Thursday, August 22, 2019

"How To" Enjoy Life

Simple Life/Family/My Jeep​/Clean Eating 
Find My Passion/Health & Body​/Nature & Outdoors

To enjoy life we must be happy and to be happy we must enjoy life. It is a catch 22. I began a journey in 2013 to truly find out what it means for me to be happy and one of those things was to Find My Passion the other was to Live Simple.   
Finding Passion
Reflection/Soul Searching/Experience

Figuring out your passion can be difficult. Not everyone finds their passion because they do not know how to look for it.

The bigger question is - do you find your passion or does it find you?    

There are pages and pages on the internet about finding your passion. There are books published on the topic. I am not an expert just an everyday mom trying to discover the second phase of my life – looking for my purpose & passion.  I have simplified “how to find your passion” from my hours of research on the internet. I have taken these few simple steps on my new journey.

Finding my passion required a lot of reflection and soul-searching. Then as the learning and experimenting happened it took a lot of courage and commitment. Finding a passion or purpose may not happen right away. But continuing to push forward is important because the journey can be just as rewarding. 

“Find your passion and you will find your purpose.”

Passion is something you love to do.  It is the reason you wake up in the morning or keeps you up late at night. Building your life around what you love is something you will never regret. If you find that “something” you are passionate about it will give you the drive, commitment and energy necessary to be successful and fulfill your desire to be happy.

But how do you find your passion? 

As I began my journey I narrowed down my search into a couple of simple easy steps.

Make a List – Find a quiet space and carve out some time to really think and reflect. Get out some paper and answer these questions.

  • What do I love to do?
  • What makes me the happiest?
  • What are my goals?
  • What are skills or talents I am good at?
  • What do I like, but think I am not good at (a possible hidden/ passion)?
  • If I could do one thing for the rest of my life, what would it be?
  • What would I do, even if I did not get paid to do it?
  • What did I want to do when I was a child?
  • What excites me?
  • Does my current hobby excite me?
  • What do I read about – books or on the internet?
  • What do I love to talk about?
  • What do I like to teach others?
  • What have I not done because I can not afford it?

Make a Plan & Do - Make a goal of trying three to five things from your list. Find the time and schedule them. Then immerse yourself in them. Learn everything there is to learn. You could take a class, write a blog or visit a place.
Let Go of Fears - Maybe our passion could find us, if we let go of our fears. Do not let these fears hold you back. Clear out the things in your life that are holding you back or things are that are not fulfilling. Make the space to let our passion shine through.
  • Is there a something you have always dreamed about but never did because something was holding you back?
  • Is this dream out of your comfort zone?
  • Are financial fears holding you back?
  • Are you afraid to fail?
Evaluate - After trying one of your “potential passions” evaluate your experience. The amount of time you spend before evaluation depends on the passion. Be fair to yourself and put your whole heart into it.  Then ask yourself these questions.
  • How do I feel doing it?
  • Is it something I look forward to?
  • Do I want to share my experience?

Continue the Journey – If you have tried all the items on your list and you still feel you have not found your passion, start at the top again. Don’t feel like you failed. You are learning valuable lessons about yourself – growing and learning - that will help you on your continued journey.

And just maybe our passion will sneak up on us. It may have been there all along, but was unrecognized. 

Blog Posts
Getting Healthy & Fit

Eat Organic/Exercise/Plenty of Sleep
Healthly Fats​/Shed the Weight

Our world has turned into a 24 hour lifestyle. We get caught up trying to keep up and compete with "The Jones's" . With the everyday stresses of family and work we forget about ourselves. Then to top it all off, as we get older our bodies do not work the same. Getting fit or staying fit gets tougher. Being healthy is more than eating your vegetables and exercising.  It is eating the right foods and doing the right exercises for your body.

Go Organic - in every way you can... not just the foods you put into your body, but the things you put on your body. Those chemicals seep in through your skin & your liver still needs to process them.

Clean Eating - Click here for My Clean Eating Tips

Water - Drink water with a lemon - at least 8 glasses - 64 ounces a day. 

Exercise - Not your typical exercises like the stationary bike or treadmill or crunches or sit ups. Experts say these do you no good. There are specific exercises out there just for women over 40. 

Run/Walk/Bike - Aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day - at least 3 days a week.

Weight Training - Get back your muscle! The more muscle you have the more energy you burn. You must be very careful of this as you get older and seek professional guidance for your body.

Toning Exercises - Getting old means getting cellulite. Do not fall for those creams or lotions. The only way to get rid of it is to tone those thighs and butt!

Stretch - This is extremely important as you get older to maintain your joints.

Sleep - 7-8 hours a night.

Use Sunscreen - Sunlight is good for you, it contains Vitamin D which your body needs.  But you need to be careful not to burn your skin.  Some health experts say to use sunscreen but be careful what chemicals are in the sunscreen you use.

Me Time - Create time just for yourself everyday to relax.

Friends - Make time to spend with the friends who make you laugh.

Get Outdoors with your Family - Turn off the electronics and get outside and enjoy the natural world around.

Give yourself an energy boost during the day 

Change Task-- Whatever I am doing at the moment I find a different task to do. A change of scenery always seems to help.

Walk Outside - a short fast paced walk also rejuvenates me.

Exercise - I do a quick four minute workout.  Four minutes of non-stop cardio pumping exercises. One minute jumping jacks, one minute planks, one minute lunges and one minute of squats. This really gets the heart pumping and blood flowing.

Stretch - A stretch with some soothing music seems to replenish my energy. Stretching is something we should all be doing at least twice a day. 

Cat Nap - You have to be careful with this one.  I make sure I only close my eyes for five minutes.  Plus, I take my cat naps sitting up, otherwise I will be napping for hours. 

Hydrate - I make sure I'm drinking plenty of water with a slice of lemon.

Light Lunch - I am always mindful to eat my carbs in the morning for breakfast.  If I eat a big carb filled lunch it always seems to drag me down.

Apples - a nice juicy Red Delicious apple always seems to hit the spot.

Music - I turn on some of my favorite songs I like to dance to.  I'm a big fan of classic rock that always seem to give me a re-boost of energy.

Blast of Fresh Air - My favorite way to get my biggest boost of energy is to get a blast of fresh air and sun.  The best way to do that is to hop in my Jeep with the top down, turn up the radio, and take a ride.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure Sponsors

A Big Shout Out To These Awesome Companies! They have joined Team Jeep Momma & Neil as we journey the Trans American Trail on our Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure.

Adams Xtreme Motorsports

This is where I bought my Rubicon. The shop also installed my lift and tires in 2016. I have been super pleased with their work. 

Neil & I are both running their driveshafts in our Jeeps. I have the front and Neil is running front and rear.

Neil and I are both running their headlights.

A woman owned and operated Jeep Aftermarket company, designing and creating inner fender liners. Jeep Girls Rock!!!

Additives that improve the longevity of your engine & moving parts. Neil and I are both using these additives.

So glad I found this shop just minutes from my house! They specialize in Jeeps! 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Maggie May's Build

Affectionately named Maggie May, a 1980 Wagoneer left to live out eternity in a junkyard. She is now in the process of being restored for an epic adventure across America. Neil, my partner on this epic journey, found the dilapidated hunk of metal and knew he found a gem.  

For the past month Neil has been searching for parts old and new to bring Maggie May to life. He has worked tirelessly hours on end while working fulltime. His goal is to get her running and on new shoes in time for our Epic Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure across the United States via the Trans American Trail. 

Motor: AMC 360
Trans torqueflight 727
     Tim's Transmission Alamosa Co
      Tuned & shift kit
Transfer Case: NP 209
Axles: 4.10 ratio 
Front Dana 60 Ford F350
Rear Norton 10.25 LSD
4 wheel disc brakes

Suspension custom 6" 
Air bag assist rear
Tom Woods Custom Driveshafts Front & Rear
Dirt logic shocks 9.75 stroke 2.50 piston custom valve
Wheels Ford OE
On board air: circa 1980 Monroe Max Air

300w solar Panel: Rich solar LA CA. Controller specialty concepts Mark 20
1000w inverter portawatzz
Guest 30 amp 3 bank on board charger 
Battery management xantrax Link 20
Shoreline dual bank charging relay, fuse kit,& 120 braker panel
Kussmaul auto eject
Master manufacturing 15 gallon water tank/pump
40 color RGB led lights
Navigation system auto car 7" 
Uniden pro 520 CB
Vizio 22in TV

Monday, August 12, 2019

Epic Off Road Adventure - Getting Organized

Your path in life can quickly change right before your eyes. 

At the beginning of the summer, I was looking forward to my many mini-off road trips that I planned. Now those plans have been postponed because of a new path. 

Back in June, I ran across a fellow Jeeper by chance. We had been friends on Facebook since 2017, but never engaged. Now we talk every day, and are planning a shared desire. That desire is to overland across America in our Jeeps. 

Neil told me his number one bucket list item was to traverse the Trans American Trail. I instantly jumped aboard and became his partner to wheel across the country. 

We began planning and the trip has evolved into a month long journey this October. We both realize how short life can be and while we can, we are going on this epic endeavor.

Neil is currently living in his XJ, UndercoverXJ, out West. He recently purchased a 1980's Wagoneer, he affectionately named Maggie May. He is in the process of restoring her with a little old and some new. My fingers are crossed he finishes her in time for the trip.  

I first revealed Jeep Momma and Neil's Epic Off Road Adventure on YouTube.  Secret Revealed   

I will continue to share the steps of this journey with YouTube Videos plus live Vlogs of the status of the trip. 

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can follow along. 

GoFundMe Donations - Donate and get a chance in my Jeep Momma 5K Subscriber Giveaway 

There are a lot of things to get done between now and then. First, I need to prep my Jeep. It needs to be my home away from home for a month. 

Second, planning the route. We are excited to be able to meet up with fellow Jeepers we have met through social media. Our first stop will be in Virginia at the home of a Jeeper I met on YouTube. 

Then if the timing is right, we will make a stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to meet a Jeep girl I also met on YouTube. 

While we are traveling the TAT we are not bound to it. We are using it as a guideline. However, we want to get out West as fast as possible as that's where the fun will begin. 

Our hopes are to get to Moab, California and Arizona. 

The first step in my Jeep Prep is done. I took out the seats of my Jeep. That was difficult as the bolts were not moving an inch until Neil gave me a little tip. I attached a 3/16" socket to an extension onto the ratchet and it gave me more leverage and the bolts loosened no problem.

I took everything out of my Jeep and started over with storage. I picked what was essential to my needs on the road. My goal is to bring as little as I can and enjoy the trip.

My recovery gear was the first to go back in my Jeep. I like to store my recover strap, shackles and gloves under the drivers seat. This allows for easy access if I get stuck.

The tree saver, d-ring, snatch block and 2nd recover strap are under the passenger seat. Again for quick and easy access. 

Next I reorganized my tool bag by placing like tools in smaller bags. This is for quick and easy access on the road. Notice a theme? Quick, Easy, Simple! 

The Jeep Wranglers have a small "trunk" in the rear. This is where I am putting my "emergency" road gear like road flares, jumper cables and lug wrench. Everything grouped together for ease of access. 

I have begun to make a dent on my Home Away From Home. I still have a long ways to go but it's coming along. Next is my living quarters. I have ordered my bed and DIY curtains which is next weekends project. I am working on a shoestring budget so anyway I can cut corners is a must.

Stay tuned to the next YouTube Video where I introduce you to Maggie May!   

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Moab Adventure 2017

A non-stop flight from Baltimore to Salt Lake City started my Moab Adventure. I wanted to take my Jeep, but it would have been at least a three day trek across the country ~ Just to get there. I didn't have the luxury of that extra time. 

Jeep Momma Tip #1
Next time, I will book my flight to Grand Junction, Colorado. The drive is just under two hours. The drive from Salt Lake City is four hours. 

So... whenever I am on vacation, my goal is to eat at restaurants I have never tried before. As I headed for Moab, I found a Mexican Fast Food place. Mexican is my favorite cuisine. Del Taco was yummy and fresh. Definitely not Taco Bell ~ much better.   

To get the most out of my trip, I did a lot of internet research. One of the great ideas I found was a link to Moab's Scenic By-ways. Utah 128 was a little detour I just had to take. A spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge. 

It was absolutely amazing! 

But my first stop was Cisco, Utah - population zero. Yep, a ghost town. Check that off my Bucket List!  

Cisco was founded in the 1880's as a saloon town and a water refilling station for steam locomotives along the main line. 

Cisco is on Utah 128, so I just kept on driving towards Moab. It was very exciting to see the famous Moab sign. Of course a selfie needed to be taken. Then it was on down the scenic by-way. 

The scenery was breathtaking as I wound thru the canyons along the Colorado River. I kept stopping at the turnouts to take pictures. I didn't think I was going to make it to Moab before nightfall.  

One of the grandest views of the West is along this route. The Red Rock Spires of the Fisher Towers set against the snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains is awe-inspiring. 

By the way, the La Sal Mountains became my friend during this trip. They were with me every day. I could always count on seeing them at least a couple of times during the day. 

After checking into my room, I headed out to look for a spot for dinner. Being alone I wanted a place to eat where I could sit at a bar. There is more of a chance to met people that way. Zax Pizza was it. I ordered a glass of wine and a small pizza. YES, there is alcohol in Utah. The same wine and beer as you can get anywhere. AND you can even get hard liquor. 

I ended up meeting some very interesting folks. Two guys from Idaho mountain biking the trails for the weekend. One young kid who had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, so he is out traveling trying to figure it all out. He is leaning towards the military  A guy on a Harley. Like me it was supposed to be a big trip with his family, but they all bailed too. He wasn't going to let that stop him. #YOLO Then there was the guy who got fired. He decided to see the country and was on his second month of traveling the US. 

There is no way I would have met these folks had I not been alone. Meeting new people and hearing about their adventures always inspires me!  

Wow! what a first day. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face anxiously looking forward to the next day's adventure. 

Day 2 in Moab started out with an unplanned stop.  A couple of days before I left for Moab, I found out another off-road lady was also in town the same time I was. Charlene Bower, with Bower MotorSports Media  and Ladies OffRoad Network, and I connected on facebook. We decided to meet for breakfast. 
A Must Stop For All Off-Roaders! 

The Moab Diner, an iconic Moab destination, turned out to be 
a great spot for breakfast. Not only is the food and service fantastic, each table displays a different off-road company. Charlene and I sat at the Warn Industries table. We had an awesome conversation and decided to hook up again later that evening. Charlene offered to be my passenger during my Sunset Jeep Tour with Outlaw Jeep Tours. 

Everything Happens For A Reason! 

With my belly full it was time to head out. 
Next stop Dead Horse State Parkwhere immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice and water. The views were phenomenal near the visitors center, and I wasn't even to the Dead Horse Point overlook yet! The point with the most spectacular views around! I decided to hike the East Rim Trail to the overlook. A moderate trail 1.5 miles to the overlook with continuous canyon views. ~ Amazing ~       

Jeep Momma Tip #2
There were a few times I was unsure of which way the trail
went. I had to ask a couple who was coming from the opposite direction. They pointed out the trail markers to me ~~ the stacked rocks. I had no idea. Once they were pointed out I saw them every where along my hike. I guess I was too busy looking at the breathtaking views to notice.  

Jeep Momma Tip #3
If you don't have time to hike to Dead Horse Point you can drive to it. 

Instead of taking the West Rim hike which was 2.5 miles, I just back tracked to the visitor's center. I wanted to hit another park before my evening Jeep ride. So off to Canyonlands National Park 

WOW! The views are just as spectacular! This park is vast with countless trails for hiking throughout canyons with fantastically formed buttes carved out by the Colorado River. 

One day I would love to come back to this park, and hike a few of their trails. For this trip there was just enough time to drive to each overlook, then spend a few minutes staring out across the canyons. Then it was on to my next adventure!   

I had a little time to fill before it was time to hit the off-road trails. So I found a taco place right next door to Outlaw Jeep Tours. I enjoyed some chicken tacos on the outside patio on Main Street in Moab. However, I was too anxious to eat, so after a few nibbles I just tried to relax and watch the Jeeps cruise up and down the street. 

Hell's Revenge Here I Come! 

There is the saying "Everything Happens For a Reason!". I believe that. Forces brought Charlene Bower and myself together for a reason. 

Charlene was the calm to my fear. She helped me face my fear of heights head on. She is a certified I4WDTA trainer ~ international 4 Wheel-drive Trainer's Association. The members go through a stringent training program having to pass written and practical exams

I booked a Jeep and a guide for a Friday Night Sunset Jeep Tour with Outlaw Jeep Tours. They offer many types of tours. You can ride-along as a passenger in their Jeep, you can follow along in your Jeep, or you can drive their Jeep and follow along with a guide. The last option is what I picked. I wanted to drive their Jeep!

They are the only company in Moab where you can drive their Jeep AND get a knowledgeable guide to 
guide you along the trails.

Hell's Revenge was the trail for the night. Hell's Revenge is know for it's high steep climbs, heart pounding descents, and beautiful views of the La Sal Mountains and Negro Bill's Canyon. 

Everything about Hell's Revenge is Heart Pounding! 

Right off the bat you are thrown to the Lion's Den! The entrance to Hell's Revenge is a "Fin". These are Navajo Sandstone Slickrock formations. The trails is littered with them. Some are steeper than the others.  
I have an extreme fear of heights, so this was a huge challenge for me. With Charlene in the passenger seat talking me through my fear, I made it to the top, not as fast as most Jeepers though. I'm sure residents of Moab could hear my cursing echoing through the canyons as I inched my way up the fin. 

Now, that I was at the top I had to make the journey down the back side only to more fins. Each time it was a little easier, but it was still an intense drive.

I was in a Wrangler with a 3.5" Ranch lift, Raceline Monster Wheels, 40" STT Pro Tires, Dana Spicer ultimate 60 axles with e lockers and 5:38 gears. 
One Badass Jeep! 

Hell's Revenge is trail-rated for a 6. Stock 4x4 vehicles can make it through the trail with by-passes for some of the more challenging obstacles. There are steep climbs and descents, along with some edges that are not for the faint of heart. The steep slopes, however, are not technically difficult because of the excellent traction on the sandstone rock.

Once you make it over the first fin, you come up to a cliff over looking the town of Moab. On top of this cliff are some dinosaur tracks in the rock. Pretty Cool, that I was roaming where dinosaurs once lived.  

There are several obstacles on Hell's Revenge. One is called Hell's Gate. This is a very difficult obstacle. So my guide, K.L., took over the driver's seat while I grabbed on tight in the passenger seat. This is one scary ride down then back up again. 

Hell's Gate Video - view from the dash

Hell's Gate Video - view from outside the Jeep  

Even though it was an intense trail, I had a blast. K.L. was very patient and understanding of my fear. He certainly deserves a medal for having to put up with me.  

Since I was on the sunset tour we only had a few hours of sunlight. Normally this tour doesn't run the whole trail. The local tour company's usually just turn around at some point in the trail. Apparently the exit of the trail has become very worn and bumpy. I ended up having to drive the last couple of fins in the dark. So the fin I drove first at the entrance, well I had to drive that in the dark. Talk about intense.  

I went to bed this night feeling drained, nervous and excited all at the same time. I was hoping I would be able to make it all day on the trails without Charlene as my supportive passenger. 

Jeep Momma's Hell's Revenge Videos 
This video are all the most scary moments I had on Hell's Revenge.  

This is the longer version of my drive on Hell's Revenge. 

This is video of an obstacle on Hell's Revenge. Just my kind of obstacle! 
After my night on Hell's Revenge, I woke up the next morning with a lot of anxiety. I was worried if I would make it on the trails all day long. Hell's Revenge took a lot out of me.

Once I arrived at Outlaw Jeep Tours I met with K.L., my guide from the night before. He volunteered to be my co-pilot. We loaded up "Shrek", the green beast that I would be driving for the day and headed for the trails. 

As we headed out for Fins and Things, I was a little more relaxed. K.L. is an awesome guide with a calming voice. He grew up in the Moab area, and has been 4x4'ing the trails since the 80's. I was in good hands. 

Fins and Things is an awesome trail. There are some intense fins, but after my initiation the night before, I was able to handle them with minor swearing. 

The trail is in three parts and has many different terrains and obstacles such as Kenny's Climb.

After finishing all of Fins and Things it was time for a lunch and bathroom break. Then we headed to the other side of Moab for the trail, Poison Spider

Just the entrance alone was enough to put my nerves back on edge ~ harrowing switchbacks with sharp drop offs. Once at the top I was able to relax, until I realized I lost my cellphone. After we tore apart the Jeep, I realized I left in in the bathroom. Sadly, we weren't able to finish the trail. So K.L. got in the drivers seat to get us off the trail as quickly as possible. He tore down that mountainside like he was driving on a straight interstate. We barreled down that thing at a high rate of speed, or what I consider high rate. 

Back on the other side of Moab, much to my relief we found my phone. Since it was growing late we decided to stay on that side and ran Porcupine Rim. What a perfect trail, again with many terrains and obstacles. I really enjoyed this trail!

The whole day was amazing and it left me itching for more trail rides. So I have already begun thinking about my next trip out. 

After turning in the keys to Shrek it was time to get some souvenir shopping done. While walking along Moab's Main Street my phone rang. 

It was Charlene, my favorite co-pilot. We met up for dinner at Jay's Pasta. A great stop you should make if you ever find yourself in Moab. 

Then she took me to legendary Grandpa's Garage. What a perfect ending to a fabulous day. 

It was a bittersweet day. I still had a few more adventures left, but it was my last day in Moab. I headed out early to beat the crowds at Arches National Park.  

The word is the line to get into the park can be a long wait. I decided to get there right when the park opened ~ 7am. 

Wow! Another Utah Jewel. The views were amazing. 

I stopped at each and every stop in the park with the exception of the last one, Devils Garden. It was closed because of road construction going on in the park. 

At the Delicate Arch stop, I was ready for the 3 mile round trip hike. After checking out the parking lot, I decided against it. There were 3 tour buses full of kids and people ready to make the hike. I don't do crowds very well.

I am glad I decided not to do this hike. I instead drove a mile up the road to a spot where I could see the Arch from over a canyon. As I sat by myself I could see the sea of people wondering around the Arch. 

The choice not to make that hike was a good one. The short little hike up a rocky hill was worth it. The peaceful, quiet by myself time, looking out at the beautiful scenes before me was amazing.  

I continued to drive on to the Sand Dune Arch. Very cool little spot, a sandy beach in between the fins. 

From there I continued on to the Broken Arch trail.

Then the best kept secret. A really cool hike to the lesser renowned trail to the Tapestry Arch

It was a peaceful, uncrowded hike through sandy trails up and down the slick rock.      

With Arches now complete it was time for a well deserved
lunch. So I headed back to Zax Pizza for an all you can eat pizza and salad. Plus my favorite, a raspberry martini. During lunch I received a call my boat tour was cancelled due to lack of interest. So I went for a drive along another Moab Scenic by-way ~ Utah 313. 

Utah 313, Potash Road, is a winding ride along the Colorado River. Gorgeous views of an incredible Red Rock Canyon. 

One of the highlights is Indian writing on the canyon walls. 

Then I finished the night off with some Mexican food and a Moab sized Sangria.

WOW! What an Amazing Adventure, one I will never forget and will make again!