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Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

by Cindy Groth


Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1During 2018, I took advantage of being retired and leaped feet first into Ladies OffRoad Network (LON).  After becoming a member during “12 Days of Giving” in December 2017, I registered for both LON Trail Training at King of the Hammers (KOH) and LON Convention 2018.  This was just the first of many times I have stepped out of my comfort zone.

Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1While most of my adult life I have been married and worked full-time with no children. I realized that non-work activities were always with my husband (Mike).  Which I love, but I really needed to find some like minded women.  I have always been a tomboy, and always been more comfortable around guys discussing sports and cars.  So, can LON help me find those women?  Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1YES, Ladies OffRoad Network has provided me with many opportunities to meet women who are not afraid to Step Out of the Comfort Zone.  Which in turn gave me the courage to step back and re-connect with my younger, wilder self.

My earliest memories of the outdoors are learning how to drive a tractor and helping dig post holes with my Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1father.  He and I were inseparable and my penchant for the outdoors was fueled by his need to be hunting and fishing when not at work.  My first driving lesson in our farm truck, took a quick turn into the Barney Oldfield realm, as I decided the truck was not going fast enough.  I can still hear my father yelling for me to push in the clutch so the truck would come to a stop.  But, in my usual stubborn way, I brought the truck back to the gate and then stopped.  The first of many Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1driving lessons I would receive from my father.

Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1Somewhere along the way I became very timid and reserved and would not step out of my comfort zone unless I was sure of the result.  But, as I neared retirement I knew it was time to find the old Cindy and let her loose.  Thank goodness I have an understanding husband that has always seen the real me, even if I didn’t.

In 2011, I decided to build myself a Jeep Wrangler that could do the Rubicon and Moab trails.  Those places were considered the mecca for Jeep enthusiasts and were definitely on my off-road bucket list.  Since my current 1997 TJ had too many commuter miles to consider it off-road worthy, I decided to buy a new JK.  While searching the internet for viable options at local dealerships I found the Mojave Edition in Sahara Tan.  I instantly fell in love with the look and could see the final result would be unique.  And anyone who has known me, knows that I have no problem stepping out of the Comfort Zone when it comes to my vehicles or clothes.

Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1Four days before my birthday in October 2011, Max and I found each other and the fun began.  While still stock and my being a novice off-roader, we had a few experiences that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. First off-roading trip resulted in a dent, because I did not know how to engage the four-wheel drive in a JK.  Then Max threw a “Hot Oil” code on Ophir Pass, which scared the heck out of me.  But, a fellow Jeeper stopped and asked if we were ok. We told him about our scare and he said to let it cool down and then take it easy, we were almost to the summit.  So went the initiation into the off-roading world.

Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1Then in March 2016, the transformation was complete with new axles, lockers, lift, armor, supercharger and bigger tires.  Now, Max and I were ready to hit the trails and learn the serious business of rock crawling needed before going to Rubicon and Moab.  Quickly, it became very evident that there is more to this off-roading than just driving down a dirt road.

Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1Knees shaking and stomach tumbling, I needed to find myself some way to get better educated.  A fellow co-worker mentioned an off-road event in Big Bear called Forest Fest and I registered for all 3 days.  First, was a night run where we had to traverse some rocks going down hill and then back up.  Second day, was a trail ride the full length of Holcomb Valley, nice and easy until the squeeze and pinnacle rock section.  Third day, found us on Horsethief Flats using lockers, which I had never engaged before.  But, everyone was helpful and patient with my slow going and multitude of questions.  And Cindy-Groth-Ladies-Offroad-Challenge1along the way I learned that my JK prefers to crawl in 4LO which helps to keep the trans temp in check.

Then, I found a forum for Jeep Runs sponsored by Huntington Beach Jeep.  Since that is where I bought Max, I decided to check them out.  I have learned more from those leaders during the subsequent years regarding picking a line and how a 2 door reacts differently than a 4 door.  After some local events and daily runs, I threw my “Comfort Zone under the Tires” and signed-up for Jeepers Jamboree to run the Rubicon trail in July 2017.  Looking back, I am sure I was not ready, but we made it through the entire 19 miles with a few scratches in the fenders, a dent under the passenger door, smashed tail pipe, bent adjustment knob on rear shock, and blown front hydraulic bump stop.  All in all a success.

Next Comfort Zone obstacles were Moab, then Black Bear & Imogene Pass.  Piece of CAKE compared to the next obstacle: Overnight without my husband.  Definitely a step out of the comfort zone after spending every vacation with Mike for the last 30+ years.  But, I found a great partner and Max and I head out in a rainstorm to Flagstaff to camp at the Overland Expo by myself.  Then meet-up with my co-driver Dana and onto the North Rim Overland Adventure with 4xploring and LON.  This last obstacle turned out to be “no problem”.  Dana and I became a well-oiled machine with camp set-up and tear-down with more laughs than we could count over the 500+ miles.  Especially considering that we had only met a couple of times at LON events.

Thank you to LON for providing me with a variety of events to meet and learn from courageous women and helping me Step Out of My Comfort Zone for good.

Posted by: Dulcy Rojas

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