Crystal Hansen - Ladies Offroad Challenge Featured Entry
"Crystal Renee Hansen, Omaha, NE – Crystal’s first offroad trip was in January 2017 and since has been able to travel to All4Fun, Trail Hero, Easter Jeep Safari, and is working on her fear of heights knowing one day she will accomplish Black Bear Pass! She is an all or nothing type of girl. She feels knowing as much about her jeep helps, especially when modifying it for what you want to do with it. Her motto is: Her jeep takes care of her and she takes care of her jeep. The only competition she has done is with herself - last year was the first time she had ever seen the mountains first hand, as an example. She has been a business manager for almost 18 years at a surgical dental office!"
Tell us about yourself:
Hello, my name is Crystal, I am single and 45 years old, born and raised in Nebraska. For almost 18 years, I have worked as a business manager at a surgical dental office in Omaha, Nebraska. I have one son he is nearly 24 now! Wow, time flies and I swear I am not that old. I love Jeeps and love learning and experiencing as much as I can.
How long have you been offroading?
A little over one year! Sometimes I can't believe I found something so awesome and bummed I didn't find it earlier in life! It all happens for a reason. I am truly humbled to be part of the Ladies Offroad Challenge with these bad ass amazing women. Some have been at this since they could reach the pedal. All I can say is, I love this sport and hope to be a part of it for many years to come!
How did you get into offroading?
When life gets challenging I tend to reach for things that will take me out of my comfort zone. I try to shake things up, dust myself off and see what I can do differently. I have owned a couple Jeep Grand Cherokees and always liked them, although I never went off-roading with either of them. I started looking at Jeep websites and saw the 2016 Wrangler. Wait they have a purple Jeep!?! I emailed a few dealerships to see if they had one, and BAM I now have a purple Jeep Wrangler. Realizing the total awesomeness of the Jeep life I searched on Facebook for Jeep enthusiasts. I had no clue the magnitude of what I was walking into. I found a local group where a few were going to do a day trip to Tuttle Creek ORV in Randolph KS, only a few hours away. My Jeep was totally stock and only about 6 months old, so off I went. Not knowing one thing about what to expect, no knowledge of disconnecting, airing down, etc. I loved it! I wanted to go back and see what I could do with a few mods and bam! Here I am.
Tell us about your vehicle:
Raisin Hell (Imagine a little raisin with a pitch fork, LOL) is a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Backcountry Edition, Xtreme Purple with blacked out interior, stock AEV rear bumper, DV8 Stubby front bumper, it is not a Rubicon, stock True Trac rear, TrueTrac front, G2 4.88 gearing, 2.5" lift, nothing fancy (will upgrade soon to get to 37s), BFGoodrich KO2s were stock so I keept with them when I increased to 35s, modified exhaust, K & N cold Air intake, Superchip, Poison Spyder hood louver, PowerTank and ViAir, In Cab Backup EVO, RockHard skids, RockHard Sport Cage (Powder coated Purple of Course) WARN Winch with TRE Synthetic Rope (Purple) and Safety Thimble, KC Driving Lights and pretty Rock Lights (That I never use) I don't mind anyone that has them but I don't personally like them, and I proudly so No to light bars! LOL
What has been your favorite offroad experience?
So far Easter Jeep Safari 2018 - It wasn't just one thing about it either. The trails, event atmosphere, the people and oh yeah, the JEEPS!!! Being fairly new to the off-road community I have had the opportunity to experience some amazing events and meeting the most awesome people. I am a woman that has the confidence to pack up my Jeep and head to Moab from Omaha, Nebraska. Honestly, last January I didn't even know a thing about EJS or Moab. I hope to never miss an EJS moving forward.
What was your most exciting offroad achievement?
It has been an amazing year of putting myself through some challenges and pushing the envelope to conquer some fears. Fear of heights is huge, which I am not over by any means. A year ago I had not even seen a mountain, much less drive on top of one! Wanting to experience off-roading I felt this was necessary. Since then, I have been able to attend All4Fun in Leadville, Trail Hero in Hurricane UT (Sand Hollow Park) and Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, UT. To think how far this Jeep life adventure has taken me in one year I can't wait to see what else happens!
What excites you about offroading?
What doesn't excite us all about it?! Right!! What I like the most is the unknown of what will happen on the trail today. The adrenaline of what is around the corner? Will I have an issue, will I get over the obstacles I try, will I be the one that does something stupid, did I remember the slim jims and candy? Anyone who has been at the trail head in the morning pumped has experienced that rush. I love it, I need it!!
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of offroading?
Not going bankrupt! Not being independently wealthy is a downside to the Jeep life. There are so many things out there that can enhance your Jeep, maybe even make you look like you're a better driver than you really are -LOL. It can be exciting and overwhelming when building a Jeep. So many trails and changes as you grow, ideally, so does your Jeep. I know plenty people wheel stock vehicles but the toys we can get are truly drool worthy.
What aspect of offroading do you think is the most fun?
Getting to hang out with fun people, Jeeps and conquer some obstacles. Getting to experience new places and people are really the best part. Pushing myself to do something I don't think I can do and experiencing that with people that also love to push themselves is simply the ultimate reward. Smiles, laughs, fun attitudes and memories are essential to the Jeep life, maybe some puckering too!
What does prepping for an adventure look like in your world?
Prepping is usually not to bad. No young kids at home anymore so I can decide last second if the mood strikes. My jeep is my daily driver so it's not like I have to go put the wheels on before I can leave. I do take the time to make sure my equipment is up to snuff and I have my essentials. I like to have some easy to eat trail food. Slim Jims are my favorite when off-roading.
What is on your offroading bucket list?
First is Trail Hero, I attended last year, without a rig. 2018 in the Year! Second, I would like to do the Rubicon Trail in 2019, if the stars align. Third, attending King of the Hammers. Lastly, I never want to miss a year of Easter Jeep Safari.
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
Anyone who loves to wheel!! Can't fix stupid, but you can have fun watching it. Ha! In the last year, I have been fortunate to be a part of a lot of cool events where I have met some amazing wheelers and people. I have been a part of some of the local Jeep club events and simply jumping into a Facebook Want to Wheel? post. I am not one to say if you don't have this or that I won't wheel with you, but there are a few that do. Learning is important when it comes to this sport, being respectful to the trails and the people enjoying them is a must!
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
"Don't freak out, your Jeep can do more than you think it can". Keeping my cool while offroading is something I am proud of. I have those moments of personal doubt, but if I didn't I wouldn't be pushing myself. I have been fortunate to meet some great people who have pushed me to do things out of my comfort zone in positive ways. As a rookie, I am a sponge and want to soak in all the knowledge I can, so I can continue to grow confident. One day I hope to be that positive influence to someone new to this exciting sport of off-roading.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I have a huge heart and tend to be an all or nothing type of person, which has and hasn't always worked. Believing in myself and having some accomplishments when I look back on my life is very important to me. I have a 24 year old son that I love more than I could have ever imagined. He is an accomplished college student with an even bigger heart than me and wants to save the world.
I want to thank all the people I have met along the way of my Jeep journey this last year. The encouragement, friendship, and acceptance are priceless to me. Thank you to Ladies Offroad Network and the ladies that have been so positive and supportive of each other. That's what it is all about! Love it!
Click here to see all the 2018 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.