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There are times when you just have to let go.

Our 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport, the XJ, the Golden Bullet, Hayduke, No-Name, was our daily driver and adventure-mobile for six years. While not our first 4×4, nor our first Jeep, this boxy, unibodied, traction champion rarely let us down (most of the time!), and it took us to places both well known and unknown.

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But the wheel turns, and this Jeep’s wheels had turned their last for us. In July we sold it on to a nice couple in Missoula who needed an affordable four-wheel-drive to haul their dogs and go skiing.

Sounds familiar.

We took it well past 200,000 miles, up to Canada, and down to Utah and Arizona. Solo trips, or overloaded with car-sick greyhounds, every day to school and work, or fun weekends to the ski hill, it was our constant companion.

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Sometimes it faded into the background. A car is a tool, after all – but there were always projects. Some I undertook to make it more reliable, some to fix failed parts, some to improve our lives on the road when we explored the American west. I learned and practiced more auto mechanics on this Jeep than any other vehicle I have ever owned. We kept it remarkably stock. But there were always new projects in the pipeline and schemes for future improvements.

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What a strange thing to give up on those projects – to abandon the plans that we spent months mapping out, to cancel the daydreams and delete the many related web browser bookmarks. It’s hard to cut the cord on cars like this one, and the buyers were genuinely nice enough that I gave them my number in case they ran into any unforeseen problems.

Funny, too, all the work I did to prepare the Jeep for sale. I finally completed a number of jobs that I had been sitting on for over a year. Nothing major – just little things that make life easier as a Jeep driver. The new owners will hopefully appreciate them.

Given its history, I think it will have a good future.

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