Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Project 100 - Work in Progress

Inspired by a fellow Jeeper in 2017, I started Project 100.  The basic rule for Project 100 is to get your personal items to 100 or less. But each person's way to get there can be different. 

The past couple of years, I have been doing a lot of soul searching. During this search I found I want to experience more in my life. To experience more I need to remove the clutter from my life.  

Check out my first blog post to see how I started doing just that. 

My Project 100 is a continual Project. After reducing my items, clothes not included, to under 100 I needed to do more.

So I challenged myself in December of 2017 to do the reverse Project 100. The Reverse 100 is to get rid of 100 items. I was able to accomplish that by the end of 2017.

Now as we move closer to Springtime that Spring cleaning bug has hit. So once again I have revisited my Project 100. This time I tackled my clothes. I was able to par them down some more. I am not sure why I struggle so much to toss out clothes. There are so many clothes that sit in my closet unworn in months. But this time I was able to toss out 30 items. Slowly but surely I will get there. 

Removing the clutter has made a big difference in my life. I now have time to do the things I enjoy. It's not just getting rid of the tangible items but the commitments too.   

Less stuff = Less clutter = Less things to worry about = Less stress = Happier Life and more time for the things I enjoy! 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Wheeling in Maryland

A couple of weeks ago on the Jeep Talk Show Podcast, which by the way I am a co-host, I mentioned there is no legal place to wheel in Maryland. Well, I stand corrected. Gary, from the Northwest Jeepcast, was our guest the night I made that statement. He shared with me this website -

The website is in the beta stages of creating off road trail guides for all 50 states and US Territories. One of the trails featured is the Frederick Watershed. 

The best thing about this "trail" is... it is only 45 minutes from where I live. I was excited because my family was willing to join me off-roading in my Jeep which is rare!

Getting my family to wheel with me is a challenge. The closest place I wheel is three hours one way. That is one of the main reasons they don’t go with me.

We spent the day wheeling around the Frederick Watershed just outside Frederick, Maryland. It is fifteen minutes outside of Frederick, a 7000-acre oasis.

This watershed forest has over 11 miles of gravel, dirt, and slightly rocky roads coursing throughout the forest with a creek meandering through. The technical rating is a 1 to 2... Dry dirt road, less than 3" water crossing depth, some ruts, slight grades up to 10 degrees.

I drove the whole route in two wheel drive. Now the rain or snow could make it four wheel drive necessary. The gravel roads are not plowed when it snows so this will make a fun place to wheel in the snow.

These easy roads would certainly not be considered an off-road destination, but they are a great way to spend a few hours exploring the forest.  It was a perfect day to spend with tmy family exploring the creeks, getting my tires a little muddy, and capturing some pretty videos…. of my Jeep.

My youngest son had a great time. He wants us to do more of these day trips. Well, luck is on my side. I discovered some more scenic dirt roads in Maryland I will have to explore.

The Greenridge State Forset, and this cool website has some more trail routes in my area - Rural Roads in Frederick, Maryland.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Living My Passion

About a year before I bought my Jeep Wrangler Sahara, a real struggle in my life began. So much was changing for me. My two boys were getting older, not needing me like they used to. I was burned out from ten or so years of volunteering with various groups my kids were involved in. I was exhausted from making sure my dyslexic son was getting what he needed in school. And... I was realizing I was getting older, my body was changing, which not only affected me physically, but mentally. I was going through a big life transition without realizing what was happening.

My life had revolved around my kids and family. I loved my kids. I gave them 150 percent. My cousin gave me some advice when my first son was born. She said, I should cherish every second with them because they grow up so fast, before you know it they will be adults. So that is what I did. I will never ever regret a single moment. I have so many wonderful memories, and times shared with them. However, there was so much focus on them, I put my individual needs on the back burner.  

As they started wanting their own space and time, I had time to fill. I struggled for a direction, for a purpose. I had been a stay-at-home mom for, at the time, twelve years. Going back to those individual needs on the back burner, I realized what I once enjoyed was no longer something I enjoyed. My career in television news wasn't an option, so what was next for me, what could I do? I applied for several jobs with no luck. (It took me four years to find a job.)

I was depressed. The things I once enjoyed didn't appeal to me. Life was too quickly passing me by. Then along came my Jeep Wrangler. A spur of the moment impulse buy. Some people call it a mid life crisis. But I say it's a life transition. 

That impulse buy changed my whole life. 

Now a new Jeep Wrangler owner a friend suggested I start a blog to share my Jeep Mom adventure. So I did, and Jeep Momma was born. During that first year it was all about simplifying my life, finding new happiness, and searching for my passion. It was the beginning of something so wonderful and amazing.  

As my blog grew and blossomed, I discovered this amazing community of really fun, caring and extremely accepting  people called Jeepers. 

Over the past several years through my Jeep adventure I find my passion all tied up with the things I have loved when I was in elementary school, in my 20's and now more recently. 
My love to write and share stories has always been with me. I have an innate desire to inspire and help people by sharing what has helped and worked for me.   

When I was in elementary school my favorite subject was creative writing. I remember sharing my stories with the class. That all of a sudden it stopped when I came to school one day to discover a "mean girls" letter signed by all the girls in my class. They were making fun of my stories. Creative writing was never the same for me after that. However, in high school I picked it back up again, but stuck with the stories that were just the facts. 

In my 20's out in the real world my love for sharing stories continued as I started my career in television news as a reporter and videographer in the capital city of North Dakota. Then moving on to South Carolina as a news videographer I experienced some awesome adventures. 

Then comes along my first son. My forever life changed, but new passions emerged as I found motherhood changes you.  Now as I take on a different role of motherhood, I find it time to find my new passion.  

But during this journey of discovery, I realized the core of my passion never changed. My passion for sharing stories and inspiring people, has been with me my whole life. I just needed a different way to share those stories and inspire people. 

My Jeep changed my life and helped me fill that empty hole.  My Jeep helped me to discover myself again. My Jeep helped me circle back around to my core passion. Sharing stories on my Jeep Momma blog and now on my You Tube channel Jeep Momma's Garage. Combining my new love for off-roading and my Jeep with a core need for sharing and inspiring has helped fill the emptiness I once had as motherhood evolved.        

At first it was really hard to accept my kids and husband didn't share the same enthusiasm for my off roading passion. They had no interest to wheel with me, but more recently I have come to accept it. I now look for new ways for us to have our own passions, but still enjoy our family time. 

From time to time I open my email to a message thanking me for my honesty and the stories I share. Hearing I have inspired another person warms my heart and gives me to drive to keep going and expanding.

Fellow Jeep Mom Inspired - Blog Post January 2018 

Now I don't look at life with the same fear of getting older. I just take it one story at a time. One day at a time and one new adventure at a time. This year will be filled with those adventures and I can't wait. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tire Carrier Seized Up

This past weekend I went to get something out of the back of my Jeep. To my dismay, I couldn't open the spare tire carrier. It would not swing open, so I had to get my son to help me push it. 

My rear bumper is the Barricade Trailforce HD Bumper with Tire Carrier. It has been on my Rubicon since day one, November 2014.  

The swing arm attaches to a post which is attached to the bumper. It seized up. Somehow I needed to pull the swing arm off the bumper and re-grease the post. It was not budging! 

I sent a text to Jeff from Adrenaline Off Road for some suggestions. I had already been spraying PB Blaster with no luck. Jeff gave me a few more tips. 

Here are the steps I took to free the swing arm from the post on my rear bumper.

Remove the allen-head bolt and top cap from the post. Using PB Blaster spray the post thoroughly. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then spray again. Do this several times, then one more just for good measure.

Using a dead blow hammer, tap the swing arm where it connects with the post. I used a cloth so I wouldn't damage the paint. My tap was not gentle. 

In between hammer blows I would push the swing arm back and forth. I continued this process many, many times. I would say 10 to 20 times. It still would not budge. So I called my friend Henry for some help. He had a super gi-normous pry bar he said he could bring over. However, I needed to wait until the next morning.   

The next morning with the 5 foot pry bar it came right up. So I would say the PB Blaster and hammer blows helped loosen it up. The proper leverage to pull the swing arm straight up from the post made a big difference. 

Jeep Momma Tip - At least twice a year do some preventative maintenance by re-greasing your post if you have a spare tire carrier that swings. 

I decided it was a good idea to buy my own pry bar. I looked around on Amazon and found a set of three for $87. Check them out, a 5 star review. 

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...