Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Jeep Code

You don’t know what you don’t know. 

When I first bought my Jeep I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t realize there was this whole Jeep Code you signed on for when you became a Jeep owner. I slowly learned the code from other Jeepers in the Jeep community. 

One -  when you become a Jeep owner you become part of an amazing community, an amazing family. It is an unique family with a passion for all things Jeep. This passion bonds us. 

Two  - there's this thing called the Jeep Wave. When driving down the road you wave at other Jeepers. I even wave at Cherokee drivers.

Three - When you enter this family with the shared passion along with it comes responsibility. That responsibility is to help other Jeepers. 

One way is when a Jeeper is stranded on the side of the road. Most always you should stop to ask if they are okay. Now remember to keep your own safety in mind. That comes first. 

Four - Never leave another Jeeper behind on the trails. 

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. 

I have to remind myself not to get annoyed when I don’t get a Jeep wave or if another Jeeper doesn’t stop to help me. They might just not know. So it’s my job to educate and spread the word about the Jeep Code. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Jeep Momma Tips: Places to Take Your Jeep

There are many different places to take your Jeep.
There is no one right answer or wrong answer.

I have videos on my YouTube Channel of all the places I have wheeled my Jeep. There are two videos that always seem to get those negative comments… “That’s Not a Real Trail”

In my opinion a trail doesn’t have to be difficult with rock obstacles on it to be a trail. And it’s okay if you only like to wheel those easy trails. We all have different likes and dislikes.

During the past 6 months I have found I really enjoy those “Not Real” trails. I still like those adrenaline pumping trails, but to be out in my Jeep checking out the natural beauty of nature does wonders for my soul even if it’s on the black top.

Jeep Momma Tips to Finding "Not Trails"

1. Google Scenic By-ways to find some really great black top road trips. There is one in Moab that parallels the Colorado river. It is absolutely amazing. Hwy 95 from Blanding, Utah to Hanksville, Utah is most spectacular.

2. Change Map Settings if you aren’t in a hurry. If you use Google Maps to get to your location, go into your settings and click the avoid toll roads and highways. 

3. TrailsOffRoad.com This website is cataloging trails all over the US. It will give you information such as length, difficulty, location, elevation, duration, plus a map with way points that has directions and mileage.

4. Black Canyon National Park a black top ride outside of Gunnison, Colorado on Hwy 92 through the Black Canyon National Park. If you are afraid of heights or ledges it’s a pretty intense Ride.

5. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is another one. It’s said to be one of the most scenic drives. 
Jeep Momma YouTube Video

6. Backroads Books - Search Amazon.com for Backroads and 4 Wheel drive trails. There are guides for Colorado, Arizona, California and Moab. These guides have tons of photos that show the scenery as well as trouble spots. There are tips and advice from local experts to help get you through the trails. The trails are BLM approve and are legal routes.
7. TAT Trail - https://www.transamtrail.com/ The founder Sam has been mapping public back roads and forest roads all over the United States for decades. He is still mapping. When he originally mapped the roads back in the 80’s all were gravel, but now some have been paved over time. This trail was originally designed for motorcyclists but Jeepers have begun to use these trails. It’s a great way to get away from big cities and get a look at America’s country Roads. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wheeling in Colorado

You always hear about the great wheeling in Colorado. I have been here since January, finally just now getting a chance to experience the beauty of Colorado. Winter in the mountains lasts through the spring so getting out on the trails can be difficult. 

Not to mention the latest issue of lock downs. Sadly, outdoor activities were included in this lock down along with closed campgrounds and trails.   

A listener of the Jeep Talk Show Podcast invited Neil and I to wheel with him and his wife. He took us to his favorite trail - Chinaman Gulch Trail. It's a difficult trail up near Buena Vista, Colorado. This trail is open all year round due to the minimal amount of snow it gets. 

                                             Chinaman Gulch Loop 

Neil drove the YJ and I took my Rubicon. It was a challenging rocky trail with spectacular views. We have since sold the YJ. We are now working on a 1969 CJ5. I am thinking we might keep this one. We will see. 

We all had such a great time we decided to meet up again for some more trail riding. This time Ron picked Toll Road Gulch Mountain Pass. It was a central meeting point for both of us.  

                                 Toll Road Gulch

This time I left my Jeep at home and rode shotgun in Bumblebee. That is what we named the CJ5. It did a great job pushing up the mountain, but there still is some work to be done. 

This trail has very narrow switchbacks and is scary, the heights. They say my JKU would have made it on the narrow trail, but it would have been tight. 

This trail takes you to Bonanza, a ghost town. A former silver mining town. We weren't able to get to the town as part of the trail high up in elevation was still covered in snow. 

Neil and I plan to take another way to see this town. I look forward to seeing one of the top Ghost Towns around. 

Over Memorial Day weekend we took a rode trip to Western Colorado for some camping and wheeling. Another place with spectacular views. 

We packed up the back of the CJ5 and hit the Escalante Canyon trail. It is not a difficult trail at all but the views are amazing. We were up in the Uncompahgre National forest for one night of camping then down in the Canyon another night. 

                 Escalante Canyon  - A Jeep Momma Video

We camped right along side the coyotes. It was so peaceful night of dispersed camping. No noisy tent neighbors. Dispersed camping means we were camping in the wilderness not in a campground.  

It got chilly up in the forest as the elevation was about 10,000 feet There was still snow on the ground in some parts. Both these locations were two totally different terrains. Forest and Canyon all in one weekend. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Remembering EJS 2020 Moab

Part of Celebrating the Jeep Life Adventure this year was attending EJS 2020, Easter Jeep Safari, in Moab, Utah. I was looking forward to wheeling my own Jeep this time. I have been wheeling in Moab before, but it was in a rented Jeep.

The plan was to get there early and wheel the most popular trails before they get filled up with Jeepers. Well, we didn't need to worry about any Jeepers being in Moab while we were there. The event was cancelled due to the virus. 

All the BLM, city, and county campgrounds were closed as well. The motels weren't accepting out-of-towners and the restaurants were take out only. 

We still persevered and went. We found dispersed camping just south of Moab in San Juan County. We enjoyed 4 nights of camping and 4 days of wheeling. 

We were able to take the back roads into Arches National Park as well. It was pretty cool to see actual dinosaur tracks. 

It was great having all the trails to ourselves. We did not see another Jeeper on any of the trails. It was bittersweet. I was nice to have the trails to ourselves but we missed the comradeship which makes being a Jeeper so much fun. 

We also missed seeing our many Jeep friends who planned on attending EJS 2020.  

 We had planned on staying for at least two weeks but on the 5th day we were approached by a sheriff's deputy. He
said never in his life did he imagine he would have to kick Americans off public land but he was just doing his job. For the safety of their small community we were asked to leave. We hated to do it but we packed up and headed back to Colorado. 

We had a great Adventure in Arizona and Moab. We were sad it was cut short. It has been one surreal year for me with leaving my home and kids to the lock down to the riots. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Overland Camping Options

If you asked what the definition of Jeep Life is you would get a very different answer from every Jeeper. Jeep Life is unique to each Jeep owner.

For me the meaning has changed over the years as I am experiencing different aspects of the life from daily driver to weekend warrior to extreme wheeling to light wheeling from mud to sand and rocks to modifications and upgrades.

My Jeep Life has now turned into #camperlife #overlanding. However, I still love those rocky trails. A great app essential to Neil and I is I-overlander. We are all about free.

Campgrounds and hotels can get pricey when you are traveling a lot. I-overlander works great if you are camping in your Jeep or have a camper.

The app is a group effort by you and others to share those “secrets” of the cool spots you find. It will show you spots others have used for dispersed camping on public lands such as BLM and National Forest.

Dispersed Camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. There are no services; such as trash removal, and little or no facilities; such as tables and fire pits, are provided.

Some popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets. Generally, overnight camping is NOT allowed at trailheads, picnic areas, day-use parking areas or any other areas that don't allow overnight parking. When using a dispersed camping area, the general rule is to be a minimum of at least 100-200 feet away from any road, trail or water source.

You need to be aware if you are in a National Forest or National Park. They are two totally different places. Typically you can’t disperse camp in National Parks. They have specified campgrounds and usually have fees.

You can also disperse camp on BLM lands which are west of the Mississippi: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The ioverlander app also shares local fee based campgrounds, “boondocking” spots and places to get water.

Boondocking is camping without any hookups outside developed campgrounds. It can also mean dry camping and off grid camping. Typically it’s in Trucker Gas Stations, Walmart parking lots, Cracker Barrel parking lots. On our way to Kingman Arizona it was getting late and there were no places to spend the night. So we pulled over in a gas station and popped up our camper and went to sleep.

In the Mojave Desert you can camp off the main road. I call them “off shoots”. You can tell these are off shoots because they look well traveled and some spots have “fire rings” from previous campers.

Just don’t go making your own off shoot. After awhile you get the hang of it. Mojave Road is a great getaway to learn all this.