I think everyone here can agree that between the pandemic and social craziness, 2020 had every reason to go fuck itself. However, it did bring about a few good changes in my neck of the woods.
The first change was location. It’s not Arizona but I did end up moving. It was only a thirty mile migration but a solid world away. We’re on top of a densely wooded mountain but also only a five minute drive from full-blown civilization. The we of which I speak is me and my kids, my sister (freshly separated from her husband) and her kids, and my mom (freshly separated from her husband) all living commune-style in a big beautiful house tucked away in the woods.
The close proximity to civilization didn’t save us from being buried beneath forty-two and a half inches of snow in one storm. Our saving grace in that storm was my sister’s beat up 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. She’d been scouring the used car market for a Jeep Renegade for a few weeks at that point but hadn’t yet found what she wanted. She and my mom were carpooling to work when the storm hit and they got stranded. The Grand Cherokee was limping along on its last legs and had been parked at the house as a result but it dutifully trudged through the twenty-ish miles of deep snow and shit roads to rescue my mom and sister from the storm. When I arrived to get them, the snow was up over the fender of my mom’s Mazda 6. After that storm, my mom decided she wanted a four-wheel-drive vehicle. At my sister’s prodding, she decided to check out the Renegades and ended up getting herself a white 2020 Renegade Altitude.
Fast forward a couple of months and my sister finally found her unicorn: a 2016 Renegade Trailhawk. A newly minted Supernatural fan, she named her little red Jeep after the feisty redheaded witch Rowena and they have been happy together ever since. It’s a fun toy that’s also practical for her and her kids.
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of driving RoRo around anytime my sister didn’t need it. It was her not-so-secret campaign to turn me to the dark side. For real. She was not subtle in her efforts. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a Wrangler but couldn’t find one in that retail sweet spot of being in good condition at a price that doesn’t make me choke. After watching my sister shop for her Renegade, I told her repeatedly that if I were to spend that kind of money, it would be on a Wrangler. Over time, that sentiment changed. Instead of ruling out a Renegade, I said I would preffffeeerrrrrrrr a Wrangler…but if it had to be a Renegade, it would have to also be a 2016 Trailhawk, like hers only in black.
I said it as a joke, people. I still wanted a Wrangler. Want a Wrangler.
In mid-September, we were out one day for a Saturday afternoon joyride. We wandered out toward Steve’s Jeep Country to see what they had kicking around their lot but didn’t make it that far. My sister’s spidey sense or Renegadar or whatever you want to call it went off. She spotted a Rene tucked into the center of a crowded car lot and we pulled over to check it out but didn’t expect much.
And there it was.
A 2016 Renegade Trailhawk in black with reasonable mileage and the price tag didn’t make me want to hurl.
Within the week, I was signing papers and before the ink was dry on my title application, my sister and I were discussing road trip plans. We have already begun spending our free days tooling around the New England area but we want to do a bunch of big road trips. Week-long drives and camping trips that allow us to unwind and see some of this giant country we live in.
All photos property of @2Trailhawks.
We began with planning via window shopping and when we realized how great of a trip could be planned for relatively little money (omg, when I discovered rooftop and SUV hatch tents…game changer), it went from a hey-wouldn’t-this-be-a-fun-idea kind of thing to us saying why the fuck not?
I started by looking at events that were already available. There are soooooo many Jeep Wrangler meet ups out there and that’s great. I believe Jeep even throws one each year up in Utah at Moab. I assure you, I’m sufficiently jealous, but one quick Google search shows that Wrangler peeps aren’t all okay with the Renegade peeps. I ran a Google search for “Jeep Renegade Memes” thinking it would return cute #jeeplife images aimed at Renegade drivers. Instead, it’s just a bunch of meat-spirited toxic garbage about Renegades not being “real” Jeeps. It makes me sad that many Wrangler drivers feel that way. And now the idea of trying to attend one of these meet ups in my tiny little tissue box sounds like way too much work. I do understand that not all Wrangler owners are like this, I just don’t want the hassle of navigating around that ones that do. I just want to drive and have fun. So we’re organizing our own event. The goal is to do one big road trip per year and we’re going to kick it off with a 7-day drive and camping trip in August 2022. Our drive will take us to New Orleans with stops along the east coast of the United States
It will be a Renegade-centric event but all Jeeps are welcome. Just because I don’t want to navigate other people’s snobby bullshit doesn’t mean I’m cooking up any of my own. All Jeeps are welcome on Renegade Rendezvous. However, if you’re looking to go 4-wheeling…
It’s a road trip, not a 4-wheeling trip. Again, there are plenty of 4-wheeling events already in existence. The Renegade Rendezvous is for people who want to put some miles on their Jeep and see some cool shit along the way. The group camping locations will be at maintained state parks. You’re not going to have to worry about accessibility or anything like that.
There are lots more details halfway hashed out on the interest form shown below. If you’re a Jeep driver looking for an adventure, read on.
Special Note for My Readers: There will be a special get together just for you in New Orleans on the second night of the 2-night stay there. Hope to see some of you there!