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Making Memories

Shortly before Christmas 2016, I was invited to go for an adventure with my next door neighbours.  They were planning a trip to the local Exstew waterfall on the Exstew River, about 35K from town.  It’s a very popular area in the summer with a nearby campground featuring beautiful beaches along the river with back roads to go exploring on.  The weather had been extremely cold, dipping to -25C at times and now the waterfall would be frozen.  We wanted to see this treasure!

I was going to have my 2 young grandchildren with me for the weekend.  The neighbors have 3 boys and 2 dogs so I thought it would be a great time for the kids.  I went to pick them up from my son’s house on Friday afternoon and decided to bring their dog, Suma, a sweet gentle Husky/Chow cross.  I got everyone packed up and off we went!

The next day we got all geared up for the adventure.  It was a chilly, cloudy day but thankfully wasn’t raining or snowing.  We headed out onto the highway as a caravan of 3 vehicles.  I’ve been to the Exstew area many times before but never in the winter. I’ve done day trips and camped and was looking forward to seeing it all under a blanket of snow.  This stretch of the Exstew river is well known for its bear population.  It’s a protected area and during some spring seasons, the Fish & Wildlife Department close it because there are so many bears fishing along the river that it’s just not safe to be there.  The last time I camped there I saw multiple bears but not near the camping area, only when we were out exploring the back roads (in a truck, thankfully!) But this is winter and the bears are all snoozing away.

We turned off the highway to follow the trail to the parking area.  The drive was a magical fantasy lane, with the snow hanging off the trees in thick pillows and branches bending down and touch our vehicles in some places.

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Once we parked and everyone was out of the vehicles, the kids & the dogs started to run all over the place, playing in the snow and climbing small boulders.  We had to gather everyone together like mother ducks herding their babies and off we went, up the trail.  The trail to the upper waterfall, (there are two trails to different parts of the falls), is about a 10-15 minute hike.  It’s not flat and wide, it’s narrow, winding, somewhat steep and parts were a bit slippery on this day.  But it’s not a difficult trail. Except for my granddaughter Brooke.  Our group consisted of 5 adults, 5 kids ranging in age from 4 (Brooke), to 12 (the neighbour’s eldest) and 5 dogs.  All the dogs and the 4 eldest kids, ran back and forth, up and down the trail the whole way up, laughing and yelling.  The dogs whipped past us repeatedly, chasing each other and having a great time… which in turn, terrified little Brooke.  The bit of ice on the flat part of the trail terrified Brooke.  The tree roots terrified Brooke.  Her brother River talking about snake caves terrified Brooke.  Basically this whole adventure terrified her!!!  She screamed or cried at every step, imagining mosquitoes and flies, screaming at every small dark cavern under a root thinking that a snake will slither out, crying, “ Gramma! There’s a snake in that cave! I’m scared!” and turning to hug my legs.  And as often as I told her that there are no snakes or mosquitoes or flies in the winter, she was still afraid that there were snakes in every little hole!!  Ultimately it was my own fault, as I had been telling a story of my boys (their uncles) finding a pit of baby garter snakes at the campsite during a camping trip long ago.  River kept pointing out the dark holes that a snake could hide in!  So hiking isn’t Brooke’s thing…  yet…

I was attempting to help her over the roots because she was crying that she couldn’t, but when I’d start to boost her, she’d tell me that she could do it herself!!!  Haha!! There was no winning here!  No winning for me, but in the long run, a big win for Brooke.  We bumbled and tumbled our way up and when we turned that last bumpy curve, there it was…..   the most spectacular waterfall I’ve ever seen, in all its frozen glory!!!!

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The magnificent Exstew Falls

This waterfall is especially beautiful and powerful in the summer, pounding on the rocks as it plummets down the cliff, creating a small pool at the bottom from centuries of erosion.  Droplets of water bounce off everything in its way, creating a mist that washes far and wide.  Anyone within 20 meters will be completely saturated!!!  In summer, it’s truly a natural work of art, but now… in the winter, it was mesmerizing.  So perfectly abstract.  So savagely wild. Sweeping yet contained.  Flowing, yet solid. Fierce like a  wraith, ethereal like a fair lady.  Such a contradiction of textures.

I was taken by its pale turquoise colour, its sweeping icy arms, dripping massive icicles.  There was a small rush of water still alive beneath the meters of ice about half way up, reminding us that it was still a most powerful, living entity, even in its state of stasis.  The huge pile of ice at the foot of the fall would be the mist rising in the summer, but now was captured by the frigid air and morphed into a massive protective ice ghost.

I was in my trance, gazing in awe at the magnificence in front of me, yet there was all sorts of activity around me.  I was snapped out of my momentary daze by little Brooke crying that her fingers were frozen and that she couldn’t get up the hill because she kept slipping on the snow.  I took her mitts and gave her my gloves to wear and stood behind her so she could still climb and not slip.  I suggested that she pretend to be a snow tiger.  That helped her ambition and she smiled and became excited to climb up a bit higher.  For a short while she was happy and smiling and proud of her accomplishments.

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Happy Brooke

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  River, Brooke & me

The other kids and dogs were climbing and sliding up and down the huge hill that is generally inaccessible during the summer.  The ground and rocks all slippery with snow on it, are way more slick with water and moss on them!  Suma was so happy to be out and about with the kids and other dogs.  We were there at least an hour, exploring up and down the creek as best we could, watching the kids and dogs having fun.

Here is a short video clip of the fun & the waterfall on my my YouTube channel: 

When we were ready to head out, we gathered all the kids up and started back down the trail.  I thought that maybe Brooke would be a bit used to it, but nope.  She was NOT happy to be on this horrible, steep, root laden, snake infested trail again!!  I’m pretty sure that going down was more terrifying than climbing up and again she cried or screamed at every turn.  After a few minutes of this, my wonderful neighbor Cyndi, picked Brooke up onto her hip and packed her right to the bottom!  Brooke still screamed, more than cried going down and was happy when we arrived at the bottom.  Let me tell you, after all her commotion, I was happy too!  So when we decided to go to the lower falls, Brooke, one of the older boys & Cyndi’s husband stayed in their warmed up truck.  The rest of us walked to the other trail and headed in.  After traversing this very short, flat trail, but with large tree obstacles, I was glad that Brooke was safely in the truck.

The lower falls has a nice frozen pool and a great view of the upper falls.

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View of the upper falls from the lower falls

We explored and played there for about 30 minutes and headed back to the vehicles.  Once everyone was packed up and ready to go, we drove to the campsite to check out the river and so some snow wheeling.  We drove through the snowy camp roads and parked near the river.  Everything was pristine and white with part of the river flowing out from under icy banks.  Us women and dogs hiked over to the water while the kids stayed with the guys.  My friend Lisa’s boyfriend, Corey reminded River of his Uncle Jorden so that’s what he was called for the rest of the afternoon.  The two of them got along famously and threw snowballs at each other and played.

 

Soon we were ready to head home with visions of our adventurous day and dreaming about camping in the summer.

These are how memories are made.

Happy trails to you all!

Jen

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Dream Big!

Happy New Year to all! Welcome to 2017 and a year of fresh adventures!

This month is the 3rd year anniversary of the Green Jeep Adventures!  It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already, the time has flown by! I’ve posted 32 blogs in that time and have no intention of slowing down. I came up with the concept I believe, on January 11th and started to write. Here’s a link to the story of how it all started for anyone who is curious: http://wp.me/p4ge8y-2

If I look over the stories that I’ve written, I realize that I’ve had WAY more adventures than I’ve written about. Maybe I’ll get around to writing about some of them, but many would be best told in photos, (of which I have plenty!) Often I’m out hiking and the only mention of Fiona would be that she got me to the trailhead! But I guess that’s ok, it is, after all, an adventure blog and hiking IS an adventure!  I do have a fun adventure from just before Christmas to write about, so stay tuned!

So what’s ahead for the Green Jeep Adventures? Well, more adventures!! I’m just in the baby stages of writing about the adventurous life, exploring near and far. so there are plenty ahead. I have a couple of possible road trips planned for this year and plenty of smaller local adventures. I absolutely love where I live.   From my local neighbourhood to the farthest reaches of the country, Canada is my beloved home and I want to share it with as many people as I can. My travels likely won’t extend past British Columbia and possibly Alberta this year, but we’ll see. Nothing is written in stone and a surprise adventure can be spurred at any given moment!

Future adventures include a trip across Canada, a trip through the USA and the biggest dream, spending time in Australia in a green jeep with a rooftop tent. Going to Australia has been on the very top of my list since I was a teen!  While I’m there, I want to also visit Tasmania with its beautiful bountiful seafood and wild windblown hills and New Zealand, whose mountainous landscape is so spectacular that it rivals the Canadian Rocky Mountains!! I have family and friends living in Australia, so will be doing the rounds. Most of the folks I know live in eastern Australia, and I have a friend who lives in the outback of the Pilbara region in Western Australia. There’s so much culture and heritage there and I’m excited at the thought of learning about it. It’s one area that I simply cannot wait to see!

For now I’ll be focusing on local adventures and digging into the heritage of my own communities here in the northwest of British Columbia. There is so much to explore right here in my own back yard!

What adventures are YOU planning this year??  DREAM BIG!

Cheers to you all and thank you for continuing to follow my adventures!

Happy trails!

Jen

Fishing

Fishing the Tseax River in the Nass Valley

Ms. Fixit’s Adventure 

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Fiona is ready for winter

I recently had help putting Fiona’s hard top on (right before the cold snap!) and also put the cargo rack back on. I recently noticed that 2 bolts were missing from the two top front holes and that the rack was shimmying a little bit apart. Now, just driving around town, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the past week I’ve been on the highway driving a round trip of 150k a day, to & from work and the rack has been shaking it’s way apart. I wouldn’t normally notice this, but there was a strange bumping noise that made me inspect the rack to see if it might be the problem. When I saw that the two pipes were coming apart, my heart jumped into my throat. Visions of my whole cargo rack flying off in sections as I was careening down the highway passed before my eyes! I envisioned pieces smashing into other vehicles on the highway, shattering windows, denting hoods and puncturing tires as pipe chunks flew off the jeep onto and under cars and trucks. “I have to fix this right NOW!” I thought to myself.I searched my jeep for the 2 missing bolts with no luck so decided I’d have to buy new ones.

But it’s Sunday and chances of finding the right bolts today will be a challenge. Fiona & I set out to good old Canadian Tire with hopes of finding something close to what I needed. First I checked the hardware section to no avail. Then I headed to the automotive section and found a few small rotating racks with various small packages of vehicle repair items. It took a while to sort through everything but I finally found some 1/4 inch by 2 inch bolts and packages with washers & nuts to correspond. Armed with parts and hope, Fiona & I headed back home to sort out the cargo rack.

The passenger side of the rack had not started to separate and I was able to put a bolt in it easily. The driver’s side, however, was about a 1/4 inch apart and I couldn’t fit the bolt in. Time to get creative. I remembered that I had a case in the back of the jeep with bungees and 2 straps with come alongs. I pulled out the straps, set them up from the front to the back of the rack and started to tighten it up. Once I got it as tight as possible, I got a piece of wood & a hammer & pounded on the rack with hopes that it would move. It didn’t move all the way back into place but it moved enough that the bolt fit! I just needed to know that the rack would stay together. I slipped the bolt, washer & nut through the pipe and secured it. The bolt was a bit on the thin side & was wiggling around a bit, so I wrapped both sides with electrical tape to hold everything tight.

When I get the proper bolts, washers and nuts, I’ll replace these small Canadian Tire bolts, but they’ll give me peace of mind for now!

Happy adventuring!

Jen

 

Day Trippin’

Where’s your favourite place to day trip? Maybe you have more than one place that you love to visit? Day trips are a great way to have a mini adventure, to put the cares of the previous days or week away for a short mental and physical break from the everyday routine. Well I love day trips and recently I was going to do a solo day trip to a nearby town and decided to ask some friends if they’d like to join. My friends Amanda & Krista said yes and off we went!
My initial reason for wanting to go to this neighbouring town, Prince Rupert, was to go to the local microbrewery, Wheelhouse Brewery to try a glass of specially created raspberry/lemon zest Gillnetter Golden Ale.  It sounded really delicious and as a craft beer lover, I wanted to check it out. I found out that there was only one 40 litre cask that was being opened at 4 pm on a Friday but I couldn’t make it on Friday so I planned to go out on Saturday and hope that there was some left. You never know, right?

We left for Prince Rupert at 10 am. The highway runs along the mighty Skeena River. It winds in and out of the forest and over the many creeks that tumble from the majestic mountains that sweep toward the river valley. Every time I do this drive, I’m reminded how tiny I really am. It is stunningly beautiful with tall waterfalls visible far up in the mountains, water cascading into unreachable ravines. The mountains are massively intimidating and gorgeous and at some points, hang over top of you as you drive! Mere words cannot describe the views.

The Skeena river is wide and choppy and is also tidal. Prince Rupert is right on the ocean and the tides push up into the river and people fishing or camping on sand bars have to properly time when to arrive and leave so that they don’t get caught on the bar, or flooded out (at certain times of year).

The mountains at Polymar Bar

We arrived in Rupert around 11:30 and headed for the quaint area known as Cow Bay. This area has lovely shops and some fine cafés and restaurants and is right along the ocean, overlooking the docks.
My friend Dai owns a sushi restaurant, Fukasaku of Prince Rupert in Cow Bay, so we stopped there to see if there was lunch that day.  On this day there was only dinner so we decided on the nearby Cow Bay Cafe. Although I’ve been to Rupert many times, I’ve not eaten there! I‘d heard of it though, and was eager to try the food. The 3 of us sat at a table near a the full sized glass window overlooking the docks. Many places in the northwest are supportive of anything local and Cow Bay Café has Wheelhouse (Prince Rupert)and Sherwood Mountain (Terrace) beers on tap. We each ordered a local brew and browsed the menu. There were so many amazing choices that it was hard to decide what to order. And….  I was having so much fun that I didn’t even take any food photos! But I did take beer photos!

Wheelhouse Flagship Pale Ale & Gillnetter Amber Ale behind

Since there are enough foodies out there describing food, I won’t. But it was amazing! The food that we ate may or may not still be on the menu because it changes frequently, depending on what local ingredients are available. We saw that there was an elderberry flower spritzer that we reeeeeally wanted to try, and we wanted to add Prosecco to it, but it was sold out. I’ll be foraging for elderberry flowers next spring! We still bought the Prosecco though and it was delicious. Making a mental note to come back, we headed out the door and wandered up the street to the HomeWork Store gift shop to browse before heading the half block to Wheelhouse Brewing .

The brewery is the tiny back part of a building, nestled along a large rock face with a large gravel area out front. I’d have probably missed it if one of my friends hadn’t pointed it out! As we walked through the door into the gently lit room, I could see that it was very quaint and rustic. There’s a serving bar on the left side as you walk in, a large community table beside it, an area for performers straight ahead and a couple of large industrial coolers to the right. I saw a long time friend sitting at the bar with a couple of buddies and stopped to chat for a few minutes. I then asked about the lovely sounding Gillnetter Amber Ale with the raspberries and lemon zest and as I suspected, it had all been consumed the evening before. I asked if they had their beautiful rich Smokehouse Porter, but being a seasonal beer, they did not. I ordered a Pale ale, filled my 2 growlers, the girls ordered their beers and we sat at the community table. One friend pulled a game off a tall built in shelving unit and we set up to play. I can’t remember the game’s name, but it was really hilarious and we laughed a lot. Plenty of folks started to come in, many dressed up from attending one of the three weddings happening in town that day. I knew a couple of folks, it was good to see friends that I don’t get to see very often.

The girls & I decided on a time to leave, finished our game and our beer and off we went. We’d had a great time and look forward to doing this again.

Full, happy growlers

On the way home, we stopped along the Skeena River and I took a couple of photos. Never a dull moment around here!

Happy trails!

Jen

My friend Krista ‘s phone cover matches Fiona!

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Rubicon 2016

Here’s a re-blog of Offroad Vegan’s recent wheeling adventure 😀

Off-road Vegan

This year’s Rubicon trip would be unlike any other we have ever taken.  Maybe it was the seemingly countless trailer flops.  Or maybe it was the legendary campsite.  Or, the fact we started in Wentworth Springs instead of Loon Lake.

Day 1: Mt. Hood, Oregon – Yuba City, California

Our journey began at Mt. Hood in Oregon and we made our way through Bend for a lunch stop at Broken Top Bottle Shop and their legendary BBQ Tempeh sandwich.

As we made our way down Highway 97 into Weed, California, the sun started to set and the temps dropped from the high 90s to the upper 80s.

DAY 2: Yuba City – Wentworth Springs – Buck Island Lake

After an overnight in Yuba City, we dropped doors at a sketchy Motel 6 and finished the route to Wentworth Springs.

No Rubicon trip is complete without a cold beer at Uncle…

View original post 765 more words

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Let the Wheeling begin!

 

The 4 wheeling season started with a bang this year.  When was the last time you saw eight 4 wheelers get stuck and muddy?  Well at the end of March,the kickoff trip was a family 4 wheeling day on a random trail. Some of us got stuck and everyone got muddy!

My neighbors invited me to go out on a Saturday. We met at a large gravel pit where 4 wheelers of all kinds gather to play on the hills or to meet and venture into the woodland trails. Today we were meeting to go find a random trail in the area. I knew a few of the folks in the group, but most of them were new to me. There was quite a large group when I arrived and people were still showing up. There were 4 jeeps, an older Chevy Blazer, 3 quads and a side by side. There were people of all ages, and I was excited for the day.

When we set off, we didn’t know exactly where we were headed, we just knew that we’d look for a trail and follow it. We were a stream of shapes and sizes like a rainbow river. Sean in his big jeep was ahead and once he found a trail that looked fun he turned into it and we all followed. It was a fun trail, with muddy puddles and a trees with branches that reached out like arms to brush faces and scratch vehicles.

Fun trail!

After a bit, we came upon a creek with the remains of what was once a basic log bridge. We all stopped and went to have a look to figure out the best way to get through it. For the bigger jeeps and quads, it was a fun jaunt through or around the hole but for us two stockies it posed a potential challenge. The first two bigger jeeps got through easily.

Jordie was next with his new stock Rubicon. I wasn’t sure how he’d fare through the muddy crevasse, but his possible success would be a glimmer of hope that I too, would make it without help.  He eased down into the hole, steering as the guides instructed, over the log, turn a bit to the left, hit the gas…. Yeah! He made it!

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I had hope. I did the same, got ready to climb the bank and   Hit the gas! Yeah! Here I go! … No.  Stopped dead by the trailer hitch that I had forgotten to remove. It got caught in the steep muddy bank.  So, with my hopes of a clean run dashed, monster jeep came to my rescue to winch me out. I removed that hitch right away!

On the bright side,  I had my new (to me) bumper with a 12,000lb winch and this was my first time using it. Of course, it worked flawlessly!

Fiona’s new bumper, winch & light bar

Once we were all past the creek, we had muddy challenges along the whole trail.




Soon we got to the end of the trail and had to all turn around and go back through the mud holes and of course the old bridge hole. Getting back wasn’t as easy, both Jordie & I slid sideways, with Jordie threatening to roll onto his side and into the creek!  We both had to be winched out, I was first and then as I was watching him, I held my breath a couple of times as he slid down the embankment.


He was successfully winched out and all was good. We all headed back to the main road and decided to go visit the beautiful Lakelse Canyon while we were in the area.

Most of us walked, but some brave souls chose to go through a huge puddle in the road. 

Lakelse Canyon

Lakelse Canyon


It was a great way to start the wheeling season!

Happy Trails,

Jen

Where did the Winter go??

Happy Spring Friends!

Winter?  What winter?  We barely had a winter here in the northwest of British Columbia!  Last year we had a massive snowstorm in February that shut everything down for a few days, which is rare around here.  Not this year! The little bit of snow that we did get has long gone and we’re well into spring!

I’ve been busy as always and am way behind on writing about my adventures!  Spring has arrived and when I put my summer tires on Fiona, it was game on! I’ve been out on three epic wheeling adventures since March, all in my local area, some, literally right around the bend from my home!  In between wheeling adventures, I go on exploration trips, jeeping along back roads and generally stopping and hiking.  Sometimes the road has ended and sometimes I just park because I want to check out stuff on foot.  That usually involves thrashing through the bush, following a rough trail or finding semi open mossy meadows.  I always hike with one or more friends, often there’s a dog or two along and I always carry bear spray.  There’s always somewhere enchanting to find.

I’ll be writing separate accounts for each adventure with lots of photos.  For now, I’m stopping in to say that I’m still here and there will be new stories coming up very shortly!!

Adventure can be found everywhere!

Happy trails,

Jen

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Fiona on Copper Mountain, Terrace, BC

The Jeep Earns her Keep

Having a jeep like Fiona can be all fun and mud pits but every now and then the has to pay me back for all the fun. As a 4 door jeep, she’s basically an SUV, with all the luxuries that any other SUV would offer, except that her roof comes off and she turns into a big toy. She’s pretty, clean, and my small grandkids get to sit in the back in their car seat and booster seat like any other vehicle and I can take my big grandkids 4 wheeling. She’s got a decent sized motor and is fairly fuel efficient. Putting her to work is a good test of what she can handle under a heavy load.


Recently, I had a line on some firewood. It was somewhat last minute so I messaged friends who own a large trailer and asked if I could borrow it & if they wanted to come and get some. They were out of town but said that I could use the trailer. My friend Jen was going to help me so we headed out to my friend’s house and we hooked up the trailer. I had already spoken to the owner of the wood and drove to a mountainside property that he’s clearing for a subdivision. When we arrived, he suggested that we go for a quick jaunt in his truck up to where the wood was, to have a look before driving Fiona up there. We agreed and hopped into the back of his truck, with his daughter in the front seat. As we headed up the mountainside, Jen & I talked with the girl about her horses and how fun they were, as Jen also has a horse, and I used to ride. After about 2 minutes we reached the woodpiles and I realized two things. First, with Fiona pulling that heavy trailer, chances are that she’d have a hard time getting up some of the hills. Second, I would need a large chainsaw to cut logs. I do have a chainsaw, but it’s too small to cut these logs, and it’s so old that it’s finicky and won’t always start. Once we all realized that I wouldn’t be taking wood out of this lot today, we drove a bit farther up the road and saw the land that he & his colleagues are clearing. There will be 2 forty acres parcels and a bunch of 10 acre parcels. The view is stunning.


We went back to where Fiona was parked and the owner said that he had some wood already cut up on his personal property just down the road and that I was welcome to take some. I was extremely thankful for the offer and followed him a short way to his place. Beside a pile of logs was a big pile of cut up wood. It was along the side of a dirt road that was bordering his horse pasture on one side and forest on the other side. There were horses grazing and when they saw us all arrive, they started to neigh and gallop up towards us! Quite the welcome! They ran up to the gate near us where they waited for us to go visit them. We didn’t have time to say hello and had to figure out how to get Fiona and the trailer turned around on this dirt road. The owner said that there was a spot to turn around just past the woodpile but there was also a steep hill & even though Fiona is a 4 wheeler, the trailer was so heavy that I thought I may have trouble getting back up.

I was already parked down the road and parked beside the wood pile and now had to back out all the way to the parking area, with the intent to back into the dirt road to the wood so that I’d be facing the way out. I started to back up towards the parking area, managing to steer the trailer ok, but because it’s a shorter trailer, probably about 8 feet long, it was touchy to back up and I had to stop and pull forward a few times to straighten it out. Then I got to a gentle hill and poor Fiona’s clutch started to burn. It was hard on her. I managed to get out without burning the clutch out, turned around and prepared to back up yet again towards the woodpile. I made a few attempts to get past the big gates, but because the trailer is wider than the jeep, I couldn’t see behind me and even though I backed out of the dirt road, I was having trouble getting back on to it. After a number of back & forth attempts and the trailer just not going straight and thinking about the distance that I’d have to go on the road, I decided that it was going to make me crazy and decided to leave. I was disappointed not only in the fact that I wasn’t going to get wood, but also at my lack of ability to get the trailer backed down the road. I was driving tractor trailers last summer and backing them up without problems!! Why can’t I steer this darn trailer?? (because it’s harder to back up a shorter wheelbase, that’s why.) Jen & I left the property, I was heavy hearted. We returned the trailer back to my friends’ place and we went back to my place and since it was getting to be late afternoon, Jen headed home. Despite the ordeal we had fun hanging out.

Later that night, I messaged The wood owner and thanked him for all of his trouble but that I wasn’t able to take any wood. I thought that if I could just drive Fiona there, I could lay the back seats flat and load her up. I asked if he’d be ok with that & that another friend with a truck might be able to help the following day. He’s so generous that not only did he say yes, he even offered to lend me his old work truck if my other friend wasn’t available. What a great guy.

So the adventure continued!

The next day, my other friend Julie and I headed out to the property. I had put Fiona’s back seats flat and covered everything with a big plastic orange tarp.

Before going to the property, I had asked if I could head back up to the subdivision to take a few photos of the view so Julie & I went up there first. The clouds were covering the mountains so I couldn’t get any photos but I showed Julie around. Then we headed back to the property to load up with firewood! We positioned the vehicles across the dirt road & backed in towards the pile & started to load. First her truck, then my jeep. It didn’t take long with two of us working. We headed back towards my house, but I’m unfamiliar with that area and had to use my GPS, but it was taking me the long way. I thought I had taken a wrong turn and had to pull over to ask Julie if we were going the right way. There are a few different ways that we could go and I thought that a different road would be quicker so we turned around and went up a side street. I don’t have the best sense of direction and because we had stopped at the subdivision first, which was the opposite direction of where we needed to go, my sense of direction was all messed up. Sigh. After a couple of trips I now know where to go but I was flustered and amused at myself for feeling lost.


We got back to my house, quickly unloaded both vehicles, flinging logs into a big pile in my back yard, then headed back for another load. This time I had an idea where we were going, got there quickly, lined up and had the wood flying into the backs of the vehicles in no time flat! One last drive home to unload and we were done.

I’m thankful to have the start of next winter’s heat! Time to get chopping!

Thanks to all for their help!

Happy trails!

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Jeep goes Facebook

Well, it’s happened!  Fiona is now gracing the pages of Facebook.  I didn’t plan to have a facebook page just yet, but it happened.  For anyone who wants to check it out, here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/thegreenjeepadventures/?fref=nf

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I’ll have more photos than stories, I’ll continue to post the stories here and post links to them on facebook.

The Green Jeep Adventures just took another step forward!

Happy trails!

Jen

 

 

Opportunity Knocks

 

This story is about an adventure in life, an adventure in patience and grabbing an opportunity when it’s just a glimmer. It occurs over a long period of time, but really starts with a sudden and unexpected turn of events.

Fiona finally got a winch. It was the one item that I had wanted to buy from the day that I bought her and I thought about getting an aftermarket bumper as well, but it wasn’t in the budget at the time. Instead, I looked at getting a winch plate to attach to the stock bumper. The winch plate was going to run me upwards of $200+ and to find somebody locally that could fabricate me one, who wasn’t super busy, was basically impossible. Then I bought a house. There went any jeep budget I may have had, but a fair enough sacrifice and Fiona would just have to wait a while.

Fast forward a year and I’d been loving life in my new place and was about to start renovations of the outside of the house. I was working my day job & planting gardens in my back yard after work & on weekends when I wasn’t off adventuring. One moonless morning in April, I was headed to work on the local 2 lane wilderness highway at 5am. It was still pitch dark out and visibility was extremely low. Thankfully it wasn’t raining out, just dark. I approached a long uphill passing lane and was behind a slow moving Suburban truck. I signalled that I was going to pass and pulled into the center passing lane. As I reached the side of the Suburban, I suddenly saw a deer about to hop into my lane and another deer following behind it. With the truck on my left, the first deer now almost in my lane and the other one right behind it, I had no choice but to try to slow down because I knew I was going to hit it. Poor thing. Never knew what happened. Died instantly. The Suburban may have seen me hit it, as we were parallel on the roadway and the person hit the gas and sped away. I was completely shaken up and pulled over, onto the shoulder. There was no other traffic so I got out of the jeep and checked the front end, then ran out onto the road to check the deer. I tried to figure out if I could move the deer but there was no way. I thought to myself “If I had a winch, I may be able to move it” but there’s no way I could have without putting myself in danger. Vehicles started to drive by as I stood by the jeep shaking and trying to phone the police to let them know of the hazard, but I had no cell phone service. Nobody stopped to see if I’d actually hit the deer, or to see if I was ok, people probably thought I was stopping to check it. I saw that people were driving around the deer and realizing that there was nothing more that I could do, I decided that I had to get to work on time and left. I called the police again when I arrived at work, only to get a recorded message and gave up. When I drove home later that afternoon, the deer was gone.

So now there was some damage to the front of the jeep that was going to need repairs. It was definitely driveable, the stock bumper is very sturdy and the deer was a smaller variety so the main damage was to the bumper. My driver’s side fog lamp was knocked out, the same side fender flare was broken along the front, there was a crack in the grille just on the passenger’s side of the license plate and the plate itself was all bent up.

 

Tbis is the photo I took when I got to work.

Fortunately, I have full insurance coverage and just had to take Fiona to the local insurance broker for an assessment. Summer happened and by August, I thought that I’d better get Fiona to the insurance broker. I had been thinking that this was a good opportunity to talk to the broker about a cash settlement for the bumper but have a shop fix the rest of the damage. The broker checked out Fiona and said that yes, he would give me a cash settlement of what the stock bumper was worth. I was really happy to hear that and started shopping for a new bumper and winch.

Now, this whole shopping for jeeps parts thing can be overwhelming because there are so many options! I really wanted a stubby short bumper but realized that if I hit another animal I’d be sacrificing my wheels, basically opening them up to be damaged. No stubby. Maybe one day. Then I had to shop for one that was going to give me value for my hard earned cash. I had chosen a Smittybilt bumper and winch through a warehouse parts store near Vancouver. I was getting ready to order, when my jeep friend Dan said his friend, Dennis, was selling a newer model bumper and winch made by the same company. I did some research on the bumper (already had info on the winch) and messaged Dennis. He sent me photos and information about both the bumper and winch and said that it came with a 20” light bar too. He was asking a very good price for them, they weren’t used for very long & he decided he wanted a stubby bumper lol. So I decided it was a great deal and my friend Dan had offered to drive it north to my house as he sometimes works north of my community and was taking a big truck load of supplies a few weeks later. So the wheels set into motion. Dan & Dennis met and Dan took the goods to his shop. He built a pallet to put it on, wrapped it all up and had it put on the truck. This process took about 6 weeks in total, working around everyone’s schedules but I wasn’t in a hurry because the autobody shop hadn’t called me yet. I didn’t call them either, as I had to wait until the bumper had arrived.

The day arrived when Dan (and his work buddy, aka brother-in-law) arrived at my house after driving all day from Vancouver, arriving at 10 pm. We got the pallet off the truck, I unwrapped it all and Dan helped me to put the bumper in my workshop & the winch in a locked shed, closer to where Fiona is parked (and I wouldn’t have to move it as it’s super heavy). Then the guys continued on their way. That’s JEEP FAMILY for you! Lucky for me, Dan happens to make covers for all sizes of light bars, his company is called Grootwear . Dan dropped off the bumper setup in early November. I was still waiting for a call from the autobody place but had Christmas plans and didn’t call them. Christmas and the New Year came and went and still no call. After dealing with my broken garage door ($$$$) and then frozen pipes on arrival home from my Christmas holiday (more $$$$) I finally called the autobody shop. They searched around for my claim and couldn’t find it! No wonder they never called! They had no record of it! An easy fix though, I passed on the insurance adjustor’s name and they called him, problem solved, they said they’d order parts and call me in 2 or 3 weeks, which they did. My jeeping friend & mechanic Craig had offered to install the bumper before Christmas and I said after the new year would work the best, after the body work had been done.

We set up a date for me to take Fiona to the autobody shop on a Thursday & Friday and I arranged with Craig to see if he could install the setup on the Saturday. All was set and I was excited that it was finally all going to come together after almost a year since the original incident with the deer and over 3 years since I bought Fiona!

When I picked up Fiona on the Friday afternoon I was so very happy to see a perfect grille and new fender. The old parts were in the back of Fiona, I plan to do something creative with the grille.

 

cracked grille, broken driver’s side fender flare, bent bumper & missing fog lamp

 

Fresh out of the body shop!

I confirmed with Craig and set out early the next day. We started to work about 10:30, first job was to remove the old bumper. Amazingly only one bolt was really stuck and once Craig got it off, the bumper came off relatively easily. To my surprise, the missing fog lamp was still attached by the wires! I thought it had fallen off when I hit the deer! I had looked for it & didn’t see it. Either way, the housing was broken and it was unusable. Then we had to run to the parts store for wires, primer/rustproof paint and a few other items. Got everything organized, stopped for some lunch and got busy again. There was quite a bit of fiddling to get the spot on the frame ready for the winch, Craig had to move a small pump to reach the bolt holes and once that was done he wrestled the winch on, and I held it in place while he got it bolted to the frame. He then hooked it up to the power source and checked that it worked. Success!

 

Bumper is off

 

Installing the winch

 

 

Testing power to the winch

Now for the actual bumper. This was fairly easy, it fit on nicely and again, I held it in place while he got it securely bolted. The only thing left was to wire up the light bar and that took quite a bit longer. I had bought a switch to install on the dash by the steering column so that I could have separate control over it. He had to not only wire it up, but cut a spot for the switch and test out the whole system. When it was all completed, I was unbelievably happy! It looked great, worked great and I finally had the winch I’d always wanted and a bonus bumper and light bar!


Next week, Dan will be arriving in the north to work again and has made me a cover for the light bar. Photos to follow!
Sometimes things take a while to accomplish but when that window of opportunity opens just a bit, it’s great when we can push it wide open and make things happen!!

Happy trails!

Jen