In 2002, a group of us from Jeepaholics Anonymous planned our first ever trip out to Paragon Adventure Park here in PA. On that trip I made some friends that have stood the test of time. One of those friends was Pete Trasborg. Then just a guy, a few years older than me, from NJ. With years of jeep enthusiasm under his belt already. An eagle scout, with a love of the outdoors, and jeeps. With so many similar interests to my own, we were destined to be more than acquaintances. After that trip, I’d made the trip from my home, out to his, several times, with a jeep load of things to install on the smurf. We’d spend a weekend drinking and wrenching, and I’d get home with new upgrades installed sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning. Just in time to get some sleep for work the next day.
On that trip, we took this picture on Sunday morning. We had a fun night camping and partying. I’d brough a bottle of absolut vodka that I wanted to get rid of. Pete was hunting for something to drink coffee out of in the morning, and stumbled upon the empty absolut bottle, and decided that it was an “adequate vessle” I think was how he put it. He had this old CJ7 at the time, that he coudn’t seem to keep running. He was under the hood of that thing every hour all day. In fact he’d swapped the freaking carb on it right there in the campground on saturday morning.
A few years later, a very good friend of mine, who had followed me into the Jeep world got sick, and passed away. His name was Adam, he died in 2004. Pete had met him the same as he met me, at a JAOCMJ run, and Adam had come with me one one of my trips out to Pete’s place to install something or other. Even having known Adam such a brief time, he joined me at his funeral. He showed up in this little blue YJ that he was driving, he called it Mini-J. It was a tough time for me, and it was really nice to have another friend there, whether Pete realized it or not. Mini-J went on to become the start of his pair of built YJ’s.
It wasn’t long after that, that pete got his job offer from JP magazine, and moved off to California. I haven’t seen pete that often since then, but we kept in touch. He came back out this way for a trip or two of ours, and he’d put my jeep, and others from our trips, in the magazine as filler pics from time to time. He was that famous friend that you never really get to see anymore. Every now and then we’d chat about this or that, usually old times, mingled in with tech and life in general, and then we’d go weeks or months about our own business. I’d had a long chat with him just a few weeks ago about tire and wheel weight, and its effect on performance. Which lead into a chat about how we were both getting older, and how time was speeding on by. The morning he died, I had sent him a message, asking if he’d be interested in being on a Podcast with me.
Pete was a great guy. I regret that we didn’t get to spend more time together. The times we had were pretty fun filled, and I learned a ton from him. I feel like a part of his vast knowledge has rubbed off on me, whenever I fab something up, or tackle a job I didn’t think I could. I once watched him tear apart my transfer case and re-assemble it with an SYE installed like he could do it in his sleep. When he was working on your Jeep, it was like there were no obstacles, because whatever you ran into, he’d have a solution. Except of course when his welder catches your dash on fire… Yea, that happened.
Anyway, Pete, Nate will miss you, and I’m sure a lot of others down here will too. I hope wherever you are, you can get marathons of Junkyard wars, the beer is always cold, and the neighbors won’t complain about the fleet of jeep’s on the lawn.
Update: I’ve learned recently that Pete was indeed ill when he died. He once told me, that on 9/11/01, when the planes hit the towers, he was on his way in to work, and missed his train. Had he made his train, he’d have been working IN the towers when the planes hit. However, fate had better plans for him. He went on to help rescuers search for survivors, and remains. He apparently spent 3 days doing so, as a volunteer, and in that time had inhaled aesbesdos. Unknown to him, he was dieing already when I met him in 2002, and the entire time I knew him. The aesbestos caused health problems recently, and that’s what caused his untimely death. This puts an entirely different light on his death. It was simply tragic, and sudden. Now it’s heroic, selfless, and honorable. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s gone, but it adds an even deeper respect for a man I already held in high regard.