Yeah, I Drive Like A Girl
Perspective Your Stories

Yeah, I Drive Like A Girl

Author: Karrie Steely

Karrie Steely Drive Like A Girl-5Until I got involved in rock crawling with my boyfriend, any four-wheeling that I did was strictly need-based. I’ve owned a 4x4 pickup for years, which had gotten me around my horse pastures, in to snowy trail heads for snow shoeing, and over some treacherous passes. But four-wheeling for fun? Pushing the boundaries of your vehicle? I really wasn’t at all interested at first, but was willing to give it a try. My boyfriend literally “rocked” my world when we started dating and introduced me to Rock Dawg, the latest version of crawlers that he’s engineered and built over the years. I went from being a four-wheeling newbie to riding and sometimes driving some seriously big stuff pretty quickly.

Karrie Steely Drive Like A Girl-3A few years in the passenger seat has given me a feel for the buggy. For example, I can feel if the tires are going to catch or start spinning, if spinning will get us anywhere or bounce us off the rock, using the sidewalls of the stickies to grab and climb, keeping an eye on the rocks that the front wheels pass over while watching the back ones at the same time, how to use the rear steer in the back while maneuvering the front simultaneously, or when to stretch the frame out or pull it in. This car is amazing. My boyfriend designed it so the wheel base can extend by three feet, so it can stretch or shorten up depending on the obstacle. If it gets too off-camber, each shock tower can be adjusted up to twelve inches to level back out or raise or lower the vehicle to adjust the center of gravity - again, one of his inventions. After a lot of observation, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable behind the wheel and all the levers.

Karrie Steely Drive Like A Girl-2I’ve learned to trust my beau unconditionally on the trail. If we get wedged into a nasty spot or something breaks, he always figures out how to get us out or fix it, and I’ve gotten into some wrenching myself. What are usually hours-long trails for normal buggies are a walk in the park for Rock Dawg. However, there are a few important things I’ve learned about being in the passenger seat: don’t take a drink until the car has come to a complete stop, don’t try to scratch my eye or pick my nose while in motion, and never, under any circumstance, say “You can’t drive up THAT.” It’s immediately taken as a challenge that I really don’t want to ride along on.

He and his buddies are constantly pushing the limits of what is physically possible to drive. Honestly, I don’t get much of a kick out of what they do, because it usually scares the bejesus out of me. Even though we’ve never been interested in competing, he’s been wheeling recreationally on the trails with top competitors like Justin Keilman, Kevin Carroll, Jeff McKinley, Jason Jordan, and others for years. It keeps him on the top of his game, and if he can beat them on the trail occasionally, it’s good enough for him.

Karrie Steely Drive Like A Girl-6I remember one of the first big dry waterfalls that we crawled during my first season four-wheeling. I closed my eyes and had to clamp my mouth shut to keep from begging to get out. Recently, we were on the same trail, and I drove all the obstacles myself. No sweat. Boy has my perspective changed. I enjoy driving those “easy” trails. I’m pretty lucky to get to drive the Dawg and watch and learn from some of the best drivers in this sport. With this buggy and a lot of good instruction, I’ve been able to learn from my mistakes and not end up in bad situations. As I continue to become a better driver from watching and spending time behind the wheel, my goal is to redefine “Drive like a girl.” Now, whenever I hear that phrase, I just smile and think, “You have no idea.”



Author: Karrie Steely
Bio: My two wonderful daughters have grown up and moved on with their lives, and now it’s Mommy’s turn to play! I’m an artist and writer. During the summer and fall months, my boyfriend and I live on our farm in Nebraska. Besides working on our off-grid house and homesteading, we clean grain during the harvest months. When the snow starts to fall, we pack up the toy hauler and camp in the desert southwest on BLM land during the winter and spring, hiking and rock crawling.