Author: Jessica Greenland
The meaning of a journey means many different things to each individual. Taking a trip or an expedition, wandering, a drive, a flight, or a voyage. Many would say that your life is a journey in which it takes many roads to lead you where you are at this moment in time. At the 2017 Ladies Offroad Convention we talked about our own personal journey and how it took us to be ladies of offroading and our passion for it.
This is the first annual Ladies Offroad Convention Charlene Bower put together and has been a year in the making. She chose beautiful Colorado Springs at the Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center. Pikes Peak overlooks the town of Colorado Springs and is simply stunning! There are so many adventures to be had in Colorado Springs and I had a list to try and accomplish in my short time there. I was certainly excited to see Charlene again and spend time with my favorite ladies and meet new ones. Jaime, Megan, Lexy, and I were all sharing a room. I sure missed these girls and was most excited to get to spend time with them again. My crush, Frankie, the BFGoodrich Tires Jeep, would be there too!
Lexy and I were the second to arrive and we were greeted out from of the hotel by Frankie and Charlene. After our hellos we settled into our room and made plans with Charlene and our new Florida girls Charity and Renee, as well as Lauren and Mom Bower! We offered up a restaurant I was told to visit while in Colorado Springs, Jack Quinn's which is an authentic Irish Pub. The place was very authentic right down to the booths and woodwork. They had a band playing Irish Music and very entertaining and loud so it was hard to talk over dinner. The food and the atmosphere was awesome! Megan finally arrived and we were so excited to catch up.
The next day we were invited for a trip up to pikes peak with our Florida girls piled into the cute little renegade. Pikes peak is the highest summit of the southern range of the Rocky Mountains which is 14,115 ft. I have never been up that high before and I was super excited to see the beautiful view on top. We stopped several times to take in the sights and make our way to the top. I have never felt altitude sickness before and I was pretty dizzy but fought through it. The clouds rolled over the mountain top and it was breathtaking. As we made our way back down , we were all excited to get back and start the convention!
As all the ladies arrived and registration started, you could feel the excitement in the air. We all talked and introduced ourselves and I got to meet an awesome beautiful woman that was from my neck of the woods that I had never met before. That the great thing about Ladies Offroad Network, you get to met so many other women that are different but the same. I made a lot of new lifelong friends and women I can count on. That evening we got dressed in our themed night “Crazy Shirts” and had dinner surrounded by all these ladies and our new found journey. We got to learn about some amazing women in the offroad industry that had helped pave the way for other great women. As the night closed we met one of the I4WDTA instructors Michael Morrison. He helped with the festivities of blindfolded driver course. The co driver had to walk the driver though a course of cones with verbal commands as you would if your driver was in the driver seat blindfolded. I have never laughed so hard in my life. These ladies put on a good show. We chose our team mate and came up with a name for our team as we were timed and docked for running into cones. Robin and I were on a team and we rocked it!! We also got some cool goodies and some WARN safety gloves. We had to get some rest to up super early for all our cool seminars.
Day 2 was up and at 'em early to fit in 4 seminars and a social media class. Social Media was first and Photography and writing class with Charlene and oh boy did I learn a lot! Then it was off to recovery outside with Michael Morrison with his Yota and Frankie. We covered all the recovery equipment and then started winch training and recovery points. We got to use a Pull Pal and learned new hand signals. Next was the Hi Lift jack. I got to learn a few new things , Michael was great and taught us how to be tough! While our group was doing recovery another group was learning outdoor cooking and was making our lunch, man it was delicious! Sausage boil and veggies. They did a great job and I learned some new outdoor cooking technique. As we were finishing up Charlene had another surprise guest, Brad Lovell!! As he talked about his King of the Hammers race all the ladies were in aw of him. We all lined up for a quick picture with him. He was there to assist Charlene with the trailer backing and maintenance seminar as well as the vehicle maintenance part of the seminars. My next seminar was the Navigation class with Coralee Lack, a fellow convention participant and Rebelle Rally participant. She broke out some of her TOPO maps she had been using on some of her explorations. The class was really challenging but I learned a lot and want to learn more. I plan on getting with Coralee soon and have her teach me more. She was a great teacher and I was very excited to get to know her and hang out with her. We talked about her Rebelle Rally experience because I would like to enter next year. I have a lot of work to do! The outside classes got rained on and we had to move our next groups to the front of the hotel under the front awning.
Brad and Michael had the Yota and Frankie there teaching us different things on both vehicles. I learned how to charge a huge heavy tire with out a lot of muscle! They showed us everything under the hood and under the vehicles. As we closed our classes for the day we were to get ready for dinner and our “Crazy Hat” themed night. All the ladies were very creative in the hat wear. The highlight of the evening was the hat that Charlene wore , it was funny as she nodded while speaking and the flamingo hat we named “Ya-Ya” was nodding with her. As she poke we all couldn't stop laughing. As dinner got stated Cora Jokinen with Torq-Masters Industries and fellow convention participant, she told us about her journey and it was very eye opening. You never know what you can accomplish on your journey and she inspired me to never give up your dreams and ambitions. We all got some really cool hats from Raceline Wheels and some other goodies. The night was great as we closed up to get some sleep for our adventure day the next day!
The next morning Day 3 we were all up early for our adventures. All the ladies got to choose an adventure from the list of: Caves of the Winds, Pikes Peak/Garden of the Gods or Royal Gorge Railway. My group went the the Royal Gorge Railway on the Arkansas River. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad Is a heritage railroad located in Canon City, Colorado. The railroad transits the Royal Gorge on a 2 hour scenic and historic train ride along what is considered to be the most famed portion of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The 1950's era train departs the Sante Fe Depot. In the 1870s, miners descended upon the Arkansas River valley of Colorado in search of carbonate ores rich in lead and silver. The Arkansas River cuts through the Royal Gorge, a high Plateau of igneous rocks forming steep- walled gorge over 1000 ft. there are narrow spots that plunge into the river. The scenic view is absolutely gorgeous. One of the middle train cars is an open deck to view the royal gorge bridge that is suspended across the 955 ft of the gorge looks tiny from way down on the Arkansas River. I wanted to try my hand at some White Water Rafting next time I come to Colorado. There were so many rafters and it looked like an amazing time. There is also a kitchen and bar on the train. We had some breakfast and took in some beautiful sights on the 2 miles run on the train. We got to know all the ladies in our group as we chatted and had fun on our adventure. It was an epic time and I so happy I went. All of these ladies then sat under a huge tree and had our lunch giggling and sharing our stories. Each on of the ladies has an awesome background and journey. When our shuttle got there to pick us up. The driver said we would go another route around the other side of pikes peak to take in more sights of Colorado. As we got back to the hotel , we had a round table discussion on offroad tips from each of the ladies. The tips and tricks were wonderful and the sharing was great. So many point of views from these fantastic ladies. We also had a discussion about our Charity event for Sunday evening and our plans to make it a success. Our dinner theme was 80s night with florescent clothing! These ladies brought out all the rad 80s get up! I felt like we were all ready for an 80s madonna video. We put on the 80s music and had our Mexican food dinner and jammed out. Alice Gerst also spoke at the dinner about her journey that made a lot of us tear up. All these women are so inspiring and have a lot to offer. Charlene spoke about “how to add Value to a Rock “ our goals and that we all can achieve them and she believed in us. She gave us a rock that she painted that said “ You Rock! ” with and note on them, We had to put our goal, a picture of ourselves at the convention and of ourselves offroading. She also wrote on it “ Be Awesome! You Got This!”. It was to go on our desks to remind us about our time and that we can do anything. Then it was time for an activity , well a challenge as I call it. We had to fold her tent she used at Rebelle Rally., and we had to pick a teammate and be timed. OMG!!! I have never laughed so hard! It was very challenging!! We all struggled but never gave up. Then We danced the night away with our totally awesome 80s music.
Day 4 we got to sleep in a bit and get ready for brunch. Some of the ladies were leaving that afternoon and it was time to soak up the rest of the day with them before some sad goodbyes. Charlene had set out some thank you cards for us to say our thank yous to some awesome people. We also had to write down our goals for a time capsule and a survey and suggestions for next years convention. We had a great brunch. The ladies that were going to the Charity event also spoke about what the plan was and we needed to raise some money to help with the event to get supplies for the women shelter we were going to. All of the ladies were very generous and we raise enough money to do some good in teaching the ladies at the shelter how to maintain their vehicles. Which the ladies that were participating in the charity event would be loading up and going shortly. Our charity event was for Family Life Services home. These ladies all have children and need help getting to a safe environment. The were very attentive in learning about their vehicle and we showed them how to check fluids and basic maintenance. It was a great day and the smiles we gave each of them were so worth the time spent with them. A few more ladies left out to get home after we were done. The last few of us that were leaving in the morning stuck around and we planned dinner at the Colorado Mountain Brewery. Charlene invited Heather McCallay and her daughter to dinner with us. She was so wonderful to meet and we made had a great time with them and had dessert first! We shared laughs and ideas and some tears of joy for all we have accomplished. It was a great night.
As I reflect my time at the convention and sharing a room with 3 other amazing sisters that I dearly love, my heart is full, my mind is full of dreams and possibilities. My time with these women is something I will never forget. I didn't want to say goodbye to any one of them nor my 3 sisters that I hold dear and will miss seeing like crazy! But it was goodbye and see you soon. Lexy, Megan, and Jaime....Thank you for the time and the love. Charlene, YOU ROCK! You still amaze me and I can’t wait to go on the challenge with you! Now I have goals to Smash and take names. My journey is not over, stay tuned for the next adventure!!!
Author: Jessica Greenland