"Trisha started out on dirt bikes at a young age, always camping and traveling to her Dad's SuperCross events. As she got older, Trisha became interested in go-carts, lifted trucks, rock wheelers and most recently hard-core wheeling. Trisha had a 4Runner that she wheels and can put the backseat down and sleep anywhere. She is a single mom of two and loves the outdoors and taking pictures of all the beautiful places."
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Tell us about yourself.
I am a single mom. One is off to college, and the other is starting his Senior year of High School. I have always loves the outdoors; being in the elements and enjoying all the lovely places. I love going to those private lakes and rivers; exploring and navigating through the tall trees. I had a 4Runner that can take me anywhere I want to go, and at the end of the day I can just fold down my seats and sleep.
I have been wheeling for over 20 years. I have been dirt biking and camping since I was years old, and I took up hiking 10 years ago. I started wheeling out at Foresthill where there are tons of trails, Hell Hole, French Meadow, and then on to Fordyce, local quarries, Rubicon, Blue Lakes, Strawberry, Voss, and other trails out of Grizzly Flats. We’ve wheeled to abandoned lookouts and secret lakes. I love sleeping in the back of the truck, under the stars. I started dirt biking and camping at an early age while my dad was competing in SuperCross events. I started hiking back when we were having bad fires, I needed to escape the smoke and I was stuck against the foothills. We started with day hikes which then progressed into Desolation Wilderness camping. Now I will hike 10-plus miles any chance I get, usually it’s about 4-6 hikes a month.
How did you get into offroading?
I started off-road camping with my friends, just to get away. Gas was cheap and we wanted to camp and party! I fell in love with rock crawling when I met my boyfriend. He was “hardcore” compared to everything I had experienced. He was a total badass, not afraid of hitting the lines that others avoided. He really opened my eyes to what wheelers are capable of, he taught me so much. We got away on weekends to wheel, quick night runs, snow runs, and recovery missions. The truck was always packed and ready to put on the trailer and go. While he was a fabricator, welder, and co-driver for a competitor in the W.E.Rock series, I started to get involved too. I judged at some competitions, helped out where I could, and I was always taking pictures.
My boyfriend’s truck is pretty basic Toyota truck wheeler. Straight axle, ARB, chromoly axles, rock sliders, beadlock on 40s. He can get into anything and drive it, people get scared and ask him to drive their vehicles out. For many years we rocked it with no windshield (that was really interesting).
My rig was a Toyota 4 Runner, mainly it’s a daily driver, but I wasn’t afraid to take it off-road. I recently rolled it on a sheet of ice and totaled it. Staples in my head, no seatbelt. I am REALLY lucky that it wasn’t worse! Now it’s ready to be a wheeler. I dented every corner, panel, and taco-ed the window frames pretty good. I loved the 4 Runner because I could fold the seats down and sleep in it.
What has been your favorite offroad experience?
Probably wheeling and camping for a week. We had a base camp and every day we hit a new trail. It was an amazing trip that we pulled together with a fantastic group of friends. We swam in the 50-degree lake to get clean! We managed to have minimal breakage, everyone’s rigs did great all week! It was nice to take our time and not feel rushed to get home. I wish I could do more trips like that one.
Recovering a Jeep buried in the snow. Not only did we have to dig it out of the 4 feet of snow it was buried in, but then we had to get it back to the pavement. The problem was that the Jeep was buried at the bottom of a slope, and it is hard to get traction in the snow. We tried pulling it out with just the Toyota, but we were struggling. We had another Toyota with us, he hooked up to our front end and we were able to get it up the hill with both rigs. It was pretty awesome.
What excites you about offroading?
Getting into the Wheeler and turning it on is so exciting to me. To hear the rumble of the engine and to know where it was going to take me is a beautiful feeling that is just hard to describe. I just love it. I love getting to places that are private and beautiful, without a lot of people or trash. I love the outdoors and tranquility. I am at peace driving a trail with friends and stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery and camp with amazing views. Wheeling can be challenging, lines can be difficult, but getting through is an absolutely fabulous feeling. People think I’m weird when I tell them I like the sounds of truck flexing over the rocks.
Finding the right line, putting your tire in the right spot, and breaking down. Most of the time we have what we need on hand or we can get it from another wheeler. There are times that we have had to make do with what we have or get creative. That usually challenges me the most, but we are able to get that rig back to the truck in one piece, and that is pretty amazing.
Which aspect of offroading do you think is the most fun?
Just driving the trail. Jumping in the rig, starting it up, grabbing a lunch, and hitting the trail is the best. Camping is a bonus. I love watching the rig move, hearing it flex, and seeing how it ca so gracefully drive over huge boulders. I could sit and watch them all day.
Lists and checklists! Usually I make a big pile of the stuff I am taking. I take the bins out of the rig and reorganize supplies. I restock what I need, I usually take too much but it works out that I, or someone else, needs what I’ve brought. I prepare and prep as much food as I can so that we can just grab and go. I like to just throw my prepared food in the pan or on the barbecue.
What is on your off-roading bucket list?
So far my list is: Moab, the East Coast, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, and ride or race in an Ultra4 truck.
My boyfriend Chris is awesome! He is an amazing and talented guy. He has been wheeling since he could drive. He seems to have a natural talent for wheeling. He has even been asked to drive other people’s rigs when they felt they couldn’t drive it out. He has taught me so much over the last 13 years, he is super talented. Not only is he a great wheeler, he is a talented welder and fabricator.
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT! Keep your hands, feet, and head in the rig at any sketchy spots. Rollovers require a core truck, everything to the middle and holding it in. Never grab the cage in an emergency! I’ve seen a lot of broken and missing fingers.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
My passion for wheeling is abundant! I love the outdoors and it is my dream to wheel, attend events, and travel the US and actually get paid for my photographs.
Click here to see all the 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.