years came and the years went.
Until the Great Storage War..... Pam threatened with bodily harm thrown in that if I didn't fix the Jeep or sell it, she would go there and cut the locks open the door and let it wander off on its own...........

Jeep is reborn

Two people were instrumental in the now forthcoming rebirth.......

Pam's nephew Roland is a Cobra car enthusiast who had a car rebuilt by a great mechanic by the name of Paul, and he said a long while ago that I should contact him to have the Jeep redone, but one thing led to another and time passed.

Then one weekend my cousin Andrew's wife Val's father Martin was chatting to me about a car he had restored by a great mechanic by the name of Paul whom I should get in touch with.
Martin duly got me in touch with Paul and lo and behold it was the same mechanic who did Roland's car - so a date was arranged and the Jeep was dragged out of its cell (Garage No. 85) loaded up onto a trailer and taken away for the first stage in its rebirth.

More to follow as we progress and the ongoing adventures of a Jeep.....

Storage complex
Garage No. 85

Jeep in its "cell"

Out in the sun and on the trailer