Toledo Trek 2018- Day 1: Washboard Roads & Soggy Ankles

Our first day of driving from Georgia to Ohio via a newly antiquated ’93 Wrangler YJ went remarkably well. We started out in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains, and, in true Jeeper fashion, chose to take the scenic route as much as possible. Although the interstates provide a much quicker rate of transit, there’s far too much of America to be seen beyond the miles of lined billboards. This trek is clearly about the journey.

All Photos Courtesy of Evan Coolidge

The Jeep performed flawlessly in all of the most important areas. Temperature stayed cool, oil pressure stayed up and the doors, well… let’s just say that they are safe and sound, stowed away in my garage four states away from here. I’m still a staunch supporter of the belief that a real Jeep adventure doesn’t require doors. You can’t be afraid to get wet. You can’t be worried that your hair may become slightly mussed. You can’t be concerned with fuel economy. I, personally, can check off all of those boxes in permanent marker. My nineteen year old son, although not a die-hard yet, is getting very skilled at finding dry hiding places for tablets, smartphones and gizmos.

The last six weeks have been spent readying the Jeep for the trip. Turning wrenches in July is more about sweating profusely than it is actually accomplishing anything. That’s why I was surprised how cool an August morning in the mountains can be. With an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level, it was hard to deny the serious case of goosebumps we had contracted, nor was it easy to admit that my dear wife’s recommending we pack a jacket was actually sound advice. Well, at least we’re not wet!

By the time we entered the mountains of Northern Tennessee, the sky was beginning to cloud over and turn an ominous shade of charcoal grey. We cruised around the breath-taking cliffs surrounding Norris Dam in Rocky Top as thunder rumbled in the distance.

We drove through winding back-country roads through Kentucky’s Cumberland Forest National Park; carving corner after corner with all-terrain tires humming in agreement that this is the best place to be.  After hiking some extremely cool overlooks, we were less-than-giddy to hear a weather alert come across the car radio alerting anyone in the listening area to seek cover. Reports of gale force winds of 60 mph have been reported and it’s not safe to be outdoors. Is that the same as being without doors? Likely.

With Georgia, N. Carolina, Tennessee and a giant chunk of Kentucky behind us, we have a little more than half the distance still before us. We’ve sought shelter for the evening. We’ll snag a hot shower, some sustenance and let the floorboards dry out a bit before we hit the road again tomorrow. Destination: Toledo, OH. It should be great!

Remember us in your bedtime prayers that we have continued good fortune with all things mechanical and throw some sunshiny weather in there for good measure, if you would. We’ll have fun either way. OlllllllO