Random thoughts

I’d really wanted to get to see The Commemorative Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress this weekend during its visit to Amarillo. That didn’t work out, but it was nonetheless breathtaking to hear heavy piston engines overhead tonight, and look up to see this old bird in the skies over our house!


We made an unplanned stop by Caprock Canyons State Park Friday on the way home from Katelyn’s math Olympics competition. It was a fantastic time.

Watch for photos and more, coming soon.

I’ve now seen three new Jeep Wrangler JLs running around town. Guess they’re selling well here.


It’s interesting to me that this image, taken after a minor dusting in 2016, is by far the most-clicked-on image on this site. I’ve always thought it turned out nice, except for the blur in the trees at left, which I assume was a small bird taking flight.

So many of us in the same boat! #TBT

Longtime followers of this site may recall its evolution: Begun as a place to document my (incredibly slow) build, I also created posts to document ideas I was considering for the Jeep or comparing similar products about which I’d not made up my mind.

About the same time my fledgling build stalled, I also began receiving comments and the occasional email from readers who were in the same place I was. These folks were new to the Jeeping world and knew as little as I did about turning wrenches. So, I began adding posts on maintenance or highlighting several products in a given category.¬†You see, I’m that annoying researcher type of consumer. I rarely purchase anything I haven’t read up on and know backward and forward. I may not have practical experience with it, but my head is swimming in all the stats and figures.

Lift Comp Screen GrabSo, STJ became not just a place to document Smokey’s evolution, but a (hopefully) helpful guide for novice Jeepers. As such, there are a few posts that are perpetually among the most-visited on the site. Among them is my first lift kit comparison, first shared June 9, 2015. At the time, I was debating 2.5-inch lift kits by American Expedition Vehicles and Teraflex, but had recently been turned onto one of Metalcloak’s kits and reputation for excellence.

Some 7,500 of you have found value in this post, and it continues to pop up almost daily among STJ’s most-viewed pages. This comparison prompted another look at lift kits, replacing AEV in the lineup with one of Rock Krawler’s popular kits.

I’m gratified by the literally tens of thousands of you who visit this site, and by those of you who are encouraged to continue your own Jeep explorations by what you see here. Like you, I’ll keep learning, experimenting and modifying. And, I encourage you to keep commenting publicly or emailing me at smokeyjeep@mail.com. I’m glad you’re along for the ride!