Monday, March 12, 2018

Living My Passion

About a year before I bought my Jeep Wrangler Sahara, a real struggle in my life began. So much was changing for me. My two boys were getting older, not needing me like they used to. I was burned out from ten or so years of volunteering with various groups my kids were involved in. I was exhausted from making sure my dyslexic son was getting what he needed in school. And... I was realizing I was getting older, my body was changing, which not only affected me physically, but mentally. I was going through a big life transition without realizing what was happening.

My life had revolved around my kids and family. I loved my kids. I gave them 150 percent. My cousin gave me some advice when my first son was born. She said, I should cherish every second with them because they grow up so fast, before you know it they will be adults. So that is what I did. I will never ever regret a single moment. I have so many wonderful memories, and times shared with them. However, there was so much focus on them, I put my individual needs on the back burner.  

As they started wanting their own space and time, I had time to fill. I struggled for a direction, for a purpose. I had been a stay-at-home mom for, at the time, twelve years. Going back to those individual needs on the back burner, I realized what I once enjoyed was no longer something I enjoyed. My career in television news wasn't an option, so what was next for me, what could I do? I applied for several jobs with no luck. (It took me four years to find a job.)

I was depressed. The things I once enjoyed didn't appeal to me. Life was too quickly passing me by. Then along came my Jeep Wrangler. A spur of the moment impulse buy. Some people call it a mid life crisis. But I say it's a life transition. 

That impulse buy changed my whole life. 

Now a new Jeep Wrangler owner a friend suggested I start a blog to share my Jeep Mom adventure. So I did, and Jeep Momma was born. During that first year it was all about simplifying my life, finding new happiness, and searching for my passion. It was the beginning of something so wonderful and amazing.  

As my blog grew and blossomed, I discovered this amazing community of really fun, caring and extremely accepting  people called Jeepers. 

Over the past several years through my Jeep adventure I find my passion all tied up with the things I have loved when I was in elementary school, in my 20's and now more recently. 
My love to write and share stories has always been with me. I have an innate desire to inspire and help people by sharing what has helped and worked for me.   

When I was in elementary school my favorite subject was creative writing. I remember sharing my stories with the class. That all of a sudden it stopped when I came to school one day to discover a "mean girls" letter signed by all the girls in my class. They were making fun of my stories. Creative writing was never the same for me after that. However, in high school I picked it back up again, but stuck with the stories that were just the facts. 

In my 20's out in the real world my love for sharing stories continued as I started my career in television news as a reporter and videographer in the capital city of North Dakota. Then moving on to South Carolina as a news videographer I experienced some awesome adventures. 

Then comes along my first son. My forever life changed, but new passions emerged as I found motherhood changes you.  Now as I take on a different role of motherhood, I find it time to find my new passion.  

But during this journey of discovery, I realized the core of my passion never changed. My passion for sharing stories and inspiring people, has been with me my whole life. I just needed a different way to share those stories and inspire people. 

My Jeep changed my life and helped me fill that empty hole.  My Jeep helped me to discover myself again. My Jeep helped me circle back around to my core passion. Sharing stories on my Jeep Momma blog and now on my You Tube channel Jeep Momma's Garage. Combining my new love for off-roading and my Jeep with a core need for sharing and inspiring has helped fill the emptiness I once had as motherhood evolved.        

At first it was really hard to accept my kids and husband didn't share the same enthusiasm for my off roading passion. They had no interest to wheel with me, but more recently I have come to accept it. I now look for new ways for us to have our own passions, but still enjoy our family time. 

From time to time I open my email to a message thanking me for my honesty and the stories I share. Hearing I have inspired another person warms my heart and gives me to drive to keep going and expanding.

Fellow Jeep Mom Inspired - Blog Post January 2018 

Now I don't look at life with the same fear of getting older. I just take it one story at a time. One day at a time and one new adventure at a time. This year will be filled with those adventures and I can't wait. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tire Carrier Seized Up

This past weekend I went to get something out of the back of my Jeep. To my dismay, I couldn't open the spare tire carrier. It would not swing open, so I had to get my son to help me push it. 

My rear bumper is the Barricade Trailforce HD Bumper with Tire Carrier. It has been on my Rubicon since day one, November 2014.  

The swing arm attaches to a post which is attached to the bumper. It seized up. Somehow I needed to pull the swing arm off the bumper and re-grease the post. It was not budging! 

I sent a text to Jeff from Adrenaline Off Road for some suggestions. I had already been spraying PB Blaster with no luck. Jeff gave me a few more tips. 

Here are the steps I took to free the swing arm from the post on my rear bumper.

Remove the allen-head bolt and top cap from the post. Using PB Blaster spray the post thoroughly. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then spray again. Do this several times, then one more just for good measure.

Using a dead blow hammer, tap the swing arm where it connects with the post. I used a cloth so I wouldn't damage the paint. My tap was not gentle. 

In between hammer blows I would push the swing arm back and forth. I continued this process many, many times. I would say 10 to 20 times. It still would not budge. So I called my friend Henry for some help. He had a super gi-normous pry bar he said he could bring over. However, I needed to wait until the next morning.   

The next morning with the 5 foot pry bar it came right up. So I would say the PB Blaster and hammer blows helped loosen it up. The proper leverage to pull the swing arm straight up from the post made a big difference. 

Jeep Momma Tip - At least twice a year do some preventative maintenance by re-greasing your post if you have a spare tire carrier that swings. 

I decided it was a good idea to buy my own pry bar. I looked around on Amazon and found a set of three for $87. Check them out, a 5 star review. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tire Deflators Pro Test

One of the first accessories I bought for off-roading were my tire deflators. They were the J.T. Brooks Automatic Tire Deflators. They come in a set of four, and make for a quick, easy airing down. However, there are quite a few steps to calibrate the deflators to your desired PSI. Okay not really, but it requires deflating your tire.

This accessory has been an awesome addition to my off road gear. But now J.T. Brooks has come out with a new set called Automatic Tire Deflator Pros. They are so much more simple to callibrate, basically you dial in your desired PSI and go.

One of the reasons I got them was because my deflators are set at 18 PSI, but a lot of folks recommend I air down to 15 PSI. So, I decided I will try 15 PSI. 

If I don't like it I can always go back to 18. However, I really didn't want to have to calibrate them twice. Yeah you can call me spoiled. So I decided to get the Pro version.

Depending on where you get them the Pro version are about $30 more. They are so worth the extra money. They are super easy to set. Loosen the lock ring (nut) until you see the PSI Scale. 

Then you turn the adjustment knob or body until your desired PSI lines up with the top of the body.
Then tighten the lock ring carefully. You don't want to turn the adjustment knob. 

This is an approximate PSI. You will want to test them out to verify your PSI. I suggest you do this before you hit the trails. That's precisely what I did in the video below. Thankfully I tested them out, because I adjusted mine all wrong. They ended up being set to zero.  I set the PSI to the top of the lock ring not the top of the body. I should of read the directions. Lesson learned, read the directions carefully. 

I didn't the first time and dialed them into the wrong place.   
These are super easy to set (if you read the directions). And super easy to use. Plus you can see how close I was to 15 PSI in the video below. Well worth the $99 for the set of Pros. 

Now what to do with my original set. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

JK Pockets Install & Review

The amount of Cool Jeep Stuff out there for your Jeep is so amazing. I am always adding to my wish list, which is getting quite costly. So it was a nice surprise when I found out I won a social media contest I entered. 

A big shout out and thanks to, and CPO from O3DJeeps for putting on this contest! 

I won a set of 5 JK Pockets for my Jeep Wrangler. These things are a really cool idea. The first "real" door pockets for the Wranglers.  Two pockets for the front doors, two for the rear, and one for the center console. 

The OEM cargo net pockets were really bothering the OCD part of me. Granted you can stuff a lot into the netted pockets, but that only stretched out the netting. 

You were also limited to what you could stuff into the pocket because smaller items could fall out.  

With the new JK pockets I can stuff smaller items into the pocket. Plus they look awesome. They are made from aircraft grade plastic. They don't get in the way and are perfect for storing your stuff!  

Plus a bonus is they are super easy to install, less than an hour. Check out my JK Pockets install video below. 

I give these pockets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend them for every Jeeper out there! 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Top 5 Must Have Fluids

Last week I shared the Top 5 Must Have Tools to take in your Jeep when you go off road. This week I share the Top 5 Must Have Fluids to take on the trails. 

Again I don't have a whole lot of experience with this, so I reached out to my fellow Jeepers for their suggestions on the fluids to take with you on the trails. 

Top 5 Must Have Fluids 

#1 Oil
#2 Coolant
#3 Water
#4 Brake 
#5 Differential (gear oil)
#5 Transmission
#5 Gas

And don't forget to take fluids for yourself and passengers. Water and Gatorade were big vote-getters. Save the adult beverages for back at the campfire. Never Ever wheel and drink so many horrible accidents have happened because of mixing alcohol and driving.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Top 5 Must Have Tools

Continuing on with my Top 5 Must Have Series. This time it's all about the tools to take on the trails. 

I decided to reach out to my fellow Jeepers, because I don’t have a whole lot of experience with breakage on the trails. My one incident of breakage was my steering stabilizer. I banged into a rock. This pushed up my steering stabilizer bracket which messed up my steering. It was an easy fix.

The two tools needed to fix the bracket on my Jeep were an 18 mm wrench and my rubber mallet. Did you know an 18 mm wrench doesn't come in a wrench set? You need to buy is separately. These two tools are exactly what you need for the stock steering stabilizer bracket on your Jeep Wranglers.

Now for the other tools on the list compiled from fellow Jeepers.

#1 BFH - Hammer
#2 Adjustable Wrench
#3 Big Screwdriver or Pry Bar
#4 Socket Set and Ratchet
#5 Vice Grip Pliers
#6 Screwdriver and Bits
#7 Zip Ties
#8 Duct Tape
#9 Bottle Jack
#10 Flashlight

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Working Through My Fears

On a chilly day earlier this February, I geared up my Jeep for a day on the trails at Anthracite Off Road Adventure Area. AOAA is about 30 minutes North of Rausch Creek Off Road Park in Pennsylvania. It was an up and at 'em early morning as I met up with other Jeepers, my first big Jeep convoy.

I looked forward to this day as it was only my second time at the park.  A day for new trails as well as wheeling with some great Jeep friends I met through the internet. It was also the first time wheeling with a fellow YouTuber, and Jeeper, CPO from 03dJeeps. We met a couple of years ago, but were never able to get our calendars to mesh for some wheeling time. 

Nate, AKA SWBCrawler, was our appointed guide as he knows the park well. He is also a fellow podcaster who contributes content to the Jeep Talk Show podcast, and fills in as host from time to time. He also trail guides for Off Road Consulting and Driving Instruction. He is an awesome spotter!  

The plan was to wheel as many blue trails as we could hit. In the past the mention of blue trails terrified me. But this day, I was filled with excited anticipation. 

Trusting in Nate's spotting abilities I put my Jeep in his hands.  Well that, and I was in a Rubicon. AND... I have had several good teachers over the years. It was time I trusted in my driving abilities.

Another reason my mind was at ease, I knew the type of Jeepers I was hitting the trails with.  All with the same mindset of, out on the trails with our daily drivers looking for adventure in some more difficult trails, but not wanting to go home with damaged Jeeps. 

As we traversed our first blue trail we came upon Trail "W", a black trail. I was met with indecision. Should I try it? I knew my Jeep could do it easily. It was my abilities that I questioned. I stepped out of my Jeep, and walked the trail myself. 

Yep, I decided. I needed to up my game so Trail W it was. I made it through the trail, over the rocks to the end with no damage. However, not with out a few expletives.
See my video below. 

All in all it was an amazing day, on amazing trails, with amazing friends. I gained so much confidence in my driving skills, knowing I am great at picking out lines. I do need to work on my confidence on the fact my Jeep will not tip over. Actually I don't think I will ever loose that fear nor the fear of heights. It makes for a fun adrenaline rushing day. 

Here's the complete Trail W