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…

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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

 

 

Those Golden July Days

There are memories in life that are golden. The memories that you never forget, no matter how long or fleeting they may be. I’m fortunate to have plenty of these golden moments. When I stop and let my mind drift away to happy days of the past, I’m flooded with them. It could be that I’m generally an optimistic person, seeing the beauty in a situation, or the positives in a possibly negative situation, but I’ve had some really great times and adventures in life.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be part of some really memorable fun in my area. My friend Julie has a friend, Scott, an electrician, who was in the area working for a couple of years. His job had come to an end and he was soon leaving. He had a few weeks of free time in town before heading out in his jeep for a road trip across Canada & the US to his home in eastern Canada.
Scott hadn’t had much time to explore northern BC during his time here, so Julie made it her mission to show him the best parts of our local northwest before he left. The adventures that follow included Julie, Scott, Julie’s dog Kitsci, myself and joining later, Scott’s buddy Grayden, who would accompany him on his cross country trip. This is the first instalment of a bunch of adventures that we had over the next few weeks. 

Julie had talked to me about Scott, but I’d never had the opportunity to meet him because he worked permanent night shift. When his work term was finally up, I finally was able to meet him and the adventures began.

The day that I met Scott, Julie sent me a text saying that they were out 4 wheeling and that they were stuck in a mud hole! She had taken him to the powerline ridge behind my home. I had just left work and when I arrived in my neighborhood, I drove past my street and wheeled directly up the 3 minute dirt trail to the ridge. The weather was great, sunny and about 30C (about 90F) and my jeep’s top was off. Before I ripped up the trail, I texted her asking where they were and she said that after a white knuckle half hour or so, they finally bogged their way out of the mud hole and were at the top of the ridge looking at the view. I ripped along the trail to meet them, my tunes blasting. Julie later told me that as I approached them, before they saw me, they heard my music and thought “oh, sounds like a bunch of kids coming up here” and laughed when she saw that it was me! I saw Scott’s black jeep and that it was covered in mud and I had a good idea where they’d been. I wouldn’t go into that pit by myself, but they did and were lucky to get out without help! They did, however. get out of the pit and the jeep looked great with the red clay-like mud on the shiny black paint. We all chatted for a while and made some plans for later on, fishing on the Skeena River, chose a location close to home and headed down the ridge to go get ready.

   
They headed to Julie’s house, I headed home and within a couple of hours we were ready to roll. We chose a spot a little ways out of town, a short distance past my neighborhood so I didn’t have far to go. We all met up on the river bank that is a wide open, old, rocky river bed known as Copper Flats, named for the mountain by my house and the Copper river that flowed beside it, into the Skeena. We set up camp near the Copper river, but on the banks of the Skeena, got our rods in the water and waited for some fish. We were fishing for salmon and this type of fishing is slow and easy. Pound a rod holder, most often homemade, (as in this case) into the ground, set up a chair beside it and crack a beer. That’s the Canadian way on this river… (ok not everybody cracks a beer, but we did). There’s always a small bell that us fisher-people attach to the tip of the rod so that when a fish strikes, we can leap into action and try to hook the fish. In our province, we’re not allowed to use barbed fishing hooks so we need to have some skill to keep a hook in a fish’s mouth. So sometimes we plant our chairs somewhat close to each other so that we can chat, while our rods are at least 10 – 20 feet away from each other. If that bell rings, it’s a mad scramble over the rocks in a race against the fish!  Fortunately, on this day, no ankles were turned in the pursuit of fish.

Fishing in this river is always risky. Not necessarily a dangerous risk, although there are always dangers around water, but more of a “losing your fishing lure” kind of risk. Also known as getting a SNAG. The rocks in this river are rounded and worn from eons of water running over them and have unlimited hiding spots for a lure to catch. Of which the lures do. Often. Of course this day was no exception and we all had numerous snags.
With years of fishing experience, we learn how to unsnag our lines fairly well, but there’s that other 40% of the time that we can’t, no matter what we do and we lose our lure. We each had a couple of snags, lost a lure or two and had a few fish bite at our lures. Scott fought a couple of fish and ultimately lost them… that barbless hook can be a challenge! As the evening wore on, we visited and laughed as we fished, enjoying each moment. Eventually Julie’s lure got caught up in the rocks no matter what she did, she just couldn’t get it free. She’d already lost a lure or two and really didn’t want to lose another. After valiantly trying to dislodge it she came to the conclusion that she was going to have to cut it off when Scott stepped in and told her that he’d give it a try before she broke the line. He stripped down to his shorts, took the rod and started to wade into the river. That in itself isn’t unusual, but he kept wading until he was up to his chest! He was determined not to have her lose another lure! Now this isn’t a regular thing and not generally recommended in most rivers, but this was an area that was slow moving and Scott wasn’t going to go any farther than safe. He waded out to the area that the lure was hooked and plied the rod around trying to dislodge the lure. I was uneasy seeing him out so far in the river and thought of what we would do if he lost his footing. We were close to the mouth of the Copper river and if all else failed, he’d end up swimming into the shallow pools of the Copper where it was flowing into the Skeena. Having grown up near the ocean in New Brunswick, he’s very confident in the water. I was still nervous though. It took him a good 10 minutes of working the rod but finally the lure finally became free! Julie waded out a bit to help him and when they got back to shore, Julie had her lure and Scott had a soaker!



 I still smile thinking about this, it was so unexpected and so fun!  As midnight approached, and daylight disappeared, we packed up and headed back into town.

I drove ahead of them along the flattened rock road and avoided the sand dunes that I’d definitely drive through in daylight.  I could see Scott’s jeep headlights behind me and as we got to a forested area, I lost sight of them on the winding trail.  To get onto Copper flats from the highway, there’s a short, steep bumpy 4 wheel trail that only a 4 wheeler can navigate.  I happily crawled up the short embankment and waited for Scott & Julie for a minute before deciding to just keep going.  Once I got onto the highway, I still didn’t see their headlights & decided that I’d better go back to make sure that they were ok.  My expectation to see them coming towards me didn’t happen so I gleefully crawled back down the steep bank to where I expected them to be.  Still no headlights.  It was pitch black out by now, there was very limited vision.  Once I got out of the forest, I saw their headlights in the distance and wondered why they were still so far down the river bed.  As I approached, I saw that they were stuck in a sand dune!

Scott wanted to have some fun but not being familiar with our river sand, he drove over it at a normal speed, which will get a vehicle stuck… yes, even a jeep.  They were relieved to see me and we made jokes about them having to sleep in Scott’s jeep, which wouldn’t really happen in our age of cell phones, but it was good for a laugh.  They’d been trying to rock back & forth to get out of the dune but ended up just digging themselves in deeper.  Fortunately, I always carry an emergency equipment and had tow straps ready to go.  When we had the strap in place, I realized that I’d also be partially in the sand and that I could also get stuck too!  That wouldn’t be fun (until later when we’d laugh about it) but for now it was a real concern.  I put Fiona in 4 wheel and slowly started to pull Scott’s jeep… nothing.  I felt Fiona’s back tires sink a bit in the sand and knew that Scott’s tires were deep.  I pulled forward a bit to keep my tires from sinking more, then  tried again with little result.  Time for the 4 low gear.  I threw Fiona into low, Scott got his jeep ready and I backed up a bit to get some weight behind the pull.  We hit the gas at the same time and I lurched ahead, heard the strap tighten and hoped that this time we’d get Scott’s jeep free.  Our engines were growling with the effort and this time it worked!  Scott’s jeep was out! Such a relief!  It had taken a good half hour of digging and pulling and they wouldn’t have to sleep on the river bed with the bears!

The fun thing is that he got stuck twice in one day. That’s real jeeping!

As I headed back towards the highway, I made sure that I could see their headlights in my rear view mirror!

 

 

Welcome, 2016!

Welcome to 2016
Hello and Happy New Year to you all! I wish each of you the very best for the coming year. 
As I write this, I realize that it’s been 2 years since I started The Green Jeep blog. My intention was to start slowly and to ramp up over a 5 year period to a full adventure blog. In 3.75 years, I’ll have the opportunity to transition from my current employment to whatever I choose. Aka: early retirement. If I plan and act properly, I can be free to do as I please in that short time. Quite the light at the end of this tunnel!

As I reflect over 2015, I see the rollercoaster of life. Lots of ups and downs, but nothing that isn’t a normal part of life. There were births, deaths, break-ups, new loves. Strife, great joy and temperate times when there were neither ups nor downs and life was pretty easy. There were innumerable adventures, of which you’ll be seeing here shortly.

So for now, dear readers, a big THANK YOU for your follows, likes and comments, I’ll have new stories arriving soon! 

Happy trails!

Jen

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Firewood Adventure

The most recent green jeep adventure was a trip to a local log yard to get firewood for the winter. Now it’s already late November, and although I still have about a cord of seasoned wood, I’m new to finding firewood. I’d been watching for forest wood that I could cut down and keeping an ear out for local suppliers. It took until November to finally find somebody reliable or someone who still had wood available. I was thankful to have found some folks with a log yard. Funny thing, I didn’t just find this supplier, it was word of mouth after inquiring from a friend’s friend! I considered buying a logging truck of logs but need seasoned, chopped wood for this winter. I phoned the log folks and set up a Sunday to go get 2 cords. One cord is 4 feet by 4 feet wide by 8 feet high… or equivalent to those dimensions.

I don’t have my own trailer to transport wood in so I had to borrow one. My friends Amanda & Andrew have one and said that I was welcome to use it so I went to pick it up on the Saturday morning before. Andrew was not available to help us hook up the trailer so us girls had to do it ourselves. The hitch part of the trailer was on the ground, buried in the dirt and I had to clean it before we could attach it to the jeep hitch. Amanda a got a block of wood that we could set the trailer part on so it would be easier to lift it onto the jeep hitch. I backed the jeep up so that the hitch was right beside the trailer hitch and Amanda & I heaved it up and over, perfectly onto the jeep hitch! Phew! We secured the chains, hooked up the lights and I was ready to roll! I had some errands to run in town, and having the trailer made me really think about where I was going and where I’d be parking! I am familiar with trailers though, I drove a rafting bus with a trailer full of rafts for 6 years mostly on logging roads and have driven tractor trailers and all sizes of trailers at work. I managed to get all my errands done without trouble, although traffic and parking in town were crazy busy. It was kind of a fun challenge to maneuver around.

 

The next morning I was up bright and early, ok maybe not too early, it’s a weekend so 8 am is a good sleep in (work days I’m up at 4:45). I was expected at the woodlot by 10:00 and Amanda was coming to help me. Once she arrived at my house, I was in the jeep, ready to go and she followed me with her car because as she said, her Pug, Molly is too hairy to go in my jeep! She sheds. A lot. Lol.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get the woodlot, but I’d been in the area once or twice before and had instructions from one of the owners, Debbie. She said her husband Mel would meet us there in the lot to direct where my wood was. I found the place without any problems and had to back up the jeep and trailer quite a ways with a slight S turn. Since the trailer was shorter than the other trailers that I’ve backed up it took me a couple of tries to get the feel for it but once I figured it out, I backed up to the wood pile easily. Mel had marked off my 2 cords of wood and helped Amanda & I pitch log chunks into the trailer. The ground was quite mucky and thick and Mel didn’t want to overload the trailer for fear that I wouldn’t get out, but I had Fiona in 4 low and all the 4 wheeling that I’ve done with her had given me the knowledge and feeling for how to drive. When the trailer was as full as we felt comfortable with, I inched my way out of the mucky lot, by surging ahead a couple of feet and rolling backwards a bit, then giving a bit of gas with the next surge forward. I only had about 20 – 30 feet of that and I was back on solid ground. No problem! Mel was leaving the lot for the day to go for a back country ski with friends, so suggested we return next Sunday when the ground should be a bit more frozen and he’ll be there all day if we need any help.

Amanda & I headed back to my house and I backed into my back yard so we could unload the wood into a pile to be transported to my wood shed.


I have a small utility wagon in my back yard so I filled that up as Amanda picked up a few logs at a time and walked them to the shed, about 15 feet away. We stopped for a short break but still had the wood stacked in the shed in about 90 minutes while Molly sat by and kept us company. Now that’s teamwork! As we were chucking wood off the trailer I happened to notice some very cool fungi that I’d never seen, growing on some of the wood.  The really unusual ones were a really pretty deep purple jelly type fungus and the other were tiny aquamarine fungi!  More familiar ones were tiny oyster type mushrooms and another tiny plate type that I can’t identify, but are very pretty.

 


We’ll be going back next Sunday for 2 more trips and I’ll have enough firewood to last the winter!

 

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