Saturday, January 25, 2020

Let the Adventure Lead

Day 20 - During the ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon YouTube fan Angela reached out to me  She invited Neil and I to stay at her home. We took her up on the offer. It was a great night of conversation and camaraderie. 

The next morning we had breakfast at a cute small town breakfast spot, The Randall House, while we bonded as Jeepers. Then it was time for Neil and I to head to Sedona. 

While on the way up another fellow Jeeper reached out and invited us to their town. We decided to cut our time in Sedona short to head to Prescott, Arizona for a Jeepers trunk or treat. 

Originally we were going to run two trails, a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail and Broken Arrow. I decided to pick Broken Arrow because it was a more difficult trail and it had the famous stair steps. 

Later I found out we missed part of the trail. Guess we will need to go back. 

We headed up to Prescott, Arizona after the Broken Arrow Trail. We were going to spend Halloween with Summit 4 x 4 Offroad Club and the shop. 

We are so thankful we let the adventure lead us. We were able to meet a great group of Off-Roaders. Neil and I began to embrace the idea of letting the adventure lead us. 

Prescott was holding a trunk or treat and the Summit 4 x 4 group was participating. They also had a nice warm fire going and they treated us to Carne Asada tacos. This 4 x 4 off road club and shop had an interesting relationship and the next morning we went back to do an interview. 

Another cool side note. As I was sitting chatting I heard "Jeep Momma" being yelled from the sidewalk. A fellow Jeeper and follower recognized me. It was a fun moment. 

That night Neil & I were thankful for the hospitality of Mike and his wife. We both were able to enjoy a hot shower and our own bed! And Neil was able to get fresh hot coffee first thing in the morning. 

Time for a Getaway

WEEK 4 Neil had been working diligently, and super long hours to keep us going and working towards the future. This man knows a good deal when he sees it and is constantly on the go juggling many projects. 

After weeks of non-stop on the go we decided to take a side trip to meet a new friend, Bob with BC Vintage Jeeps. 

Blog Post and YouTube video coming soon.

We drove up to Delta, Colorado after dropping off a transfer case to a buyer. Again the views were amazing, but what do expect... everywhere you go in Colorado it's spectacular, pictures nor videos do the beauty justice.  

Our drive back to Delta was a little different. It was suggested we go through Black Canyon National Park. OMG!!! What an amazing ride. The Canyon was beyond amazing. I highly recommend this drive. 

I did however have a meltdown. My fear of heights kicked in. Neil was not happy, and shared I ruined to ride. Fear of heights is something I need to work on. My fear is a little more than just a fear of heights. I freeze up. I do want to do the ride again as I know it will be different. 

There was another part of the ride that I was looking forward to seeing, but the days are too short and the sun went down. We ended up driving a scenic route in the dark. I need to be more aware when navigating. 

The end of the week was something I was looking forward to, but at the same time hesitant about; flying back home to see my kids. I was looking forward to seeing them. I missed them more that words can describe. I knew things would be different and hard. That's why I was hesitant. 

I know change is hard at the same time good, but this change was extremely hard. I was a guest in my own home. My home I made for my family. A home I built for 14 years. As a mom that's a tough one to except. The first day there was hard as I was drained. I had been on a plane trip all night and then spent the next day with little to no sleep. It was nice to hang with my kids, but I needed to sleep. After a good night sleep it was much better, hard but better. 

Another couple of days with my kids then back to my life and getting it straighten out so I can move on.

Getting Stronger & Stronger

Every day it gets easier and easier. My life was turned upside down at the end of 2019 and it was extremely hard emotionally. However, I am thankful for the Jeep Community and Neil helping me through this time. 

It was a week of more wrenching in the garage a good therapy for me. I am starting to find my place and learning to be helpful. 

I even put my organization skills to test by helping Neil get his tools organized which by the way he asked me to organize them. I know better than to mess with a man's tools. 

We had a couple of minutes in the garage to pull my Jeep in. Neil was able to help me hard wire my headlights. No more plugs to jiggle loose. He also got rid of my duct tape fix of my license plate. It's nice to have a wrenching partner. 

So now on to my next week as I get stronger and stronger emotionally. I still have set backs, but we all do. I will push forward and preserver. It's time to get back to my blog and youtube. I have more trip videos to edit and posts to write.  Always looking for the next adventure. 

A Hidden Grand Canyon Gem

Day 19- It seems Neil & I didn't get enough of the Grand Canyon. We had heard you could drive yourself down to the bottom of the Canyon right up to the Colorado River. So we went in search. 

We decided to take the back roads up to Peach Springs, Arizona. This was were you could buy a permit to drive down to the Colorado River on Diamond Creek Road. There's a building, the Hualapai Tribal Forestry Department where you can buy a permit. 

This permit for $16.27 per person allows you to drive Diamond Creek Road down to the Colorado River on the Hualapai Reservation. 

It's about a three hour drive down and back with the most spectacular views. The ride was a rough one down to the Colorado River on the washboard gravel road.

I should of aired down for the ride down which I did after Neil suggested it for the ride back up. Airing down certainly helped as the ride back up wasn't nearly as rough.

The views were amazing. I will be posting a video soon but it does not do the ride justice. The canyon drive is most amazing. It was a difficult day for us because Neil wasn't able to bring Maggie May with us. I know how hard that would of been for me if I didn't have my Jeep.  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Spectacular Grand Canyon

Day 18We woke up to a cold morning in Mesa Verde National Park. The three of us slept on my Mattress Firm mattress in the back of my Rubicon. It was cold all night, but Jersey was like a mini heater and kept us warm. She is also a cover hog.

It was an a spectacular view during our drive through the park on our way to the Grand Canyon. Neil had a good time messing with me as we drove the park. 
Our first stop was 4 Corners Monument where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah come to a point. The monument was nice but the "park" was not what I expected. It still looked like it did in the 1970's when I first visited. I was expecting some upgrades. 

We arrived at the Grand Canyon just as the sun was setting! What a spectacular view. It was chilly and windy, but Neil and I had a good time stopping at all the different vistas.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Camper Life on a Budget

We all have dreams and goals. My dream was to live the Jeep Life on the road. I had a goal, a plan to reach that goal. There were many steps in that plan to live my dream. 

Well, sometimes life throws a wrench into your plan, and you need to adapt. The wrench in my plan - I had to start this dream a couple years early. I wasn't financially or emotionally ready, which is okay. I will adapt. 

Starting this dream a little earlier than I planned means I have to work a little harder and wiser financially. 2020 the dream became a reality, I packed up what I could fit in my Jeep and headed West. 

I met up with Neil, my adventure partner. He bought a slide in camper with a 1997 Dodge 1500. The Camper / Jeep Life begins.

We are in the process of remodeling out new home at the same time living in it, and at the same time working to pay for our new life. Being thrown into this dream by skipping several planning steps makes it a little harder, but we will preserver.  

So here begins "Camper Build on a Budget".

Neil bought the camper about 2 weeks before I got to Del Norte, Colorado, our home base. He began by stripping the camper so we could begin our remodel. He started by...

He painted all the wood walls a slate gray, then he covered all the cabinet doors with a tye-dye fabric. He covered the cushions with new black fabric which were black table cloths.

He upgraded the electrical system from 15 amps to 30 amps. He did this by scouring a salvage yard for the new parts. He also found a water heater.

After moving the camper from inside a garage to the campground, we found it took a lot to heat the camper. We needed to wrap the outside to protect and insulate it from the Colorado cold. We were told another camper had just tossed his tarps, so I went dumpster diving to retrieve the tarp. 

What a difference it makes. We are using an electrical heater since electricity comes with the campground. The propane heater rarely comes on. So we only use the propane for cooking. The $25 heater beats $25 every two days to heat with propane. 

Neil is also in the process of making us a wet bath. He has begun the framing of the wet bath along with my closet which is a lot smaller from my former walk in closet. 
For now the wet bath will have to wait until we get the funds and the time. We are at a campground that has showers and a bathroom.

When you are on a budget you need to get creative. Neil is just that. He has been working hard at making our camper a home. He is very handy with great ideas. I was lucky to partner up with a such a good craftsman. Pluse he can fix my Jeep.

Camper Build on a Budget

1992 Slide in Camper - $500
1997 Dodge 1500 PickUp - $400
1 can of paint - $20
Curtains - Free
Fabric (Black table cloths) - $10 Amazonm
Tarp - Free
Water Heater - $15
Wood for framing - Free
New Mattress - $150
Spray Adhesive - $20 
Electrical Upgrade - Free
Electric heater - $25 Big R
Rugs for flooring - $20 Family Dollar
Baskets (10) - $10 Dollar Store

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Wrenching Therapy


This second week of my new chapter in life started with a horrible loss. Neil and I took our Jersey the Jeep Dog to the vet. She was not doing good the whole week, and her health continued to deteriorate over the weekend. 

She had cancer. Sadly, it was her time as her quality of life was not a life at all. It was extremely heart-wrenching to watch Neil say good-bye. 

Neil said,the best therapy is to get back into the garage to wrench. So that's what we did. 

The next day we met up with Corey, the owner of an LJ, affectionately named Weed Brownie. Weed Brownie was damaged in a crash in Denver, her frame twisted, and she was declared totaled. Corey was devastated. A friend hooked him up with Neil and the build begins. 

Corey met us in Del Norte, Colorado to help get the build started. Neil and Corey cut out the engine. Yes, literally cut out the engine, as the frame was so twisted. Weed Brownie will be getting an LS Swap. 

Once the engine was out it was time to search for a CJ7 front clip. We heard there was one about 30 minutes away in Saguache where there was a Jeep/WW2 Museum. A must stop if you are in the area. Blog Post Coming Soon.

The end of the week was more parts searching as Neil and I went scavenging the area salvage yards. I believe Neil has picked them clean of Jeep Parts, so it's time to expand our search area. 

Even though the scavenging was a bust it was so worth the trip as the beauty in Colorado is breathtaking. We had to drive through Wolf's Creek. This time there was not one swear word, or gasp, or scream. I was even able to drive the pass myself. 

The wrenching therapy seems to work even though one day was pretty tough on me emotionally. I know I will take a step back once in awhile. This change in my life is extremely hard on me emotionally with missing my kids and the separation and scrutiny. I will push through it. I am a strong women who has dreams and deserves to have a great life. 

I have found some negative things about Colorado though. Yes,I know "GASP"! I find myself out of breath at times. Even when I am laying down. I know it takes getting used to the altitude. The San Luis Valley is around 7500 feet give or take depending on where you are at. 

The other negative about Colorado is it's so dry. Both my thumbs have very deep cracks in the skin. It is very painful. However, I found out from Neil using GOJO is not very smart. This just dries out the skin even more.

My second week ended with "There's always next year". Something only a Minnesota Vikings fan can relate to! 

Goosenecks of the San Juan River

Jeep Momma Getaway During my many adventures, I have come across some amazing scenic stops. One of those stops is the Goosenecks State Park...