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Jeep #18: Soft Top Hardware

So in order to keep my project jeep more ‘canon’ to the film, I bought an aftermarket factory-style soft top hardware set, along with a matching brown bestop. Basically I caved in during a heavy rainstorm somewhere between Longmont and Boulder at like two in the morning, deciding to get a soft top just for such occasions. I figured it would look like the jeep in the movie and if the weather got ridiculously shitty I could pull the whole thing up with minimal effort and continue on my way.
The jeep I bought came with a black supertop, the hardware of which doesn’t look anything like that in the film, but I managed to set up the whole thing by myself, with no previous knowledge or experience, in about a half hour.

Tonight Logan and I tried getting the new thing on, and for the love of god two hours later we still can get it to fit perfectly. The hardware setup is ingenius, with the sliding bars that fold down and all lock together. But the actual canvas part, mother of GOD… fuck YOU bestop. I figure that if I am on the road with that thing and it starts raining, not only will the storm have passed by the time I get it all zipped up, but it will likely be a whole different season. 

Hey it looks shnazzy and cannon and all that, but I don’t quite think I like it. If I can figure out how to make the top work tomorrow then I’ll likely keep it, but for the trouble, the impracticality of it, and how it generally makes the jeep feel that much more closed-in I might just return the sucker and seek out a used Supertop.

Jeep #18: StarFest 2008

In other news, last weekend marked the goings-on of Colorado’s largest science fiction convention, StarFest. I had brought the ecto to the convention last year and was asked to park it by the entrance by staff who regretted me not telling them I was bringing it down ahead of time. They asked if it would be possible to put the cars inside the hotel for 2008, and I told them I’d be in touch.

Shauna and I arrived at the DTC Marriott around 8 the day before the con to load the cars into the hotel. For the DIAS all we had to do was drive up a ramp and into the convention center, and for the Forney Museum there was a loading area and everything.

Not so this time around.

We had to turn the cars off and push them through the main hall, down an adjacent hallway, turn them around in the atrium, and back them into their parking spots… all the while making sure the cars never touched the carpet by rolling them on plastic sheets. Pain. In. The. Ass.

Anyway, we did get them in and I spent Friday crawling under and around the cars, hand-cleaning everything from the mirrors to the wheels. Here are some pictures from the weekend, taken by other con-goers and found by me on the internets.

 
 
 

Jeep #18: Forney Museum of Transportation

Hey look at that! My jeep is in a museum! 

In a climate-controlled building, safe from the weather and ne’er-do-wells. 

Oh and look at that mannequin. Yeah, it sort of looks like a he-she and isn’t wearing shoes, but it’s still pretty cool. Hey, wait a minute… 

Are those my fucking KEYS?? Jesus. Isn’t there a place to put those, like behind a desk or something? Maybe with the other keys to your huge collection of fancy cars? Goddammit Forney!

Jeep #18: First Snow of the Season

My what weather we’ve been having!

Monday was in the high 60s, sunny, freaking beautiful. I took advantage of the freak weather and took off the jeep’s soft-top and drove around enjoying the warmth. My girlfriend and I hoped that Tuesday would be just as nice, and we planned a possible trip to the Denver Zoo. Unfortunately when we asked NOAA about the hippity-hap, we were told there was an 80% chance of snow, with highs being in the low 30s.

Goddammit.

Not to worry, though. I generally despise winter on Colorado’s Front Range because more often than not it doesn’t get much snow, so it’s just brown and fucking cold and depressing. I go through a fit of SADs until the first real snow comes down. I went into work on dry roads at 7 or so for some Battlefield 2 and emerged a little after 11 into a world with 3 inches of snow on it. FANTASTIC!

So what’s the first thing I want to do in this wonderland? Why, take the Jeep and check out it’s handling in snow, of course! Back when I lived in Granby one of my friends had an old Lebaron (I think), which was a cheapo early 90s convertible. When I came back from college for winter break we put on tons of snow clothes and drove around with the top down, throwing snowballs and being total dorks, it was fucking awesome. Naturally, when I got the jeep one of the first things I said I wanted to do was take it out in a snow storm, bundled up in warm clothes. And tonight was my chance!

Winter, you are now officially my bitch! 

I happen to live nearby a Volkswagen/Audi dealership that leaves their awesome white lights on all night. Back when I built the Ecto this is where we would go to take pictures of new additions or modifications, simply because there was so much light and no one around. That’s Poncy in the front and one of my roommates, Jer, in the back. How awesome it is to have friends like these guys. 

Jer cowering in the back. 

After driving across town to see Ben at work, we drove up College to enjoy so more of the storm. We stopped at the sev on Mulberry to pick up some tomato soup and hot chocolate.

What an absolutely awesome night. I love winter. I love my jeep!

Oh, and the jeep is okay in the snow, provided it’s set in 4high. The BFG tires provide great traction, but their stopping ability is horrible. I would guess that if the jeep weighed more (a lot more) then it would do a lot better. It would definitely not be able to tow stuck vehicles in the snow. Looks like I’ll be sticking to my Outback this winter.

Jeep #18: Photoshoot with the Jeep

Lately my friend Logan (SA: Bruno_me) has been figuring out how to do incredibly cool things with his camera, not the least of which is taking HDR photos. Since drooling over some of the HDR pics on the NASIOC forums, I decided I wanted to try something similar with my replica cars. I figured we could make some cool images and use them the website, myspace, and mail them to all the different magazines and newspapers that want good pictures of the car. 

Me driving ze jeep. 

A few miles out of Boulder the sky looked amazing and we had a great view of the mountains, I figured the IBM facility would have an open space where we could take some pictures. We went down an access road and found a nice flat clearing just south of the buildings. From there we set up and started shooting. 

 
 

Jeep #18: Into the Rockies

So, having spent all summer working on the DinoJeep, I found myself faced with only a few weeks of greenery and warmth in Colorado before winter set in. I am not too fond of soft-tops on jeeps unless they are absolutely necessary, so I had my mind set on enjoying the open-top as much as possible. I had originally planned to go on a little road trip through the mountains; Glenwood, maybe the sand dunes, possibly see some old friends in Grand Junction, and also to have some fun in Breck. I have currently found myself with very few consecutive days off for the rest of the month, so I decided to make the most of it and visit my parents up in Granby, CO.

On Tuesday morning, Austin and I piled some crap into the car and took off. We went through Rocky Mountain National Park, which took us over Trail Ridge Road. This road caps off at over 11,300 feet above sea level. Luckily, we were prepared and enjoyed a nice cozy trip.

Today I decided to take the jeep up Corona Pass (Rollins Pass), a popular trail outside of Winter Park that goes all the way up and over the Continental Divide. 

Leaving the folks’ property.

The trail is more suited for ATVs and snowmobiles in the winter, but you can make a relatively smooth trip by staying in second gear and zig-zagging across the trail to avoid the giant dips and potholes. 

Closer to the second leg of the trail, with the Winter Park ski resort in the background.

At around 9,000 feet we hit tree line and the forest gave way to enormous meadows. 

At the top of the pass. The sun was out and there wasn’t much wind, it was unbelievably enjoyable. The road leading up to Corona Pass is know as Old Moffat Road, it’s an 11-mile dirt trail made out of the remnants of the Northwest and Pacific Railway. After the Moffat Tunnel was built in 1928, the railroad going over the mountains was dismantled and turned into the current trail. At the top of the pass there used to be a lodge and train service area. Long above-ground tunnels known as snowsheds snaked their way over the pass, allowing trains to run in the winter without the necessity of plowing the tracks of 10-foot drifts. The remnants of these buildings and tunnels are everywhere. Wooden debris litters the slopes below the trail and along the meadows at the summit. There are even places on the trail where the dirt gives way to wooden railroad ties! 

Coming back down with the Riflesight Trestle in the background. The bridge is off-limits for preservation and safety purposes, but is largely intact save for a good twenty feet in the middle.

Not nearly muddy enough!

My favorite picture from the trip… 

Sure, it’s not really jurassic scenery, but it was a blast!

Jeep #18: Back from Nan Desu Kan

BACK FROM NDK! 

There it is. I kept a bunch of cleaning supplies in the big yellow tub. Tire-shine, window cleaner, tons of paper towels… blah blah blah. 

Having just received the plates while driving to the con, I simply attached them over the legal plates using sticky tabs. I plan on mounting them solidly to the car opposite the regular plates, eventually. 

Interior. I don’t get to see the stripes or logos or any of that cool stuff while driving, so I tried to spice it up from the inside. There are only a half-dozen shots of the interior of the jeep from the actual movie, so I made it as accurrate as possible, then spiced it up. InGen logos on the visor, resin raptor claw hanging from the mirror. I’d like to eventually make a “mosquito-in-amber” shifter knob, as well. 

I also plan on taking this thing up into Rocky Mountain National Park and making a spoof “Only in a Jeep” magazine ad. Should be funny, right? 

These are a couple of old old friends of mine who came out from their panels to see the jeep in person for the first time. Poor Mandi, can’t get over the wheel! She is one of the judges for the masters cosplay competition at NDK and other cons. Apparently she was a massive JP fan back in the day and she was nearly in tears while sitting in the jeep. I promised to give her some of my road flares. 

Mandi is having a t-rex paddock flashback. And Dayl’s just jazzed to be on the show.

Jeep #18: Ready for Nan Desu Kan

Well guys… there it is.

*tear* 

I still have to mount the sidesteps and make the lightbar, but those are the last two things.

DinoJeep completed at 12:45pm, September 14, 2007

Thoughts?

Jeep #18: Fender Flares Painted

Jeep #18: Whip Antenna Installed

Pictures with the antenna… 

Also, I’ve wanted to make some little easter eggs for the jeep, for the people with the really keen eye. One such idea is making the shifter knob a little orb of amber with a mosquito inside. I also wanted a little Colorado Division of Wildlife sticker in the corner of the windshield. Like this 

But I didn’t want it to be a bighorn sheep. I called Gretchen, a college friend of mine who an incredible artist and pitched her the idea. The next day she sent me this. 

*fucking ecstatic!*

Sooo coooool!

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