Friday, December 01, 2006

Just doin' my part to keep the economy rollin'...

One thing that occurred to me, as I drove around Death Valley, is just how much fun it would have been in a Jeep. Less adventure, certainly. But I'd have been able to haul a laptop with me rather than rely on a teensy little PDA, I'd have been able to haul more emergency supplies with me in case I got stranded somehow, I'd have been able to charge up my camera batteries from the cigarette lighter as I drove around, I'd have real headlights and real windshield wipers for when the weather turned nasty, and I'd have been able to stop in various places without worrying about falling over because Jeeps have four wheels (duh!). And while a motorcycle will go places that a Jeep can't go, those motorcycles are ones that aren't loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies' truck, I frankly would not take my fully-loaded KLR anywhere that a Jeep can't go, because it's just too darned heavy and too much work.

I looked at Craigslist and there are lots of Jeep XJ's (Cherokees) for sale for reasonable price. Add 30" tires to the little beasty and it's pretty good at getting into difficult places.

But then someone mentioned the 2006 Jeep Wranger Unlimited. Dimension-wise, it's similar to the Cherokee, but has better off-road capabilities out of the box than the old Cherokee did mod'ed with 30" tires and a mild lift. And it's more comfortable and more practical than the regular Jeep TJ short-wheelbase model.

A quick inventory search on's site shows that Normandin Chrysler Jeep here in San Jose CA has a couple of nicely appointed silver 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds with the 6-speed manual transmissions and some nice amenities (like the hardtop, much more pleasant for commuting in nasty weather!). I also find out that Chrysler is offering 0% financing on these 2006 leftovers. I check to get my FICO score, and it looks like I'd qualify handily for the 0% financing.

But dammit, I don't need a new car! Grr...

Okay, here's the deal I'm making with myself:

I go in. I check out whether they still have those two silver Jeep Unlimiteds. If so, I take a test drive. Then I say okay, I'll take it if: you give me invoice price on the Jeep, you give me Blue Book tradein value on my S-10 as tradein, and you give me the 0% financing. Otherwise it's no deal.

Then they either take it, or not. If they don't, I save money. If they do, I get a good deal.

At least, that's what I tell myself.

Hopefully they won't accept my offer, and sanity will return to the penguin's iceberg :-).

-- Badtux the Shopaholic Penguin


  1. Naw, go for the Jeep. Although haven't I seen cycles with lighters? Or are those only on the big monsters like Gold Wings?

    Anyway, go for the insanity. Who wants to be a part of the "reality-based" community these days? It's no fun anymore.

  2. sound like me!

  3. I actually installed a lighter socket on my KLR, Andrew. The problem is, it's not much use when the bike is moving, because anything plugged into it vibrates right out (hmm, that's the problem with a big thumper, it *VIBRATES*!). I did use it one evening to recharge my cell phone, but teensy little motorcycle batteries all by themselves (i.e. with no engine running) don't have enough juice to do a lot of recharging of anything. I have the best motorcycle battery on the market for my motorcycle (the Yuasa AGM) but it's just too *small*...

    I'll go to the dealership and let them give me an excuse not to buy :-). Sounds like a plan, anyhow...

  4. oh, I hope you do.

    teh funny post ;)


  5. A friend of mine years ago (like 20+) had one of the fairly big BMW touring bikes. He had more damn accessories on that thing... He even had a heated suit he plugged into the lighter (along with a coffee pot).

    I asked the missus about maybe getting a GoldWing (with a sidecar, so we could take our labrador)... shoulda seen the fireworks.

  6. You shoulda asked her for half of a Honda Accord, which is what a Honda Goldwing is :-).

    My KLR doesn't have enough alternator power for a whole heated suit. I do, however, have a heated vest and a socket to plug it into. The socket is nothing fancy though -- it's just a wire from the vest manufacturer that screws straight to the battery. I screwed it to the battery, wrapped it around a frame member, and now it pokes out the side cover of the bike near the battery. I did use it on my annual migration, but not all that much -- my First Gear Kilimanjaro with the fleece liner in is surprisingly warm and I mostly just tipped the variostat on the vest to the "take the nip off" setting (lowest setting) when the temperature dipped into the 40's.

  7. Low 40s? Are you a wuss? :-) You don't get into serious motorcycling until the temperature drops below freezing! Oh, wait, you're one of those California penguins. Back here in the east, we get real winters, with real ice and snow. Of course, you tend not to worry too much about the cold temperatures, since you're concentrating so much on keeping the wheels on the bottom by avoiding all that slick ice and snow. Of course, the good thing is that once the temperature gets down to under 10 F, ice isn't all that slick anymore, although a powdery snow can still be pretty treacherous.

    Dave, the (former [1]) artic rider

    [1] Sold my bike Honda CJ-360T) ages ago, although I still have my license.


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