Selected for 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10
"Kristin grew up a desert kid in SoCal and loves life. She enjoys hiking, spending time at the beach, horses, skiing, and of course anything offroad. Kristin has sat in the driver's seat of many of the custom rigs she has helped build.. Kristin's husband of 17 years and her 12 year old twins Fuel her need for adventure and keep her active in motocross, soccer, theatre, and more. She warns that she loves harmless pranks to keep people on their toes."
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I am a lover of life and a Jill of all trades. As a native of San Diego, I have enjoyed the many outdoor activities the city has to offer. I enjoy hiking, the beach, horses, skiing, and of COURSE anything off-roading. I coach outdoor youth soccer and manage my 12-year-old boy/girl twins’ active lifestyle. That includes motocross, soccer, theater, and even MORE. I have and A.A. in Criminal Justice, a B.A. in Communication/Journalism, and a M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy. Remember, I’m a Jill of all trades haha. I am currently working on some new creative adventures, and I love the hustle in life. As a note, I am known amongst my friends to be a comedian. Be careful, I love harmless pranks. I like to keep people on their toes. I take pride in being a good role model for my kids. This challenge is another way to show my kids it’s okay to try something different and to put yourself out there
My love for motorsports of any kind began as a child. Our family enjoyed going to the local deserts and undeveloped canyons around San Diego. We had two ATCs a Honda 90 and 185 as well as a dune buggy. My family enjoyed traveling, and spent two summers driving across the country with our Honda Trailblazer scooter strapped to the back of our motorhome. Since we lived 30 minutes from the Mexico border, we spent many holidays camping on the beaches of Mexico and exploring the little inlets and towns. One year, we learned a valuable lesson about ocean tides and how they like to eat dune buggies.
Aside from being raised with some fun toys, my rock crawling experience began 17 years ago when I met my husband. He is an extremely talented crawler who has shown me the meaning of defying gravity. Date night was happily spent hanging out in the garage, working on the Jeep. Dustan was a part of a gritty group of guys who had been rock crawling together for years. This was bac when there was very little recognition of the sport. I had actually never heard or experienced it before at that point. I was RAPIDLY thrown into the mix with these great drivers, and taken through terrain like the Johnson Valley Hammers and the Rubicon Trail. Once we had our boy/girl twins, we quickly realized that a two-seater rock crawler was not going to be big enough for us all to fit. At this point dirt bikes came into the picture, bringing to our family another element of off-roading. Now that Dustan and Dylan were riding moto, and I quickly jumped from co-pilot to driver and became the chase vehicle. Our daughter Morgan is now learning the ropes as spotter/co-pilot, and she loves the rock crawlers. NOBODY in the family likes the passenger seat. We have control issues.
The Jeep is a 1981 CJ7, with Dana 60s front and rear. We have found that the Super Swamper Bogger tires work well with it. It also has beadlock rims with lockers in the front and a spool in the rear. Under the hood is an AMC 360. It has a custom roll cage, beard seats, and 4 point harnesses. It has a winch, high lift, and plenty of spare parts to make it trail ready. The Bronco is a 1969 with a 302. There were many structural changes made to it to make it safe to roll. New paneling, roll cage upgrades, PRP racing seats and a 4 point harness system, new radiator, Dana 44s front and rear, 33-inch BFG mud terrains, beadlock rims and locker, high lift and spare tire. The camouflage was hand painted. Dustan rebuilt this Bronco making this the second crawler to eat up the terrain in front of it.
One of my favorite experiences had to be a little over 13 years ago when I did the Rubicon Trail with Dustan. We had plans to go on this trip for a month with about 15 other crawlers, and we were very excited to go. This was the great group of guys that I had mentioned earlier. Just days before this trip, I found out that I was pregnant! (Little did I know that I was carrying twins). The entire ride to Tahoe (ll 11 hours), I was requesting pit stops. It’s not easy to just pull over a large truck and trailer out on the open and very VISIBLE road with not a town in sight! When we finally hit the trail head it started to lightly snow. The Jeep is open and topless so we really got the entire weather experience. It was surreal, like going through Narnia. The weather cleared, and Tahoe did not disappoint. We tent camped feet from the water at Buck Island Lake. I still tease the kids to day that they have rock crawled the Rubicon Trail, to which their response is the obligatory eye roll.
There is a steep hill climb in Ocotillo Wells that is called Backdown Hill. I have been up it many times as a passenger, but the first time I went to try it as a driver was a bit intimidating. As a female driver, I always like to prove myself even more around other drivers because I know I am representing my fellow ladies. I take that very seriously. I switched the transfer case into four high and locked the hubs preparing for the hill climb. I charged the hill wide, the petal to the floor. For MX and other types of vehicles, the woops at the base of the hill aren’t a problem. I don’t have the wheel base set for the woops, so the woops tried to slow my roll at the bottom. I put the petal to the floor, and took a great run at the hill, scratching and clawing my way to the top. I finally hit the peak and I was PUMPED! Fast forward to my attempts to complete it in the Bronco. The hill really lived up to its name, but eventually I made it up.
What excites you about offroading?
The limitlessness of it all. When I get to drive, I am in control of my destiny at that moment. It’s like freeing yourself from driving shackles: no rules, no boundaries, no stop lights, no nay sayers. Nature and skill dictate what happens. No adventure or trail is the same.
It is work to keep everything maintained. That’s one of the main challenges. My husband loves that I keep him so busy working on the vehicles! I just recently broke both bump stops on the Bronco. The rigs I drive were built to navigate challenging obstacles in all sorts of aggressive conditions. I am hands on as much as possible to assist Dustan. I have learned a great deal about our vehicles, their performance, and how to maintain them. Trail breaks are another challenge in the sport. True grit comes from how you handle breaking down. I have seen amazing gestures of aid and support in tough times on the trail. People can overcome any obstacle by working together; it’s inspiring. Not to mention, that’s where some of the best stories come from.
I love the nomadic and traveling lifestyle. There are many types of terrain to explore and I get many opportunities to meet new people. I have made many life long friends. I enjoy being a part of nature, camping, and soaking up the scenery of different locations
A standard weekend is making a dash to our favorite location in the desert at Ocotillo Wells. We have 2 dogs that go with us, and 2 cats who are more than happy to hold down the fort. Preparation starts that Monday, checking the rigs for loose or worn parts that need work after the last adventure, then making mad dashes to stores to replace whatever needs replacing. We try and make sure we are as trail-ready and self sufficient as possible! We also make sure to prep food. On the trail this typically means, hot pockets, frozen burritos, etc. that can be cooked on the manifold. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it!
The biggest on the bucket list is going to Dubai! I am completely mesmerized by the endless sand dunes, culture, and architecture there. It really taps into the desert side of myself. I would also like to go swamping! I really enjoy off-roading in places with different elements and environments. I hope to go out to Florida and give it a shot! As far as my driving bucket list; I would like to try my skills on a rock buggy with 500 plus horses under the hood! We dream about building a similar rig someday!”
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
We have a little slice of heaven in Ocotillo Wells at an RV park called Mobiland. There is a mixture of permanent vacation spots as well as overnight camping. We have a village of off-roaders amongst us there. It’s a great group of people who really enjoy touring the desert. The people vary from Baja racers, race truck fabricators, MX racers, and all sorts of other enthusiasts. We look like a mob from a Mad Max movie!
One piece of advice that has stuck with me is, ‘if it’s not tied down to the rig, don’t take it!’”There are so many things that can go wrong quickly. In the event of a roll over things start flying! Keeping a level head and paying attention to the surrounding area can make all the difference to you, your rig, or someone else. Safety applies to maintenance, proper restraints, knowing hand signals, keeping the partying off the trails, and radio etiquette. I have seen too many avoidable issues on the trail. And finally, seconds and inches matter!
Outside of being the mom-mager of twins, I have a creative side. I have plenty of artistic inspiration. My father is an internationally recognized ceramicist. He has created a mesmerizing new metallic silica coating that it flashed to porcelain. This sort of science has never been seen before in the ceramics field. I have been active in his P.R. as this technique has had multiple publications and has been a featured segment on the news. Recently I have been elaborating in the possibilities of this technique. I am in the beginning phases of my start up company moondustconcepts.com. I am creating a line of wearable art as well as designer custom tile. Another interesting thing about me is my deep love and connection with law enforcement. I spent 4 years working in the field at the Chicago area PD.
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