Chapter 3: Homer’s Honeymoon

How did Homer get his name? Technically, his full name is Homer’s Bowling Ball. If you are not a fan of the show the Simpsons (which I would blame on your poor upbringing), I have to explain.

In the episode “Life on the Fast Lane”, Homer gets Marge a bowling ball for her birthday… With his name engraved on it and drilled for his fingers. Since I was supposed to be looking for an off road vehicle for my wife… And ended up with something she wasn’t likely to drive… The name just fit.

After getting him home and checking a few things over, I take it for a spin on a dirt road. Only one thought rattled through my head: this thing rides like a military jeep!

I am all grins, but two things need urgent fixing: brakes and exhaust leaks. But it wasn’t bad enough to not drive it to our cabin, right? I loaded it up with tools to work on the cabin (which also needs a lot of work, and I might need the tools for Homer anyway) and set off.

It was rough, bounced like nuts, but stayed running and on the road both there and back. Getting back was a bigger accomplishment than it sounds.

Now coming back down, the two big issues came into play. It was a somewhat paved road (read really badly potholed, one and a half lane) that descended rapidly off a mesa. Down is the key word. On the left, there are no guardrails. Maybe a bush between the edge of the road and a long tumble into oblivion.

So I went down in 1st for a while, but it was extremely slow going and the motor was revving like a cat in a blender. Second gear worked great except for the steep parts when you had to stand on the brakes hard. In those cases, he had a tendency to lock up the left rear, which is really fun with a short wheel base on a skinny road with no guardrail between you and impending death.

But we made it down. I did not die. Did I mention there were no rubber boots on the floor abound anything? Around every pedal, every shifter, you could see the ground go by. This let in a lot of exhaust that was escaping the headers in various spots.

And for some reason, the shifters seem shifted (ha) to the rear about 2 inches. The transfer case shifters (yes, both of them) hit the tub when fully back. There was the unexplained 2″ square tube spacing the right side of the transmission skid plate down that I suspect had something to do with it. More on that later.

After surviving the trip to the cabin and back, I determined that Homer needed to go under the wrench before any more joy rides. Something about self preservation.

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