Tuesday, March 2, 2021

#CamperLife Cold Weather Lessons Learned

Where We Live: The San Luis Valley in South Central Colorado near the New
Mexico border. The Rio Grande River runs through this valley. The Continental Divide and the San Juan Mountains are on the West and the Sangre De Cristo Mountains on the East. We are up at about 7900 feet above sea level, and the space between the mountains is a flat, dry desert of about 8000 square miles. We are surrounded by these majestic mountains. It’s very beautiful, and many days soul healing. Plus, the best part… there are hundreds of miles of trails from mild to wild within an hour’s drive with some even closer.  

There are so many to explore it is a little overwhelming. In the winter the temperatures drop and there typically is a lot of mountain snow. This year's snow has been mild, but the temperatures are bitterly cold. We have learned some tough lessons dealing with the cold and camping in our camper.


Cold weather camper life tips from lessons learned.

There is a saying I learned while my kids were in Boy Scouts. It’s “Always be prepared”. Being prepared means to have a plan for every contingency you can think of, even if the possibility is low. Not only have a plan and a back up plan, but a back up plan to the back up plan. There are 4 major musts when living the #Camperlife in the cold temperatures: Good shelter, Water, Food and Heat. These are essential to basic survival in the cold weather. 

Good Shelter protects you from the elements. Most Campers and #VanLifers put a second layer of protection on their homes in the cold winter months. This would be a tarp over the top or some sort of “skirting” around the bottom of the RV or Camper. This helps keep the inside warm. 

We have used tarp around the bottom of our camper, but here in the valley it gets very windy, so this is not a good idea. The foam board is definitely the way to go. Just make sure it’s secured good. All the tarp does is blow off and makes scary noises at night while blowing. Sometimes I would wake up wondering if those mountain lions were trying to get into the camper. 

Investing in rugs and slippers is a good idea too. And plenty of blankets.  

Water Most campgrounds have water hook ups. In the winter these hook ups need to be insulated. Not just the hook ups, it’s a good idea to have a back up hose that you could plug in to keep it warm. A regular old hose will freeze up if the temps get low enough. You still need a back up plan to that back up hose. Not all campgrounds water hook ups are insulated well. Ours froze in the ground. So no water for us. That meant lots of water jugs. I am sure learning the art of perseverance living the camper life in the mountains of Colorado.

Food The good thing in the winter, if you lose power your cold food won’t go to waste as you can just store it outside. Just make sure it’s in an animal proof container. One day last year before we upgraded our camper with a bigger fridge, I needed extra space for cold food. I put it in a vinyl type cooler. One day when I got home, my roast, pack of chicken and pork chops were gone. The animal chewed right through the vinyl cooler. There are several containers on the market that are bear proof. 

Cooking the food is important too. Having several alternatives is a good idea from a
propane stove to a charcoal grill to a campfire which means you need some sort of cooking grill for over the fire. There are several varieties out there. We go with simple and easy and a grill that doesn’t take up a lot of space as we take ours tent camping.  You may even want to consider having your propane stove upgraded to be able to use a bigger propane tank.

Heat So important in the winter. We have many sources: propane, electric portable heaters, electric blanket that can plug into a battery and lots and lots of blankets and layers of sleeping clothes. Not only the propane heater in the camper, but a portable propane heater like the buddy heater. These are the kind that use the smaller green propane bottles. If you use these camping the little bottles, if using on high, only last about 4 hours. Another good idea is to have the capability to use a bigger propane bottle. That way at three in the morning you are not getting up in a cold tent or camper to change the bottle.

Deciding to leave your home and life a simpler life in a camper is not for everyone. If you like the creature comforts of a home you may want to rethink #camperlife. But if you don’t mind NOT having to spend a whole day cleaning your house or even ever vacuuming again and instead relaxing by a campfire or taking a leisurely walk through the mountain side you might want to consider #Camperlife. It has taught me so many lessons. It has taught me perseverance, and removed a lot of burdens from my shoulders.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Finding God

Change is a constant.
Change is personal.
Change can be hard.  

When faced with major life changes each person handles these transitions differently, just as different as we are as individuals. The level of "Transition Struggle" is due to different factors in our life, such as our energy, mindset, levels of stress, and history of resilience, just to name a few.  

For years, I struggled finding my place in the world. I was a
stay-at-home mom for 16 years, then began to transition out of being a full-time mom. It was a long, hard road navigating this change. Of course I will always a be a mom, but now in a different capacity. 

As I tried to work through that struggle, it put a strain on my marriage. Then the marriage became a struggle. Unfortunatly, my marriage came to an end. Last year we just couldn't hold on anymore. I decided the best move for all of us was for me to leave.

I wasn't happy in Maryland. I didn't fit in. I was self medicating my unhappiness with drinking. Drinking excessivly. It was time for a much needed change as the path I was on was destructive.

Leaving the state, the East Coast, was the right plan for me. Staying, as my son said, would have killed me. I don't drink anymore, well not like I used to. I may have a glass of wine once in awhile, but not like I used to. I am in a better place now, but still struggling with the transistion. Not the transition of a divorce, but the transition of being a mom.

I get sad, pretty much every day, missing my kids. It would even get angry with God. Asking why? How could you? 

Since heading out West to the mountains of Colorado, I talk to God every day with tears rolling down my cheeks. Asking the why's and the how could's. Funny thing is, he answers me. I don't always hear it the first time as it takes a while to really understand what is happening. 

There were days I thought I was being punished... Karma sorta speak... for things I did. Neil set me straight on that. He said, "God does not punish you, everything happens for a reason. You may not see it now, but there is a reason." 

He is right. It's not God's fault, and I am not being punished. 

This whole experience has brought me closer to Him. I still have a lot of healing and accepting to do. Truth be told, during those dark days I would pray. I didn't truly believe though. Why did I pray? It's what I was taught to do. It's what you do in hard times. I prayed to God wanting this life of adventure, to have my own "Jeep Momma's Garage" and to find that person to share my life with who wanted the same adventure,and to find happiness. He was listening. 

I am not being punished. I was heard. Now it is time I accept this change in my life. The change I asked for and the change I needed. I need to accept my new role as a mom too. That's a hard one though. 

I read somewhere...“When you want to have a close relationship with someone you spend hours of time with that person. That’s how you fall in love with God. You get to know Him on a one-on-one basis. That’s what happens when you’re forced through your pain to spend hours of time praying for relief, help, and strength.

As horrible as it is to struggle with the guilt and sadness, I am becoming stronger person. I am stronger in my faith.

Meeting Neil has also made me a better person. Neil is teaching me many things about myself as well. Like he always says everything happens for a reason. 

ROMANS 8:28 We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

Lord Jesus, as I cry out to You in my pain, praying for relief and help and strength, I pray that I grow to be a better person—strong, wise, and mature in You. Amen.

Let God comfort you through His Word.

Philippians 4: 5-6 “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”

Saturday, February 6, 2021

TOP 5 Must Do with Your New Jeep

When I became a new Jeep owner, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know where to start and asked tons of questions. That was over seven years ago. I have learned a lot since then. 

My Top 5 "Must Do's" as a New Jeep Owner.

You Tube Video - Top 5 Must Do's New Jeep Owners 

Neil's Top 5 Must Do's for New Jeep Owners 

First - Get to know what your Jeep is capable of before you start making serious mods to your Jeep. Take your Jeep out for different rides on different terrains. That is if you plan on taking it off road. If you don’t plan on taking it off road, like I did at first, don’t be surprised when one day that bug hits you.

Second - Floor Mats A must! Especially if you have carpet.
You will want those rubberized floor mats. I like the ones that have the high perimeter walls to keep all the yuk contained. They are great for those snowy winter months when you track that snowy salty muddy mush into your Jeep. 

Third- Accessory Color
Pick your your accessory color because soon after you buy your Jeep you will be seeing all the other Jeeps and how unique they are. You will want to make your Jeep your own reflection of your personality.

The amount of Jeep accessories you can buy are vast. If they don’t come in the color you pick you can always use spray paint.  

Fourth - Decals A must do to your Jeep! A hand wave in your
accessory color looks awesome. You can also add the name of your Jeep on the side of the hood, that is if you are into naming your Jeep.

There is the windshield decal too. Decals and stickers seem to be a Jeep thing for most. If you don't want decals on the outside of your Jeep, just add them under the hood of the Jeep. 

Fifth - Recovery Points  Even if you don’t go off road. You never know when your Jeep is going to be needed to pull out another vehicle.  If you decide to off-road good solid recovery points are a must. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Reflections From 2020

2020 was a pretty crappy year for most people. Mine started
out really hard having to leave my boys in Maryland because of my separation.

Hardest Week Of My Life  January 7,2020

I had a plan though. A plan to see them. A plan to fly them to Utah for EJS. A plan to fly home to visit. So many visits planned. Then the pandemic hit and the world went topsy turvy. 

I did go back to the East Coast in January. That was a huge mistake. It was too much for me to go to the home I built for my family only to be a guest. I had a mini meltdown.

Life in 2020 was difficult and crappy for a lot of folks. But enough of the negative. I want to remember all the good that came of 2020.  

Reflections of 2020
by Me 

My adventure partner and best friend, Neil, taught me some great life lessons this past year.

Patience & Flexibility & Positivity

Patience to enjoy the journey not worry about the desitination. Flexibility to change course at a moments notice. Positivity to look at the good of life not the bad. 

I know 2020 was a bad year for lots of people, myself included. There were some low times for me. As I look back, I am going to remember the good times, and my great accomplishments.

I wheeled the Rubicon Trail with my two sons! The Rubicon Trail was a Bucket List item from the first year I had my Jeep. 

Off Roading was always a hard one for me because no one in my family would go with me. So who would have ever expected my two boys would be on the trail with me. It was an amazing experience to share with them.

It was awesome to have them their with me. I have Neil to thank for that as he encouraged them to join us.  You can read all about the adventure by clicking on the Rubicon Trail link under More Jeep Momma on the right side of my Blog.  

I attended my first ever Easter Jeep Safari, even though it was cancelled, we still wheeled many trails. It was very eery being the only Jeepers in Moab. However, we made the most of it. 

Neil and I had our first Fan Ride. We overlanded the Mojave Desert with some amazing Jeep friends. 

Neil, Mike and I wheeled some of the toughest trails in the
country in Kingman, AZ with a great Jeep Group. 

Neil and I rescued and rebuilt many Jeeps. 



This past year I have added so many great Jeep friends to my life. At the same time I figured out who all those toxic friends were in my life and let them go. 

I spent some amazing healing moments with my niece on the gulf coast of Texas.

My relationship with my two sons has grown beyond what I have ever imagined. I shot my first ever handgun and have to say I have pretty good aim. 

I have gained grit & fortitude & so much confidence.

So... Take a Moment and Find the Positive for Yourself From This Past Year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Obsessive Jeep Disorder

Hi, My name is Tammy and I have O – J – D.

When I first bought my Jeep, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t realize the addiction I was instore for. I knew nothing of Jeeps nor this whole new world I was entering. 

I kept hearing… It's a Jeep thing you wouldn't understand. Or Jeep equals Just Empty Every Pocket. Now seven years later I get it. I began to become addicted just a few months after I bought my Jeep. It grabs hold of you quickly and… It’s called Obsessive jeep Disorder.

All us Jeepers get that saying. We say it a lot to our non-Jeep friends and family. We love our Jeeps. Our Jeeps make us happy. Our Jeeps are like a part of the family. For some of us… our Jeep has changed our life. But how do you know if you have Obsessive Jeep Disorder? How do you know if Jeep is your obsession? 

 Top 10 Signs of Obsessive Jeep Disorder

  • You see the UPS Driver more than you see your friends.
  • You have a pile of worn Jeep catalogs in the bathroom for serious reading
  • You think about your Jeep even when you are not driving it. 
  • You park next to any Jeep you see no matter how far you need to walk to your destination. 
  • You have more pictures of your Jeep on social media than of your kids or your pet.
  • You are constantly opening the door to the garage  or looking out your window to make sure your Jeep is okay.
  • You are constantly buying Jeep parts, whether they are serious mods or silly little accessories, just to get your Jeep Parts fix.
  • You ask the hostess at a restaurant to seat you at a table by the window, so you can keep an eye on your Jeep.
  • You get angry when your Jeep Wave doesn't get returned.
  • You sell your kids Legos so you can buy more Jeep Parts.  

One or more of these signs and you have Obsessives Jeep Disorder. To non-Jeep friends and family, they might feel you need to be committed. However, they don’t understand because.. it’s a Jeep Thing. 

Remember you are not alone… you are part of a big, wonderful Jeep family! This family is there for you. To help encourage you through this amazing time of your life. They will encourage you to keep buying more Jeep Stuff. They will join in on your outrage for not getting that Jeep wave. They may even give you their old Jeep Parts for support. And… they may even encourage you… to buy another Jeep. 

Don’t be ashamed… own that Jeep Life and hold your head high. Walk into that family gathering with confidence knowing you are living the best life out there! Take that Jeep with you everywhere, go to the top of a mountain or through the desert. Don’t let those negative Nellies stop you from your happiness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Jeep Problems - Diagnostic Tips

The wear on my front drivers side tire was very bad. I thought it was a bad alignment. Neil of course knew the issue right away. It was the wheel bearing. Turns out it’s a common failure for all Jeeps. It was getting so bad it was affecting the ABS system. 

Tips on Diagonosing Tire Issues

A good way to diagnose what the problem could be...

unload the tire… get the weight off the tire… like putting the Jeep on a jack stand or jacking it up. Then with your hands at the 12 and 6 o’clock position of the tire… push it back and forth… if there is play in the tire, any movement at all, it’s the wheel bearing or ball joints. When you put your hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock position and do the same thing it’s tie rod ends. And of course, tire wear is a dead giveaway. 

It cost me about $150 for the hub assembly, but I learned something new with this problem. Each set of problems I learn a little more about my Jeep and become more confident. Especially when I am right there when it’s getting fixed. 

This is also a good lesson for those wanting to add upgrades to your Jeep. It will always lead to failures somewhere else on your Jeep so be prepared to empty your pockets. We replaced the assembly and my Jeep is good to go. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Top 5 Ways to Start Crafting a Better Life - A Jeep Life

 Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from. ~Seth Godin

My interpretation of this quote..  rather than just enjoy life while on vacations or holidays, we should strive to make our every day lives the ones we want to be living —every day of the week.

For most of us with Jeeps our Best Life includes wheeling in the great outdoors. However, in today’s world, making the time for wheeling is not always priority because of all our other commitments.  

When I became a Jeeper seven years ago I was struggling with my life. Something was missing, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. So I started a journey of discovery. What I discovered was, I wasn’t living my best life. 

How do you live your best life? 

To live my best life, I needed to stop wasting my precious time. There are so many ways we waste time and it was a real struggle when I began to realize I needed to be a little selfish. I needed to start saying no.    

Another way we waste time is trying to be accepted by our friends, co-workers and society. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, but many of us spend too much time and energy worrying about what other people think. This kind of thinking makes you feel unworthy. It can become unhealthy and stressful. You might not even realize you are doing it. 

Now, I don't waste my time worrying about what others think. I don't need other people's approval of how I choose to live my life, or caring if I fit in one group or another. 

Now is my time, time to be who I want to be and not worry if I get the approval of my peers, friends, neighbors, co-workers or society. I am living my best life in a camper, spending time in the mountains with my Jeep, and working on Jeeps with very little commitments. I am not spending my time cleaning a four bedroom house or worrying about hurting someone’s feelings because I didn’t invite them to a party or going to an event I really don’t want to attend or trying to keep up with the Joneses putting on those fake facades. 

Another way to stop wasting time is simplifying life. Simplifying is getting rid of the clutter. It bogs you down. It’s a stress you don’t realize you have. There are two kinds of clutter, the physical and mental clutter. 

Getting rid of the clutter will allow you to enjoy more of your time. However, it is so much more than a de-clutter. It is a process and it can take several years before you can perfect it. 

I wanted to make my life one I don't need to go on vacation to escape from. It isn't easy to do, and can take a long time, but committing yourself to the process pays off. First, you have to change your mindset. You need to be open-minded. You need to realize stuff is just stuff. You will also need to be open to let go of people in your life. 

My Top 5 ways to start crafting a life you don’t need to escape from. 

(1) Make Relationships a Priority.

It’s okay to let go of those toxic “friends” from your life. It’s even okay to unfriend them and block them. Stop wasting your precious time arguing with these people online. Your main focus should be on the people who make you happy, give you joy, and are a positive influence in your life.  

(2) Remove Unneeded Possessions from Your Home & Life

Begin to train yourself...stuff is just stuff. Stuff does not make you happy. Since moving into the slide in camper I realized all that stuff in my old house was not needed to make my life happy one. When you go for months with very little you begin to realize all the stuff is not needed to enjoy your life. 

(3) Guard your time

It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to reduce the number of commitments in your life like volunteer positions attending events you don’t care about. 

(4) Take Care of Yourself. 

This was a big one for me. I had to learn to be selfish. I had to learn to say no. I had to learn it was okay to take time for just me. 

(5) Find Happiness in Your Every Day or for me it was take the time to Make Happiness in my everyday life. I did this by doing something little for me every day that made me happy. I also made sure I did something special every week for me that I enjoyed like taking my Jeep out for a topless ride or getting a pedicure or eating at my favorite restaurant. Then every month I planned a special event just for me like a wheeling trip or a concert. Something I enjoyed just for me. 

This was just the beginning of how I started to live my best life. It’s going to be different for everyone. You may not even know what your best life is because you are so bogged down with your old life. But for me changing my mindset helped me realize what was holding me back. It was a long several years, but it was needed to change my mindset. Now I am living my life for me and enjoying the amazing beauty out West. Not everyday is a vacation, there are still struggles but more days are vacations than not.

It's all about discovering and recognizing
happiness. If we get rid of the clutter we can see the happiness. It can be appreciated in the simple things in life. 

Changing our mindset and knowing where to
focus the energy is required. It won't happen overnight as it takes a long time to really start feeling true happiness in the simple.