Tuesday, July 12, 2016

AOAA Adventure - The Unexpected Joys of Jeeping

Embracing Adventure with New Friends and My Jeep

Iconic AOAA Photo Stop

When I first bought my Jeep, little did I know that it would steer my life into a new lane filled with adventure and friendships. Jeeping isn't just about conquering rugged terrains; it's about the camaraderie that binds enthusiasts from all walks of life. This tight-knit community is more than willing to welcome newbies with open arms. My off-road adventures over the years are filled with stories just like this one. 

A Chance Encounter with New Trails and New Friends

Nate, SWBCrawler

Meet Nate, 
known as SWBCrawler. I met him a few times at Rausch Creek, my usual stomping grounds for off-roading. We never wheeled together there but were on a podcast together for a short stint. 

Rausch Creek Off-road Park, nestled in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania, features rocky trails that twist through dense forests—a playground for any off-road enthusiast. Not far from there lies the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA), where the landscape morphs into the rugged terrains of the Western Middle Coal Field, offering a different flavor of challenges and scenery. This is where the day's adventure took place, somewhere new and unexplored by me. 

My Jeep on a rocky trail at AOAA. 

I was invited by Nate and his crew to explore the trails at AOAA. As I drove up into the mountains, my feelings were a mix of anticipation and anxiety. Excitement bubbled within me at the thought of hitting the trails again, but there was also a twinge of nervousness. As someone who wheels cautiously, I worried about slowing down the group with my careful maneuvers.

Barney Rubble Trail, AOAA 👉Watch Here
This is now a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail

BA Trail 👉 Watch Here

Learning the Ropes with Understanding Companions

Hood shot of the Jeeps in front on a trail ride. 

But my fears were quickly put to rest. Nate’s friends, Jason and Blaine, turned out to be exceptional spotters. They guided me through the trails with a keen understanding of my situation—like me, they too drove their off-road Jeeps daily. Their patience and expertise helped ease my apprehension, making the experience enjoyable rather than stressful.
Interestingly, the off-roading world is smaller than one might think. During our adventure, I realized that two other Jeeps in our group were familiar—they were folks I had met on previous excursions at Rausch Creek. The community’s interconnectedness added an extra layer of comfort and familiarity to the day.

Gaining Confidence One Trail at a Time

My Jeep crawling rocks at AOAA.

One profound piece of advice I've carried with me came from Kyle during a 301 training class: "Your Jeep is more capable than the trails you're on." This insight has stuck with me, slowly transforming my cautious approach into one of confident exploration. Each journey not only hones my driving skills but also builds my self-assurance, thanks to the encouragement from more seasoned Jeepers.

A Journey of Self-Discovery and Friendship

Jeep Momma selfie

What started as a solitary purchase of a Jeep has morphed into a journey of self-discovery and camaraderie. The off-roading adventures have not only introduced me to new trails but have also woven new friendships into the fabric of my life. If you’re on the fence about diving into the world of Jeeping, remember this: sometimes, putting yourself out there is the first step towards incredible adventures and unexpected friendships. So buckle up, embrace the nervous excitement, and hit the trails—you never know where they might lead you!

My Jeep in the woods. 

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