Keri Porter – Ladies Offroad Challenge Featured Entry
"Keri Porter, Temperance, MI – Keri has been offroading for over 10 years, currently runs a offroad club of over 200 families and has found a passion for working in the garage with her husband Pauly for the last 3-4 years now. They love working on their Jeeps together and she has found she can change/mount tires, oil changes, belts, pulleys, starters, alternators, all basic repairs on her own and then assist him on bigger jobs like installing lifts, axles, transmissions and engines. She is at a point in life where her kids are almost grown, so she is looking for a new line of work and discovering her next set of passions!"
Tell us about yourself:
My biggest hobbies are offroading and helping Pauly in the garage. We love to work on Jeeps together. Our kids are bigger and don't require my attention anymore, so it's been great to be able to spend time with him and learn. There are somethings that I can do on my own in the garage, change/mount tires, oil changes, belts, pulleys, starters, alternators, all basic repairs. I assist him on bigger jobs like installing lifts, axles, transmissions and engines. We've been offroading for over ten years. Hoping to make it out west one day, when both of our rigs are ready. I also like to go shooting at the range, hunt, camp, and hike. I enjoy being outside. I'm really at a point in my life where I'm trying to discover myself. My kids are almost grown, I'm looking for a new line of work, and I just retired from my most time-consuming hobby (roller derby). I feel like I have a lot of free time right now but that's okay.
How long have you been offroading?
I have been offroading for 12 years.
How did you get into offroading?
I went on a weekend trip with my best friend and her brother to The Badlands in Attica, Indiana. It was a fantastic time! When I walked in the front door after that trip, I kissed my hubby and told him he needed to find me a Jeep! We purchased our first Jeep a couple weeks after that.
Tell us about your vehicle:
My Jeep is a 2011 JK. We upgraded to the Recon Dana 44 axles and put elockers in front and rear. The front is trussed by G2. I have a 3.5" lift, I call it franken-lift because it's pieced together from all different product providers. I currently run two sets of tires, 35" BFGoodrich All Terrain tires for daily driving, and 37" Mastercraft Courser MXTs fI. I recently upgraded to the Yeti XD track bar. I will hopefully be upgrading the rest of the steering components soon. We're looking at the Barns 4x4 DIY kit. I've also installed some light pods, small light bar on the front bumper, seat heaters and the Bartact seat covers. Oh yeah, aftermarket (ebay special) front bumper, Traveller Winch, Rugged Ridge rear bumper with tire carrier, and a 15lb PowerTANK. Love my PowerTANK!
What has been your favorite offroad experience?
That's a hard call! I really love taking new people (especially girls) out on the trail. It's amazing to watch their excitement and their confidence level completely change as they grow in their knowledge of how their vehicle works.
What was your most exciting offroad achievement?
Hmmmm.....exciting? How about nerve wracking. 😉 I would say leading, I haaaaaate leading, it's too much pressure! I've led trail runs on the last two trips that we've organized for our club.
What excites you about offroading?
Everything! I love all aspects. Taking my vehicle to places that most people won't ever see. Trying new things and kicking butt at them! Teaching new drivers the basics, organizing events, the camaraderie, building vehicles. I just love it all!
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of offroading?
Affording it. We do most things on a budget. We stay/camp and eat cheap. We were young with three little kids when we started. We were always broke! We first started working on vehicles just so we could afford to get into the hobby. We've learned so much! My husband has been nicknamed the Jeep Doctor in our area. We have people stopping to ask us questions or to sell us broken vehicles all the time!
Which aspect of offroading do you think is the most fun?
Right now I would have to say learning how to work on the vehicles. Paul's been working on them for 12 years, I've only been working on them for about 3. I still have so much to learn!
What does prepping for an adventure look like in your world?
The two weeks leading up to an event are always crazy at our place! Late nights in the garage helping everyone get their rigs ready (because we can't say "no"). We also use that time to finalize the trail ride details. If we camp, we pack food and camping gear in a rush the night before and then stay out in the garage until the wee hours looking over our rigs.
What is on your offroading bucket list?
Wheel in all 50 states including OUT WEST! It's a completely different world. Go to Outer Banks and Uwharrie. Go overlanding in the Upper Peninsula, and Alaska. At least attend the Baja 1000, ideally it would be awesome to do a family team one year. I would love to attend/participate King of The Hammers. One day we'd love to just hit the road and attend all the iconic Jeep events.
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
My favorite people to offroad with are my hubby and my bestie. We are usually running weekend events for our club. We host a weekend away once a month. Every year I also host a girls weekend trip. We are hoping to sneak away with a small group soon!
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
Never go alone! Stupid things tend to happen when you're all alone.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to Charlene and Ladies Offroad Network for bringing ladies together. It's great to see everyone support and encourage each other. It's such a positive atmosphere!
Click here to see all the 2018 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.