While scrolling through Netflix one afternoon, we came across a show called “Dirt Every Day.” When you live in the woods – and have two boys – words like “dirt” pique your interest. It turned out to be a great show that follows Fred Williams, the host, as he buys old beaters from Craig’s List and then fixes them up for off roading! Needless to say, after watching every episode with our boys, we all had mud in our veins.
That was a little over a year ago and it prompted me to plan a surprise Father’s Day trip for Joe and a few friends to Rausch Creek Off Road Park in Pine Grove, PA. At that time, June 2017, we had Joe’s truck (whom we lovingly refer to as “Big Brown”) along with my car and our first-ever family car, a 1998 Toyota 4Runner. See, I thought we were going to get rid of the 4Runner, once we got Big Brown. 😉 But Joe refused to part with it until he got to see the odometer go from 198K to 200k. Rausch Creek requires two vehicles to remain with your group at all times. This meant taking the 4Runner and Joe’s (new to us) truck! Yikes! If you’ve seen it, you know it’s more than capable of handling tough terrain. But it’s also Joe’s everyday driver AND dream truck that we saved many, many years for and were able to buy with cash.
Well…the guys had an AWESOME time! Both cars did an incredible job. There were so many fun stories, pictures, and videos that were shared among the group and their wives. And by late that night, we were ALL looking up old beaters on Craig’s List! More as a joke, but then there was this one…
For me, a dream car is that old, boxey Land Rover Discovery. I would often point them out on the road and talk with Joe about owning one someday, just for fun. So in our communal Craig’s List searches that night, up pops this old Land Rover – already set up with off road features – but in rough shape otherwise, and being sold for next to nothing. I sent the post around and we all admired it. As with everything, Joe and I first did TONS of research. We realized it was a great deal and had some money saved…so we ended up making an offer. This was exactly the kind of project we wanted to share with boys as they starting growing older.
When we went to pick it up, we asked the guy if he had any info on the title, because he was selling it as an “off road only” vehicle. It was complicated…but the Raabs have never shyed away from a project that’s important to us. So we left with the car and then the REAL adventure began… More research, more phone calls, but we were in it to win it.
Wait, do you want to go get a cup of coffee and come back?
The last title holder was out of state and could not be reached, despite our many attempts. That made the process WAY more complicated than we thought. More paper work, more phone calls, more waiting. As it sat in our driveway, week after week, we used the time to start working on the car. It was our own little Fixer Upper. The Land Rover (with roof rack) actually sits *higher* than Big Brown…so we named it “The Green Giant” (but we call her GG for short).
We had a blast working on GG with Grumpa and the boys. And those boys prayed, faithfully, every night that we would get the title and be able to drive it whenever we wanted. The normal protocols were not working in the system, so the last resort was a court case, as advised by a title company specializing in this area. We had already worked and waited for 7 months…why not go the last 50 yards?
We gathered ALL of our paperwork and phone logs and filed for our court case. That process took another 3 months. And on April 24, 2018, I sat in the back of the court room – so proud – but praying like crazy, as I watched Joe plead our case to the Judge. Too much to go into here, but I felt like I could physically see God’s favor in the Judge’s eyes as he listened. We had two little boys to answer to when we got home…I think they had fallen in love with GG more than us. Against what we were told were some impossible odds, we left with a Judge’s order to grant us the title of the Land Rover!!! Thank you, Jesus! We spent the rest of the night at the MVA, getting all the paperwork and tags. We couldn’t WAIT to get home and actually drive her on the road! We soaked up every ounce of joy in that moment.
Whew! I need a nap!
Back to the present day. Now that GG was all fixed up, we knew we had to get her up to Rausch Creek! On Saturday, we took our 2nd annual trip…but this time, Big Brown only had to tow the trailer. 😉 The day did not disappoint! For a whole year, the boys had been asking to go up there, after seeing Daddy’s pictures of the last time. Getting to share the experience with them – and with GG – was beyond description after everything we had been through with that car! And let me tell you, GG was a BEAST going through the park! But I have to give a huge shout out to the 4Runner too… that thing continues to amaze us. Honey, I publically confess, I was wrong. I’m so glad we kept it. xo
Thanks to the many who prayed and encouraged us on this 10-month journey. Thanks to brave souls who came on Saturday. And to those who couldn’t, we missed you. We will cherish this memory for a long time. But, remember, the first rule of Mud Club is…