In Which We Are Bested By A Jeep

This one time, at band camp….

No, wait…wrong story.

This one time, when we decided to rent an SUV for a road trip…

Yeah, that’s how it starts.

Hubby and I were going to meet our son, daughter-in-law and grandson at a lakeside resort in Arkansas one year when they were living in Kansas, and we didn’t get to see much of them.

(boy, how that changed in a hurry as they moved back to Texas and in with us shortly after this trip and lived in our house for a year)

Not really wanting to put any more miles than was necessary on our aging Chevy Pickup, we decided to rent an SUV for the trip.

I went online and chose ‘full-size’ from the SUV menu at Reasonably Priced and Close Car Rental Company.

We went to pick up the vehicle only to discover that ‘full-size’ applies if you’re Mary Lou Retton and Willie Shoemaker. 

We are neither.

It was a Ford Esss-cop-ay they gave us, and hubby – who is 6’2” – couldn’t see out the windshield unless he slouched down in the seat.

Since he was doing the driving, and slouching really wasn’t conducive to a not-painful trip, we said no thanks we’ll go elsewhere to get a bigger SUV since you don’t seem to have one.

That’s when the Helpful Customer Service Agent said they did have a larger SUV, but it was considered a ‘premium’ vehicle and would cost more.

I said no thanks…we’ll get something bigger elsewhere for the same price as your ‘full-size’ vehicle.

I wasn’t trying to be a hardass.  I’d already called around and found a Chevy Trailblazer for the same price at Another Reasonably Priced and Close Car Rental Company.

I thought the HCSA was going to tackle us as we walked out the door. “Fine, I’ll let you have the premium SUV for the same price as the full-sized one, then.”

We looked at each other and agreed.

We were given a Jeep Grand Cherokee.  It was very roomy and identical to the one that son and daughter-in-law had purchased that same year.  Even down to the color.

We got a thirty-second tutorial on bells, switches, gauges, and where to locate the spare tire.

We are both experienced drivers and really didn’t pay much attention to the tutorial.

Later, I wished we had.  Boy, how I wished we had.

But, then I wouldn’t have had this amusing anecdote to tell you.

We drove the Jeep home, packed it and left the next morning.

It was raining lightly about three hours into our nine hour drive, so hubby turned on the wipers.  He also managed to turn on the rear-window wiper at the same time, though he said he didn’t know how and figured the two were connected.

When the rain stopped, hubby turned off the wipers.

The rear wiper kept going.

He pushed another button and the lights came on.

The rear wiper stopped, and the windshield wipers came on.

“I don’t think we are making progress” I said, stifling a giggle.

Random. Lever. Manipulate.

The radio came on and the wipers went off.

Except the rear wiper. It kept going, and now the window was dry so it was squeaking each time it swiped across.


I don’t think there’s a more exquisite torture. 

Forget waterboarding, forget sleep deprivation, just put the person inside a Jeep with the rear wiper stuck on during a dry spell.  They’ll tell you anything.

Random. Cussing. Followed by more random lever manipulating.

The radio came on, the rear wiper stopped and the dome light came on.

By now the sun was setting and we’d been at this for hours.  We were nearing our destination, and hubby’s patience was at an end.

“Leave it alone.” I said as he reached for the switch to turn off the dome light.

“I can’t, it bugs me.” He said, flipping the switch only to find the headlights going off and the dome light staying on.

Also, the rear wiper started again.

So, now we’re in the backwoods of Arkansas, on winding roads, in the dark, with no headlights.

Finally, we had to admit defeat and pull out the 575 page manual – not one of those pages explained how to turn off the rear-window wiper (the source of all this mayhem), I kid you not.

“Feck”, hubby exclaimed – well he didn’t say ‘feck’ but you get the idea.

Hubby punched the same button he’d used to plunge us into darkness, and the headlights came on.

The dome light stayed on, and I glared at him as he reached for the dashboard knobs again.

“Don’t.Touch.Anything.” I said through gritted teeth. “Let’s just get where we are going, and we can ask son how to turn this stuff off and on since he has the same vehicle.”

“Good idea.” Hubby said as we started off again.

In the silence, save for the ‘squeak, squeak’ of the rear wiper, a few minutes later I hear hubby giggling…then guffawing..and I joined in.

He reached for the dash again and pushed more buttons.

The wiper stopped and the dome light went off.  We got to the resort with no further chaos.

The rest of the trip our Jeep stayed in the parking lot and the wonky wiper/lights/radio system was forgotten until the day we left for home.

We got on the road that morning, joking about what random electrical malfunction we’d have next, but nothing happened 3…4…5…6..7 hours into the trip and we’d forgotten all about it. 

We were an hour from home when……


Posted on August 31, 2012, in Guess You Had to Be There, Maybe I'm The Only One Who Thinks This Is Funny, Things That Annoy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.


    Mine wasn’t that bad. It was with a Chevrolet Blazer. After a couple of hours, I eventually figured them out, but in the mean time, it was scary. 😀

  2. I’m surprised they don’t administer aptitude tests before turning those vehicles over. Too many buttons!


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