Forum User Name: Kris Bowe
Chat with Kris
"Hi! I am Kris Bowe, and am the owner of a beautiful red 1997 TJ. I’m married to a fellow Jeep enthusiast, Mike, who owns a black 1998 ZJ (Humpty). We have two girls Grace and Addie, who also love off-roading with us. Most of my off-roading experience has been in the passenger seat and as a spotter. Over the last few years I have participated in some ladies runs and in June 2017 I purchased my own jeep. I just couldn’t let my husband have all the fun. I am grateful for the experience in the passenger seat. It taught me to be a better spotter and I was able to gain a lot of experience and knowledge without the intimidation of sitting behind the wheel. I like driving even more! My family lives in Minnesota, and we traditionally have done most of our wheeling in the MN and WI areas, however I would love to get outside of the Midwest and do some wheeling trips in other parts of the U.S. I work as a Finance manager for an investment consulting firm and love my work. I have the awesome opportunity of getting to work hard AND play hard and have a great family that backs me up and has just as much fun when we are playing. When not wheeling, I love to travel, read and LAUGH."
Occupation: Finance Manager
Birthday: June 24, 1978
Questions & Answers
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: "Mexican and seafood"
Q: Do you have kids?
A: "Two daughters, Grace (15) and Addie (11). Grace is super smart, kind, respectful, and an overall great kid (I totally lucked out). Grace actually drove for the first time on her 15th birthday. She loved it, but decided she likes Mike’s jeep more than mine (she’s wrong). Grace does robotics and synchronized swimming, and loves marketing and designing and planning things. Addie is smart, witty, funny, creative and keeps me on my toes. She ages me and keeps me young all at the same time. She has a personality that can fill a room, and she either loves you or doesn’t. A friends refers to her as a sour patch kid, and that pretty much encapsulates her. Addie loves riding in my jeep with the top and doors off. She can sleep while we are racing down the highway and the wind is blowing and the music is blasting. She loves art and music and cuddling with her mom."
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: "Two labs, and one cat. One of the labs is a white female named Bailey who is seven years old and is super lazy and mellow. The other lab is a chocolate female named Valentyne who is almost 19 years old and still going strong. She used to be super smart and very hyper, but is now mostly blind, deaf and has a bit of dementia. She still moves around more than Bailey J Sophie is our calico kitty, she is eight years old and loves our family but hides when anyone else is in the house."
Q: Do you take your pets off-roading?
Kris's Off-Road Facts:
Q: How old were you when you first started wheeling?
A: "I had my first jeep when I was 16 years old, but I never knew about the off-road world, other than the high school boys that would tear up my grandfather’s fields in their trucks when they went “off-roading”. I was in my early 30’s when I got my first real exposure."
Q: Is your whole family into off-roading?
Q: Are you usually the driver or the co-driver?
A: "I used to be the passenger/spotter, and only drove occasionally for ladies runs. This year I purchased my own jeep and have been enjoying driving at a ton of off-roading events and trail runs"
Q: Do you have any off-road traditions or rituals?
A: "Not yet. Although blasting booty music and 90’s rap early in the morning to get everyone moving may become a favorite."
Q: How often do you get to go off-roading?
A: " I had a multitude of repairs going on this summer, but once my jeep was in top shape, we were getting out for something about every weekend. Some trail runs, some jeep events, some ladies classes."
Q: How did you get started in the off-road world?
A: "My husband bought a jeep six years ago and we started going to a few trail runs a year. He built up his jeep and we started participating more and it has just continued to build."
Q: Where is your favorite place to wheel?
A: "I haven’t really wheeled anywhere outside of MN or WI, but I love the ORV park in Gilbert, MN. It has trails of all different levels, so you can enjoy it with a stock jeep or a built out buggy. There is something for everyone."
Q: Do you belong to an off-road club? Which one? What is their motto/mission?
A: "Yes, I’m a member of Ladies Rock Off-Road Club (LROC), home based in MN and founded by Angie Hinkley. Mission: Community. Collaboration. Camaraderie. Vision: Create a community of female off-roaders. 'Ladies Rock Off-Road Club is a non-profit network of female off-roaders. We offer lady friendly activities, foster collaboration and community, and provide a safe and comfortable place to grow and learn about rigs and off-roading. (LROC brochure)' LROC also partners with other local clubs for different events. Because we are the only ladies group in the area, and most of the women members have husbands in other clubs, we are very popular and get invited to all the parties haha."
Q: What is on your off-roading bucket-list?
A: "Build bucket list: TNT Steel flat fenders and skid plates for the rest of my belly, winch, new front bumper, rear corner body armor Experience bucket list: get my best friend out on a wheeling trip with me, wheel in Moab, wheel on both coasts, wheel in Canada, attend an off-road race (as a spectator)"
Q: How are you active in the off-road world?
A: "I participate actively in social media, and try to get to as many local events and trail runs as I can. I don’t really do winter wheeling, so that limits how much I can get out in MN (the arctic). LROC is great in that there are events of all types almost every weekend, so we can connect even if there isn’t a trail ride or wheeling event going on.."
Kris's Off-Road Stories:
Q: What is your most memorable offroad moment?
A: "I was driving Mike’s jeep on a ladies run and our trail leader took us backwards up an easy trail. There was a small difficult patch that about half of the jeeps in our line were getting caught up on. I approached it and almost got through, but not quite. My spotters had me back out a bit and hit it again “with a little more skinny peddle” this time. I did exactly as instructed. And broke both axles. My husband was not upset with me, he has a pretty good attitude about breakage on the trail. It turned out to be a good experience because I learned so much. I used a winch for the first time. I learned that while I should listen and take advice from my spotters, I also need to trust my gut, even if it is going to take me longer to get through. And I learned that attitude is the number one tool you need on the trail. It keeps a good day from going bad."
Q: What was your first wheeling trip?
A: "We took Mike’s jeep and went to Dresser for Memorial Day weekend with the owners of Iron Rock Offroad. Mike’s jeep (a 1998 ZJ) was not yet built out (didn’t even have rock sliders yet) and so we had to do bypasses on most of the obstacles. But it was incredible to watch some of the IRO jeeps do the obstacles and just made us want to build out his jeep more."
Q: What was your longest wheeling trip?
A: "I haven’t really done any long trips, I think the longest may have been a 4 day long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) with about 2 ½ days of wheeling. I look forward to some longer adventures!"
Q: What was your favorite wheeling trip?
A: "I’ve enjoyed most of the wheeling trips I have been on, but I haven’t had a favorite yet. Still on the list!"
All About the Ladies:
Q: Who do you look up to in the industry? Why?
A: "My absolute favorite off-roader is Angie Hinkley. She is straight up, one of the best humans I have ever met. She is smart, wise, kind, and doesn’t fall prey to the catty women gossip that so many women do. On the trail she is encouraging, helpful and always willing to take the next great picture of your rig. I would follow her down a trail anywhere. I also really like Charlene, hence why I am completing this super super long form.. she is inspiring and motivates me to learn more, do more, try more. There are a few vendors that I really like. TNT Customs, because Mary is AMAZEBALLS. And Iron Rock Offroad, which is a local vendor that has always been super helpful whenever I’ve had questions and/or concerns about my vehicle."
Q: How do you feel as a woman in the off-road industry?
A: "Excited! There is nothing quite so incredible as a guy looking at my jeep with envy, or the look of disbelief when I can do an obstacle with as much confidence as the person in front of me. The more I know and the more knowledgeable I get about my vehicle, the better it gets. I met a man and his wife at a recent jeep event, who had a stock version of my jeep, a red 1997 TJ. He got so excited and said 'that’s what my jeep can grow up to be!' Our conversations around the jeep and the modifications that were possible led his wife into wanting to drive for one of our runs. How cool is that?"
Q: Give us a story, any story, about educating, guiding, empowering ladies in the offroad, past or future:
A: "I don’t have enough experience myself to really guide or educate, but I love motivating. I had the privilege of representing LROC at a recent trail event. It was so much fun to get the women excited to take the wheel and try driving themselves. Their excitement was so contagious I don’t think the men even noticed that they were demoted to passenger. It was truly awesome to witness. I am also the first one to volunteer my jeep up if a newer driver wants to see what the vehicle feels like. We don’t do any obstacles, but I’ll take the passenger seat and let them try driving around. Usually one little trip in the driver’s seat of a jeep is enough to convert anyone."
Q: What advice do you have for ladies who want to get started off-roading?
A: "Try it! Ask someone if you can tag along to an event. You don’t have to have a rig to participate and enjoy the activity. Learn as much as you can, and figure out what you really enjoy so that you can buy or build your rig for YOU and to do the things that YOU enjoy. Get involved with a network of ladies that enjoy similar things and learn from them."
About Kris's Vehicle:
"1997 TJ, Red and not yet named."
Q: Does your vehicle also serve as a daily driver?
Q:What is the best modification you have done to your vehicle?
A: "That is such a tough one. I recently switched from a manual to an automatic transmission which makes rock crawling and obstacles so much easier. But I also really love my SwayLoc because it allows me to comfortably drive my vehicle on the highway to get to events so that I don’t have to trailer it."
Q: Do you work on your own vehicle?
A: "Very limitedly. Mike is pretty good with most fixes, and I help as much as I can. Occasionally it will need to be worked on in a shop for more extensive repairs and/or upgrades (transmission swap)."
Vehicle Type: Jeep Wrangler (TJ)
Tire Make/Size: 35x12.5 (I own 39.5 as well, but haven’t been gutsy enough to put them on yet)
Wheel Make/Size: Steel rims
Front Suspension: Rough Country 6” long arm
Front Sway Bar: ORO SwayLoc
Front Shocks: N/A
Front Bump Stops: N/A
Rear Suspension: Rough Country 6” long arm
Rear Sway Bar: None
Rear Shocks: N/A
Rear Bump Stops: N/A
Front Axle Housing: Dana 44
Front Differential/Locker: Yukon
Front Axle Shafts: Chromolly
Front U-Joints: Spicer
Front Drive Flanges/Hubs: N/A
Front Brakes: Standard
Front Steering Components: Chevy truck steering box
Rear Axle Housing: Ford 9”
Rear Differential/Locker: Yukon
Rear Axle Shafts: Chromolly
Rear U-Joints: None
Rear Drive Flanges: N/A
Rear Brakes: Standard
Rear Steering Setup: None
Ring & Pinion Manufacturer & Gear Ratio(s): N/A
Engine Manufacturer: Chevy
Engine Horsepower: 5.3 LS
Engine Torque: N/A
Radiator/Fans: Custom Radiator, Electric fan
Air Intake: N/A
Transmission Make & Type: 4L60E Custom built
Transmission Adapter: Novak
Transmission Cooling System: N/A
Torque Converter: N/A
Transmission Shifter: N/A
Transfer Case(s): MP231
Front Driveshaft: Custom
Rear Driveshaft: Custom
Fuel Cell or Tank: Tank
Fuel System Pumps & Filters: Chevy Corvette
Body/Interior: XJ seats
Body/Body Panels: Standard TJ
Body Modifications: 2” body lift
Skid plate/Material: Transfer case/steel
Steering Column/Wheel: Standard
Pedal Assembly/Cutting Brakes: Standard
Seats/Harnesses: XJ seats
Lights Interior/Exterior: Standard
Winches - Front/Rear Brand & Capacity: Not yet.