Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Being Alone Vs. Being By Yourself

There are times in your life when you discover something about yourself you hadn't realized before. A couple of weekends ago I did just that. I figured out I am not much of a loner.

I need to be around people, even if I am not with them. It's not that I can't do things or go places on my own. I just don't like being alone. 

My trip to Moab last year is a great example. I went on the trip by myself, but I wasn't alone.  Yes, I hiked by myself and had dinner by myself, but there were still people around. I could see people and talk to people. I even met some really great people, some I even call my friends. I am okay to be by myself, but not okay to be alone, isolated.   

In May I attended the Wheelers Overland Adventure 2018. It was 3 nights of camping and 3 days of wheeling at Anthracite Off-road Adventure Area. Plus overland and navigation classes, campfires, a scavenger hunt and raffle. 

I signed up for the "primitive" camping in an "open" field instead of a campground. When I arrived I scouted the area to set up my primitive campsite. This area was on the outskirts of the off road park near the woods in a heavily brush filled field. 

It was just me and my Jeep as I picked a really great camping spot. However, I was alone. The nearest campers were about a hundred yards from me and couldn't be seen nor heard. I easily set up my tent and thought now what? 

So I headed into town for dinner and a glass of wine (or 2). I needed to relax as I was a little apprehensive about sleeping "alone" in the woods. Even though there were people within hundreds of yards of me, I was alone. 

I was exhausted by the time I got back to my campsite. I decided to skip the group campfire so I hit my sleeping bag early. The "whoops" from the distant campfire lulled me to sleep. 

Once the quiet over took the night I roused from my sleep. Not only did the quiet awaken me but so did my dream, or should I say nightmare. My youngest son and I were fending off a bear trying to get in the tent.  

It was so eerily quiet at 2 am I couldn't get back to sleep. I knew I needed to be surrounded by people. I decided I did one night of so called "primitive" camping I could check it off my list. I did it, and decided it's not for me.  So I got on my phone and booked a campsite at the Trailhead Campground where most of the wheelers were camping. 

The next morning I tore down my tent and headed over to my new home for the weekend. I immediately  started setting up my tent again. During this set up I heard my name being called. 

It was an online Jeep friend who also listened to the Jeep Talk Show Podcast. 

He and his buddies where camping right next to my site. It was perfect. That night we sat around the campfire and shared many stories. Jesse and Mike, and their friends, are all Long Island UPS drivers. They shared lots of fun stories about their Jeep adventures. 

During this Overland Adventure Weekend I did some wheeling on the green trails at AOAA. It's always nice to wheel easy and be relaxed to enjoy nature and being in my Jeep. 


Plus, the main reason I attended this event were the 
navigation classes. They were taught by JoMarie.

She is an amazing women who has wheeled all over the world, and participated in the 
Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in Morocco. Currently she is planning a trip in Africa across the Sahara desert.

She taught about topographic map reading, compass reading and plotting your location on maps. It was a great start to building my 
navigation skills. 

There were other very cool classes on Overland planning, recovery 101 and classes on using your winch. Which one day I hope to have. 

Even though the weekend was filled with rain it was a great time! I look forward to next years event where I know from the start I will be booking a campsite. 

I love to camp. I love to hang out by the campfire. But I need to be around people. I love people and I love to meet new people. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Healthy Reasons To Go Topless

Topless in My Jeep

(Updated December 2023) Being topless in my Jeep Wrangler is so important for my mental health.

Did you know being Topless in your Jeep is healthy? 

I figured most people didn't know so I am going to share the Top 5 Healthy Reasons You Need To Go Topless in your Jeep Wrangler.

Reduces Stress - Which can help lower your blood pressure.  When you are having a tough day at work and your boss is being a jerk and your co-workers are annoying, get into your topless Jeep and go for a ride. It does wonders to your stress levels. 

Mental Health - When your kids are fighting with each other or being loud and obnoxious sometimes you need to get away for your own sanity. That's when you hop in your Jeep, turn the music up and just drive. It's like a Calgon Take Me Away moment. 

Fresh Air - It is so important to take in the fresh air from the trees. We breathe in fresh oxygen and expel the stale oxygen from our lungs. This gives us energy and then we are in a better mood.

Vitamin D - Getting that sun on your face allows you to soak up the much needed vitamin D which wards off depression. 

Just Because - It's good for your soul. Enjoy your life and be happy.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Guide to Cooking on My Jeep Engine

How to Cook on a Trail Ride

I have always heard of people cooking food on the engine of their Jeep and was curious. It is so very easy to do.  

Trail Sammie Recipe Step By Step

Sammie items

Gather your Trail Sammie Items. 
  • Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap
  • Large Zip-tie
  • Frozen garlic bread
  • Ham or your choice of meat
  • Colby Jack Cheese or your choice of Cheese

Heavy Duty Renyolds Wrap

Start with 3 sheets of Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap to wrap your sandwich.

Lay out bread

Place the garlic bread on the tin foil. Separate the two halves of the garlic bread. 

add cheese 

Place the cheese on both halves.

add ham

Place the meat on the cheese.

Put top slice of bread on top.

Place the two pieces together.

wrap in tin foil 

Wrap the sandwich up with the Reynolds Wrap. Repeat two more times.

Place sammie on engine manifold 

Place the Trail Sammie in between the battery and the manifold first thing before you hit the trails. You may want to secure with a zip tie.

If you are still running the plastic engine cover you will need to remove that. This plastic piece is for aesthetics only and does not need to be in your Jeep for proper engine function. 

Cooked sammie

Your Trail Sammie should be done by the time you break for lunch, usually about four hours. Take the Trail Sammie out and ENJOY! 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wheeling With the Big Boys

I know I have said this hundreds of times, but I am going to say it again. 

"My Jeep has changed my life." 

Never in a million years would I have guessed that buying my Jeep Wrangler would have sent me on such awesome adventures and help me meet the most amazing people. 

The cool thing is my adventure continues to get better and better each year. I call it my Jeep Journey. This past weekend I loaded up my Jeep with my camping gear and hit the highway for a seven hour drive to North Carolina to wheel with 
Carolina Trails Off Road

I met the President of the group during an interview on the podcast I host, The Jeep Talk Show. We struck up a an online friendship on Facebook and I joined their Jeep Group. They were holding a Jeep Event, 2018 Uwharrie Spring Invasion so I decided to check it out. A weekend of wheeling & camping in Uwharrie National Forest. 

Friday afternoon I pulled into the group campsite and was greeted with warm friendly faces. It was so cool to finally meet Bryan and his family in person.

I set up my tent and started meeting the other members as they rolled into camp. Then it was off to Boondocks for a meet and greet. Then back to the camp for some campfire time, then bed. 

During the campfire, stories were told of other wheeling adventures at Uwharrie ~ Broken Jeeps, Flipped over Jeeps. I started to get anxious and doubt my off road capabilities, and the level of trails I could ride. But Bryan never lost the faith that I could wheel the more difficult trails. He continued to encouraged me to wheel the more difficult trails. 

The group was splitting into two groups, intermediate and difficult. I was wavering back and forth that night as I went to bed as to which group I was going to wheel with.

At the drivers meeting at the Eldorado Outpost  it was decision time. Hesitantly, I picked the difficult group. While our guide, Mike, was giving us the low down of the days plans, I checked out the other drivers. 

Yikes! I was the only female driver. I thought to myself I better buck up and show them I can do it.

The first trail of the day was the Jeep Badge of Honor Trail, The Dickey Bell. A 3.5 mile trail rated as moderate to difficult with a rocky hill climb obstacle. For the most part this trail winds up and down over red clay trails through the forest, a nice easy Jeep ride.  

I aired down to 15 PSI, disconnected my sway bar and spent the whole trail in 4 lo. Which later I found out some in the group only put their rigs in 4 low for the obstacle. Looking back I didn't need 4 lo for most of this trail.

Once at the Dickey Bell rocky hill climb the trail spotters took their places. This was an intense rocky climb, but my Rubicon with lockers and that 4 to 1 transfer case cruised right on up the trail.

I guess I need to give myself some credit as well. I have quite a bit of off road experience under my belt. 

Now it was on to the Daniel Trail, the most difficult trail in the park, 2.1 miles. The first part of the trail is a series of rocky switch backs. Once you make your way up that first switchback and onto the second you come to a "ledge" you need to climb. It was definitely intimidating. 

The most difficult obstacle I have ever tackled in my four years of wheeling. My heart was beating a mile a minute and my breaths were shallow. Everyone out there was so supportive and sharing positive words of encouragement. 

It was go time. There were two choices, to the right the easier route which to me looked scarier than straight up the middle. Straight up the middle was supposed to be the more difficult. 

Mitchell, my spotter, was one of the best so I decided to tune out everything except his direction. As I crawled up the ledge, the center, my Jeep shifted to the right and I wasn't able to see his direction. I had to back down for one more try and with the great guiding by Mitchell up I went with a little more skinny pedal than I'm used to. 

Then it was on to Mike to take me up the rest of the way to the next switch back. This time to make it to the next switchback you needed to do some maneuvering with backing up. A little too much reverse and you were careening down the mountain. 

The next leg of this switch back was a little too "tippy" for me, off camber right towards the edge. I pushed through and kept chanting "I've Got This" in my head. I was pretty proud of myself for not uttering a string of profanities, or so I thought. 

Check out my video on You Tube. 

As we came around the corner the whole area opened up to one huge rocky hill climb. The right was more difficult, the middle was off limits, and the left was were I was to go. However, the left rocky side was right on the edge of the mountain.

 Okay so I'm not sure mountain is a good description, but to me it was a mountain. So I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and followed the Jeep in front of me. I was on my own, no spotter. 

I tend to be a cautious slow wheeler so the Jeep in front of me got way in front of me. At one point I wasn't sure which way to go, so I winged it hoping I wasn't taking the route that would make me flip. 

Whew! I made it. However not all the Jeeps did. There was some trail damage that day, bent draglink, popped spring, sheared off pitman arm, broken axle. But I came out unscathed. 

The last trail of the day was the Dutch John Trail. The obstacles on this trail were no match for my kick ass Jeep and no match for me! 

Listen to my story on The Jeep Talk Show Podcast Click Here

What a super great day I had. So many accomplishments. The biggest was my confidence in my wheeling. I look forward to wheeling with the awesome folks from Carolina Trails Off road again real soon. 

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