Bonnie Lake - Ladies Offroad Challenge Featured Entry
"Bonnie D Lake, Phoenix, AZ – Bonnie has 15 plus years of experience riding an ATV in the desert and the dunes, and has co-driven with her husband and others for years. She really got interested in off-roading 3 years ago after purchasing her first Jeep, a 2006 LJ. Shortly after she went as a spectator to the WE Rock Series in Congress, AZ where she ended up judging her first Rock Crawling Contest.She loved it and now has the desire to compete! Her goals include building a shop at the new house then start building a buggy to compete and spend more time out on the AZ trails and rocks. She has many goals to attend and participate in upcoming events, and she is sure to achieve them!"
I grew up in Bowman, North Dakota, moved to Arizona in 1989 and have lived here since then. I am a Mortgage Loan Underwriter but love the outdoors, except for the wind! I love to read, sew, cook, and garden. I recently purchased a new home so am looking forward to planting many new plants in memory of my Mother. I became interested in off-roading 3 years ago after purchasing my first Jeep 2006 LJ. One of the first events I went to as a spectator was WE Rock Series in Congress, AZ where I ended up judging my first Rock Crawling Contest. I loved it and now have the desire to compete. My goals are to build a shop at the house then start building a buggy and compete plus spend much more time out on the AZ trails and rocks.
I have been off-roading for 15+ years. I learned how to ride an ATV in the Arizona desert and later was introduced to the sand dunes. At first, I was scared to death of the dunes. I got out, away from camp, and felt blinded. It was like a total whiteout like you see during a snowstorm. I could not tell where one hill started and where the other ended, so I went back to camp and cried. I did not give up and did go out again but with a group of ladies. We all had different levels of experience from nothing to being very experienced. We rode in a group back and forth and here and there and next thing you knew we were at the top of a huge hill. The sense of accomplishment was amazing. I have loved the dunes ever since.
I got into off-roading because of my husband. He and a buddy loved to ride their quads in the desert and wanted to include me so we went and bought a Yamaha Warrior. It was great to learn on and boy did we ride. We went riding almost every weekend, even in the summertime. They would always go to the dunes the week of Thanksgiving and at that time I stayed home to work. That was then, but now we both go to the dunes for the entire week of Thanksgiving with lots of other friends and have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner at the Dunes.
I purchased my Jeep 4 years ago as a daily driver. It is a 2006 LJ with a soft top. I have a 2" lift and chromoly axles. 35" tires with rear lockers. I have a WARN winch on my front bumper with a light bar. There is a factory built roll cage in the Jeep but am working on installing a stronger roll cage. I will also be getting both front and back lockers installed, stronger axels, along with some other cosmetic items.
What has been your favorite offroad experience?
My favorite off-road experience was this past fall when I attended the Wild Wheeling Weekend with some amazing ladies from the Ladies Offroad Network with Charlene. Not only was I able to BE THE DRIVER but also got to experience being a spotter and co-driver for the other ladies. The whole trip was not just driving from point A to point B but it was truly a learning experience for all. We had obstacles causing us to stop and figure out the problem in order to proceed. We learned so much, for many this would have seemed to be a defeat, but it was so much the opposite. We came together as a group and supported each other to ensure all were successful.
What was your most exciting offroad achievement?
I will have to admit driving to Crown King this past fall has to be my most exciting experience so far. Typically, I am the co-driver and my husband is the driver when we go out wheeling. This weekend I was the driver and was with some amazing other ladies. While I know I had been on the trail before as a co-driver, it was so much more exciting to be the driver. I enjoyed the trail and working with my co-driver. She got me through any tough spots and kept me calm during any tense spots. It was empowering.
What excites me about off-roading is there are endless amounts of trails and experiences you can encounter. Off-roading is like learning, there is always something to be learned and in off-roading, you are always learning something new. Another thing about off-roading is the amazing community of people you become associated with. They become an extended family who you enjoy holidays and vacations with while off-roading. Off-roading is for everyone who enjoys the outdoors and going on trail rides, etc. Off-roading has so much to offer; relaxation, excitement, peace, adrenaline rush, challenge, friendship, competition, etc.
The most challenging aspect of off-roading is trying to figure out what I like best. I love going on trail rides with my Jeep, I love going to the dunes with my ATV but at the same time would love to get into rock crawling and doing some racing. There are so many activities in off-roading and I am enjoying it all. I need a money tree so I wouldn't have to work and enjoy going to the many off-roading events.
The most fun aspect of off-roading is the people you become friends with. Yes, the trails and the driving are exciting and fun. The people make everything more fun. You are able to develop lifelong relationships and grow strong bonds with these amazing individuals. They are your extended family who you are able to share with and experience so much fun with.
What does prepping for an adventure look like in your world?
We start out with a checklist for the vehicles to ensure everything is working and running. Then I prepare for the adventure, my list of regular items which are needed for any adventure, then I add in extras in case of an emergency. When loading up food items, I typically go overboard and end up with 3 times the amount which is needed, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
If we are taking the RV, it is stocked all the time, I just need to get the refrigerator started then add the food. I always have lots of extras in the pantry. If we are going in the Jeep only, I still go overboard with water and snacks. Again you don't know what is going to happen so be prepared.
My husband and I are wanting to do the Mint 400 and King of the Hammers. I would like to do Rebelle Rally and Rock Crawling. We just recently moved so are working on building a shop where we will be able to start working on our vehicles and building a buggy. Plus, I want to learn to weld and start building things with the welder.
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
In the past, my husband, a friend of ours and myself would go out with our ATV and ride in the desert and dunes. Once we got the sand car, we started going with different groups. Now we go to the dunes with a group of people with various levels of experience and have a great time. When we go wheeling in the Jeep it's with a few friends. We currently do not have a "Jeep Group" in which we go trail riding.
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
The best piece of advice is to never leave anyone behind. Always go in a group and stay in a group. Too much can happen and you never want to be alone and stranded. Yes, it is always best to be prepared or as much as prepared as you can be. When in trouble stay calm, stay positive and work through the problem. Do not get upset and do not panic.
Off-roading is a group event, it's not really an individual event even if you are competing. Yes, we all want to be the winner but when we are off-roading everyone supports each other to be their best which makes it so rewarding to be around everyone.
Bonnie Lake, Phoenix, AZ – Bonnie has 15 plus years of experience riding an ATV in the desert and the dunes, and has co-driven with her husband and others for years. She really got interested in off-roading 3 years ago after purchasing her first Jeep, a 2006 LJ. Shortly after she went as a spectator to the WE Rock Series in Congress, AZ where she ended up judging her first Rock Crawling Contest. She loved it and now has the desire to compete! Her goals include building a shop at the new house then start building a buggy to compete and spend more time out on the AZ trails and rocks. She has many goals to attend and participate in upcoming events, and she is sure to achieve them!Thank you for helping determine who would be Charlene's best teammate for one of three events this year: Yukon Gear Garage Experience, BFGoodrich Tires Crandon Offroad Experience, or Polaris CampRZR Glamis Experience. This is NOT a photo contest. This is about you leaving a Vote of Confidence that they would be a great addition to our team. Please feel free to "like" and "comment". The Ladies with the most Votes of Confidence by Friday 4/20 at 3pm pst will go onto the next stage. More information at www.LadiesOffroadChallenge.com . #ladiesoffroadchallenge #imnotjustagirl @bonnied.lake
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