Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A New Family Member

If you dare to think I was referring to a new puppy, guess again.

Last summer our 2010 Mercury Mariner (named “Junior”) was not feeling well and refused to do what we asked it to – which was very simply to drive us where we wanted to go.  How can we survive in such a one-sided relationship with an untrusted partner?  It turns out, maybe it wasn't Junior just being stubborn.  His transmission ached from being towed behind the motorhome for three years.  Actually, ached isn't the right word since the service guy at Ford said Juniors’ transmission had a “catastrophic failure” and needed to be replaced.  Ouch!
And Junior looked so good behind the motorhome 3 years ago on our maiden voyage.
This news was quite shocking since we have diligently followed the manufacturer’s recommendation for towing and maintenance.  The mechanic at Ford said this was by no means a rare incident for Mercury Mariners and Ford Escapes the same age as ours and he had seen this issue before.  His solution . . . a tow dolly or trailer.  No way!

Lucky for us Junior’s transmission was still under the Ford power train warranty and other than being held up for a week and a half while the new transmission was shipped and installed, we were back on the road.  But with the 60,000-mile power train warranty approaching, we decided to take the plunge and buy a new car before any other aches and pains crept back in.

Car shopping is a pain under any circumstance but when you are looking for a car that can be towed behind a motorhome with all four wheels on the ground, your options are limited.  And we needed one that can carry all our tows (dog included).  After days in car lots, research on the internet, and being told untruths by car salesmen we decided on the new model 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4X4 Limited.  We liked the looks of the car, the ease at which it can be towed, the interior space, and the ability to rack our kayaks on the roof . . . and Spirit fits.

So may I present to you our newest family member . . .

 And so it was off the trailer with the new . . .

And on the trailer with the old . . . Good by Junior.

Of course, it had to be black to match the motorhome (and dog).  The car was ordered back in January while we were in Panama City, Florida but just now caught up to us in North Carolina.  Seems it took a little longer to build the car that month Jeep estimated and even longer to have the baseplate and supplemental brake attached.  The good news was the salesman at Bay Jeep promised to send it to us wherever we were so we didn’t have to change our plans.  And change we didn’t so the car met up with a few states and a thousand miles later. 

If you are wondering about its name . . . so far it doesn’t have one.  We just call it Jeep!  


  1. Nice choice of a tow car, it's too pretty to be called a "toad". ;c)

  2. Congratulations on a wise choice in replacing your Mariner. We loved our 2010 Escape - the V6 and interior features were great, but the constant stooping and monitoring of the transmission was tiresome, all along knowing that even if we did everything right, the tranny could fail. We traded it in on a new Honda CRV and are very happy - no muss, no fuss, just hook up and go. Good luck with your Jeep, it's nice that you keep Spirit properly accessorized....


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