Jeep Project: LCOG Build Phase 1

For the past year I’ve been experiencing massive Jeep withdrawals because our Jeep has been undergoing a suspension and fender alteration to achieve a lower center of gravity (LCOG). After driving around for five years with a  tall, top-heavy Jeep, we’re reducing our lift from 5.5 inches to 2.5 inches to make it a little more highway friendly and easier to hop into, while still maintaining its off-road capabilities. The stock fenders are getting trashed and we’ll be installing  Poison Spyder high-line  fenders to maintain similar (or better) suspension travel that we enjoyed before. Accompanying these fenders in the front will be new taller shock towers (via Ford truck shock towers), a new track bar by JKS, new Bilstein 5125 shocks and new 2.5 inch front progressive coil springs from Rough Country. Read More

Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree

I’ve gone camping and exploring out in Joshua Tree numerous times, but can you believe I’ve never tried rock climbing? A few weeks ago, my brother and his family were in town visiting, and being the Joshua Tree rock climbing maniac he is, we planned a 4 day trip out to Joshua Tree so he could get his desert fix.

It was spring break, but we were lucky enough to find a nice, big site at Ryan Campground. We camped at site #2 and there was plenty of room for three big tents. Camping costs $10 per night at Joshua Tree, it’s all first-come first-served (no reservations), there’s no running water and  restrooms facilities are pit toilets. It’s not fancy, but you can’t beat the desert views. We were able to hike around the campground and go bouldering with the kids around Headstone; plenty to do and see right within walking distance.

My brother, John, took us out to a climb called “Barney Rubble” to try out our climbing skills. John has been trekking out to Joshua Tree to climb since the 1980s, so he has a good grasp on the climbs and difficulty levels he was introducing us to. I gave it a shot, and wow, it was challenging and adrenaline pumping. Watch my video below to check out the climb we tried and how my niece and nephews did.

Farewell Tents, Hello RV!

I’ve been a die hard tent camper my entire life; I love the simplicity of setting up a tent and keeping my gear minimal. But recently I made a big mistake… while camping in Glamis my husband and I stayed in a RV instead of our tent. And wow, was it wonderful! Read More

Day 3: Mojave Road Jeep Camping Trip

Day 3 of our Mojave Road offroad trip completes our three day, 130 mile Jeep trip from Laughlin to Barstow. The final day covers 51 miles and traverses through Soda Lake, sand dunes, Afton Canyon, and a river crossing at the end. (And what camping trip wouldn’t be complete without a Del Taco feast!)

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DIY Spare Tire Rack

The toughest part about Jeep camping trips is organizing all your gear and fitting it in your Jeep… and still being able to take a furry buddy in the backseat. My husband, Matt, decided to make a Frankenstein spare tire rack out of $60 Harbor Freight receiver hitch cargo carrier that attaches to the Smitty Built spare tire carrier currently on our Jeep.IMG_1216Our spare tire rack loaded up with firewood and gas on the Mojave Trail. Read More

Red Rock Canyon

If you’re looking for a picturesque day of offroading amidst tall cliffs and geological formations, then Red Rock Canyon is the spot. Located off highway 14 north of Mojave, California, Red Rock Canyon State Park offers camping, offroading, hiking and spectacular views. Read More

Ultimate Jeep Trip: Mojave Road

day-1The Mojave Road is a 130 mile dirt road that traverses the Mojave National Preserve, and makes for an incredibly fun and historical three-day Jeep trip. The road starts out in Laughlin, Nevada and ends a little north of Barstow, California.  Along the way there are historical landmarks, abandoned mining camps and even a lava tube to explore. Camping is primitive (no running water, no bathrooms) and the spots we’ve camped at have been remote with great views.

My husband and I have taken this trip twice, both times with friends from the Wrangler Forum. I made a few videos to give you an idea what the trip is like (thanks to Steve P. for collaborating on these videos!) and also included a list of items to pack in addition to your normal camping gear. Read More

Camping Done Right! Comfy Tent Setup

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Our yellow lab, Indiana, is a big fan of our new tent setup. We recently upgraded to cots with REI air mattresses on top and they are extremely comfortable, even for those with back pain. We’ve owned the mattresses for about 4 years now, our REI sleeping bags are 5 years old, and our 4 year old REI Base Camp tent is still going strong. (And since we’re talking numbers, Indiana is 7!)

September 2019 Update: 

These particular REI air mattresses, sleeping bags, and cots are discontinued, so I went on Amazon to find a few comparable products if you’re looking to buy something similar for your camp setup.

Thermarest Basecamp Self-Inflating Foam Camping Pad

Kelty Tuck 22F Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag

Coleman Trailhead II Cot

May 2020 Update:

We went camping… at home! With all the stay-at-home orders, my husband and I set up a camp out in our front yard for our two kids with our trusty REI Basecamp 4 tent. Read more about it here, “Camping at Home with Kids.”

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Time to move in!

 

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Breaking in the New RZR XP 1000

We made a short day trip out to Johnson Valley to start breaking in our new RZR XP 1000, and wow, this machine is incredible! It’s a completely different offroading experience from Jeeping… now we can go very fast over crazy terrain! I made a quick video of our first ride, and if you get the itch to investigate XP 1000’s further, check out Polaris’ website.