Sunday, June 29, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Buy a Jeep Wrangler

I bought my Jeep for many reasons. Just like all other Jeep owners - there are no words that can convey the feeling I get when I drive my Jeep except -- It's a Jeep Thing. It has been a lifestyle and attitude changer for me. 

My top 10 reasons you should get a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

#10 -- Heating Unit

I have never had a vehicle with such a powerul heating unit. This comes in handy in the winters we've had lately. Especially with me, a person who is willing to brave the elements and put the top down in the midst of an unseasonally cold, bitter below zero temperature winter.

With the below freezing wind chill and my top down my heater kept me warm enough to brave a trip out.

#9 - Customize your Trunk

A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited allows you to customize your trunk to fit your needs. We all have different needs when it comes to our vehicles. We all use them in different ways. The Jeep can limit your hauling needs if you need a lot of space. When your top is down you are also limited when it comes to keeping your personal items safe. However, the under-the- seat space gives you room to store many items such as blankets for those cold days when your top is down. Or your first aid kit, recovery kit or jumper cables. There are also many items on the market that allow for a trunk compartments that lock.  Or if you are handy at building  you could create your own unique trunk compartment to fit your own needs. 

#8 - No more Carpooling

One of the reasons I chose the Wrangler Unlimited is it only has five seatbelts. Which means there is only room for three kids in the back and that eliminated being part of carpooling to events and activities. Now, that means I don't need to deal with other people's whining, bragging, exaggerating kids.

#7 - Resale value

Kelly Blue Book ranks the Jeep Wrangler 3rd on it's 2014 Best Resale Value list. They say, "The Jeep Wrangler is not only the world's most famous off-roader, but it's a perennial resale value standout."  

And here's a review by the editors of Kelley Blue Book  
''After decades of development and history, the 2014 Jeep Wrangler SUV remains faithfully true to its hard-earned and thoroughly-deserved reputation as the universal standard for off-road vehicles. The Jeep Wrangler line offers something for everybody, from a basic 2-door Sport with a soft top, to the go-where-the-trails-aren't Rubicon. If you need more room the longer Wrangler Unlimited offers four doors and other features, but with the same level of off-road prowess. The engine is Chrysler's highly-commendable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which delivers plenty of power and noteworthy fuel economy, and the Wrangler is also one of the few remaining vehicles that's available with a manual transmission. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014."

Forbes has the Jeep Wrangler listed as the #1 car to trade in now for maximum return.

But who in their right mind would sell their Jeep? I guess, if I were buying another Jeep, I would.

"The original SUV traditionally commands among the highest resale values in the industry, particularly in relatively unadorned versions that off-road enthusiasts covet to customize with aftermarket add-ons. A model year 2008 two-door Wrangler having clocked 46,500 miles in top condition is estimated to return a whopping 90% of its original retail price in trade-in value. the four-door Wrangler Unlimited version fares slightly better, holding onto 91% of its MSRP according to NADA Guides. By comparison the off-road ready Rubicon versions - which can be too rough for casual owners - retain 77% & 84% of their original sticker price."  

Autotrader dot com says, "If you're looking for a car that will hold its value, consider a Jeep Wrangler.  

#6 - Made in America

Need I say more? Jeeps are rugged and durable. The motto for the Jeep is Go Anywhere, Do Anything! Just how I want to start living my life. Life is too short not to do the things you want to do. 

#5 - Unique Modifications

There is no other vehicle out there, like the Jeep, that you can customize to make it uniquely your own. The possibilities are endless. A Jeep can be customized to fit the needs of your Jeep lifestyle. The Jeep lifestyle possibilities are endless as well -- weekend off road warrior in the mud, on the beach, on the back wood trails, or rock crawling in the mountains. Maybe you just want to enjoy the fresh air by riding topless in the sun. The list goes on.

There is no right way or wrong way to modify your Jeep, you customize it to your liking to fit your personality and your own unique Jeep lifestyle. 

A New Bumper

Wheels and Tires

New Step Rails 

Lift Kit 

The Jeep aftermarket parts & products are boundless. If you don't find what you are looking for in the aftermarket there are a tremendous amount of fabrication shops out there for your own personalized one of a kind product for your Jeep. Just like this shop out of Northern California.

#4 -- Simple & Easy 

Some of my friends have bought new cars recently. They all are excited to show me the cool "extras" their cars have. Well, it all sounds good, but in my mind it's just more stuff I would have to get fixed if it breaks.

The Jeep is a simple, no "frills" vehicle. The Jeep doesn't need all those extras. If those cars were as cool as a Jeep they wouldn't need them either.

Frills = unnecessary extra feature or embellishment.

Everything I've read about the Jeep says the repairs are simple to make. You can turn yourself into a do-it-yourself mechanic. Plus, once you are in the Jeep family you will find there are Jeep repair and lift parties in every community -- you just need to bring a six pack.  So, all that money you are saving in repairs you can use to buy all those modifications you want to make. 

As for taking the top down -- I've heard folks complain because you can't just push a button to automatically take it down. Well, what if that button breaks. Just one more thing to fix. And truthfully getting my soft top down is simple and easy. I can do it myself in under five minutes.

#3 - Go Anywhere, Do Anything

These next three reasons were hard to decide which ranked higher. They are virtually a tie in my mind. Although, when I first went Jeep shopping and finally decided to buy my Jeep, off-roading was the furthest thing from my mind. Now experiencing the thrill and adrenaline of off-roading I regret not getting a Jeep earlier in my life.

Most people view driving as getting from one place to the next. Well, when you drive a Jeep it's more than a means to an end. It's a joy every time you take it out for many different reasons and for those adventure seekers a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is probably the best vehicle out there. The Jeep will take you to places you've never gone before. 

Like the Jeep Motto states "Go Anywhere, Do anything!" 

It's 4 X 4 capabilities are top notch! It's short wheelbase, powerful drivetrain, body size and tight turning ratio are all great for off-roading trips.

Rocky mountain trails

Through high water or muddy washouts.

It's great for all terrains. The pavement, mud, sand, snow, and water. And for those serious off-roaders there is always rock crawlin'.

I never would have thought off-roading -- wheelin' -- would have been a hobby I would want to try. But I've tried it and love it. I am now one of the addicted. Being behind the wheel of my Jeep on those rugged rocky, muddy trails has been pure joy. There have moments of being a little terrified, but when your Jeep pulls through you are nothing but high fives. It still amazes me what my Jeep can do without even having made any modifications to it. I look forward to my next trip off the beaten paved path!

#2 -- Jeep Family 

The Jeep Wrangler gives you the ability to express your own unique personality. It allows you the freedom to drive anywhere you want to go. But buying a Jeep also admits you into one of the most active public fraternities out there. Whether you are young or old, drive a CJ or JK,  you are part of the Jeep family.

You will make friends for a lifetime -- a new fraternity of like minded friends. There are so many places you can find these friends -- those you meet around town who also own Wranglers, at Jeep events across the US, Jeep message boards, chat rooms and forums.   

Being part of the Jeep community gives you a special sense of belonging and friendship no other vehicle will give you -- It's a Jeep Thing!

#1 -- Topless

The ability to take the top down on my Jeep is probably the number one reason why I bought my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Although I hadn't realized all the other benefits that came with being a Jeep owner. The fact that I would be able to take the top down and turn my vehicle into a convertible was the selling point for me. 

I never in a million years would have guessed it would become my getaway -- my zen moment -- my "Calgon Take Me Away" Moment. 

Nothing is more relaxing than driving my Jeep with the top down -- to hit the open road with the radio on full blast feeling the wind in your hair and sun on your face is the ultimate stress reliever. 

And just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't be topless. With the Jeeps powerful heating system and proper winter gear the temperatures can be tolerable for a get-away cruise away from the everyday stresses of life. 

So there you go. My Top Ten reasons you should buy a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It has definitely changed my life. I look forward to many years of great outdoor adventures for myself and my family.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Getting a Bad Rap

I recently read a review on a blog questioning why the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is so popular with families. The Kicking Tires blog post is a review on the Wrangler Unlimited by author Jennifer Geiger. I realize she is a professional automotive journalist with a job to recommend a vehicle that appeals to most people. But I have a different perspective I would like to share. I feel the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited deserves a 2nd opinion.

In the blog post several opinions are made. I would like to share my perspective of those opinions in my version of Counterpoint.  

Point - Counterpoint

"The Wrangler Unlimited is one of the most un-family-friendly SUVs on the market in terms of both comfort and safety."

COUNTERPOINT: "most un-family-friendly SUV" - This family disagrees. We love our Jeep and have shared a lot of wonderful family moments in our Jeep. 

I'm the mother of two boys who are involved in Boy Scouts. Our family loves the outdoors and we like to take our Jeep on camping trips. We also like to explore those rugged trails in the woods and mountains only a Jeep can take your family. We love the fresh air of the great outdoors and the ability to go beyond the paved roads to explore the majestic wilderness mother nature has to offer.

Our favorite time is the summer (and spring and fall) when we are able to take down the top. Just recently we took the doors off and went for a spin. It was a memorable family experience to share. Although, I'm not sure it's a good idea to drive around the city with the doors off, but certainly on our next trip in the woods we will try it again. 

COUNTERPOINT: "Comfort (lack of)" I have heard this comment over and over again about how bouncy, rough and uncomfortable a Jeep ride can be. I would just like to say, of course it's a rough ride. IT'S A JEEP! It's suppose to be like that. That's why I bought it. And in all fairness -- it's all what you get used to. I don't even feel the rough ride anymore. 

COUNTERPOINT: "Safety" I will admit the Jeep isn't one of Consumer Reports safest vehicles out there. But with any vehicle as long as you use common sense and know the Jeep's capabilities you won't have to find out about the safety.

"The Wrangler Unlimited will not deliver a car full of happy campers: a weekend carting around my family made it clear that the SUV is much better suited for the mountains and mud than garages and grocery runs."

COUNTERPOINT: "Unhappy campers"  My Jeep is full of happy campers. Just recently a
group of boys at our campsite asked if they could have a ride in my Jeep. I also took my youngest son and his friends on an off-road adventure that they will never forget.

Of course the Jeep is better suited for the mountains and mud, it's what it was made for. As for the garage, my Jeep is just fine parked in our garage and there is plenty of room leftover for my husband's Chevy Avalanche as well. However, once I decide to finally modify my Jeep by adding bigger tires and a lift it might not fit into our garage, but the payoff will be well worth it. 

COUNTERPOINT: "Grocery Runs" My grocery store is less than 5 miles from the house which I suspect most people are in that same boat. I tend to run my errands to the grocery store, post office and bank by myself. I don't think it matters what vehicle you are in, if you take your kids on any of these trips you will most always have fighting and whining. So that problem is easy to solve. Do these grocery store runs by yourself with the top down and radio on full blast. It's a great stress reliever. 

"The Unlimited's two-piece lift gate is awkward to use when loading grocery bags and anything bigger. When parallel parked, the side-hinged bottom section of the tailgate is difficult to open without dinging the car behind you."

COUNTERPOINT: "Loading groceries" I have had no issues loading my groceries. Since shop by myself I have plenty of room in the back seat and in the back of the Jeep. With the use of reusable grocery bags, the straps make for easy swinging of the bags into the back of the Jeep.

COUNTERPOINT: "Parallel parked... dinging the car behind you" I'm not sure where anyone parallel parks anymore especially when shopping. It seems small business has been taken over by the shopping mall and strip mall so parallel parking has gone away along with the rotary telephone.

"Some buyers are willing trade comfort for coolness. To my family, however, it's not a worthy trade-off."

COUNTERPOINT: "trade comfort for coolness" I didn't trade for coolness. I wanted something fun and adventurous for our outdoorsy family. As for trading in comfort I would say we did the opposite. We traded from the Dodge Journey for the Jeep. The Jeep offers more leg room and space for my boys in the back seat. 

COUNTERPOINT: "Coolness" It isn't a coolness factor but a "fraternity" factor. When you are the owner of a Jeep you become part of a very unique family of friends. You share a common love for something that no one else understands. You make friends for a lifetime you wouldn't with any other class of car. Like the saying goes "It's a Jeep Thing."

My Jeep has changed my life. It has opened up doors I would have never encountered. It has given me joy, adventure and a new appreciation for life. I look forward everyday to finding that new adventure to take with my Jeep whether it's to the grocery store with the top down or wheelin through the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania.

During the next 10 days I will reveal my Top 10 reasons why you should be a Jeep owner. It's been an amazing year and I look forward to the many years of adventure that await my family and I in my Jeep

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My 2nd Off Road Experience

From eastern Pennsylvania last month to Western Pennsylvania this month -- High up in the Allegheny Mountains was the spot for my second off road experience. My son and husband spent the weekend on the Youghiogheny River whitewater rafting with our Boy Scout Troop. Since my youngest was too young for the river ride I decided to find another thrill ride for him. 
Just minutes from the Kentuck Campground, where we were camping, is the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. This resort is filled with adventures galore -- zip lines, climbing wall, paintball, ropes course, safari tours, pony rides and much more. But the adventure that caught my eye was the Jeep Off-Road Driving Adventure. 

Sunday morning, I loaded up my Jeep with my son, two of his friends and another mom and we headed for the resort. We were able to piggy back on a ride-along trip they had scheduled that morning with two other families. 

A great Father's Day treat for these dads from Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Each dad took the wheel of one of Nemacolin's Jeep Rubicons for a ride through their training course with an instructor in the passenger seat. Then it was off into portions of the resorts rugged terrain.

Even though I had already taken the Rausch Creek 101 driving course earlier, I decided to drive through this course as well - a little warm up before the big event.  

One thing I realized after checking out the pictures afterwards is that everything looks and feels more daunting inside the Jeep than outside.

After two runs through the course it was time to head out. I was thrilled to be back behind the wheel heading into unknown territory. I felt confidant I could handle what was in store for me. 

The off road driving experience took us into the dense rugged forest of the Allegheny Mountains. The further we drove into the woods the more nervous I became. Skepticism started to fill my brain. It wasn't doubt of my driving abilities but doubt of what my stock Jeep could handle. The two Jeeps in front of me were Rubicons.

The instructors assured me my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited could handle the trails we would encounter. But they couldn't guarantee all my parts would be there when I got back. Parts like my bumper and my side rails. That would not be an ideal Father's Day surprise for my husband. But the thought did cross my mind that it could be an opportunity to replace/upgrade those parts to my liking.

Deeper and deeper into the ride the trails got muddier and muddier. Some areas I had to drive through some pretty deep muddy waters. Or so they felt pretty deep from inside my Jeep. My confidence started to wain as I didn't have my security blanket with me -- the two way radio I had at Rausch Creek ( my instructor Kyle. That two way connection gave me the assurance I needed to get through the tough parts. 

As I trudged along through each obstacle I would come out unscathed and I would find relief. Then up ahead we would see another challenge and the nerves would stand on end again. It was a continual roller coaster ride of emotions for me. But I enjoyed every minute of the adrenaline rush. 

At one point one of the instructors pointed me to the left fork in the road, but they headed for the right. We were confused until we met up with them at the top of a rocky hill. They were coming up the hill. I guess they thought I couldn't handle the hill so they had me go around. Little did they know I was up for the challenge. So I turned the Jeep around and headed back around through some pretty thick mud to the bottom of the hill. 

The instructor got out and gave me some tips on how to maneuver the hill. There seemed to be some concern with some of the ruts and rocks. Unfortunately my confidence had lessened from my experience at Rausch and I didn't take the hill as aggressively as I should have. I did make to the top though and received a lot of whoops and high fives from the dads. Which later I found out they all expected to have to pull me out of some of the sticky situations but were quite surprised how well I did.

Looking at this video now, I realized I was a little too cautious. I encountered this same type of hill a couple of times at Rausch and just barrelled my way up to the top. I guess they planted the seed doubt when they mentioned the thought of losing my bumper. 

All in all it was a great learning experience for me. I had an awesome time and so did my my son and his friends. I'm looking forward to going out again but I don't know if I will ever lose the cautiousness I have for my Jeep. She's like my first baby and I'm a little over protective I guess. She is a lot more capable then I allow her to be. Maybe over time I can let go a little. 

Greg and Matt, the two instructors along for the ride where very helpful guiding me through some of the tougher situations. They invited me to come back but said I needed to try it out in the Rubicon. That is definitely an invitation I am not passing up. I plan on heading back up in July to test drive the Rubicon on some even tougher trails. 

Since my oldest is nearing driving age it might be a good time to pass down my Wrangler Unlimited to him and get myself a Rubicon. Hmmm!!! It's a thought. I will just have to see how I like the off road experience in a Rubicon. I'm sure I will love it!

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's a Midlife Transition -- NOT crisis.

I can hear the whispers now

"She bought a Jeep..." 

"Oh My -- now she's getting a tattoo..." 

"She must be going through a midlife crisis..."

The words midlife crisis conjure up visions of little red sports cars and people doing outrageous and impractical things. A lot of attention was brought to light about this in the 1980's. Most people view it as a joke or a bad thing.

First off, for most people it's not a crisis. A crisis is a dangerous, unstable situation. Health experts agree a crisis is accompanied with serious depression.  

Now, these same experts are looking at this midlife transition as a more normal part of life -- of growing as a healthy adult. It's not a bad thing -- it's growth as a person. Yale Psychologist Daniel Levinson's well regarded theory of adult development says that all adults go through a series of stages. The midlife transition is simply a normal transition to another stage of life.  

We all should embrace this transition. We all should support each other through these transitions. It's not a joke and for some people it's a very hard road to walk especially alone when friends and family are not supportive. 

Sometimes you hear the words my spouse isn't the same person I married. Well, I hope not. As humans we need to grow and change and become better people -- improve our lives. As we grow our goals and priorities change.

Men and women experience these transitions differently, just as working moms and stay at home moms. These midlife transitions can be enlightening for some and tough for others.  

I'm a stay at home mom and gave up my career to raise my family. Now the time has come where they don't need me as much. No they are not going off to college but they are now at the age where they are self-reliant. My parenting role has changed. Now I ask myself "What now?" A lot of moms go through this stage of feeling like they've lost their identity. But I haven't lost my identity I found a great new opportunity to create a new one. 

For the most part I have raised my children - I still have a lot left to do -- but their self-reliance has opened up time for me. I am able to rediscover some of those dreams and goals I tucked away 15 years ago. It also gives me the opportunity to create new dreams and goals for this next phase of my life. 

So yes -- my days of spending hours at PTA meetings, volunteering as a room parent or planning family fun nights are over. It's my time now to explore new dreams and possibilities for myself and with my family.

Monday, June 9, 2014

My First Tattoo

A Year of Change

A year ago we traded my mommy car for my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It has been the best purchase I have ever made. I only wish I would have done it years and years ago. 

I find myself saying that a lot lately. "I wish I would have..."

As you get older you realize your time on this planet is running out. Those "I wish I would haves" are going to keep growing unless you just do it. 

So now, that's my new motto.  No more wishing, just doing. And that's what I did last Friday. For years I have been wanting a tattoo, but many things kept holding me back. The fear of the pain for one. Judgement from friends and family was the other.

Well, I figure if I can give birth, I can probably tolerate a little old needle gouging my skin for an hour. As far as being judged... well - I decided it's time to quit worrying about what other people think and just do what makes me happy. I don't want to be on my death bed having regrets -- wishing I would have done... So now I'm trying to live my life with no regrets. 


Friday at noon I walked into Classic Electric Tattoo in Frederick, Maryland. Butterflies filled my stomach, but I was also very excited to be checking off another Bucket List item. 

A good friend of mine recommended this shop so I was confident in the work. But I was nervous that my artist would have a different vision then me and I would have to come back.

So I met with the artist and we discussed what I wanted. I had emailed some ideas earlier as well. Then came what ended up being the hardest part of the whole process. Waiting... Waiting for my artist, Thomas Kenney, to draw up my vision.   

Finally after about 15 minutes he came and got me. We walked back to his station. He immediately set out to work. He applied his artwork to my leg. His confidence put my mind at ease and I began to relax. When I saw his work I was ready to begin. It was perfect!

The next step in the process was to tie it all together. He added some free hand "swirlies" with a highlighter and permanent marker. If only the process of getting the ink onto the skin where that easy and painless.

Something everyone failed to tell me about getting a tattoo is the top of the foot is one of the most painful places for a tattoo. And where is the first place he started? 


Needless to say those hours in childbirth paid off because I was able to scream in pain with no worries about who was listening. 

As he moved up my calf the pain wasn't as intense. 
He finished the outline of the tattoo and then was ready to fill in with some color. 

I've heard from many people that when you get a tattoo it's something that will stay with you your whole life. Well, HAHAHA not me. My tattoo is only with me for maybe half my life. 

The outline of my tattoo was complete. Now a permanent part of my body as long as I'm alive. The new me is born.


Next came the color. Blue... I picked a blue rose and angel for personal reasons. When you get a tattoo it becomes part of you for life and should hold special meaning to you.

A blue rose means mystery and longing to attain the impossible. Some cultures say the holder of a blue rose will have their wish granted and can signify hope. It is also said the blue rose means you are extra-ordinarily wonderful. It can also mean new opportunities, new possibilities and the mysterious beginnings of new things. 

As I venture into this next phase of my life this rose will remind me of the exciting life I still have left to live. All the new opportunities and possibilities await me.  

The angel is a reminder that I have a guardian angel and the angels are whispering to me to help guide me on my adventure on this next phase of my life. 

As you can tell from this picture the pain isn't really that bad. The whole experience was very cathartic for me. It was a good pain because I realized once it was done something wonderful and beautiful would be a part of my life forever.  

                                   It was also important to have an artist who makes you feel at ease. Helping me to realize this was my tattoo and it's now a part of me. 

So now what's next... Tomorrow I'm heading back up to Frederick to book my next appointment. It's true what they say about tattoos being addicting.

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

60 Before 60

I recently shared about revisiting my bucket list on this new season of my life.  Bucket List Revised - 2023 As I approach another milestone...