Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Heading South

DAY 17 

Neil and I were pretty much at the halfway point of our adventure when we left Colorado. We sadly left Maggie May sitting in the garage in Del Norte. Still perplexed why she stopped running. 




I knew it was extremely hard for Neil to not have his Jeep on this leg of our journey. 
I couldn't even imagine if I wasn't able to take my Jeep. However, Neil persevered and moved forward.



We spent four days in Del Norte, Neil's home base, working on Maggie May. Okay, so we did some wheeling too and I was able to meet Neil's friends.   









Our next stop was the Grand Canyon, but before we hit the National Park we had to cross Wolf Creek Pass, a high mountain pass on the Continental Divide in Colorado. 











This was around the time of the Arctic Blast that blew thru the United States so the peak was close to a white out. 











Neil and I were both excited to finally be heading to the warmer Southwest. It also meant for some awesome wheeling ahead. Along the route to Arizona was Mesa Verde National Park, our first stop on the second part of our adventure.



When we reached our destination in the park we decided it was too cold and too late to be setting up our tent. We unloaded a few things in the Jeep to make more room. We  spent the night on the Mattress Firm mattress in the back of the Rubicon. I would give the mattress five stars for comfort for sure. It also really helped to have our own personal heater with Jersey. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Maggie May is Broken

Day 13-14-15-16


Neil and I finally rolled into Del Norte, Colorado late in the night. Del Norte is Neil's home base and where he left poor Maggie May to sit after many frustrating days dealing with problem after problem.   






Maggie May, his 1980 Waggie he was rebuilding to be his "Home". She was going to make the trip with us but he had some issues with the engine.



We planned on spending a day or two to see if we could get her back up and running. After four days of working on Maggie May she still wasn't sounding right. So we made the decision to stay in my Jeep and tent camp for the rest of the trip. It had been working great so far.


During our time in Colorado I was able to meet Neil's friends and visit his hang outs. One favorite was the Pronghorn Trail which he spent many days and nights camped out on this trail.




YouTube Video - Pronghorn Trail  Coming Soon! 

We also snuck in a day of wheeling. I learned about Elephant Rocks and got to see Window Arch. We also "got lost" on some of the trails around Del Norte. It was actually very peaceful and fun to be "lost".




We spent three of the nights in a Hostel in Del Norte. My first experience in a hostel and it really wasn't a scary dangerous thing as some folks make it out to be. It was a very nice hostel, homey & comfortable. 


You definitely need to check it out if you are in the area. 


Things between Neil & I were beginning to get a little intense. I was ready to keep moving on in the adventure. 

Neil was determined to get Maggie may started as he wanted to take her on the trail with us. I totally understood his frustration as I couldn't even begin to imagine wheeling without my Jeep. Plus Maggie May is his home.

However, I felt the need to get back home to find a job and get my life straighten out. I knew drastic changes were ahead for me when I got back. My personal relationship had been struggling for years and I knew things were going to have to change for both our happiness and sanity.


And boy are they a changing... but that's a story for another time.  

I was ready to move on and Neil wanted to fix Maggie. The weather eventually made the decision for us as an Arctic blast was heading our way. So we headed Southwest the next morning.  



   


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Gateway to the West

DAY 12

Neil and I woke up to the sounds of the Tennessee River. It was so refreshing to be able to breath in all the peace and serenity in the mornings. It was so good for my soul.





We met up that morning with Sam at the Outpost for a good ole' home cooked breakfast. Then we sat down with Sam to talk about the Trans America Trail. 





As we were getting ready to head back on the TAT. Sam offered to lead us on the Mississippi part of the trail. He showed Neil some tips about the maps before we headed out. 




I was able to ride shotgun with Sam as we wheeled the dirt roads of Mississippi. The terrain was not what I expected. I was looking to be driving through swampland. The Northern part of the state is mostly pine tree forests.  



Later that afternoon we were able to meet up with another one of our YouTube Fans,Trish. She had been following me on YouTube for quite awhile and was thrilled to meet me. It's always surreal when people are excited to meet me.

I was her inspiration to work on her Jeep and do her own mods. When I hear that I inspire others it motivates me to keep pushing forward. There have been times during my whole Jeep adventure I feel like giving it all up. It's been hard not to have someone to share it with. But those times when my fans reach out to me it gives me the courage to push through.   


After sharing Jeep stories it was time for Neil and I to get back on the road. We needed to get back up to St. Louis to pick up the Land Rover we ditched a week earlier. Then it was on to Colorado. I was so excited to finally make it West. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Meeting the Founder of the TAT


DAY 11

Wheeling the Trans America Trail was a bucket list item of Neil's for about ten years. He was very excited to be on the trail but even more excited to meet Sam Corerro the founder of the Trans America Trail.  The first half of our adventure was on the East Coast part of the TAT. We drove old forest roads and through national parks. It was so peaceful to be the only ones on the road.



Back in the 80's Sam was looking for a route which avoided
lots of traffic and was scenic. The trails started with 100 miles in Mississippi and has grown to thousands of miles across the United States. The trial continues to grow as Sam is mapping new routes. 



Neil & Jeep Momma on the TAT - You Tube Video


Neil and I arrived at Sam's house around dinner time. First we decided to stop at an interesting little stop called The Outpost. There were little shops and a great spot to eat. Neil was in heaven as the menu was full of home cooked recipes.  




I made a big discovery too! I spotted bigfoot. I am pretty sure he was following us.   






After dinner we spent a couple of hours chatting and made plans for breakfast in the morning. Neil & I headed to Pickwick State Park that evening to camp along the Tennessee River. 



We had a great unspoken system set up to get our camp ready for the night. We were like a well oiled machine getting done what needed to be done quickly and efficiently. I was learning we made a great team. 



I also discovered I didn't need the noise of a fan to fall asleep at night. It was so calming to listen to the sound of mother nature each night as we fell asleep.
    

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Jack Daniel's Tour

Day 10

The cool thing about Neil is he doesn't stay angry. The night before we had a disagreement. Setting up the campsite was tense, you could feel the tension in the air. However, the next morning all was good.

The disagreement was about where we going to camp. It was about midnight when we were ready to put up the tent as we were trying to get as far into Tennessee as we could. 

I wanted to hit the local campground, but Neil was suggesting the National Forest. Neil's way was free, mine we would have woken up the campground folks. I was being my stubborn self but Neil won out in the end, and of course he was right. I just wasn't understanding the whole dispersed camping. After that night I did. 

We got up at the crack of dawn because we had a lot of miles to cover. We were aiming to get to Sam Corerro's place for the night. Sam is the originator of the Trans American Trail. The trail we were on. 



Just like our trip had been going we made a little detour. Along our route was the Jack Daniels distillery and they gave public tours. I certainly couldn't pass that up.





They also had a taste testing. Their black label whiskey was so smooth. They also have three flavored whiskey's that were tasty too. 





Both Neil and I found the tour very interesting and enjoyed it immensely. We were highly pleased with the tour, definitely worth the money. I highly recommend this tour if you are ever in the area. 



For all photos from the tour become Jeep Momma & Neil's Patreon Supporter. 
Click Here

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Weird Noise in the Woods

Day 9

We left Henry and Lisa's that morning to head for the Trans America Trail. 


The Trans America Trail was created by Sam Correro back in the early 80's. He spent years mapping out public back roads and forest roads. Back then all the roads were gravel. Since some have become paved roads.



Neil and I were excited to finally be on the trail. Our TAT portion of the adventure had begun. We had the paper maps as well as the roll charts. The TAT was originally for off road motorcycle enthusiasts, but had since added other vehicles. 



The estimated time to run the whole TAT was about three weeks, however as Neil and I started on the trail we realized it could take us way more than three weeks. We decided to do small parts of the trail in each state as we were both eager to get west of the Mississippi.








There were some beautiful sights along the way in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. We took many stops just to take it all in.







 Neil felt I needed to work on my navigation skills. I think I would have to agree.




We decided to air down our Nexen Tires and were able to leave them at that same PSI even while on the paved roads. Those tires are amazing. Nexen tire review coming soon.





The first night we camped in the Cherokee National Forest. By the time we reached our location it was dark so we just set up our tent in a pull off just off the road. When we were all tucked in for the night and I was just dozing off, there was a loud screeching noise. It scared the heck out of me as I didn't recognize the noise. 


I whispered to Neil asking what it was. He said, "An owl". As I thought to myself about the sound I knew it wasn't an owl. Then there was a light shining on the tent. Again I whispered to Neil "what was that?". He said a car. I didn't hear a car. I spent the next hour or so just quietly listening before I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I figured the sound must have been big foot with a flashlight. There seemed to be no other solution. And we were off again on the Trans America Trail.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Jersey

Celebrating the Jeep Life with Jersey 



Life in the small concrete enclosure with the sounds of barking all night sure beat the years of carrying puppies in my belly, and being the dog in the yard to get chewed on daily. I lost count at ten litters.


I was so thankful for the day I was rescued from the repeated abuse from the other vicious horrible dogs in the yard, and taken to that small concrete enclosure. I felt safe in that concrete box, but I knew there had to be more. 


I knew I wasn't meant for that kind of life. I knew deep down in my gut my nose needed more - my soul needed more.  I was sad and horribly afraid of the dogs in the shelter, and skeptical of the shelter workers.  


Then that fateful day at the shelter happened. I overheard the shelter workers talking of a grumpy old man going to adopt one of the dogs. I wasn't sure what grumpy meant, but it couldn't be bad if this man was going to adopt one of the dogs.  

Later that day Taylor, the nice lady from the shelter, took me out of my concrete enclosure and we went for a ride. We ended up at a garage where this man was fixing Jeeps. His name was Neil, that's when I remembered those shelter workers called the grumpy old man Neil. 


I had this sense about Neil - the grumpy old man - a good feeling. It's like a special power I have. I've had it my whole life. I know deep in my gut if a person is a good person. I know if a person will treat my kind good. It's my superpower.  Instantly, Neil and I became buddies. He rubbed my ears and then he rubbed my belly. My favorite thing in the whole wide world.   


He didn't even yell at me or tug me around on the rope tied to my neck. At first I thought he was giving me nasty stuff to eat like the others, but he gave me a yummy treat. I didn't have to go back to that concrete enclosure that day. Instead the nice shelter lady, Taylor, took me to her house. I missed Neil and wanted to see him again. The next day we went for another ride to the doctor. 

I had to have my belly cut open and things taken out. I remember the lady in the white coat say "cancer". I didn't know what cancer was and my belly hurt really bad. I felt woozy and was scared. I wanted to be with Neil. He made me feel safe. I spent a week healing at Taylor's. My favorite part was when Neil would come to visit me. Even though it hurt, I wagged my tail to let him know how happy I was to see him. 


Neil kept telling me I had to hurry and heal because there was a big adventure in our future together. I wasn't sure what an adventure was, but I worked really hard to heal because he sounded really excited about it. After a week at Taylor's it was time for me to go home. That made me sad as I didn't want to go back to that concrete box. Just then Neil came by. He told me I was never ever going back to that concrete box because he was adopting me. Neil became my dad! That grumpy old man adopted me to take care of me and be his best friend for life. That was one of the best days of my life. Or so I thought. There were so many more to come. 



Later he took me for a ride in this thing he called a Jeep. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. 
I felt the sun shine on my back and the smells, oh so many smells I was overwhelmed. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. I was with Neil and I was free to be a dog. 



We shared many warm days out in his Jeep on the Colorado trails. Now it's our Jeep. We would take long nature walks on those trails. We would chase each other around and have lots of play time. He would never let me out of his sight. I love Colorado there are so many cool smells, and the places I can pee are immense. 




Every day was amazing! 
Every day kept getting better and better. The smells were overwhelming as I didn't have enough time to smell them all. Then one day we took a long, a really long Jeep ride, but we weren't in the Jeep. We were going on our adventure, and we were meeting a Jeep mom.




I didn't know what a Jeep mom was, and I was scared. She came in our room one night, and I didn't feel afraid at all. She was really, really nice, and let me smell her hand. She didn't even hit me. 




That's when I found out what an adventure was. She made a special soft safe bed for me in the back of her really cool Jeep. I even think it it's cooler then Neil's Jeep, but don't tell him that. Sometimes though the ride was really bumpy, but we were all together having fun, laughing and smiling. Plus, I would get tons of ear rubs, and even people food.   


We drove in that Jeep all day long with lots and lots of stops, so I could go smell the new smells. I couldn't believe they were taking me to all these cool places so I could smell the smells. 





No one had ever done that for me. I didn't know there were so many trees and bushes and rocks in the world. There just wasn't enough time to smell them all. I didn't realize how big the world really was. Now my favorite thing to do is explore and smell. 




They even rolled down my special window, and I got to put my head out to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my ears. And the smells oh the smells. The best part of the trip.











At night we would all get together in the tent to sleep. My favorite part was the special blankets Jeep Mom covered me up in. They smelled so good. Then I got to snuggle up to my people. They kept me safe from all the other animals. 

When we got back from our adventure, the lady in the white coat found more cancer in my belly. I am working really hard at healing again because I want to go on another adventure.  My dad said we need to say lots of prayers so I can get better. I'm not afraid this time because he takes special care of me and he loves me. I know this because he takes me on lots of nature walks, and we go everywhere together. He lets me smell as much as I want. Plus, a dog knows when a person loves them because they talk to you like your a baby.  He is the best dad ever, and I love him so much.  


I had the most amazing adventure with Neil, My Grumpy Old Man, and Jeep Mom. They say we will do it again soon. I hope so because I really really miss Jeep Mom. I am a lot like her because I hear her telling people her Jeep saved her life. Well I think the Jeep saved my soul.