Quite some time ago, a group of friends built a small exclusive "club" called The Garage. It was based out of Ontario RV and backed by our good friend and Jeep guru super mechanic, Hans Starke. Hans offered us shop space to meet, discounts, advise and above all else, friendship. Hans sadly passed away in late 2009. Time has gone on and while the members of The Garage remain friends, the Jeeps have come and gone (mostly). As the domain holder for Jeepgarage.ca, I asked permission to reassign it to this blog. I felt holding on to the domain was a tribute to Hans, and was concerned the transition to a personal blog would not honour him. Well, it was agreed that I could do it. To properly honour Hans I'm going to share a good memory I have of him.
A small group of us decided to go to Bobcaygeon for a day run up Greens Mountain. It's not an easy trail, and not a double black diamond either. Needed some mods and skill. Hans decided to show up in his new shop Jeep. It was a TJ with a fresh front locker and borrowed ProComp tires. Not lifted or modified otherwise. The rest of the group was running lifts, lockers, 33"+ tires and winches. We made out way up the trail and through some tough obstacles. Hans drove his Jeep up the trail like he was on pavement. Didn't struggle, or get stuck. Frankly, he made all of us in our "big Jeeps" look like rookies. It was a testament to his skill, and years of wheeling. Once at the top of Greens, you either go back the way you came, or you tackle the harder decent on the backside. Hans had an appointment to keep and was going to go down the backside. I volunteered to go with him to ensure he made it safely. Frankly, I was the one who was in trouble. Hans drove down the backside of Greens with ease, while I bounced off trees and slipped into washouts. We probably set a speed record.
This was just one example of the man. He was one of the best Jeep mechanics out there. Forgot more about Jeeps than most will ever learn. If you wanted to do something to your Jeep that was stupid, he'd tell you. If you were stuck and needed help, he'd be there with tools, advice and some MGD.
Through Hans I've made many friends. We may not see each other as often now that he's gone and the shop is closed, but we are still in touch.
With that I now dedicate Jeepgarage.ca to Hans continued memory. I hope I do him right with my random thoughts about the Jeep life.