by Jessica Taylor
I have always enjoyed “offroading” in many different forms. I have had horses since I was 11 years old, and trail riding has been a big part of my life. The love of the outdoors and riding trails on horseback led me to getting ATV’s to continue my “offroading” adventures. ATV’s and later a side by side, were my prime trail choice aside from my horses.
In 2015 I was introduced to the “Jeep Life”. I had owned a Jeep Cherokee back in the early 2000’s as a daily driver because I liked its ruggedness and durability, but at that time I had no idea about the “Jeep Community”. In 2015 I bought another Jeep Cherokee as a daily driver but it wasn’t until my boyfriend wanted a Jeep that I really saw what Jeeping and offroading really was! So we bought a 95 YJ and I was googling Jeep things around us and I came across Woman’s Wheeling Day at Rausch Creek Park, and I signed up to go in September of 2015. We both had such a good time, we went searching for a local offroading club and found Twisted Axles 4x4 offroading club, and attended their monthly meeting.
Joining the offroading club has been a great way to meet new people and expand knowledge. Two members of the Ladies Offroad Network were also in our local club, so I learned about LON from them.
Offroading is something my boyfriend and I do together and we enjoy it. Occasionally the kids join in as well, and our dog is eager to jump in any chance he gets. Our youngest, she’s 10, loves riding in the 95 YJ with the top off. I personally, am not a fan of topless Jeep riding. I much prefer to take the Jeep offroading. Although, truthfully, I enjoy being an offroad passenger over the driver. I actually only drive when it’s “Ladies only” weekends and I have too.
The challenges on the trails and the driving skills to get through or over obstacles are what I enjoy. My biggest challenge I had to overcome about offroading was myself. I was hesitant to try new things, drive over or through things out of fear. Fear I would break something, and then couldn’t drive the Jeep and get home!! This was a HUGE issue for me, so we had to solve this issue in order to grow and learn. So we decided we did enjoy offroading so much, we needed a trailer, so we searched and purchased a trailer. But we still had the problem of wheeling the Jeep that was also a daily driver. So, we went in search of a second YJ for offroading purposes. (Inside joke with us, I have “twin” Blue Roan Quarter horses my daughter and I ride, so we thought “twin” YJ’s, in blue, were in order as well! Oh and then there’s the Blue Tundra we haul everything with….) In February we bought a 93 YJ that is a 6 cyl (an upgrade from our 95 that is a 4 cyl) that has front and rear lockers. “Grubby” is now our dedicated offroading Jeep. This past winter the 95 YJ “Outlaw” got a huge redo and a custom paint job as well, and is now solely a daily driver and show and shine Jeep.
We love to go offroading anywhere. We have been to Rausch Creek once, BHM twice, and Broome-Tioga raceway sports center sponsored by STORC and are always looking for new places to go. Our local club has access to a private property and we go there as well. What we find difficult is getting friends together to go wheeling with, so we are not wheeling solo……… My boyfriend and I are fortunate to have great careers we love with weekends off, but most of our offroading friends are not that fortunate and many work weekends, so that is always a challenge.
I personally have learned a lot in the past last three years of offroading. I had never heard of airing down, much less how to do it. I had no clue what recovery gear was nor how to use it. I had never loaded a vehicle on a trailer or strapped it down.
Our love of offroading has also led us to get an RV, so we also travel more. It is handy for our offroading adventures, horse shows, and travel. Last year we took our Jeep and RV to Outer Banks, NC and drove on the beach to see the wild horses. We also like to take our Jeep places just for the Kodak moments! We have a collection of photos of our Jeep doing all sorts of things, from being in the ocean, in front of lighthouses, Christmas parades all lit up, Memorial Day parades, and many other things.
So what started with just a love for driving the Cherokee’s as a daily driver evolved into something that is now a lifestyle for us. I have actually come full circle because 3 weeks ago I bought another Cherokee as a daily driver! (Had to trade my 2015 in when we needed the Tundra to haul with, so the Tundra was my daily for a while.)
Offroading has taken us on a journey of new adventures, new friendships, and new challenges, which we are excited to continue. It is great that I get to take this journey with my favorite partner, as we both enjoy it.
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas