And gave it to Dad tonight
Letter to Dad:
I’m so glad that you and Cathie decided to come out to Cruise Moab and go 4-wheeling with us. Hopefully this week will remind you of when I was Lilah’s age and we would go 4-wheeling in your old Bronco. I suppose most of our trips back then were to cut firewood but you and Uncle Bill would always manage to put the 4wd to the test. I loved riding around in that rig with the top off even though your Jonsered would always manage to injure me in some fashion. As cool as that rig was, my earliest memories of four wheeling was you always talking about Toyota’s. You’d go on and on about how great they were. Sayings like “there’s nothing better than a Toyota” or “Toyota’s will always outlast any American vehicle” are forever burned into my head. I distinctly remember you saying “someday I’m gonna buy a brand new Toyota pickup”.
That day finally came. It seemed like an eternity that I stared out Nanny & Pop’s front window waiting for you to return from the dealership. Finally you pulled up in that brand new 1979 4wd Toyota pickup. The white paint was so shinny that it hurt my eyes and that “new car” smell was amazing. It was then and there that I said to myself “someday I’m gonna buy a brand new Toyota pickup”…..
That thought was reinforced every time we’d pass a Landcruiser. You’d always say “Oh that’s a nice Cruiser” or “Boy, that guy has done a lot of work to that one”. Every backpacking, camping, and ski trip we took there was always a 40 that would get your (and my) attention. “Greatest off road rig ever made” you’d say.
In 2003 I finally found an FJ40 that I could afford. Julie drove me up to Golden to pick it up and it was quite the “white knuckle” drive home. A mile down the road I discovered that only the front passenger –side drum was working! That trip from Golden to Aurora with one headlight, no taillights, and only one wheel braking was the longest and most terrifying trip I’ve ever made. During that trip I thought to myself, “This is going to be a lot of work”.
Well, it was. Over the last 11 years I’ve done the following:
• De-smogged 1986 2F motor swap
• Rebuilt 4-speed transmission
• Rebuilt transfer case
• Marlin Crawl box
• SOA (Spring over axles) with flipped springs
• 4 wheel disc brakes
• Saginaw power steering w/ tilt column
• 6 point cage
• Learned to weld and fabricate metal
• Front bumper w/ WARN 8264 winch
• Viair On-board air system
• Longfield birfields with Cryo’d axles front and rear
• Rebuilt 3rd members front and rear
• ARB locker up front; Lockrite locker in the rear
• Painless wiring harness
• Shackle reversal
• Moved 3x
• Had Lilah & Everett
I have only one regret; not getting it done in time for your retirement in 2005! Yep, I bought this 40 with every intention of giving it to you as retirement gift. I sincerely hope you and Cathie enjoy “Cruising” up and down the Mackenzie River in Oregon. Thanks for being such a great Dad. I love you!