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Paddle Tires and the Art of Introspection

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My mother tells me the month of July in Seattle is on pace to be one of the coolest on record. Fortunately, I didn’t move here for the heat!  And as I took a relaxing walk this morning (sunday) dodging tourists through bustling Pike Place Market, with new female friend in tow, to the Seattle Art Museum in the drizzle that defines Seattle, I rather relished it.  I relished the cool rainy July day, weather I ran away from back in June of 1992 as fast as the moving van would travel on a journey that seems otherworldly at this point.

So, 19 years later, here I was walking only a few blocks from the very spot from which I moved, an apartment at the base of Queen Anne hill in downtown.  As I walked down 1st Ave towards the SAM, I realized I’m older, yes;  I’m grayer, slighly; I’m richer, financially no, experientially yes; I’m wiser, maybe; more introspective, absolutely! I sold my jeep to finance the move so long ago and arrived back with a nicer one; maybe that was worth the entire adventure?

I guess I can’t help but be introspective at this time.  A heady move followed by a delightful time with my kids, which after their summer stays, I’m always simultaneously proud at who they have become and disappointed that their time with me is up for another summer.

And, of course, there was the added element of my father, whose dignity we fight to preserve as time weighs heavily on his formerly stout constitution.  The truth is dad is a little south of odd for the kids to recognize, as they really did not know him the way I did. I wanted to show the kids he is facing his mortality head on, despite infirmities and incontinence, and fighting for his end goal, to live to the age of 80.  Will he make it?  If he has any say about it, he will.

During all these events eWillys has suffered a bit, as time demands bit into my updates. Whenever that happens, I wonder if I have run out of time and energy to keep running the site.  And it always seems that when I start feeling that way, when I think there are better things (money making things) I could do with my time, some far flung reader I have never heard from sends me an email.  In this case, the reader’s name was Joe who hails from the Nashville area.

He writes, “Ewillys has refueled my passion for old flatfenders. I never knew much about them growing up, other than I wanted one and they were cool as all get out in all the old black and white war movies. I have wanted one ever since I was a kid. Two years ago I finally got a 46 cj2a. I traded a Harley for it, straight up. Figured both were about 3000.

I put 2000 miles on it in the first year and I am currently replacing the motor and catching up on some long over due maintenance. I will send a pic or two.  I took my mom for a ride in it last winter through the snow and it was 21 degrees out side, no heater. I have created a monster of her now. This past November she called me and told me that she wanted an “old” jeep. I figured a cj5 or 7 so she could get around, go fishing, and wat knot. She said “I want one like yours!” She wanted a flatty! After searching all over the craigslist and ewillys we finally found her a beautiful 48 cj3a in GA. She drives it everywhere! I will send you pics of it as well. Now my son is 5 and I have created a jeep nut of him as well.

I bought a parts 2a and it ended up having a title. So my son and I have tinkered with it and after getting his little hands greasy he’s hooked. He can see the corner of a hood behind something and he will shout, “JEEP DADDY!” He is also convinced that they don’t make “real” jeeps anymore and he loves cj’s. We plan on building from the ground up(with a lot of help) the parts 2a into a daily driver. When he turns 16 I am going to sign it over to him.

My father and I never had a project like this and its been great and created an even larger bond with my son. He will sit with me in the recliner and look through eWillys and give me full commentary on all the jeeps. My father is now retired and has run out of projects around his house……until now. We have dissasembled my 2a and replaced the motor and are working on the body. My family is now 3 generations deep in jeep and I hope it continues. So a BIG THANK YOU for ewillys! I hope there is many more years of it.”

I shared that letter with my kids and they thought it was pretty cool.  So did mom.  She wonders less and less why spend time on the site.  A few letters like that and she is a 100% backer.

Karson, my oldest, also informed me near the end of his stay that he’d like to have a jeep to drive around here.  With the perfect warm weather we had at the beginning of the month coupled with the hills and valleys of Renton’s East Hill, he finally got it.  He understood why I thought it was so fun to drive a jeep around here, even on the roads.

To be honest, it was funner to drive here than in Boise.  I was having a blast driving the kids on the roads I had grown up driving.  While driving,  I tortured my kids and their cousins with the history of my old jeep and where I had driven around the area.  “Oh, here is where I did such and such” and “this is where I got stuck” and even the rolling of their eyes at the sound of my history-lesson voice did little to dissuade my lesson. I was having too much fun.

So after all of this introspection, with the kids gone and my life sort of re-orienting to normal, with Joe’s passionate call for another few years of eWillys, updates will commence on a more regular schedule starting tomorrow.

Well, at least until early September when I hope to get to New York to spend one to two weeks doing research in NYC and Yale on a family project.  I will finalize that schedule this week, which will include several jeep specific stops that I know will interest readers.

Until tomorrow’s updates, I am happy to report, for the record, that four paddle tires will fit inside a BMW 540i.  Matt, who specializes in early Dana axles rebuilds (if you are near the Boise area and need axle or drive train work done, drop me a note; Matt has about 18 years of drive train experience.) sold me this set at a great price.  Since I only need two, if anyone has an interest in the other two, drop me a note.  The tires will hold air, but they really should have some inner tubes put into them.  Thanks Matt!


10 Comments on “Paddle Tires and the Art of Introspection

  1. HOG

    I ran the same tires back in the 80s for str-8 line races EC4WDA,, I only cut the short paddle off as it wasnt digging much anyway only being 3/4 inch tall,,

  2. Matt

    I bought the paddle tires that you speak of ……if I stepped on anyones toes im sorry and you are welcome to buy them from me

  3. mmdeilers Post author


    You bought them fair and square. You tread upon no toes. I’ve emailed you privately.


    – Dave

  4. Josh

    Matt I’m sure you had no idea so no hard feeling to you. I was just trying to help Dave out by picking them up because he had put out that request.
    I called the guy at right about 11am he said they were still available. I told him I had a few things to take care of including a trip to the ATM and would see him at noon and he gave me directions. His place was about 30 minuets from where I live and he at least knew I was coming from Boise. He calls me back around 11:40 something and I’m about half way to his house and he’s tell’s me that I might not want to come out because he has a guy looking at them right then. I tell him I’m half way to his place. He then tells me that he’ll call me back and let me know if you buy them. I pull over and wait ten minuet and he says they are sold. He could have at least given me a chance before scheduling you to come over or if he had you first at least tell me someone is coming out before me so wait till they come by. I get the whole first with cash gets em’ but he didn’t say that and set up a time with me.

    Just bad business.

    I had another guy a couple months back that I tried to buy a slat grill jeep project from. I paid a $500 deposit on the thing and would pay rest in cash that weekend when I picked up. That same day (mid week) I think it’s a done deal because we make the agreement and I payed the deposit. I adjust my weekend, plan the trip, move funds and borrow a trailer. The next afternoon I get an email that I received a refund. ??? The guy doesn’t even have the balls to call me to say what’s going on. I call him no answer, I leave a truly polite message asking what’s going on. He calls me back and tells me he sold it to someone out of state end of story the jeep is no longer available. I’m guessing for more $. I know he sold it because I know who it went to.

  5. Greg

    Hey Dave,

    Tell Joe from Nashville to check into the local Willys group in his area. It’s the Middle Tennessee Willys club. Here’s a link

    He may already be aware of the group, but if not, they usually run two or so off-road group runs in the area each year.


  6. l00ph0le

    Just wanted to say, that is a great article…It is because of your site that I am now looking towards digging my CJ3b out of a storage yard and trying to get it running…..Your help advice the other day when I e-mailed you out of the blue was helpful. Just wanted to say thanks.

  7. Paul

    Howdy Dave

    The Goddess and I just want to thank you for all your work on the ewillys site. Here in the Great White North the summers are short and the winters are long but you and ewillys are a welcome addition the year round. Do what you can but enjoy your friends and family, like the song says “These are the good old days.” That’s all … Paul

  8. Craig B.

    Keep fighting the good fight Dave! You have an awesome web site that I’m sure gets many motivated in getting a new or back into their existing projects. As a recovering “Willys Addict” it doesn’t do well for my FC hoarding addiction. I’m in a 12 step program to keep that stable, but I sure enjoy seeing all the stuff that I could get if I ever fall off the wagon again. I’m sure you are now counting the days (or weeks) not hours of time you continue to put into this site. Just wanted to let you know how much we all appreciate all your hard work!!!

  9. Mitch

    Dave- Great writing! and I truly believe that if your dad has anything to say about it he will meet his goal.. He is one of the strongest men I’ve known…Maybe not as physically strong as he once was, but a true fighter. We need to get together one of these days now that you’re around here…

    We are doing a light wheeling run to Lake Gallagher head on July 30th. A few experienced rigs and a few newbies.. near Roslyn/Cle elum if you’d like to go along?

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