Seasoned Rookie with Murph, The Seasoned Rookie.
Murph here with another exciting, glamorous, and sand-laden on-location Seasoned Rookie World Edition from the glistening sands of Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
I'm not going to lie to you... The two months preceding ZookiMelt 2004 were pretty intense. With the help of several of my fellow Rookies by ways of time, advice, and good deals on parts and supplies, I was able to claim success on a challenge: Build a "new" Suzuki from the frame up in six weeks.
Did I do this alone? No way.
Bill "Airzuk" Maulding scored me a great deal on a radiator and loaned me his flatbed trailer to bring the new body home from Rod's Samurai Parts in Iowa. "Danger Dad" Murphy gave up his 4-Runner for a week so I'd have a tow rig, and helped out with the gas expenses too, which was much appreciated. Jim Cambron offered up several of his personal vacation days from work to drive up and help me weld and engineer some repairs to the body and frame, something known as the "Jackass Body Lift." Mom and Dad (some of my favorite rookies) also came down for a day to help install the seals in the transfer case and axle pinions. Kevin "Sarge" Lafferty of Midwest Performance Parts gave up many an evening to help salvage my differentials, as well as help me out with some parts which I could never have afforded on my small budget. Crow Horse supplied me with some new tail lights. Ray LaFenere and Andy & Cristal Tharp drove in from Canada and Arkansas, respectively, to participate in what we called the Eleventh Hour FabFest, working until nearly midnight before leaving the next morning. Figmo at Roadless Gear and Tim Tackett at North Coast Offroad were also EXTREMELY helpful in making sure I had parts and supplies as quickly as possible at reasonable prices. The owner of the Born Paint Company in Peoria took his lunch break to teach me how to use my new paint gun, and my buddy Shawn with Meineke Mufflers in Peoria Heights came through at the last minute as always to install those dreaded rear wheel bearings. John Yarish from St. Louis even drove up for a "work weekend" to help install the engine and reassemble the front axle.
This doesn't even START to include the emails, the messages of support, the phone calls, and anything else that went along with making sure I made it to Indiana for the 'melt.
Imagine the rotten luck of meeting a wonderful woman at a wedding... Going through the usual song and dance of "can I have your number" and "sure I'll call you" and "we'll do all sorts of fun things." Then coming home from the reception, parking the car and walking around the house and realizing you had no business courting another girl when there's a battered yellow Suzuki waiting for you in the backyard which changes before your eyes from Bumble Bee Gloss Yellow to Jealous Hateful Green.
Brandi, who had never done anything more to a car than added gas, put her fears and fresh manicures aside and traded her Cosmo magazine for the Suzuki FSM and jumped into my toolbox with both feet.
I think this is the epitome of a Rookie -- putting aside reservations to try something new, succeeding, and then wanting to do more... believe it or not, our first real fight in this relationship was because we were invited to a wedding the same week as a trail run, and I had already RSVP'd to the wedding and couldn't ethically back out of it -- she wanted to get muddy!
Now Rookies: I have questions for you.
As you know, six weeks were spent building a truck from the frame up. Hundreds of photos were taken, and I suppose I could get an article or two out of the adventure. My question is: What would you like to learn? I ask anyone interested to email your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe a little about yourself and your truck. If I choose your suggestion, I'll send you a Seasoned Rookie Truck Decal if I ever have them made up.
Life is Good The Seasoned Rookie