Blog entry #2 Trip Preparations (January 2004 – March 2004)

OK, trip time.  Was there any doubt as to what had to be done?  In December of 2003, we began preparations for a March, 2004 trip to Biloxi, Mississippi.  The Jeep had been pretty thoroughly rebuilt (notice, I refrain from the use of the word restored in deference to my purist compatriots) in the late ‘70’s, and regularly maintained until another major facelift 20,000 miles later in 2000.  Even so, in contradiction to Jean’s unwavering trust in my mechanical attentiveness, there were a few “items” that needed a little attention before setting out on this 2,000-plus mile sojourn into the unknown.  Two crossings of the Appalachians during a previous year’s trip to western Pennsylvania had been particularly hard on the 25-year-old brakes.  A worn speedometer bearing had been the other casualty of that trip.  It was getting to be time to replace the original door weather stripping, and a “hiss” in the rear end needed looking into.  New brake shoes, freshly turned drums, substitution of some parts from a “spare” speedometer, new weather stripping and replacement of the differential bearings brought things up to snuff.  A tune-up and the installation of a “digital” compass (pre-GPS) completed our automotive preparations.


Meantime, Jean began accumulating topographical road maps, hotel and B&B listings, state tourist guides and the Road Food Book.  In keeping with our desire to maintain spontaneity during the trip, the first day’s route was not decided until the evening before we departed; complete with the usual consternation that accompanies any worthwhile man/wife venture. (Interesting way of putting it – my wife’s aside).


Partially inspired by the recently popular epic of Horatio Jackson’s crossing of the continent in 1903 accompanied by his dog Bud, we had originally intended to bring along Casper, our 5-month-old Bichon Frise.  Fortunately, we came to our senses in time to accept an offer by a young neighbor lady to take up temporary residence in our house and care for the little guy.

Figure 4: Preparing to leave Cary, NC to visit the Jeep’s original owners in Biloxi,

Mississippi (March 20, 2004).

Blog entry #1 Prolog: (June 2003 – March 2004) “Better not wait too long”
Blog entry #3 Trek to Biloxi (March 20, 2004 – March 25, 2004) Columbia, SC; Warm Springs and Pine Mountain, GA; Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island, AL