America is a great country, but you’re not going to experience it sitting at your desk, surfing Facebook, or watching TV from the couch. Four-wheeling is in our blood here at 4WOR, but adventures of any sort fuel us, so when I got the harebrained idea to drive my ’73 CJ-5 fresh from the junkyard across America and back I knew I had to do it. This book was the impetus of the whole fiasco. Written by Will Perish and Perk Perkins, it describes their two-year adventure around the world in a CJ-5 starting in 1975. I figured if they could encircle the globe in a Jeep 35 years ago I could easily drive across America in a 35-plus-year-old Jeep today. (Find the book at www.orvis.com.)This book was the impetus of the whole fiasco. Written by Will Perish and Perk Perkins, it It started with a Jeep I found in a trash heap last April. I knew I had to have it when the VIN tag revealed it was built the same month and year I was born. The Jeep was pretty rusty and dirty, but complete so I drug it home and got to fixing it up (see last month’s story “Project Lemon Pie”). About that time I was reading a book about two guys who drove a Jeep around the world back in the ’70s. The next thing I knew I was convincing the guys at Quadratec to get involved in my lunacy by tracking my progress across America on their website. I started at Morro Bay, California, next to the Pacific Ocean on July 28. I had to be in Pennsylvania by August 6 for a trail ride with the Quadratec crew at the Topless for Tata’s trail ride in Rausche Creek OHV park. The furthest the Jeep had gone under its own power was 20 miles.I started at Morro Bay, California, next to the Pacific Ocean on July 28. I had to be in P By the time the trip came together it was the end of July, and the Jeep had barely driven around the block on a testdrive. Nonetheless I loaded up my sleeping bag, tent, camera gear, and some tools and hit the road. Day 1 got me from the Pacific to almost Kingman, Arizona. About halfway through my day the speedometer stopped working. This meant exactly zero of my gauges now worked. As the night began to settle in I realized the headlights were terribly dim. I was running the original stock lights, but pulling over I found the battery was down to just 7 volts! Amazingly the Jeep’s 258 was still running. Rather than risk getting run down by a big rig, I found a dirt road parallel to the I-40 highway and hoped to limp into town on it. However, just as I turned down it, the Jeep sputtered and died. I tried to push-start it, to no avail. Then I saw lights coming toward me in the desert, but instead of help it was a train on the nearby tracks. Stuck in the desert on a 100-plus-degree summer night I admitted defeat and called a tow truck for a jumpstart.Day 1 got me from the Pacific to almost Kingman, Arizona. About halfway through my day the Day 2 involved replacing the alternator with a GM 1-wire alternator, so I raced 150 miles to Flagstaff, where Art Director Alan Huber’s parents live. The CJ had no problems going this far on battery power alone during the day without the lights on. Ultimate Adventure alumni Trent McGee met me there, and we did some grinding and fab work in their driveway to get the CJ back to charging status. Thanks for the pit stop, Trent and Hubers!Day 2 involved replacing the alternator with a GM 1-wire alternator, so I raced 150 miles From Flagstaff I was finally off the main highway and heading northeast on small roads through the desert toward New Mexico and eventually Colorado. About then, three days into the adventure, everything fell into place. I had no working gauges, but the Jeep was purring and I had spare fuel, so I didn’t care. The old seats and suspension were more comfortable than you’d imagine, and mixed with the desert heat they somehow relieved the back pain I’d had for weeks prior. I felt good, the Jeep felt good, all was good.From Flagstaff I was finally off the main highway and heading northeast on small roads thr My trip wasn’t all fun and games, mind you. I did attend the All-4-Fun event in Salida, Colorado (“Colorado4Fun,” Feb. ’12). The Jeep was running poor in the altitude and the clutch needed to be adjusted, so I didn’t wheel the many trails there but rather rode along and shot photos. I’m hoping to return this year for the whole week.My trip wasn’t all fun and games, mind you. I did attend the All-4-Fun event in Salida, Co Southern Colorado is one of my favorite parts of the country. Fred Perry, Ultimate Adventure alum and proprietor of Clemson 4Wheel Center, always told me stories of wheeling there in his Yellow Jeep, so I felt I was fulfilling a tradition with my little Yellow CJ-5. Cruising those rugged mountain roads in an open Jeep is a thrill worth repeating.Southern Colorado is one of my favorite parts of the country. Fred Perry, Ultimate Adventu During my adventure I was updating readers and friends via the 4-Wheel & Off-Road website, Quadratec’s website, and on both the magazine’s and my personal Facebook pages. In addition to the wheres and whats of my trip, I also showed off the daily pie I tested from various diners and dives across America. That fact, mixed with the rusty exterior and leaking valve cover and exhaust manifold, earned my Jeep the nickname Lemon Pie.During my adventure I was updating readers and friends via the 4-Wheel & Off-Road website, As I worked my way across the country my friend Dave flew in to join my adventure. About the time we were passing through Kansas and Missouri it was so hot we were constantly looking for ways to cool down. A pump spray jug was constantly used to cool our feet, especially on long climbs where the I-6 was working hard. We also invented the Cold Lap Challenge, where we held bags of ice on our laps until they melted and then dumped ice water down our shorts.As I worked my way across the country my friend Dave flew in to join my adventure. About t Except for the heat, the trip was mostly smooth sailing. The exhaust leak was making us a little loopy, and the oil bypassing the valve cover gasket and burning off on the exhaust didn’t help either, but smalltime diners serving gut-growling grub made it all worthwhile.Except for the heat, the trip was mostly smooth sailing. The exhaust leak was making us a When we hit the Mighty Mississippi in St. Louis it was time for a break. We rolled right down to the waterfront and dunked feet and tires in the muddy water in view of the St. Louis Arch.When we hit the Mighty Mississippi in St. Louis it was time for a break. We rolled right d Before we knew it, the states were getting smaller and we were closing in on our goal of the Keystone State. We rolled across the line into Pennsylvania with triumphant yells (the horn didn’t work). We had made it from CA to PA in a CJ! Two miles later the fan belt shredded and we coasted to the side of the road.Before we knew it, the states were getting smaller and we were closing in on our goal of t With the spare belt installed we raced to the Williams family farm for some home-cooked meals (not that we weren’t eating well, what with all the pie) and a good night’s rest. We awoke the next day and headed to Rausche Creek Off-Road Park, where the Topless for Tata’s trail ride for breast cancer awareness was going on. Many people were surprised to see our old Jeep alive and well 3,000 miles from home and wheeling.With the spare belt installed we raced to the Williams family farm for some home-cooked me The following day we braved the rain to attend the Carlisle All-Truck Show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It’s always a great roundup of monster trucks, hot rod diesels, show trucks, rockcrawlers, and swap meet gems.The following day we braved the rain to attend the Carlisle All-Truck Show in Carlisle, Pe A few days later we headed down to Quadratec’s headquarters to see the crew and prove we had made the lunatic road trip we had conceived a month prior. They gave us a tour of their warehouse brimming with Jeep parts and showed us the Jeeps they’re giving away in a sweepstakes, and then we rounded up some steering parts and a new valve cover gasket.A few days later we headed down to Quadratec’s headquarters to see the crew and prove we h The Quadratec guys even let us throw Lemon Pie up on a lift for a full lube job and general look-see for loose or dying parts. Everything seemed normal, so we headed for the coast.The Quadratec guys even let us throw Lemon Pie up on a lift for a full lube job and genera The final stop for the East Coast parade was Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I used to come here as a kid and always dreamt of having a Jeep to cruise the beaches. Though the sand is off-limits to vehicles, we got the ’5 about as close as possible for a proper Atlantic Ocean shot. Then we hit the surf with melancholy, knowing our adventure was half over.The final stop for the East Coast parade was Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I used to come By Fred Williams Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!