by Michael Boyink / [email protected]
If you were around Walmart or the Ava square last Saturday, you might have seen them.
A whole lot of Jeeps, all in a row.
They came from Ozark. From Strafford, from Springfield, and from Ava.
Organized on Facebook, the event was expected to draw 5 or 10 Jeeps.
31 showed up.
Blame the weather.
After gathering at Walmart and staging up around the Ava square, the “stocker friendly” run mainly traveled on Douglas County gravel roads northeast of Ava.
The group lunched at the Vera Cruz River access, before completing nearly 60 miles of driving.
The group included Jon King from Ozark. King’s 1979 CJ5 nicknamed “Crusty” was the oldest Jeep of the group.
“It’s got a 304 V8, and a granny-low four speed,” King said. “Everything underneath is new. It used to be a root-beer colored Golden Eagle, but we painted it white.”
King and his wife were bundled up against the cold, since Crusty sported only a bikini top against the elements.
The weather was in King’s favor. This time.
“We ran Glade Top a few weeks back,” he said. “It was only 20 degrees that day, but I had the stocking hat and the coat on that I keep in here.”
He’s gotten a reputation for driving the Jeep topless when cold. “I drove it all the way from Ozark and it was 20 degrees. I showed up down there and everyone started cheering and yelling,” he chuckled. “They started calling me ‘Mountain Man’ because about two and a half years ago, we got two inches of ice and I was out driving the Jeep topless in it.”
For more photos of the day, or to learn about upcoming backroad Jeeping events, search for “ava jeeps etc” on Facebook.