Last month we rattled, limped, and boogied my ’73 CJ-5 across America (“CA to PA in a CJ”). The Jeep, christened Lemon Pie for its color, reliability, and ability to get me to fine deserts every day, was built the same month and year I was born. I drug it home from a junkyard, spent a few weeks slinging wrenches at it, and then headed across the country last summer for a road trip to remember. By the end of the first day I was pushing it down a dirt road in the middle of the Arizona desert with a dead battery. But after a few days on the road it was running tops, save a few oil and exhaust leaks. The Jeep had no working gauges, but the modern technology of my smart phone gave me GPS, a speedometer, and access to websites for daily updates. It was a really odd having more technology in my hand than in my 4x4. After a week of high-temp driving on backroads across the great USA (a sprayer jug filled with water was the low-buck A/C of choice), I arrived in Pennsylvania, my home state, and then attended some four-wheeling events. Next I visited the good folks at Quadratec who helped make the trip happen and then cruised to the sandy Atlantic coast of Long Beach Island, New Jersey, a childhood family vacation destination of mine. I could go no farther; it was time to turn west and see if Lemon Pie would make it home. The westbound trip started at Barnegat lighthouse on the northern tip of Long Beach Island. This is what makes a trans-America trip so good, stopping and seeing neat stuff that hides in the nooks and crannies of the country.The westbound trip started at Barnegat lighthouse on the northern tip of Long Beach Island After a trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell we whizzed up the Pennsylvania turnpike when something felt odd in the front of the Jeep. Back at the family farm I realized it was time to replace the front wheel bearings that had been only repacked prior to leaving California. I also replaced the leaking valve cover gasket and packed some Permatex high-temp metal repair compound around the crack in the exhaust manifold. I was amazed it worked the whole way home.After a trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell we whizzed up the Pennsylvania turnpi After a week of driving east, and a week goofing off in PA, we headed west to Butler, Pennsylvania, for the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival (see “Homecoming Parade,” Jan. ’12). Lemon Pie rolled into the parade of Jeeps with onlookers amazed that it had come cross-country.After a week of driving east, and a week goofing off in PA, we headed west to Butler, Penn I parked Lemon Pie in front of the Quadratec tent and ogled the collection of amazing Jeeps at the show. It was here that we devised the Where Is Fred? Contest. The Quadratec guys handed me five $100 gift certificates and told me to keep them posted as to my whereabouts on the drive home. Then anyone who could find me via Quadratec’s website would get $100 for Jeep gear.I parked Lemon Pie in front of the Quadratec tent and ogled the collection of amazing Jeep At the end of the show my girl, Leah, and I headed west. Whereas the trip east was hot, the trip west started out cold and rainy. The CJ only had a Bestop Bikini top and a tired old heater, but a cold wet road trip in a slow Jeep is better than no road trip at all.At the end of the show my girl, Leah, and I headed west. Whereas the trip east was hot, th Along the trip we found ourselves on the Ernie Pyle Memorial Highway. Pyle was a WWII war correspondent and is quoted as saying, “Good Lord, I don’t think we could continue the war without the jeep, it does everything. It goes everywhere. It’s as faithful as a dog, strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat. It constantly carries twice what it was designed for, and keeps on going.”Along the trip we found ourselves on the Ernie Pyle Memorial Highway. Pyle was a WWII war With the sun setting we rolled into Hardin, Illinois, and stopped to check out the Joe Page Hardin Bridge spanning the Illinois River. Made of 5 million pounds of steel, the 1931 bridge can raise its center section to clear riverboats.With the sun setting we rolled into Hardin, Illinois, and stopped to check out the Joe Pag Once in Hardin we found no place to stay, neither campsite nor hotel, and were told of places across the Mississippi river in Missouri. We raced through the dark and caught one of the last ferry boats across the river that night. Feeling like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn we floated across and entered the fifth state of our homeward trip.Once in Hardin we found no place to stay, neither campsite nor hotel, and were told of pla Day 3 we visited the home of Daniel Boone and then worked our way along the Missouri river stopping in Hermann for … a slice of pie! After lunch we were cruising the backroads when Alex Deloe flagged us down and won not one, but three of the Quadratec gift certificates. It would be two days later in Colorado before we were tracked down again and awarded the remaining two certificates.Day 3 we visited the home of Daniel Boone and then worked our way along the Missouri river One of our favorite food stops was at Traditions Soda & Sandwich in Garden City, Kansas. The pie was great, the staff friendly, and the decor like something from Happy Days.One of our favorite food stops was at Traditions Soda & Sandwich in Garden City, Kansas. T In southern Colorado we crested the infamous Wolf Creek Pass, and the little Jeep barely sputtered over the Continental Divide. We then descended into Durango, one of our favorite places to visit along the Rocky Mountains.In southern Colorado we crested the infamous Wolf Creek Pass, and the little Jeep barely s Coming to the end of our trip we zoomed across Arizona and into California at a smooth 58 mph. The little CJ-5 had a few hiccups but always came back for more adventure and, by the end of the trip, felt like a tattered old pair of comfy slippers. If you think this trip seemed crazy, we assure you it was not. You don’t need an old Jeep to do it. Just take the time, spend some money on gas, throw a duffle bag in whatever 4x4 you own, and go see the backroads of America. You’ll never forget it.Coming to the end of our trip we zoomed across Arizona and into California at a smooth 58 By Fred Williams Enjoyed this Post? 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