It was the best Chillin on Belae Street yet, or so I have been told. There were vehicles for every taste on display from antiques, low riders, rat rods, cruisers, and imports. Meanwhile, I was engaged in a weekend of project juggling.
First there was a half day at the office followed by a half day working on the encyclopedia. Then an old friend from Utah called to say he would be down on Sunday to pick up the truck purchased almost five years ago. So, a large chunk of time was spent in getting the red neck lawn ornament ready to roll on to a trailer, not an easy task when the vehicle has been sitting for almost twenty years, five of those in my yard.
The truck, a 1960 Jeep, was purchased new in Phoenix by my wife’s grandfather. Between that point in time and the day it was parked, this truck was used, abused, repaired, abused some more, and then used hard.
The original owner viewed vehicles as a tool. You modified them to get a job done, used them to complete a task, and used them to get from point “A” to point “B” even if there were a hundred miles of desert, rocks, mountains, and streams in between.
Surprisingly, the body, with the exception of the grill that had been cut out to allow the addition of a winch, jack storage bracket, and extended bumper with small tool box, was in pretty good condition. Everything else was a monument to bailing wire engineering and “make do” repairs.
When the original Hurricane six bought the farm, a 283 c.i.d. Chevrolet V8 from a wrecked truck replaced it. Of course this meant shortening the drive shaft, cutting the floor boards and shoving the transmission back a few inches. It also meant a larger radiator and home made fan shroud.
When the frame broke, pieces of rail from an old mines ore cart track were welded to the break. A small open box was tack welded to the dash for easier access to shells during hunting season. Of course you can’t be a serious outdoorsman without a way to carry two steel GI cans, one with water and one with gasoline, and two spare tires.
My wife’s grandfather was truly the last of a dying breed. He loved to camp, to hunt, to fish, or just enjoy the solitude of the desert and mountains. He was also tougher than a bag of nails and about as ornery as a love deprived mule.
So, in the 1980s, and until the truck was parked, he carried a four wheel drive, all terrain vehicle in the back. The Jeep was driven to a point it would no longer be possible to continue, and then he rode the modified buggy even deeper into the wilderness.
On one of his last excurisons with the Jeep, he blew the clutch near Fort Rock, about forty miles from Kingman. So, he drove his little buggy, in the summer, cross country to the truck stops on I-40 near Kingman and called for assistance.
We towed the Jeep in and the next day he installed a clutch – on his back, in his yard, in the dirt. At the time he was in his early 80s!
Well, my buddy in Utah had one of these trucks as a kid and wanted another. So, the old truck has gone to a good home and my friend has a project that should keep him busy for a little while.
To prepare the truck for the journey I got three of the flat tires to hold air, pulled one of the spares, got it to hold air, removed a rotted tire, and in the process, evicted a small community of black widow spiders as well as stirred up an ant den. Then, on Sunday afternoon when he arrived, all we had to do was push it out into the street, back up the trailer, use a winch to load it, cinch it down, and then spend the evening talking about old times, a misspent youth, and exploits that have become local legend in some circles.
And a good time was had by one and all.

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