Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful

Thanksgiving is an American tradition of feasting on turkey, stuffing and cranberries. But it's also a day for us to reflect on the year, to give thanks for the harvest, and the preceding year. So... as I sit and reflect on this past year I have many things I have to be thankful for.

Wonderful Family

Always at the top of my list is my wonderful family. I know there are days when they drive me crazy, but every night before I fall asleep I am grateful for how wonderful they truly are and thankful they are healthy and happy. My boys are the most amazing boys in the world and I am grateful they are in my life. 




My Health  

As I get older, doing things I did when I was younger becomes more difficult each day. I am truly blessed that I am healthy and fit. But that does not come easy. It takes dedication and hard work everyday.

My Friends 

Without friends this world would be a very lonely place. In this new era of instant communication the term "Pen Pal" takes on a whole different meaning. My friends have grown these past couple of years. I have made new friends and re-connected with old friends. I am thankful for all these friends old and new, in person and online. 



My Jeep

As I grow older I realize how time goes by too quickly. Since purchasing my first Jeep back in 2013, I have adopted a whole new attitude - Live Life to the Fullest with No Regrets. Originally my Jeep was a fun vehicle to drive around topless, but... now it has become a lifestyle. I have finally found my passion -- my blog, off-roading and everything Jeep. It has given me a new outlook on life and opened new doors for new friendships I would have not otherwise had. 

I am also thankful for all the military men and women who sacrifice their time to allow me to have the freedoms I enjoy everyday. 

I am thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom to drive the vehicle of my dreams and write whatever my heart desires. 

I am thankful for the room over my head, the food on my table, and the friendships I've formed. I am thankful for all the simple things in life we sometimes take for granted.  

So... as I sit and reflect today about what I am thankful for, I will remember to be grateful for the things I do have, and look for the good in everything I have. There is always someone out there worse off than me.  Don't sweat the small stuff, Right?!?

            - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! The Jeep Momma Way -



Friday, November 21, 2014

Off-Road Tip #1

When I venture into something new, I always do a little research before I start. Just so I know what I'm getting into. Like when I started off-roading. I watched a lot of videos online, read a lot of articles, and I took four off-road driving classes. The same should go to everyone who goes wheeling on the trails.  Off-Roading isn't something you just go do. You really need to know what you are getting yourself into because you could get hurt. Even worse you could damage your Jeep.


Off-Road Tips 2 to 4

Never go off-road alone on the trails.
Use a spotter if you don't feel confident going over obstacles.
Have a recovery kit and plan.

#1 Off-Road Tip 

My number one Off-Road wheeling tip -- Use the words passenger and driver instead of left and right. 

This is one of the first things I learned from Kyle. He was my 101 & 201 instructor at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park.  Instead of telling me to turn right or left, he would use the words passenger and driver. Which means to turn your wheel in that direction.  This was perfect for me since I am Right-Left Dyslexic or --  is it Left - Right Dyslexic.


Jeep Video at Slick Rock in Northern California 


Here is an example of this is in a video by Family JK1 on You Tube 

Can you imagine if Kyle would have told me to turn right, and I turned left. I could have ended up in one of those sink holes that litter the mountains at Rausch Creek or I could possibly flip my Jeep if I ever go to Slick Rock and try those obstacles. 


Which won't that be fun to see - Jeep Momma and her Rubicon at Slick Rock! Well, I still have a lot of practicing before I can head out West.

                  - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! The Jeep Momma Way -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Inspiration

My good friend and neighbor, Jessica sent me a text today.  It was a link to her blog post. She featured me on her a Parent in America blog  yesterday. Her words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.  Yes, I am a little sappy some times -- okay maybe a lot of times. But, her story made me pause to reflect on the great neighbors we have in return.

While Jessica may feel we host more playdates, those playdates are truly a welcome blessing. Jessica's girls are avid dog lovers. They keep my dog entertained for hours. Sterling thrives on their attention and is one pooped puppy when they leave. 






It's also nice to know our kids will grow up together in the traditional sense of neighborhood friends, where they play in each other's backyards or play basketball at the local park or just ride their bikes up and down the street.  An American past time we are slowly losing to technology.


There are a lot of those American neighborly and family past times that are fading away into the past. But, Jessica is keeping them alive in her family and passing them on to ours, and she doesn't even know it. Jessica will bring over her favorite bowl of chicken soup and home-made granola when I'm sick. She throws a family Halloween get-together with the best Chicken Tortilla Soup on this side of the Mississippi. She will even share her great recipe, making me a hit with my husband.     

Secretly Inspiring 

When I first started my blog, I was beginning to go through - and am still in the midst of - a major change in my life. As I try to find my new path, I have begun to reflect on my life and my family's life, trying to find what truly makes me happy, and what makes us happy. One of my goals was to slow down and simplify. Sometimes I find myself, and our family, slipping back into those old habits. But then, I look out the window across the street and see Jessica and her family sitting around the kitchen table sharing dinner together - every night! Or on the weekends, when they are always on some sort of family adventure together, whether it be a walk to the local park or a weekend trip to the mountains. 

It's a great reminder about what is most important to me - my family. She is secretly inspiring through her glass window. 

Other Inspirations


My re-kindled love for the gym and running... Yep Jessica! She invited me to the gym as a guest and I signed up that day. I have been working out ever since.

Jeep Momma Inspiration

With out Jessica's initial push and constant positive encouragement I would not be Jeep Momma. She was the inspiration behind Jeep Momma. One day last summer we were sitting around at a neighborhood party. Jessica suggested I start my own blog, a blog about my new Jeep and motherhood. What I thought was going to be a part time hobby has turned into my passion. Without her constant positive encouragement I would not be where I am today. 

Is your neighbor the inspiration behind your passion? Is your neighbor the inspiration to re-kindled old loves? Mine is.  A great woman with a great family - I'm so glad they moved in across the street from us five years ago! #BeMyNeighbor    

- Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! The Jeep Momma Way -

Is My Rubicon Too Big?

Yikes!! I put the top down - part way - on my Rubicon and it was a real close call making it into the garage. There was definitely more clearance with the Sahara. 




So I wonder why the Rubicon is taller than the Sahara.  My best guess is the Rubi's All-Terrain tires.






So now my dilemma -- what I'm going to do when I lift and get bigger tires. There will be no way she will fit into the garage with a lift and/or bigger tires when the top is down part way.



My plan was to get 33 inch tires and a 2.5 inch lift. Now I will have to begin to look at my options and how it will affect garage life.






1. Not to lift -- BWAHAHAHA! Nope that is not an option.   

2. 2.5 inch lift & keep my 31's -- but then I won't be able to drive into the garage with the top part way down. There is the potential where I would forget and try to drive into the garage. That would not be good. 

3. 2.5 inch lift & 33's -- then I run the risk of not fitting into the garage at all. I could look into getting a cover for the Jeep and leave her in the driveway.  She does have remote start so I could warm her up in the winter. Plus, aren't Jeeps meant for the great outdoors.  There is also the possibility when we get our roof replaced we could try to figure out a way to increase the opening of the garage.


Who knew years ago when we bought our house the size of our garage would become and issue. 

Well, I have 78 inches to work with. Right now there are 6 inches to spare and that would be a tight fit.



           -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --

Monday, November 17, 2014

Off Road in My New Rubicon - FREAKING AMAZING!

I woke up Saturday morning full of excitement and nervousness. I was excited to finally ride the trails in my new Rubicon. After about 5 months of experiencing my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Sahara on the trails, I couldn't wait to see what the Rubicon could do. I was ready to see for myself what all this Rubicon hype was. I wasn't sure I would be able to tell a difference with the 4 to 1 transfer case or even the 4.10 gears and 2 Dana 44's. But, I knew there would be a difference when I pushed that magic disco button and disconnected my sway bar. 


There was another reason for all my excitement.  I was bringing my oldest son with me.  As children get older they tend to drift away from their parents. As a mom of a boy it's even more prevalent. I was looking forward to some mother son bonding time.


I pulled into the Rausch Creek Off Road Park and began to search out the group I was meeting.  My nervousness began to grow. This would be my first trail ride with the Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance. I meet a couple of their members at the Women's Wheeling Day, but this would be a whole different group of people. I'm not even sure what I was worried about -- These are Jeep people. Of course they would welcome me into their group with open arms. They were all so friendly and helpful. And of course welcomed me into their group with open arms. 


So it was time to get ready for the trails! Yikes!!! And time to see if I set those tire deflators properly. I twisted all four onto my tires and waited.  Once the hissing stopped I pulled them off and checked the PSI. Wow! I did it. They were all at about 15.






Next came my favorite part -- Dropping her into 4 wheel low -- then time to push that magic disco button.  Ever since I drove a Rubicon at the Nemacolin Resort Jeep Driving Acadamy I had been itching to have my own. Now it's my turn to experience the joy. I pushed the button and watched the sway bar display light turn solid! 

Wait... It's still not time to hit the trails yet.  The group was going to give a quick little lesson on recovery. I thought, this is good. I need to know this stuff.  But guess what? All my great Jeep friends I've meet online -- they have taught me so well, I pretty much knew everything that was discussed. It made me feel pretty confidant. Not a newbee anymore. Ohhh kay well -- a Rubi Newbee out on the trails. 

So here we go.  Time to test her out and see what she can do  -- These pictures are from my Rubicon's dash -- and go check out my video on You Tube to hear the great sounds and see all the great sites.  








WOW! I was truly amazed at the performance of the Rubicon out on the trails compared to the Sahara.  I don't have the words to really explain it in technical terms.  In my mommy terms it was so smooth and powerful.  It was amazing the gripping power I felt behind the wheel. And the ease at which she rolled over the rocky terrain.


Now, don't get me wrong -- The Sahara is just as capable of rolling across those same trails.  It just seemed to me the Rubicon did it with more ease. Like if you had a stick of hard butter -- The Rubicon is like a hot knife smoothly, and with ease, slicing through that stick of butter. The Sahara is like a cold knife, and can still slice through the butter, but just not with as much ease. 







Also the creaky noises my Sahara made --- Well... the Rubicon didn't make those noises. Again -- the Sahara is more than capable, but just seems to need to use a little more effort to make it through some of the obstacles. 














Was it just the sway bars being disconnected?  Maybe -  I could have saved some money and just put some manual disconnects on the Sahara -- I guess.  But, I want to say it was more than that. Unless you've driven both on the trails, I don't know how else to explain it... Except it was freaking AMAZING! Maybe one of my technical Jeep friends can explain it better. But to me I could feel it -- smoother, more power, more grip.

It was an absolutely amazing day! I drove my New Rubicon over some rocks, through some muddy puddles and up and down trails in the Appalachian Mountains.  I met a group of great Jeep people with the Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance and and shared a yummy turkey dinner lunch. I'm thankful for being able to be a part of this group of great Jeepers. 













But the best part -- Spending the day with my son bonding and sharing a great memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life!

                -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tire PSI Off Road

Tire Deflators -- a tool I never even knew existed until a couple of months ago. Well - I finally have my own set. I took them with me on my last off-road adventure, but I didn't realize I needed to set them before hand. 

So... that's what I did these past two days. Yep, it took me two days to finally get them set.  Remember, I'm a mom as well, and had my mom duties to attend to.  






First, I watched a You Tube video on how to set my tire deflators.  Then I gathered up my needed "tools".








Now, it was time to deflate my spare tire. I used a screwdriver. It took longer than I thought to let all the air out for the PSI I was going for. I kept checking the pressure with my new digital tire pressure gauge.

Once I had the first one set I checked the pressure again. It went below what I wanted. UGH... That meant I needed to finish up at the gas station where I could air up the spare and repeat the process three more times. But... I didn't have time to finish that day. Which is why my process took 2 days. 
  
The next day, I was getting ready to head up to the gas station to fill the spare with air so I could set the other three deflators. My husband then saved the day with this air compressor sitting on the shelf. I never knew we even had one. I wonder what other little treasures I will find in the garage. Who knew!!!

So, I finished up the last three deflators with the help of the trusty Craftsman Inflator. Hmmm... something I might add to my Christmas Wish List, which by the way when you have a Jeep continues to grow. 

My tire deflators are now set at about 15 PSI.  Now, I'm ready for a day of wheelin' this weekend! I can't wait to see how different my New Rubicon is compared to the Sahara. 

By the way, what PSI do you wheel at?


  -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jeep History

Today is Veteran's Day -- a day we should all be giving thanks and honoring military veterans who courageously fought and served for our country. A country where we have many freedoms and one of those freedoms is Freedom of Choice.



In the 1940's the Jeep emerged as a hero to thousands of Allied soldiers around the world as a supreme 4X4 vehicle.  Just as the Jeep was a hero to these soldiers. These soldiers - and all men and women in the military past and present - are heros to me. Their dedication, gallantry and service to our great nation has afforded us all the freedom of choice.  


And once again Jeep comes through as a hero to us everyday citizens offering many Jeep choices. While we are not all Wrangler owners - we are all part of the same Jeep community with the same love and passion for the Jeep brand.   

A fun thing I would like to do one day is to test drive and compare all the different models of Jeeps that Jeep has to offer. But in the meantime a fellow Jeeper shares his story behind his purchase of the Jeep Patriot. While he is not a Wrangler owner (though I believe he wants to be) he still shares the same passion for his Jeep as Wrangler owners do for theirs.  

GUEST BLOG POST
  
In the past few years the Jeep statement "Anytime, Anywhere" has started to make sense to me.  An excellent motto for those of us who are stubborn and unyielding. The fact that Jeeps are mostly of US parts and production also had a bearing into my growing fancy of Jeep ownership. 

As a Veteran, I want to support our country and our workers which means no foreign vehicle. My peak of desiring to slide behind the steering wheel that proudly displays JEEP reached total chaos in 2013. Hmmmm... I have the means and desire to get a Jeep...Finally!!   

So my research began -- internet, test drives, all the nuances that drive a person into the Jeep store. Hmmmm, Wrangler, now that's a Jeep, but they are pricey and I have to keep in mind the occasional trip, drive and entertainment I provide as the only kid to my elderly parents. No way in hell will they be able to get into then tolerate a Wrangler ride. Sniff, sniff...the price you pay sometimes for being an only child! 

OK, what else is available in the Jeep stable? Compass, nah too small. Grand whatever, nooo look at that sticker price! Hmmmm...  Patriot may fit the bill. Looks like a Jeep, no problem with others getting in and out, has 4 wheel drive a prerequisite for living in the Upper Midwest. So let's take a look at some reviews of this Jeep called the Patriot. 

What the! The professional auto gurus say this about the Patriot. "Why does Jeep make such a piece of crap?" Hey wait a minute, let's read some owner reviews. There is a serious disconnect here.  Lots of so called owners seem to like the Patriot. Well... now whom do I believe? Professional auto masters or run of the mill Jeep owners?? Well I am going to take another ride in the Patriot, so off I head to the local Jeep store. 

You know, when going past this dealer on the Interstate during my daily drives, I have never noticed a Patriot on the front line for inspection by possible new owners. Why is that? I arrive at the dealer who promptly fetches a Patriot from somewhere in the massive lot of iron. Off we go....weeeee, down the interstate, through some gravel and dirt roads.  weeeee.... I am hooked. Get the checkbook out, checks clears and now it's mine....look at that JEEP logo looking back at me!!!

And since those early days of Jeep infatuation, the feeling and fun of Jeep ownership has never left. Others allowed to partake in this experience inside the Patriot have had nothing but good things to say. Recently I have began to use the auto stick! Oh boy speed racer in a Patriot!

_______________________________________________________________________

While we all might not be Wrangler owners we need to remember that a Jeep owner is a Jeep owner whether a Wrangler or Patriot and we are all a port of this great Jeep family. 

To the ones who started this whole great community and camaraderie decades ago I truly thank you for your service, your gallantry, your dedication and for bringing the Jeep to our great country! The Jeep changed the lives of many soldiers back in the 1940's and it has changed my life as well.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Living Life Without Regrets

Seventeen months ago I bought my first Jeep. I didn't realize that day how much my Jeep would change my life. I began to realize that life is too short to let it pass me by. So now I experience life like I experience a ride in my Jeep with the top down. I want to feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. I want to enjoy every minute I have left on this planet. 

I am working on putting my past behind me and living in the here and now.  I want to start living a life with no regrets - 40 Ways to Live Life with No Regrets.  One of those ways is to go out and just do it. No more sitting around waiting for life to happen but to make it happen. 

So this past weekend I decided I wanted to try something new, something different from what I would normally do. My good friend and I hit the metro and headed for downtown DC for a much needed Girl's Night Out. 









We ended up at Bertucci's off Pennsylvannia Ave for some wood fire pizza and wine.  








Then  we then made our way downstairs for Paint Night - Drinking Creatively.  




The room was lined with blank white canvas's and five colors of paint. 

We were both excited for the new experience and the creation we were about to make. 





It was a great three hours of painting and enjoying the company around us. There was a lead artist who talked us step by step through the process of painting the picture of two ladybugs on a blue flower.





The artist Rik Asso was fun, helpful and made the night fantastic. Of course me being who I am decided not to go with the crowd and I did my own version of the painting. 




I had a great time painting with my good friend and meeting new and interesting people. As you can see everyone's painting is just a little bit different. It was really fun to see all the different versions of one painting. I can't wait to do it again. If you ever get the chance to attend a Paint Night I highly recommend trying it out.  You would be surprised how well you can paint with a little help.

           -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rock Slider Rubicon Install

We all love to say it. Well -- I do anyways. "I told you so" We all like to say it, but hate it when it's said to us. A Jeep friend once told me to never let a dealership service shop work on your Jeep mods. 
When I traded in my Sahara for my Rubicon I kept my Barricade Trailforce HD Bumper and my Barricade Rock Sliders. During the negotiations of the sale they agreed to take off the two items from the Sahara and install them on the Rubicon. My gut instinct told me just have them take off the bumper and sliders. I would install them both myself again. But I went against that instinct and the advice of a very experienced Jeep friend.


The service department installed the bumper and sliders yesterday. Once I returned home back into my neighborhood I noticed a weird noise coming from the drivers side back tire. It almost sounded like someone with achy joints - maybe metal rubbing against metal - or the sliders moving around somehow. 

When I pulled into the garage I got out and crawled under the Jeep and found this



The rock sliders were installed but there were no body mount washers. 


Yes... I know, I know --- I told you so -- lesson learned. 


The next morning I headed back up to the Jeep dealership to get my washers back onto the sliders and to see what the noise was. The service folks were eagerly waiting for me ready to my rectify my situation. 








I was told the service department worker found the washer was a tad to big for the slider mount bracket. He decided he didn't want to force it and damage my sliders and left them off. Now -- if you remember my blog post from September when I installed the sliders, I had the same issue -- the washer was a tad too big to fit in the hole. So I just gently tapped them in with a hammer.  I passed that tidbit on to the service folks and they went to work. 



Now the sliders are on and the noise is gone.

As for the noise, I don't think we will truly know what it was. The folks at the dealer say it was the sliders rubbing the Rubicon Rock Rails and they made some slight adjustment. Everything looks the same to me. Except now there are body mount washers installed. In my gut I feel it had something to do with the washers, but what do I know.  I would like to point out my gut is also called "woman's intuition" and my woman's intuition is usually 99.99% right. 






                -- Simple Living! -- Enjoying Life! -The Jeep Momma Way --