The Red Sled Lives On

Four years ago, I acquired this 1997 Jeep Cherokee, also affectionately known as the Red Sled. Said Red Sled now has over 323,000 miles and is still running like a champ (knock on the nearest wooden object I can find).

I don’t see any newer vehicles that I like quite as much as my beloved Jeep. Almost none of them has the style or personality. While the gas mileage isn’t the greatest, it gets me where I need to go with more than a little pizazz. That has to count for something.

I know it doesn’t look like a new car anymore. It has its share of dings and scratches and blemishes like any self-respecting 20 year old car should. I’ve seen a lot of cars not quite as old that look way more beat up and run down than mine.

I’m thankful for this Jeep, even if the KBB value is under $1000. It’s value to me is way more than monetary. There are lots of great memories (and a few sad ones, but the good ones far outweigh the bad) associated with this car. Lots of family and friends have ridden in it over the years, and lots of good conversations and laughter have taken place there.

I plan to keep driving the Red Sled for a while longer. It may not have the cool factor of a Wrangler or a CJ7, but it’s hip and trendy enough for me. Plus, the A/C still works great, which is always a bonus in the hot and sticky Tennessee weather we’re having (can fall please get here soon?).

I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about whether my car will get me where I need to go. It’s very dependable. And did I mention how cool I look driving it with my gnarly $20 shades?

 

Jeeps

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I love driving my Jeep. I’m sure you know that by now. I still really like driving my red 1997 Jeep Cherokee Country, especially after it got a much-needed, long-overdue tune up.

I previously drove a 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport, which I also really liked to drive. I miss that car but not the manual locks and windows or the crappy drink holder which fell over if you so much as looked at it wrong.

Sensing a trend? It honestly wasn’t planned out that way. I’ve been paying more attention since I started driving one and I see Jeeps all the time now, partly due to that incredible in-line V6 engine which is practically indestructible.

I’m thinking my next car might be a Jeep. Maybe a Wrangler (or possibly even one of those old CJ7s). It’d be fun to drive a car where I could take off the top and ride around with the sun and breeze in my hair.

The secret to happiness isn’t having the best of everything but seeing the best in what you already have. It’s being content with who you are, where you are, with what you have. Being satisfied and content is still the most radically counter-cultural mindset you can have in this current age of overspending to keep up with those proverbial Joneses.

I personally have never really lusted after one of those really expensive luxury sports cars like the Ferraris and the Lamborghinis. I don’t fancy spending more money on a car than most houses cost.

I’ve also never really had a strong desire for a muscle car. I really just want something that suits my personality and that doesn’t look like every other car on the road.

If I go with the better gas mileage, I still think I’d like to have a Mini Cooper. Those look like they’d be fun to drive.

For now, I’m feeling thankful and blessed to still be driving my vintage Jeep with over 315,000 miles on it that still looks and runs great.

I’ll stick with that one for now.

 

I Love my Jeep

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I recently had to take my 1997 Jeep Cherokee to Fitz-It Auto Repair. Anytime you have work done on an older car, there’s always the possibility– however remote– that the repairs could end up costing more than the car is worth.

Thankfully, all my car needed was a tuneup. Now it runs better than it has in a long, long time. In fact, driving the Red Sled, as I affectionately call my vehicle, is more fun than ever.

It won’t ever get mistaken for a luxury sports car like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. It doesn’t get the ridiculously good gas mileage of a hybrid like a Toyota Prius. It’s “vintage,” which is another way of saying it’s OLD.

But how many 20 year old cars are still on the road? How many engines are still running after over 300,000 miles?

Contentment is loving what you already have and being brave enough to say that no, I don’t need more to be happy. I have enough. In this day and age, that’s a rare and radical mindset.

I may be an old fart for saying this, but I don’t see very many cars rolling out of the automotive plants these days that will have the staying power of those old Jeeps. Those Cherokee engines practically last forever if you routinely take care of them and do all the regular maintenance (like getting tuneups more than once every 20 years).

I think everyone should have at least one car in their lifetime that’s just fun to drive. Screw practicality and economy and safety ratings and just pick something that you can roll down the windows and turn up the volume on the music and enjoy the open road.

It helps if you have good music to go with your fun ride. That’s also a must.