News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007


1990 was a good year for Jeeps

Maybe it was the young woman slumping over the steering wheel that caught my eye as I filled our gas tank. But it could have been her dingy white 1990 Laredo Jeep with its removable hardtop.

She and her friend were from near Shreveport, La., trying to get home from down-
town Manhattan in the Jeep she purchased online.

It was a bargain, she said, or they wouldn’t have made the trip north. By the time they rolled into Alabama, though, they wondered if the Jeep would make it to Louisiana. They also wondered if they had enough money for gas.

I watched as the young lady in the passenger seat counted money carefully before they began to pump. She wanted to be sure they could pay for the gasoline.

“Do you have enough money to get home,” I asked. “No,” came the reply from the passenger, “but we have my credit card.”

The driver raised her head, pushed hair out of her eyes and slid over and out the passenger side door.

“The door on the driver’s side stopped working, and I think this thing has a carbon monoxide leak,” she said.

From the sound, the Jeep’s exhaust system was loose.

I glanced at the knobby tires on the front and asked if the Jeep had four-wheel drive.

“Yes, and those tires don’t make driving any easier,” the reluctant owner said. ‘It’s taken us three days to get to here.”

“Really, it sounds and looks awful right now but when I get it home and fix it up, it’ll be OK,” she said reassuring herself, while looking at body rust.

Her companion giggled and recounted their trip through Manhattan after taking delivery. “It was like country come to town,” she said.

It’s roughly a 1,500-mile trip from Manhattan to Shreveport. The Jeep, the owner said, gets “about 16 miles per gallon.”

She didn’t tell the Jeep’s purchasing price but at $2.40 per gallon, she’d buy about as much gasoline as the Jeep cost her, provided the Jeep made it to Louisiana.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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