Monday, January 29, 2018

Once A Jeeper Always A Jeeper

Being one of the hosts on the Jeep Talk Show I receive lots of emails from fellow Jeepers. Sometimes they are asking questions, sometimes they want to tell me thanks, and sometimes they just want to share a Jeep story. 

Ryan, a listener of the show, wanted to say thanks, and also share his story. So I decided I wanted to share his story with you. 

If you are ever thinking about trading in your Jeep for another vehicle you might want to think twice. Because.... Once a Jeeper always a Jeeper. 

Ryan's Jeep Story

Jeeps have been a part of my life from the day I was born. My parents have been Jeepers from the day they bought a new 94 ZJ, and there's been at least one Jeep in our family ever since. I'd been riding around in Jeeps my whole life, and I learned to drive on a 2006 KJ (first gen Liberty). When it came time for me to get my first vehicle, there was no question what is would be.

My first car wasn't a car. It was a Jeep dammit! Before I even had my driver's license, I was the proud owner of a RED 2001 XJ I affectionately called "The Brick", and let me tell you, it was the most beautiful vehicle you've ever seen from about 50 feet away, hahaha!

It was a total P.O.S., but I loved it anyway, and it gave me plenty of chances to learn how to work on vehicles. Having just gotten my license, I of course had enough driving skill to rival Baja 1000 drivers, so I decided to see how fast this thing could go.

 I took it out to a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and got that thing up to 95 mph. Flying down this dirt road was the most fun I'd ever had, catching a little bit of air as the Jeep crested the steep hills.

The next day I looked over my Jeep to make sure it was still OK, and I discovered that I had done all this while a belt was actually sticking through the tread of my front passenger tire!

Another day, my best friend and I went out driving after we had just finished finals our sophomore year of high school. It had rained the day before, so I had the bright idea to go drifting on the muddy dirt roads. 

To keep this story short, my XJ performed flawlessly while my friend's Subaru Impreza decided to head butt a tree.

After I had pointed out the tire issue to my parents, they surprised me one day with a brand new set of wheels and tires. I commented on how a Cherokee next to us in a parking lot had some really tough looking tires and was shocked to hear that it was actually my Jeep! It looked so different I literally didn't recognize it.

However, the different backspacing on the new wheels, in combination with the leaf springs that were sagging so much they had actually gone inverted, caused even the 235/75/15 tires to punch the underside of the fender flares on the smallest of bumps. This of course meant it was time for a lift kit. :)

The very first work I did on any vehicle was a full suspension swap on this Jeep, and I realized that I was in way over my head when about halfway though, my friend (the former Subaru owner) pulled so hard on the breaker bar trying to get those front leaf spring bolts out that he actually dislocated his shoulder! 

Eventually I finished the work (after almost losing my right
hand to a spring compressor that slipped), and I was officially addicted to Jeeps. I went on to add a winch bumper, some real headlights, and some LED's as my high school student budget would allow, while taking my Jeep to a local Jeep dealership that had an off road test track and mud pit as often as I could.

Although I loved this Jeep with all my heart, it was about as reliable as a politician's conscience, and after owning it for 2 years, I sold it - a decision I regretted horribly once I realized I had sold the Brick to buy . . . . . a 2006 Mini Cooper S. I'm hanging my head in shame just thinking about it.

That incredibly long intro brings me to why I'm writing you guys tonight. I want to share that as of a couple days ago, I have redeemed myself. 

After only one year with the Mini, I'm back in a Jeep! Remember that friend with the Subaru? His mom decided to sell her garage queen - a 1998 TJ with only 97,000 miles on it and in absolutely pristine condition. 

I bought it the day she put a for sale sign in the window. This thing could have rolled off the factory floor yesterday. The only modification (for now) is a Smittybilt winch sitting proudly on the bumper. It's a Sport with the 4.0 and AX-15, and not a spot of rust - more common than an entire herd of unicorns here in Colorado. 

Now, I'm sure you guys are wondering what color it is. As a disclaimer, I'm partially color blind, so to me it's a lovely deep blue. However, I'm told it is indeed . . . PURPLE! Sure enough, the factory build sheet confirmed the color as Deep Amethyst Pearl. 

I absolutely love this Jeep, and I plan on keeping it around until the wheels fall off. At which point i'll just buy more wheels. Cruising around has convinced me that half doors are the single greatest development in the history of motor vehicles.

Although the zippered windows are a slight P.I.T.A. when it's only 15 degrees and you're trying to get through a drive-through (luckily Jeep is really good at making heaters).

I'm back in a Jeep again, smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it. I can start waving at other Jeepers again, because I wasn't getting much response when I'd wave at a CJ on 37's from my Mini, hahaha! It's good to be back where I belong. I won't make the same mistake again.

I love the show guys, and it always moves to the top of the list in my podcast feed. And Tammy- thanks for not being afraid to ask questions! The first episode of the then- XJ Talk Show I listened to was when the Wrangler talk segment debuted back in ep.158, and I've been learning alongside you ever since. It was nice to hear the perspective of someone like me, rather than everyone on the forums that thinks they understand more about Jeeps than the engineers who designed them! 

Thanks Ryan for sharing your story with me! ~Tammy

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Off-Road Recovery Kit

My 5 Must Have's Series continues with 5 Must Have's for your Off-road Recovery Kit.  As a new Jeeper or off-roader it can be very overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy and where to start. These 5 items are a great start to building your Off-Road recovery kit.

Recovery Strap
You need a good quality recovery strap. Make sure it’s a recovery strap, not a tow strap. The recovery straps are designed for the rigors of pulling out a stuck vehicle, a tow strap is designed for flat road towing. 

Tree Saver
Soft Shackle / or Shackle A.K.A D-Ring
**Make sure these items are rated for the proper load.
Click Here - Jeep Momma Blog Post - OffRoad Recovery Gear

There are so many more items you can put in a Off-road Recovery Kit, but this will give you a great start. Make sure you check all your items for warnings and load ratings. And keep your gear in good condition. This will help with safety off road. 

More 5 Must Have's 
Click Here Road Safety & Weather Emergency Kit 
Click Here 5 Must Have Kits for your Jeep

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My Journey of Inspiration

I received a message the other day from a new Jeep Mom. As I read the message, tears started streaming down my cheeks. Never being a Jeeper, she bought a new Jeep last year, and went to an off-road event in October for the first time by herself not knowing a single soul.    

As this mom told me her story, I saw a familiarity about it. That was me. 

She then wrote...

"I have major fears of really doing anything by myself that I have, very slowly, been trying to conquer. Your posts convinced me that this is something I totally can do... I just wanted to thank you so much for your efforts in posting like you do." 

To have inspired another human being to step outside their comfort zone, and be thanked for it, was the most amazing feeling. It was empowering.

First Time Off Road

When I started my Jeep Journey four and a half years ago, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be where I am today. I started out as just a mom tired of her minivan. I needed something new and different. So it was time for the Jeep Wrangler.

Then a friend suggested I start a blog to record my experiences as a new Jeep Mom. Now my blog has blossomed into YouTube videos of my adventures on the trails, modifications to my Jeep, and my new VLog (video blog) ~ Jeep Momma's Garage, and being invited to co-host a podcast - The Jeep Talk Show.

As a newcomer to this whole Jeep Thing, I was intimidated, scared, and excited all at the same time. I knew nothing about the mechanics of vehicles nor doing installs. I have made mistakes along this journey, and overcame many obstacles.  

Stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things has been a great growing experience. The message of thanks I received from the other mom has encourgaed me to continue pushing myself on this journey. 

I will do just that! This year I venture into camping and Jeeping in North Carolina with a new group of Jeepers! I will plan (Fingers Crossed) my own Trail Ride as well as trying to step up my off-roading game. 

I am excited about the new year. I'm sure I will make mistakes and be scared. But I will push through my fears, and learn from my mistakes. I can honestly say in my Jeep Journey, I have learned to laugh at myself, and let people know I'm not perfect. 


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Road and Weather Emergency Kits

Continuing on with my 5 Must Have Series. Last week I started the series with the 5 Must Have Kits all Jeepers need to carry in their Jeeps. 

#1 Road Safety Kit
#2 Airing Down/Up Kit
#3 Recovery Kit
#4 Off-Road Shoes
#5 Tool Box

When I first bought my Jeep, I was overwhelmed with what to buy. This Series will give you the Top 5 basics to get you started.  Some items cross over in the different kits... like the flashlight and tow rope.

My top 5 picks for your  Road Recovery Kit
(Tow Strap/Gloves in Off-Road Recovery Kit)
  • Jumper Cable
  • Fire Extinguisher/Mount
  • Road Safety reflectors/Flare
  • First Aid Kit  - Items to put in your kit
  • Weather Emergency Kit

The mounts I use are mounted on the rear roll bars. Super easy access by unzipping your windows.

Jeep Momma Mounts

  • Made of black Nylon, durable and reliable. It is very easy to install
  • 3 adjustable straps to any size what you want. Suitable for different fire extinguisher
  • All accessories attach to roll bars using hook-and-loop fasteners.
  • Bundle includes pair of ultimate grab handles and fire extinguisher holder.
  • Works with 3-inch roll bars. Can be held one 3 pound fire extinguisher 

  • High quality,
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Color Choice to match your Jeep
  • Fits both padded and non-padded roll bars
  • Fits PALS webbing as a MOLLE accessory

Emergency Winter Weather Kit
Snow Shovel 
Emergency Blanket / Sleeping Bags
Flashlight with extra batteries
Food (snacks)/Water

More Info on how to build the Ultimate Winter Survival Kit

Monday, January 15, 2018

Soft Top Care

You need to check out this Episode of Jeep Momma's Garage. I give some great tips on taking care of your Wrangler's soft top AND.... I share SEMA's Best New OffRoad/4x4 Product. I am hoping to have video of this cool product in action along with an interview on upcoming episodes. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

5 "Must Have" Jeep Kits for Off Road Preparedness

Jeep Girl Gets dirty
1st Time OffRoad
When I became a Jeep owner back in 2013, I suddenly became overwhelmed with all the different accessories you could buy for your Jeep. Then, once I realized you could modify your Jeep, I didn’t know which direction to go.

Experienced offroader in my Jeep at Rausch Creek
Experienced OffRoader
In the years since, I have learned quite a bit from my experience, online research, and stories shared from other Jeepers.  Knowing where to start is the first step. There is so much out there, it’s good to have the basics to build upon.

So that is where my Series “5 Must Haves” comes in. These are a starting point that you can build upon. 

You can also check out my Vlog Version on You Tube 

5 Must Have to Be Prepared for Off-Roading
Remember this doesn’t include everything, but a good place to start and build upon.

#1 Road Safety Kit
This should automatically be in your Jeep even if you don’t go off-roading. Some of the items in this kit are jumper cables, jack, and lug nut wrench. More this kit in the upcoming weeks. 

#2 Airing Down/Up Kit
Tire Deflators, Tire Gauge, Air compressor are the main items in this kit. I love my Tire deflators from J.T. Brooks. I just ordered the pro-series. I'll keep you posted on how I like them. The Air Compressor is a good idea, if when you air down there is not place near to air up.

#3 Recovery kit  
This kit can contain many items such as a tow strap, tree saver, shackles, and more. I will have more on this kit in the upcoming weeks, as well.

#4 Off-Road Shoes
The right kind of shoes are important when you are out on the trails. I like my Merrell hiking shoes when I am out on the rocks, and in the woods. A pair of rain / mud boots are good for when the trails are wet and muddy.

#5 Tool Box 
When you off road you never know when you will break down or even a friend could break down. It's good to carry the necessary tools for trails fixes. More on which tools are a good start in the upcoming weeks. 

Stay tuned for more on my series "5 Must Have's"

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Salty Jeep

A salty Jeep is a sad Jeep, and my Jeep is extra sad this winter. She is looking forward to the rising mercury, which means she can have a bath.

The road salt poured on our roads each winter is extremely corrosive, and can cause extensive damage.  The threat salt poses to your vehicle is rust, which is accelerates with repeated exposure.  

This salt is also terribly bad for the Wrangler's soft tops. Keeping your Jeep salt free is not realistic, unless you park your Jeep in the garage all winter and stay off the roads. But there are several ways to avoid the salt. 

Wash your vehicle as soon as possible after the snow. 

Wash the underside of your Jeep often during the winter months.

Avoid driving through large puddles of standing water where road salt collects.

A power washer is the best to use because you can spray water into as many nooks and crannies as you can find because salt and road crud hides everywhere.

You should avoid washing when the temperature is below freezing because the water will immediately freeze. Door locks could freeze and your windows could be hard to de-ice.

If you can't take the nastiness of the salt, and you need to wash your Jeep, drive it around the block a few times to warm the hood. Turn the heater on high to warm the inside of the Jeep. This will help keep the water from freezing while you wash it. 

Pay extra care to your soft top. Avoid an automatic car wash if you have a soft top. The brush type car wash can easily scratch the vinyl windows. Or the dirt left on the brushes from another vehicle can scratch the windows too.

A touchless car wash is unlikely to damage your top, but you could get some leakage due to the high pressure nozzles from various directions. 

The harsh chemicals in the soaps are also bad for your soft tops. The best way to clean your soft top is by hand, or in a manual car wash. 

I start by spraying with just water from the top down. I don't use the car wash soap or brush on my soft top.

I save that type of cleaning for home with the Bestop Cleaners. 
When you do clean your soft top use soft microsoft cloths that are clean and wet. 

I will use the car wash soap to clean the rest of the Jeep. I also make sure I thoroughly spray the underside of the Jeep. Those scraped up parts are susceptible to the corrosion with the exposed metal from the rock scraping. Every Fall and Spring I make sure to sand down the scrapes and repaint. 

Hopefully you will have a salt free winter.   

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Jeep Momma's Garage Adds A New Feature

I'm starting 2018 off with a new series on Jeep Momma's Garage - 5 Must Have's. My hope is this series will help out other new Jeepers and Off-Roaders.

Episode 12 also features a Cool Jeep Girl, a must have lugnut wrench, an alien base for your hi-lift jack, and the quick fist mount.

Episode 13 of Jeep Momma's Garage continues with my 5 Must Have's Series - The Road Safety Kit. Plus, Soft Top Zipper Care, Instagram Stars of the Week, a new form of journaling with your Jeep, and new JK Pockets.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Look Back to 2017

Off-Road on the Trails
Moab Selfie

Wow! 2017 was amazing year with some really awesome adventures. It was also a year of growth for me! I became a stronger person by fighting thru my fear of heights, learning change can be good, stepping out of my comfort zone, and meeting more cool new Jeepers.   
Jeep Momma Off Roading in a lifted Jeep
Off-Roading in Moab 

I will never forget my solo trip to Moab, Utah. The landscape was breathtaking. The city was so fun! And the trails... I wish there was more time to see them all. Maybe one day. During this trip I was lucky enough to meet up with Charlene Bower. She guided me up the Hell's Revenge hill and helped me discover my new motto #IGotThis! 

Under the Sun Grille Insert
Under the Sun Insert Grille
In 2017, I discovered a new company call Under The Sun Inserts during one of the Jeep Talk Shop Podcast episodes. Joe, one of the owners, suggested I try his grille insert on my Jeep. 
Under the Sun Grille Insert
New Look!

I was very hesitant to do away with my purple grille inserts. Changing my unique Jeep was hard, but I bit the bullet, and made the change. Once that purple flag was inserted, I was so happy with it. It was a good reminder that change is good. Change is growth. 

My New Grille Blog Post - March 21, 2017 

New Jeep Parts!
New Parts! 

It was a year of some serious modifications with the Tom Woods front driveshaft.

The Yeti Steering System installed on my Jeep!
The Yeti!

the Yeti Steering System by Steer Smarts - 

Touring at the Toledo Jeep Plant!
Toledo Jeep Plant Tour!

Also a once in a life time opportunity to tour the Wrangler Assembly Line at the Toledo Jeep Plant. I was most likely the last "civilian" to see the JK Wrangler on the assembly line as the new JL has come out. 

The JL Wrangler wrapped at the Toledo Plant!
The Jeep Wrangler JL!

While in the plant ,I was able to get a sneak peak at the Unwrapped new JL. Not many "regular joes" got that opportunity. Plus I grabbed an up close and personal look at the wrapped JL Wrangler. 

My First Jeep Show!
My First Jeep Show! 

It was also my first time at a Jeep Show. Stepping out of my comfort zone and going by myself.

Jeep Momma's First Jeep Show  - July 20, 2017

My 2018 Goals

  • Expand The Places I Wheel
  • Plan My Own Trail Ride
  • Meet Up With Carolina Trails OffRoad and Wheel in Windrock Tennessee
  • An Overland Weekend Adventure
  • Add More Armour to my Jeep

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...