Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blue Trail Adventure


Setting an objective for myself, and going out to achieve it is my new mission. Waiting around for life to happen is not how I decided I am going to live my life. Now it is all about making things happen. 






One of those objectives is to be able to tackle some of the blue trails at Rausch Creek Off Road Park in my stock JKU Rubicon. I have already been on several of the green trails, which are the easiest trails at the park. 


Some of the blue trails are quite difficult for a stock Jeep as far as clearance goes, but there are some I can get through by going slow and steady expecting some scraping and banging along the way. 






So, last Sunday I trusted a fellow Jeeper to help guide me through some of those blue trails. We picked just a couple of the easier blue trails for my first time. My goal is to become confidant at driving off road picking my lines and successfully
tackling the trails before I begin to modifying my Jeep with a lift.  I feel it will make me a better driver on the rocks. 




I had a great time testing my limits and gaining the confidence I need. It is not the confidence in my Rubicon but the confidence in myself that I lack right now. 





There is still the fear of breaking my daily driver that sits in the back of my head. Plus, I think it is good I don't get too cocky and let my guard down. 


I realized I don't like driving through water obstacles. You just can't tell what is lurking just below the surface. Just like in this video I posted on my Jeep Momma You Tube Channel


I was able to tackle the Tip Top blue Trail. It always looks much more difficult from behind the wheel than it does in the videos. Every time I am able to tackle one of these obstacles my confidence improves. 




I need to know my limits and my Rubicon's limits and not taking unnecessary chances for any sort of damage. Right now some of the green trails are still a challenge for me so I don't need to prove anything to myself by taking chances. I realized it is okay to take a by-pass or just back up and not take a trail I am not comfortable with like here in this video on my Jeep Momma You Tube Channel


I was very impressed I was able to conquer some rocky steps on the C Blue trail on Rausch Creeks East property as seen in this video on my Jeep Momma You Tube channel.  

I am sure I could accomplish a lot more if I just had the confidence in myself and relaxed. I am looking forward to heading out again real soon. 


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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Jeep Broke

Sunday morning, bright and early, I hit the interstate heading North to the mountains of Pennsylvania. My destination... Rausch Creek Off Road Park for a much needed day of #JeepTherapy in four wheel low. It had been four months since the last time I was able to go wheelin'. 




I was looking forward to a day of trail riding, but at the same time nervous, because I was going to attempt some of the blue trails. The blue trails are a step up in difficulty from the green trails I had been running. 







But right off the bat before I even, or while I, put the Jeep into four wheel low I broke my Jeep. As I was shifting into 4 low the aftermarket Drake knob came off the transfer case shifter.



Most likely the set screw came loose from the everyday vibrations of the Jeep or I didn't tighten it enough.











But maybe I am just stronger than I thought. It should be an easy fix. I could use some blue loctite or even drill into the shaft and get a longer set screw. I will keep you posted on my solution.



Tomorrow I'll share with you how using my new Kodak PixPro 360 went. 

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Trail Prep

I am so excited and nervous at the same time. This weekend
I will be heading up into the mountains of Pennsylvania to spend the day on the trails at Rausch Creek Off Road Park. It has been a while since the last time I was on the trails, and I need to prep my Jeep Off-roading supplies. 

One of the reasons I'm nervous is we might attempt some of the blue trails at Rausch Creek.  I have only attempted the green trails which are the most basic trails.  The blue trails are a step up. Remember I am still stock so these trails are a little more challenging for me. 


Here's what I have.... 
  ...What am I missing?    
Hi
Tow straps
Tree saver
Shackles
Gloves

Jumper Cables







Shovel
First Aid Kit
Flashlight


Tire Deflators

NOTE: I have reset the deflators to make sure they are all insync. 





Tire Pressure Guage

NOTE: RC Off-Road park has air to re-inflate my tires. 




Tools/Torx set
CB radio 

Note: It will be my first time using it. I hope I set it up right. 

... and of course food and water


I really would like to get a fire extinguisher but I am not sure what kind to get. 


Here's a website offroaders.com that has lot's of good information for off roading must haves

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Off-Road Trail Do's & Don'ts

Last week I shared some Jeep Trail Ettiquette: Unwritten  rules.  I asked fellow Jeepers to share any tips they may have.  Thanks to Lucas & Cody for some more great tips!  
  • Don't forget the toilet paper.
  • Do remember snacks and drinks in case of a break down.
  • Do bring a gallon of water with you. You may need some for your radiator or to wash of some mud or an injury.
  • Do secure everything in your vehicle that you don't want to get hit in the head with in case of a roll over. That tool box you brought "just in case" you break down is a great idea. But it could kill you if you roll over and it's not bolted down.
  • Do bring jumper cables. Splashing through deep water at a fast speed is a good way to sling a belt or fry your alternator. Jumper cables are a necessity.
  • Don't blind people with your lights if you are behind them. Light bars are all the craze right now, but they're bright as heck. Remember they are for off-roading purposes only and should only be used by the person in front.
  • Do remember to tell someone where you plan on
    wheeling at before you go. This is very important if you do a lot of solo trail riding (which you really shouldn't do). If you broke down in the woods with no cell reception, how long would it take for someone to miss you and organize a search party or alert the authorities?
  • Don't forget to take it slow and enjoy yourself. Getting out in nature is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it. Go slow. Slow=safe, slow=ability to maintain control of your vehicle, slow=less cut tires, slow=less damage to your rig, slow=less likely hood of a roll over.
  • Don't get sideways on a hill. The majority of roll overs offroading occur when someone is climbing a steep hill, they lose traction and stop, they decide to "give it hell" and their rig ends up sideways and rolls down the hill. It happens all the time. It has happened to a friend of mine when we were wheeling at night. Remember if you lose traction going up a hill the best course of action is to slowly creep back down using your brakes. It's scary, it feels weird, but it's necessary. When you are stuck halfway up a long steep hill and lose traction completely gravity will take over. That means since the front of your vehicle is heavier, due to the engine, your vehicle will turn sideways as the front will try to beat the back to the bottom. When the vehicle gets sideways it can roll easily. 
  • Allow vehicles that have not been re-geared to ride in front. Its going to be awfully frustrating following someone with a higher crawl ratio.
  • Pay attention to trail directions. Don't come down a trail the wrong way.. Its frustrating for everyone.
Most important!
  • When stopping on a trail, NEVER cross in between vehicles, take the long way around, or crawl over. 
  • A fellow driver lost his life when he crossed between vehicles, and got pinned in, from the uphill vehicle slipping out of gear.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bucket List: San Francisco

I spent the past 5 days on a Girl's Weekend Getaway with my sister and niece. We played tourist visiting many sites in Northern California. We took a ride on the famous San Francisco Cable Cars, walked around Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.


We also hopped aboard the ferry to check out Alcatraz Prison. I have been on a lot of tours in my life and by far, this was one of the best walking tours. We all had our own little audio tour. It was like we were there in the prison with the guards and prisoners. An awesome tour. 







One day we headed up the coast along the ocean and checked out the beaches of the West Coast, definitely different from the sandy beaches here on the east coast. We then drove through beautiful wine country.





We braved those steep, s-curves of the Sierra Nevadas to take in some of America's most breathtaking views at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park....





....and saw those Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove. 









The only downfall of the trip was our rental car, a Toyota Yaris. Yes, I left my Jeep at home.  It would have taken me 4 to 5 days to drive cross country in my Jeep and at least $900 in gas. I didn't have that kind of time nor that kind of money. We were on a budget. Plus, I'm saving my Jeep Rental for my trip through the Rubicon Trail. 



So needless to say I was one happy momma when I got home to see my family and my Jeep still parked in the garage Topless!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Off-Roading Trail Etiquette



With the warm summer temperatures arriving it means it is time to get out on those off-road trails again. I'm so excited, I can't wait! It is also time to brush up on those unwritten rules of trail etiquette to keep myself and others safe. 



Do's & Don'ts 


Do:  Keep Track of Your Group When off-roading in a group, it is the responsibility of every driver to keep track of the vehicle behind them via the rear view mirror. 

Don’t: Tailgate - it is dangerous AND annoying. Allow the vehicle ahead of you to completely pass over the obstacle before you make an attempt.

Do:  Allow vehicles going up an incline to have the right of way. On steep inclines, the loss of climbing momentum might cause a loss of traction or an engine stall. The vehicle going down should pull over as safely and quickly as possible.

Don’t: Speed on the trails. Trail riding is not a quick activity. Take your time, be aware of all obstacles and enjoy the environment around you.


Do:  Be prepared. Make sure you bring the essentials, including tow straps/recovery kit, a first-aid kit, a CB radio and a spare tire among other things.

Do: Stop to help others. We all rely on each other, especially in remote areas. The off road community is one of the friendliest and most helpful groups of people there is. 

Don't: Dusting -- Anytime you drive by someone on a dry dirt road at more than 10 mph, you cause a huge cloud of dust. A number of Jeeps are open air, so all this dust will not only cover the interior of the vehicle, it can also inhibit the driver’s vision or breathing. Slowing down to a crawl will prevent dusting.


Don't: Wheel spinning: Ordinarily, wheel spinning is the result of one of two things: Driver error or having the wrong equipment. Either one throws rocks or mud on other vehicles or can cause ruts in the trail, making it an unpleasant experience for the next person. If you find yourself in a situation where you are spinning excessively, try another line or turn around.

Don't:  Rock stacking: This is permissible occasionally to help get out of a bad situation. But if you have to routinely stack rocks to make it over an obstacle, you may want to re-think your route or your vehicle’s capability. Rock stacking disturbs the environment and can permanently change an obstacle.

Obstacle Tips


Closely observe the vehicle ahead of you. This helps you pick the proper line(s) for negotiating a rough spot.
The ability to see their rear differential is a good starting point. 

Get better perspective when there are multiple obstacles by dropping farther back. This gives you more time to think through your strategy. 



When stopped, pull completely off the trail and pick a spot that’s already been disturbed. Try not to park on tall, dry grass for fire safety reasons. 

Leave no man behind -- just like in the military. If a vehicle in your group has a problem, the group stays until the problem is resolved. Be prepared for it every time you go out. 


More Off-Roading Tips

Be patient, helpful and keep a good attitude because next time it could be you!

If you have made several attempts at an obstacle and there is a long ling of rigs waiting their turn, move aside and let them through. There is nothing wrong with being winched through an obstacle if you can’t make it through on your own after a reasonable number of attempts. 

Leave your ego at home.  Don’t let others pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable doing. There is nothing wrong with taking a bypass if you or your vehicle is not up to tackling an obstacle.

Always practice good “Leave No Trace” and “Tread Lightly” ethics. 

Do you have any tips when it comes to trail etiquette? 

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mud Flap Review



Last September, I took an off-road instruction class. There was a Jeep in front of me with stock Jeep mud flaps. I cringed every time she drove over the rocks. You could see and hear the mud flaps scraping the rocks. At any moment I expected them to get torn off. 


I wondered why she just didn't take them off. Later I learned that there are some states with mud flaps laws even for Jeeps. 



Well the stock mud flaps are no good out on the trails. 



But, what does one do if their state requires their Jeep to have mud flaps, and you want to go off-roading?


GRDProductsCo.com has the answer with their Quick Disconnect Mud Flaps for the 2007- 15 Jeep Wranglers. They sent me out a pair of these Jeep Accessories to try out on my Jeep.




My Jeep Parts came well packaged with two splash guards, all the necessary hardware, and a sturdy bag to carry the mud flaps when disconnected.  

The install was pretty simple and quick. The only tooIs I needed were a 5/8" socket and ratchet, and screw driver. 

First, I attached the two flap mounting brackets with the washers, nuts and screws that came with the kit.





Then I located the bracket that attaches the rear bumper to
the frame. I removed the two bolts on the bumper.

Then I inserted the hard mount with mud flap between the bracket and the bumper. Then it was time to tightened up the stock Jeep Wrangler Unlimited bolts.



Easy Peasy!!!





Now, when I want to get off-road and tear it up, all I need to do is a quick pull of the pin, and off come the splash guards. I can store them in the handy bag provided.



Now, Maryland does not require Jeeps to have splash guards, but I will carry mine with me. You never know when I will want to get a little muddy. The splash guards will come in handy for that muddy ride home, and I won't worry about getting the cars behind me all dirty or taking out a windshield from a rock.     

The GRD Quick Disconnect Mud Flaps Kit - $89.99


    • 2 Mudflaps (Fits Back Wheels) (Can Fit Front With Modification)
    • 2 Mount Brackets
    • 2 Flap Brackets
    • 3 Clips
    • 6 Washers
    • 6 Bolts
    • 6 Lock Washer
    • 6 Nuts
    • 1 Jeeps Mud Flap Storage Carrying Bag

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

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I received my mud flaps from review. No additional compensation received. All opinions are mine.