We’ve become members of the Jeep family! We’re now the proud owners of a 2018 Rubicon. (And yes, I managed to get it muddy within a week!)


I posted back in the beginning about how Shawn wants an off-road vehicle to play with — something to replace the motorcycles that we sold. While I’m content to hike the forests and streams and play on the beach, this GadgetGuy wanted something that’ll go VRRROOOOOOMM over the rocks and hills.

Initially that was going to be a Polaris RZR (Razor), hopefully used, with a price tag around $8-10k. But the more we discussed the matter over the last year, a Jeep Rubicon just makes more sense:

  • RZRs are not street-legal in many states, so we’d need to take the Volvo to the trailhead and spend time off-loading and re-loading the vehicle. There are more trails for ATVs than Jeeps — at least in the East — but the versatility of the vehicle can’t be beat.
  • We don’t need three motorized vehicles. By replacing the car with a Jeep, I can continue to drive separately and we can consider double-towing (where legal).
  • We don’t plan to do any extreme off-roading, so the Jeep doesn’t need to be all tricked out. The standard Rubicon package will do nicely. (Of course, Shawn already has a shopping list of over a dozen items. He’s already bought the winch and is waiting for a nice day — under 90 degrees! — to install it.)
  • It was time to retire the Juke. It’s just about to hit 100,000 miles and run out of extended warranty, so the timing is right. I’ve also fallen out of love with the Juke. It’s developed a rattle we can’t pinpoint, and having to stop and fill the gas tank every 300 miles is a pain. The extra cargo capacity of the 4-door Wrangler style is a big bonus, as the Juke is pretty packed on a daily basis with just the dog crate and various emergency & hiking supplies.

My initial reluctance to do the deal stemmed from earlier experiences in soft-top Jeeps. They were loud, bouncy, and didn’t have a lot of creature comforts. Each new generation of Wranglers has improved the ride, and the 2018 JLU is quieter and smoother than even the 2017 JKU. I got to go on a fun trail ride in a brand new 2018 when we were in Nashville (thanks Brit! photos to come soon) and we test drove another here in Bangor to confirm the feel from the driver’s seat.

Shawn’s been drooling over the newer models, practicing the Jeep wave, and pointing out every Rubicon on the road for the last 1,500 miles.

Here are some of the vehicles we did NOT buy:

I found something eye-catching outside Houston, but opted to wait for something a little less flashy. 
Waaaaaaay out of our price range!
A purple Bronco II (spotted in Belfast, Maine) would have made me really happy, but Shawn worries about reliability on the road. Dang it. 
We’ve seen several owners that have Line-Xed their whole vehicle to reduce scratches and dings. We’re considering doing that, or wrapping the whole thing in a polymer vehicle wrap. 

We’ve hooked up with two Jeep clubs here in Maine, so hopefully we’ll get some low-key, newbie trail riding in during the summer. After my workamping contract here in Maine ends in October, we’re planning to boogie down to Asheville, North Carolina in November for the 2018 Overlanding East Expo. I think we’ll also be shifting our winter travel plans from Florida to southern Texas (you can drive on the beaches!!) and/or the southwest where the Jeep routes are more plentiful.

Stay tuned for more trail pics!