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Members' Rigs: Mike Fissel
I have been wheeling for over 30 years.
While the majority of my rigs have been Jeeps (probably 18 or so Jeeps, I had 10 at one time) I did loose my way 3 times and bought a Ram Charger, a Full Sized Bronco, and a full Sized Blazer -- all back in the 70s and 80s.
Since then it has been all Jeep.
Being from the east coast, most of my wheeling has been on hills and mud but 5 years ago I moved to Arizona.
Before that I made two trips to Moab, UT and I knew then that someday I would move West, find me a cowgirl, and spend my spare time wheeling.
Rock Crawling got boring and expensive after a while and it seemed that no matter how much money one would spend, you could always end up breaking the expensive stuff.
The southwest had so much to offer in history and trails.
There was more than rock crawling here, did anyone else feel the same way?
Well there were others like me and Jeep Expeditions was born in late 2006, although we really didn’t know it until after our 1st trip in 2007.
My trail rig with Jeep Expeditions as the planner and trip leader of our first trip on the Devil's Highway is a 1982 Jeep Wagoneer Limited.
Also referred to as the Jeep SJ or FSJ (Full Size Jeep).
Its big, its heavy and it gets lots of looks.
I call it the "War Wagon" (I like John Wayne movies) but my friends all call it "The Beast".
The beast pretty much goes where the little Jeeps go, only getting more AZ pinstriping.
And being 25 years old, it has its quirks but mile after mile the few "bugs" I have encountered are now fixed and gone........'til the next one shows up :-)
From the custom roof rack by TTsFabworks, to the 7” SOA/rear shackle flip also from www.ttsfabworks.com, the 33 BFG mudders and custom bumpers front and rear it was a beginning of an “old farts” toy.
Now add Detroit and ARB lockers, 4.56 gearing, a 9000 lb winch and its ready for most trails.
You notice how the rear sits a little low?
That is Rustys Off Road 3" lift springs that have NO lift at all.
One of my next projects to replace them with quality springs.
On the top we have a 2nd spare tire in case the one on the rear isn't enough, a Wilson Trucker 5000 CB antenna, a dual band Ham Radio antenna, Sirius Satellite Truckers antenna, Garmin external marine GPS antenna, shovel, MaxAxe and a HiLift jack.
Did I mention that I had the roof Rhino Lined with about 3/16" of protection.
It looks like a vinyl roof, cuts down on the noise and protects the roof from nicks and dings.
Inside we have a custom stereo/MP3 system, a Kenwood D700A, Yaesu FT-60R for back up, Cobra 29XL CB, a Jotto Desk with a Panasonic Toughbook CF29 loaded with high resolution Topo Maps of the entire southwest and medium resolution Topo maps of the entire country plus National Geographics National Parks Topo, Delorme Street Atlas 2007, Garmin City Maps and Topo, and more.
On the dash sits the Cobra Radar Detector (not sure why, with the gearing we can't go over the freeway speeds here in AZ), Sirius Sat Radio receiver, Garmin 276C Chartplotter with Topo loaded and connected to both the Ham radio and laptop.
Its all protected by an alarm system, the club, and Smith and Wesson!
The 1963 Wagoneer Rhino/Gladiator grill, faux horn covers, and headlights add to its uniqueness.
2011 or 2012 Will bring a new FSJ project to add to my stable of trail rigs, The Beast II.
This picture was taken on our Sedona, Arizona Expedition in July 2008
Jeep Expeditions is the PREMIERE Jeep exclusive Expedition/Overland type organization of its type in the US.
Jeep Expeditions is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Arizona. The state recognizes us as a fraternal organization, we prefer to say we are a club. Our members and volunteers are dedicated to the exploration this great land for the educational value, historical value, scenic beauty, the geology, paleontology, the camaraderie of people who share the same interests and to escape the confines of civilization if only for a few days.
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