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The Obsession Of Hunting For Used 4x4s On The Web

Firing Order editorial: My middle of the night plan for the classic Dodge Power Wagon I don’t own.

My desire to own a Dodge Power Wagon is driven in part by trucks like this Mopar big-block-powered ’70 model owned by Doug Ryan and photographed by Jim Allen at the 2018 Vintage Power Wagons Rally.
Ken BrubakerAuthor, PhotographyJim AllenAuthor, PhotographyGetty ImagesPhotography

My mind often springs to life and engages full throttle in the middle of the night when it should be sleeping. When this happens, my brain is like a 4x4 high-centered on a rock, engine revving, all four tires spinning, but no movement. Thank goodness for my iPad. I simply fire up the rectangular electronic wonder and look at 4x4 stuff on the interwebs until sleep once again comes to call.

Searching For a Dodge Power Wagon In The Middle Of The Night

One thing I need to stop looking at, but can't, during these middle of the night wide-awake times is used 4x4s. I might as well just get out of bed, drink a pot of coffee, and eat a passel of chocolate chip cookies because sleep becomes even more elusive. This happened last night (the used 4x4 search, not the coffee and cookies). I was searching eBay for a classic Dodge Power Wagon—I have a thing about Dodge Power Wagons—and found a 1976 model with a gorgeous patina of faded paint, basic white spoke wheels, and a 5.3L LS swap. It was located in Peoria, Arizona. I was instantly wide awake, poring over each photo. I liked what I saw, and my brain was soon running even more amok, formulating a plan to jet to Peoria and acquire the truck.

Photo: Getty Images.This is Chimney Rock in Nebraska. My middle of the night plan included seeing it through the windshield of the classic Dodge Power Wagon I found on eBay.

The Power Wagon Plan

My middle of the night plan included convincing a friend to let me bring my newly procured Dodge Power Wagon to his place in Arizona, where I could give it an inspection and replace anything that needed replacing. Following that, my plot was to hit some great backcountry on the return trip to Illinois farmland. My first stop would be the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. I'd wheel the Dodge Power Wagon over Ophir Pass and then on some trails around Silverton. Then, Imogene Pass from Ouray to Telluride. From there, Nebraska. I've always wanted to explore the most remote, uninhabited parts of Nebraska, camping along the way. I think the big Dodge Power Wagon would be right at home in the middle of nowhere, on those seemingly endless, empty dirt roads. I think seeing Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff National Monument through the Dodge Power Wagon's windshield would be dandy. Next, I'd point the Dodge Power Wagon to the northwest corner of Iowa, crossing the Missouri River at Sioux City. Then, more exploring across the Hawkeye State, beginning in the Loess Hills area and moving eastward, eventually returning in grand form to the farm in Illinois where the classic Dodge Power Wagon would undoubtedly inspire wild applause and numerous woot-woots from family and friends.

My desire to own a Dodge Power Wagon is driven in part by trucks like this Mopar big-block-powered ’70 model owned by Doug Ryan and photographed by Jim Allen at the 2018 Vintage Power Wagons Rally.

But Wait, There's A Glitch

My 2:14 a.m. plan had a glitch, however. I realized that by the time I returned to Illinois, winter would be looming, and its byproduct is salty Midwest roads. It would be completely unacceptable to slather the Dodge Power Wagon in road salt, so I'd either have to store it in the barn, which is no fun, or the truck and I would need to head south, away from road salt, for winter. And just like that, my brain adjourned from the first plan and called the second phase of the plan to order. I soon found myself thinking of piloting the Dodge Power Wagon through the mountains of Tennessee, backroads of Georgia, and onto the sandy forest trails of Florida.

I'll Keep Searching

I eventually fell back asleep. By the time I checked bidding on the Dodge Power Wagon, it had climbed to a level I can't afford, and the reserve hadn't been met. Oh well, maybe I'll find another vintage Power Wagon for sale on the interwebs in the middle of the night tonight.