Lynette, Tim and Carmen would rather be Jeeping

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors, West Knox County

If you headed to Pigeon Forge last weekend, undoubtedly, you landed in the Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Club Invasion. It is a real thing and is the 11th annual three-day event in Pigeon Forge.

I bet my friend Lynette Kegley and her husband, Tim Long, have been to most of those Jeep “invasions” since they have been Jeep enthusiasts for the last seven years, hauling theirs behind a 36-foot motorhome and heading for one bucket-list trip after another.

By day, Lynette is a special education facilitator and Tim a retired high school teacher, but on weekends or holidays, they and their miniature dachshund, Carmen, are riding in what Tim calls the naked Jeep with doors, top and sometimes windows removed, enjoying the solidarity of meeting other Jeep owners along the way. Lynette says, “It’s a timeless vehicle. Every time we pass another Jeep, the drivers always exchange a wave. There’s a camaraderie amongst Jeep owners. You always have something to talk about with each other.”

Tim Long and Lynette Kegley, different by day than on weekends and holidays

Their adventures have taken them as far south as Key West and as far west as Sedona, Arizona, with one of their funniest missteps occurring in Arizona. Tim and Lynette, dressed in shorts, tank tops and flipflops, left Sedona in the naked Jeep where it was 84 degrees. As they traveled to the Grand Canyon, the temperature continued to drop so by the time they reached the Grand Canyon, the temperature was 62! Tim turned the heat up as high as it would go, but since there were no doors or top on the Jeep, they wound up buying sweatshirts at the Grand Canyon gift shop to wear on the ride back to Sedona.

The two have many more trips on their list further west to Wyoming and Montana, where I am sure they will be checking temperatures for the end point locations.

Lynette says the only downside to a Jeep is lack of storage for big items, so the motorhome carries the big stuff and the Jeep carries Tim, Lynette, and Carmen from one adventure to the next! Oh, and Carmen’s favorite place to sleep? The Jeep!

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