by Jacki Maybin
Hi, I am Jacki Maybin, owner and driver of Bumble Bee, my 2015 Jeep Wrangler JKU Sport. She (my son says it's a girl because it's yellow and sunny like a girl) is my END GAME JEEP. This isn't my 1st Jeep but hopefully my last and the best. I'm a Jeep lover for what seems a lifetime. Off-roading to me is the best life adventure that brings people of like mindedness together.
Although, I'm on my 4th Jeep, this one is my first NEW, off the showroom floor (prior 3 were used and incredible). This is the first one that has done the extensive fun that I have enjoyed. Honestly, off-roading before, in my mind, was if you are on dirt parking lot or road, you are off-roading. Little did I know what beauty and excitement was yet to be found. The primary reason I started seeking options of how to spend time in my very 1st NEW Jeep was because I am a single mom of two incredibly awesome sons. My oldest son is on the autism spectrum and can have sensory overload in some of the environments and unexpected situations of this world. My younger son gets super anxious and that interferes with his ability to handle some situations comfortably. I discovered quickly that because my boys had a hand in choosing the Jeep, they felt very safe in her. They were willing to try and go places that they had not been willing before. This is HUGE in my world.
No one in my life was into Jeeping or outdoors in general. I've always been a play in the dirt kind of kid now grown. I grew up camping and taking road trip adventures. I've searched for ways to get my boys out of their comfort zone safely and expand their horizons into the world I grew up enjoying. My new Jeep seemed to finally be the answer I had hoped for. Once that was figured out, I found two wonderful men in early 2016, Brian Cole (BCD Performance) and Don Alexander (Back Country 4x4 Academy) in the Jeeping industry that quickly introduced me what the possibilities could be. First, they took me without my boys out on the trails and introduced me to what my stock Jeep could do. Then a couple weeks later, Brian, Don and their amazing wives Mirrya and Christie took me and my boys on their first Jeep off road experience. That changed EVERYTHING. We went to the mountains, went on trails that went through the mountain and ended up on the other side and into a valley. These sweet couples weren't afraid of autism and took things slowly. Having this as my first family Jeeping experience, learning so much about my rig and what it was capable of made me hungry for more.
Fast forward a month and I signed up for my 1st ever Jeep Jamboree by myself and my little stock Jeep Wrangler (nameless at the time). WOW and AMAZING are words I would say describe the community found at such an experience. People are like minded, genuine, fun, willing to share their knowledge and encourage you to find what type of Jeeper you want to grow into. My guide was Randy Stockberger and the coordinator of the Big Bear Jamboree event. He was patient, passionate about sharing his love for Jeeping and a great teacher. His passion is contagious. I did stuff that weekend I thought only professionals did. I had no clue my little Jeep could climb over a perfectly HUGE boulder (in my eyes). The rush of accomplishment gave me a feeling of joy having shared it with others. My Jeep got named that weekend by the other Jeepers on our trail. They said Bumble Bee because of what they learned about me that weekend. Bumble Bees are the friendliest of the stinger family making flowers everywhere they go. They ONLY STING if their colony (my boys) is in harm's way. They did also point out the boys would love it because of the Transformer. The name was received very well and so my rig became Bumble Bee.
My Jeep has changed a lot from 3 jamborees ago thanks to Teraflex, Warn and Rebel Off-road. My Jeep enjoys the trails and changes each year and each season. I just got back recently from my 4th jamboree and it was pretty cool having people remember my Jeep before modifications to now being a very capable rig (still not complete - are we really ever done with mods?). I've come a long way in my confidence and yet still have lots of growth potential.
Many ask me why I chose hot pink as an accent color and that was my intent. I'm a 12yr breast cancer survivor as of May 7th 2019. I want to share that there is adventure and a fulfilling life after such a crisis. We all have our journey and mine included that bump in the road. That journey had a huge part in me being intentional to find something my boys and I could do together. I want to get out with my boys and make incredible memories because we are not promised tomorrow but we can live the adventure today.
Having the desire to get out more means surrounding yourself with others that do the same thing. I've gone out on trails with different Jeep clubs. I've been able to get my boys out on a variety of trails as a result of people investing their time into my family. I think my most exciting adventures so far have been taking my boys on a 2,000-mile road trip to Moab with the trail Fins N Things as our far point. 7 days, 5 National Parks and 5 states was a tremendous accomplishment for my little family. Adventure can be done and tailored to each family’s uniqueness. To confirm that the following year I took them 1000 miles up the coast and Bumble Bee on to her 1st beach ever at Pismo. The boys thought that was wild because the ocean was right there. The following spring, we chose a 1000-mile road trip to Sedona as a far point and again got them out on more trails. Locally the most memorable was their first black diamond trail of Gold Mountain, with Randy Stockberger leading. He personally made them Dutch Oven pizza on the trail which made them feel special. It was the first time they felt safe enough to get out and join others. It was super awesome having so many people looking out for them. To have my special needs child ask to go on another road trip is a great smile bringer. I can't wait to show them more of our beautiful country.
I am finally figuring out what kind of off roading and Jeeper in general I want to be with Bumble Bee. She is my daily driver so every trail and adventure I choose needs to have a higher chance of driving home rather than towed. I've now done some pretty tough trails in my area and I feel very accomplished and excited. However, I've had just as much fun, if not more, on intermediate trails that allow me to look around at the beauty nature offers. I still have a few trail goals (I'll tackle without the boys) of The Rubicon and Pinyon Mountain. I've had my boys on a variety of trails in different times of year. Our adventures have opened communication of them expressing their needs (an often-difficult task on the autism spectrum). The result is summer is too hot and uncomfortable with dust and bugs. Bumpy trails aren't fun to them. After taking them on a local black diamond trail, the boys said we did it. Can we not do that type again? It was way too bumpy. I have a goal of The Tillamook Jeep Jamboree for my little family. I think it's a great goal to get done.
Bumble Bee really is an adventure creator and family joy bringer. I enjoy getting more knowledge of my rig and getting more capable in understanding how the components work together and crave more training so I can become a more complete driver. My reason for all I do is so I can take my boys out on more adventures safely, seeing areas they wouldn't in the paved city and enjoying it in my awesome Jeep. We have many more adventures to come.
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas