Last call…

For the past twelve years, i’ve observed an annual ritual that marks the beginning of winter… It has nothing to do with the calendar, digging out cold-weather gear, the phase of the moon or the location of leaves with respect to the ground. 

It takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on how warm it is outside.  But when it’s done, i am ready.  My mental register is reset and my body prepared for cold. 

Waiting as long as possible, hoping for just one more warm day where i can eek out that last moment before giving up til spring.  Watching the skies.  Adjusting my plans to push the envelope as far into the year as possible.  Me and the true love of my life… On the road.  Basking in an October blue sky and sucking down the cool, dry air.

Today was the day.  Some years i can make it til early November, but my gut told me today was it.  Returning home from an afternoon bike ride, i set the wheels in motion.  Literally.  Grabbing the dog, we hit it…

In the Jeep.  She is my one and only.  And today was likely to be the last day of true Indian Summer.  We scooted off to the dog park, taking back roads and hitting every bump in the road with joy.   As the sun got lower, the chill set in, and we had to head home…

Before we left, i’d taken the hose to the doors and top, and left them on the warm concrete driveway to dry and soften* in the sun.  We pulled into the garage, and i unloaded the mutt back into the house.  And the ritual began…

Untie the bungees and straps, reset the frame, snap the top to the swing frame bar.  Standing on the seats, facing rearward, pull the top forward.  Doing gymnastics that could get me arrested in parts of Utah, i pull the front of the top into the groove above the windshield.  While standing on the hood. 

Climbing off, i tuck the flanges on the back of the top into the grooves.  Climbing inside, i then begin the brute force portion of the event – thwacking the support bars until the top is stretched and the cross beams are locked in place.  Re-stretching and aligning the velcro supports around the door frames.  Hanging the doors and making sure all’s well with the alignment.  The final maneuver? Release a gigantic sigh and call it a summer…

Winter.  Bring it…

From a Spring trip... He was smiling just as much today...
From a Spring trip… He was smiling just as much today…

* There is an art to putting a soft top on a Jeep by yourself.  Best trick i’ve learned is to warm the black canvas top in the sun for an hour or so before attempting to stretch it onto the frame… i’ve busted open many a knuckle through the years attempting to put a brittle-cold cover back on my baby on a frigid day… hence the need for precision timing on the re-install… Too warm a day and i’ve probably jumped the gun, wasting precious jeep-time.  Too cold?  i’ll be bleeding from the fingertips and it’ll take an hour…

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Last call…

  1. I lost the race against the cold this year trying to get mortar work done to finish the house exterior. Still thinking about using heat and hoarding to keep it going, but haven’t yet decided. I’ve still got roofing to do too. I really wanted to get the place into salable condition this year. Now, if the overseas job comes through, I’m going to have to let it sit and be maintained. Unless I can finish up early in the spring.

    Today was nice here. Ten or 11 C. Still working on outside stuff. Made a dump run. I’ve got a little bit longer (day or two) to get stuff picked up before it’s covered with snow for the winter.

    I admire your jeep technique. But, then, the lessons learned in blood are the ones you don’t forget, eh?

    Salut!

  2. for me it’s the day the heater comes out of the closet. i have a rule that it can’t show its face until after Anzac Day and it has to disappear again after the Labour Day weekend

  3. it’s good that you shared the last hurrah with your canine life partner. i’m guessing he doesn’t care one way or the other whether there’s snow on the ground or not, but really does seem to love that open-air jeep ride.

    hold on…a mere 5 months or so until warm weather again.

  4. love my jeep but i definitely dont attempt the rag-top with a fresh manicure…this is the best part of the year here in florida. 75-85, perfect jeep weather! i’ll be htinkin’ bout ‘cha daisyfae, what’s that? ..Brrr i think you have a cold front of coming in…bundle up!

  5. unbearable banishment – so glad that i can simply play in the leaves this year and have no responsibility for raking them up, or digging them out of my gutters… but yeah, jeep is now for snow… sigh…

    chris – i can damn near put the top on blindfolded. technique learned and perfected over the years… people have tried to help, but i’ve found now that they just get in the way…

    rob – don’t know what, if any, indian summer you get up there… turns out, i might have jumped the gun. predictions for highs of 70F here on thursday?!?!? i’ll just pop the doors off… i’d be surprised if you didn’t figure out a way to finish up over the next month…

    nursemyra – funny how we use the holidays as markers, too… i really like to stay topless for as much of the year as possible, but it never seems to work around christmas!

    jimmy – snow chains? what kind of snow men do you Glaswegians make up there? kinky…

    silverstar – seattle monsoon season, already? i thought you’d gotten a years worth of rain…

    uncle keith – well, you don’t like to look at them, so perhaps winter is a blessing of sorts for you?

    gnukid – he likes hanging his head over the console and slobbering on my shoulder. you’d think it’d be outside, but he’s backwards… and yes, the top will come back off in a few months… there’ll be snow piles to climb soon!

    lynn – ouch. if i lived there? i’d just slap the bikini top on her… and yes, i dress my jeep in a bikini when it gets too hot… a little shade goes a long way when it’s 100F…

    manuel – ah, but you have this thing called “public transportation”. alien concept in these parts… nearest bus stop is probably 5 miles from home! i’d offer you a lift, but it’s not the amphibious variety of jeep!

  6. i love a dog’s smile. moreso than a person’s on some days. it is indian summer in brighton and i took the dog out for an afternoon beach trip and i had the same sense that this could be our last jacket-less outing…

    my mom bundled her four wheel pride and joy just last week…

  7. uk – but you know, nursemyra is fascinated by them…

    pickles – i’m a primarily heterosexual woman masquerading as a bull dyke. if that’s rock and roll? probably better to stick with the soup…

    dave – we’ve wasted many hours in my household debating whether or not dogs really smile. we always decide that they must… never miss an indian summer moment. your mom has a jeep? that’s cool… i’m gonna be buried in mine…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s