That orange Jeep Wrangler of ours — christened “Mercy” after Mercy Otis Warren, known as “The Conscience of the Revolution” — has been part of our American Life for almost five months now. While in our care she’s racked up nearly 3,500 miles under her own power and more than that free-wheeling behind Ernie.
Mercy has taken us places we wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise — from the banks of the Buffalo River to the shores of Kintla Lake, transporting us to Swett and Polebridge and Pender, Devils Tower and Little Bighorn, Wall Drug and The World’s Only Corn Palace and more.
Mercy was Dipstick’s ambulance.
I think back to a stormy June night outside Oklahoma City. I remember the moment we admitted that if we were going to make the most of this journey, we’d need to add a toad.
We retreated to northern Arkansas. Within a week, Mercy was parked next to Ernie.
These days the Jeep splits time between roles as our Ozarks runabout and Ernie’s storage annex — part grocery-getter, part pantry, part toolbox and, because of where we’ve traveled, part dustbin. And not a day goes by that we aren’t grateful to have Mercy in the mix.
Because it’s a stripped-down Wrangler, we’ve chosen to make a few upgrades. Having been spoiled by the creature comforts of our Tacomas and other vehicles we’ve owned, this time of year we’ve been missing heated seats.
I once added heated cushions to a Chevy TrailBlazer I had years ago. We thought that’d be the right solution for Mercy, too, so we ordered a pair.
I installed them this morning, a simple plug-and-play affair. Maybe it’s inelegant, but it’s an inexpensive fix and it works. Our aging bones will thank us, I’m sure.
This afternoon we took Mercy on a couple of errands, along the way giving ourselves permission to stop at a flea market and a shop featuring local foods and crafts. Before returning to the campground we had a late lunch of breakfast fare at The Ranch House.
So life is good. It’s better with this Jeep in it.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.