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Cross Country Jeepers

The Faces of Jeep interview with Michelle Lynn Babcock

Founder of Cross Country Jeepers

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?

Michelle: “I love the freedom, the challenges, and the uniqueness you can make them. I also enjoy the fact I can work on it myself and learn so much from it.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Michelle: “I have only done locally and Minden so far. I do have dreams to wheel at other places and hope to reach them some day.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done to your Jeep and which companies would you recommend to others?”

Michelle: “Traihead Customs has done my front bumper and will be doing my back bumper, spare tire rack and rock rails. I have a 3 inch Zone lift installed by Elgin Tire Craft, JKS sway bar disconnects, 33″ Mudclaw tires from Offroad Addiction, two 4″ pod lights and light bar from Light bar Supply.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “ How has owning a Jeep influenced your life and what inspired you to start Cross Country Jeepers?”

Michelle: “I have connected with so many great people all over that I never would have without my Jeep and have developed a huge family. Cross Country Jeepers started due to a couple bad experiences I have endured and wanted to change that. I did not want those experiences to destroy me but yet improve me. I wanted to start something local with a whole different outlook and experience within a Jeep organization.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us a bit about Cross Country Jeepers, the meets, events and charities you are involved with?”

Michelle: “Many people are surprised to see a woman running a Jeep group, but respect and truly appreciate what I do. Members love supporting each other and helping everyone (women included), our motto is “ACCEPT ALL, NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND.” We usually try to meet once a month and discuss how we can help our community and surrounding area as well as our next adventure to have fun. We host our own Topless Day, Show ‘n’ Shines, and various fundraisers as well as participate in others. We have done food, clothing and toy drives. We made a young man’s day with a Jeep party, supported Tim Horton’s Youth Camp, John Sweeney Homeless Veterans and this year Courageous Companions. We are all about helping others, the good we do and having fun.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running the Cross Country Jeepers?”

Michelle: “My Jeep family, the people I meet and wonderful experiences I endure. I love the feeling of the good our organization does, the fun we have, and the respect I get.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite Jeep adventure moment?”

Michelle: “Anytime I get in my Jeep. When it is all open and I hit the roads with the breeze flowing through, sun beating down, the music going and the feel of freedom flowing through my veins is always an adventure. But there are two moments that do stand out for me: My very first hill climb and my first rock climbing experience in Minden. They have changed something inside of me and helped to open up willingness for new adventures and experiences with my Jeep, and my life; hard to explain let alone understand I am sure.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Michelle: “Cross Country Jeepers and my Jeep experience has opened a whole new me. It has helped me to overcome negative experiences that were eating at me and making something positive out of it. I can throw my passion into something positive and still have so much fun while doing it as well as get respect within the Jeep community by both sexes. This year we are hosting our 3rd Annual Topless Day and raising money for various organizations. I have created a Facebook page of a dream, watching our Jeep family grow and my dream come alive.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What would you say to others wanting to get involved in the Jeep life?”

Michelle: “DO NOT HESITATE! The family is amazing, adventures are endless, and gives you an amazing feeling of freedom.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself and Cross Country Jeepers?”

Michelle: “I hope to broaden our horizons and open up a central location for parts being mailed to our area, representing the larger companies. I would love to have a Cross Country Jeepers clothing line and a place for people to come and ask for assistance with fundraising and feel comfortable doing so.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Michelle for sharing your Jeep journey with us. Love your passion and enthusiasm for Jeep and the Jeeping community. We wish you a great 2018 wheeling season.”

Photo from Michelle Lynn Babcock, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Michelle Lynn Babcock

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JeepnGypsy Adventures

JeepnGypsy~Paula Lea

 

“For those of you who don’t know me personally, I thought I’d just take a quick second and explain what I do. I’m actually a photographer and I’ve been working on getting a personal outdoor adventure/Jeep/photography/excursion blog going of my random Offroad gypsy lifestyle and adventures. I’m hoping by the first of the year to embark on a 1-2 year Solo Jeep camp trip across the US to all the National Parks, and hit as many awesome trails and mixing in as many of the major Jeep/Off-road events I can along the way. I’ll post my website link in the near future (I will be posting images and sharing my adventures daily, as reception allows from the trail) also once I leave full time on my Journey I will be doing daily YouTube video recaps of the days adventures from epic places I end up to epic mishaps (aka me changing a 35” tire or ujoint out in a storm on some mountain and landing face down in mud. I’m sure it will happen haha) you can find it by looking up JeepnGypsy Adventures on YouTube. I also post my daily adventures on both my FaceBook blog and Instagram pages, on all media formats (whichever works best for you) I’ll also cover recaps on any/all of the off-road events I attend. So for the remainder of the year I will be a busy girl figuring out all the logistics and building my Jeep for Extreme Overland excursion (I am trying to train and learn everything I can from common trail fixes, recovery, survival skills, along with handling all terrain and all weather from the Mountains, Desert, Snow, Rocks and Mud,.hence my 4-5 days a week on trail). So I’ll be a girl living out of her Jeep and the open road (well if you can call some of the places I’m going roads)..haha. My hope is by sharing my journey I can inspire even a few others to get out there, embrace the moment, chase their dreams, and live whatever it is they love!” ~Paula Lea, JeepnGypsy

Photo & Story from Paula Lea

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Eat, Breath, Sleep, Jeep

The Faces of Jeep interview with Tj Langenbacher, Ambassador for Alien Sunshade

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Tj: “I chose Jeep because I wanted a newer vehicle. I wanted something tough, somewhat luxurious, I wanted the perks of a Rubicon. It was a perfect base model to build on.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?

Tj: “I have been wheeling for about 2 and a half years. Before that I was four wheeling and motocross racing.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Tj: “I have owned 3 Jeeps. First one was a 1988 Cherokee. Second one was a 2005 TJ. Third one and currently wheeling now is 2011 JK Rubicon.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would you suggest to others?”

Tj: “I have done a 3.5 inch Medal Cloak game changer, PCS hydro assist, Rock Krawler steering, 37 inch tires, a Superwinch Tiger Shark 9500, Adams Driveshaft, BesTop soft top. I would suggest Medal Cloak, PCS, Rock Krawler, Superwinch, Adams Driveshaft, BesTop, Superwinch. A lot of those companies have life time warranty, and the Jeep parts of these companies are high quality parts, they also have very good customer service.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and what kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Tj: “My favorite place would have to be Doe Valley, Winber, PA and Rausch Creek, Tremont PA. I definitely prefer rocks.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips would you suggest to a new Jeeper?”

Tj: “Spend a little extra money on lift. If you plan on doing a lot of wheeling buy big tires, a winch is very important, spend less money on looks and more money on underneath upgrades such as axle shafts, lockers, drive shaft, skid plates, etc. Don’t do trails that your Jeep can’t do, and learn from watching other people. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions, most jeep people are very friendly.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about one of your favorite Jeep adventure moments?”

Tj: “My favorite Jeep adventure would have to be the time a couple buddies and I did a trail called Fantastic Voyage at Doe Valley. It was nice and dry, the traction was amazing. We decided to try Fantastic Voyage, a trail we all have been dreaming of doing for awhile. It was one to remember because, it was so technical of a trail. We had to spot each rig one at a time over the big rocks. We all accomplished the trail with only one hang up and two almost rollovers.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Tj: “I eat, breath, sleep JEEP! I am always doing things to my Jeep on a weekly basis whether it is big or small. I have met so many fellow jeepers and learned a lot from them. My mind has been blown that there is a whole Jeep community out there.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about your ambassadorship Alien Sunshade?”

Tj: “They were the first company to put their product behind my name. Alien Sunshade has helped me get my name out there, and I have helped them out as well. They have generously donated to a Jeep event that I am helping to host.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about being an ambassador for Alien Sunshade?”

Tj: “Best part about being an Ambassador for Alien Sunshade is promoting their products that they proudly stand behind. Also Alien Sunshade loves Jeeps as much as we all do and cares about providing high quality Jeep accessories.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Tj: “I transformed my Jeep from stock to a rock crawler. I am mechanically inclined but didn’t know a whole lot about Jeeps. After hours of research, reading and talking to other Jeep experts, I have come to know a thing or two about building Jeeps.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself?”

Tj: “My future goal would be to finish building my Jeep. Buy a Dodge Cummins, trailer and a camper. Load Jeep and camper up and drive one day, four hours to Moab Utah and spend a couple weeks wheeling on some of the best trails in the world.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Tj for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We wish you a great 2018 wheeling season.”

Photo from Tj Langenbacher, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Tj Langenbacher

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Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective

The Faces of Jeep interview with Jason Chantelau

Founder of Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Jason: “It really started in the mid 90s for me when a good friend of mine bought a CJ5. He came over that first day and I walked out the door and instantly fell in love. It was mid June in the northeast and he had it completely naked. I remember just riding down the road and having this amazing feeling, I couldn’t stop smiling, I was hooked. I chose Jeep because there isn’t another community like it anywhere. There isn’t another vehicle that gets you out exploring and feeling adventurous. I always like to say from the paved interstates to the dirt and gravel roads, from rock gardens to mud holes there’s nothing like owning a Jeep and being part of the Jeep community.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Jason: “I’ve been wheeling since my first Jeep purchase a 1998, Jeep TJ back in April of 2000.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Jason: “I’ve owned four Jeeps, three being Wranglers and one Cherokee.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would you suggest to others?

Jason: “With all my Jeeps they seem to follow the same pattern. There are items I always do with my Jeeps like tint the windows, tail light guards, stubby antenna, CB radio, all weather mats, a center console cover, bikini/sun rider type tops, and sometimes grill inserts. Then there are the larger items. With the Rubicon I went with a mid length Barricade Trailforce HD front bumper with added front Barricade skidplate and the Smittybilt 9500 pound winch and a couple of KC HiLite Apollo Pro Driving Lights. For the lift I installed the Teraflex 2.5 inch using the Teraflex 9550 shocks and Teraflex steering stabilizer. I’m running the Fuel Beast 17×9 wheels wrapped in the General Grabber X3 35 inch tires. I then switched over to open flares choosing the Smittybilt XRCs and coupled them with the ACE Engineering inner fenders. In the rear to hold the larger tire size I have the Barricade Trailforce rear bumper with tire swing out. Lastly, I have the ACE Engineering rock rails for added side protection. I’m a big fan of a few companies I’ve had a lot of luck with Smittybilt and ACE Engineering products. I also will suggest Teraflex for suspension products and for general product purchases I usually recommend Morris 4×4 and Extreme Terrain. There are other great companies out there so my suggestion to folks will vary.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and what kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Jason: “I usually answer that question with my next wheeling adventure is my favorite. Living in Northern Alabama is a great place for Jeepers. We have several Off-Road parks all around us but my favorite might surprise some folks. I love exploring National Forest and National parks, sure it’s not crazy difficult or challenging but I just love the exploration aspect of it just driving off in the middle of the woods and exploring. My wife, daughter, and our chocolate lab Carolina love to jump in the Jeep with no planned location and explore and just go get lost. I still like to play in the mud and on the rocks but there’s just something so therapeutic about getting lost in the woods.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips would you suggest to a new Jeeper?”

Jason: “The first tip that comes to mind is to Tread Lightly and be good stewards of the land! The second tip that comes to mind is to learn the Jeep Wave! It’s such an amazing thing that no other community does and just acknowledges that oncoming Jeeper that you recognize and appreciate the common bond. Lastly, I would suggest that they join a local and global Jeep club/community which can provide you a wealth of knowledge and experience from upgrading your Jeep to learning how to properly wheel and just socializing with all the amazing Jeepers out there. I always suggest local and global online groups because of the amazing reach the internet gives us now. I have Jeep friends all over the world and one of the reasons I started Legendary 1941.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about one of your favorite Jeep adventure moments?”

Jason: “You know I have to say it was last summer with my wife and daughter. We went over to the Wildlife Refuge which has some cool little trails down and around the Tennessee River and we stopped at this little scenic overlook to watch the sunset over the river and I turned around and there’s my daughter on top of the Jeep just soaking it in and I realized that she just had her ‘Jeep moment’ that will be apart of defining the rest of her life. As a Jeep Dad it beats any mud hole or rock garden experience hands down. I also have to mention that we are a true Jeep family with his and hers so we often take two Jeeps on rides and it’s been a blast watching my wife Ashli wheel her awesome Rubicon that she stole from me and the reason I had to buy my own! Just wanted to get that in there.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Jason: “First, all the amazing friends that I have gained over the years and of course the experiences I’ve had. Owning a Jeep has defined what I do and where I go and who I go with almost everyday. What happened to me the other day is the perfect example: I was having a rough day at work and felt frustrated. As I was headed out to lunch, I just kept thinking about the morning events and how annoyed I was. As I began to approach my Jeep, there he was waiting for me and suddenly I started to feel better. I ripped those freedom tops out jumped in, threw it in drive and took off. As I was heading down the road I realized that all that stress was flying straight out the top of that Jeep blasting the music and smiling the entire way. By the time I got to the house my mood had completely changed all because of my Jeep. Simply amazing.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective and what inspired you to start the page?”

Jason: “Legendary 1941 was formed at the beginning of March 2018. I created this group for a simple reason, to bring Jeepers together to have a great time and more importantly make a real difference in our local communities where we live and work. You know that feeling when you’re on that group ride and you look around and there are Jeeps everywhere! It gives you that sense of community where you’re surrounded by folks that share the same Jeep love and passion that you do. It’s that sense of community that has power to affect change in this world and that is what we want to harness here at Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective! Of course also to meet amazing folks and have a blast sharing our passion for Jeeps. A lot more to come for Legendary 1941!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective?”

Jason: “That’s easy, working with my amazing admin team and interacting with the members of Legendary 1941 sharing pictures of their Jeeps and the awesome stories and experiences they’re creating.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

Jason: “Well, I’m pretty proud of my day job where I manage a portfolio of software solutions for Data Center Management. These products allow our customers to better understand how their environments are performing. Sounds fun, right? I worked my way up in the technology sector over the last 20 years to become well respected in my industry. Also, a lot of folks don’t know that at one time in my life I was over 320 pounds and decided to take my health back. I went back to school and took night classes on Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and lost over 120 pounds. I went on to start my own personal training business and helped others to achieve the same. Lastly, I would already consider Legendary 1941 to be a huge accomplishment, even after just one month. I couldn’t do it without my amazing admin team of true Jeepers but more importantly all of them are pure class! My wife, Ashli Chantelau, David Lowrance, Thane Moore, Chris Kirby, Rachael Marshall-Morgan, Kristina Eaker, Susie Lynn, and Angela Wilkerson. I am blessed to have this team and I can’t wait to see what we achieve.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself?”

Jason: “My goal and my team’s goal is to grow Legendary 1941 to be the largest Jeep community in the world, while continuing to support various charities such as veteran foundations and Humane Societies. I want Legendary 1941 to be my full time gig so continuing to forge relationships within the Off-Road communities and a brand with the reputation that continues to make a difference in this world. I also hope to get to some epic wheeling locations that have escaped me so far. These just might be on every Jeepers list. 1. The Rubicon Trail 2. Moab 3. The Big Bear Trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” Thank you Jason for sharing your awesome Jeep journey with us. Love your passion and enthusiasm for Jeep and the Jeeping community. We wish you and the Legendary 1941 team a fantastic 2018 wheeling year and look forward to watching you grow.”

Photo from Jason Chantelau, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis, Answers from Jason Chantelau

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Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival

The Faces of Jeep interview with Patti Jo Lambert & Michele Anderson 

 Festival Director & Festival Coordinator-Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival 

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Patti Jo: “Jeep actually chose me! I was given the opportunity to plan the very first Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival and it has been an amazing experience. I enjoy leading the planning and execution of the event, but what I really love is all of the people. We have a volunteer planning committee that meets year-round and they work so hard to make the event bigger and better every year. They have become a second family to me. I also look forward to working with our sponsors and all of the companies and groups who join together to make Bantam one of the best Jeep events in the nation.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Michele: “I bought my first Jeep in 2015. It is a Jeep Renegade Latitude in Sierra Blue. I was so excited to finally have a Jeep of my own after helping to plan the event in 2014 and 2015. I’m happy to officially be part of the Jeep family for the last almost three years and I would love to get a Wrangler in the future!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where are your favorite places to wheel and what kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Patti Jo: “Our favorite place to wheel is at our Festival though we may be a little biased! It’s great to see Jeep owners of various levels doing what they love most out on the trails and obstacles. We especially love seeing those that attend our event get more confident in their abilities to take their Jeep off-road. We think Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is a pretty awesome place to wheel too!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips would you suggest to a new Jeeper?”

Patti Jo: “Get involved in a club and attend a Jeep event. One thing that I have learned over the past 10 years is that the majority of Jeep owners really enjoy teaching and encouraging others. They are passionate about their Jeep and their enthusiasm is contagious!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about one of your favorite Jeep adventure moments?”

Patti Jo: “I’ll never forget when I drove one of Jeep’s concept vehicles on our black trail. It was the first time I drove the trail and I was scared to death that I would damage that one-of-a-kind Jeep. I had a great instructor and was proud of myself once I completed the trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Michele: “Anyone who owns a Jeep knows how passionate and friendly Jeep owners are—which is something I found out very quickly five years ago! Whether in person or on Facebook (like the Faces of Jeep page), everyone truly just loves being part of the Jeep family and sharing their Jeep successes and adventures. Becoming involved with the Jeep Festival and owning a Jeep has been one-of-a-kind. I didn’t receive any waves on the road in my previous vehicle, that’s for sure.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What inspired you to start the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival? Tell us a bit about the event and the history behind it.”

Patti Jo: “Butler is the birthplace of the Jeep, and our local tourism bureau wanted to celebrate our Jeep heritage by creating an event that would attract Jeep owners to this area. They asked me to plan the event and it was one of the biggest challenges I ever faced, especially since more than 1,300 Jeeps attended Bantam the very first year. Jeep heritage is showcased at our event in a number of ways, including our Jeep History Exhibit, Faces of Jeep grille display and our WWII encampment. These elements are a great complement to the off-road activities, Best of Bantam competition and other aspects of the event. Bantam offers something for every Jeep enthusiast, and I think we do a great job at creating a fun weekend for everyone who comes to the show, whether they love seeing old military Jeeps, want to get their Jeep dirty or want to show off all of the modifications they’ve made to their Jeep.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Patti Jo: “I love watching our venue transform from an empty field to one filled with amazing displays by more than 100 of the top names in the industry virtually overnight. My adrenaline gets pumping when I see the Jeeps lining up and filling the entire place. And the best part is seeing how happy everyone is to be at Bantam. I know that all of the work is worth it when I see families and friends having a blast together. They are making memories they will talk about for years and it’s really fulfilling to know that I played a small part in creating these moments for them.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running this event?”

Michele: “Is it cliché to say all of it? One of my major responsibilities is helping with Jeep registration. During Pre-registration and On-Site Registration, I get to help and meet so many of the Jeep owners that make our event so special! I also really enjoy the ‘set-up’ week that takes place the days leading up to the event. As busy as that week is, just like Patti Jo mentioned, it is so awesome to see Coopers Lake go from an empty grass field on Monday morning to a bustling show full of Jeep enthusiasts having fun on Friday. The Jeep Invasion has to be one of my favorites as well. It’s such an exciting environment walking through Downtown Butler just minutes from where the Jeep was born with Jeeps in every direction you look! The Guinness World Record Parade we did in 2015 was also one of the most amazing things to be a part of and plan!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself and the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival?”

Michele: “In the future, I hope that we continue to make the event a ‘bucket list’ for Jeep owners. We try to add new fun activities and make improvements every year and I look forward to continuing to help our event grow as one of the largest Jeep events in the U.S.! I also have a ‘small dream’ of having a Jeep from all 50 states at the event! We’ve had Jeeps from 27+ states and Canada each of the last few years and it would be amazing to bring together Jeepers from all over the country!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Michele and Patti Jo for sharing your Jeep journey with us. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is on my personal Jeep bucket list as a must attend. Thank you both for all your hard work in building such an amazing event, celebrating Jeep and bringing the Jeeping community together.”

Photo from Patti Jo Lambert & Michele Anderson, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Michele Anderson & Patti Jo Lambert

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Double D’s Customs

The Faces of Jeep interview with Dan Ruffolo, Owner of Double D’s Customs

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Dan: “I always wanted a Jeep ever since I was a kid, loved the open feeling and the go anywhere do anything ability of them.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Dan: “18 years.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled too, and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Dan: “My Jeep and I have been as far east as PEI Canada and South to Alabama. My favorite place to wheel is probably Pennsylvania but I really loved driving the Cabot Trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where would you recommend to others for a great wheeling experience?”

Dan: “If they get the chance, head to Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is one of your most unforgettable Jeep adventure moments?”

Dan: “A few years ago after an event in Pennsylvania we had some extra time so we decided to head south to see how far we could get in the time we had. We ended down to Huntsville, Alabama, but not before stopping in Nashville to catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry, Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, Tennessee, Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, Climbing MT Washington in New Hampshire, as well as a few other stops along the way.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Which Jeep events you have attended and recommend to others as a must visit?”

Dan: “The Canada Jeep Show is a MUST if your here in Ontario, Bantam Jeep Festival in Pennsylvania, PA Jeep Fest in York, PA, Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion in Tennessee.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your favorite upgrades you have done to your Jeep? Which brands/companies did you go with and why?”

Dan: “Favorite upgrades…all of them lol. I love my Rubicon Express Lift, Ultimate 44 Axles, Fishbone Fenders, XRC Seats. I built my Jeep for me and what I do.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep influenced your life and what inspired you to open Double D’s Customs?”

Dan: “Jeep has become more then just a hobby for me, it’s a lifestyle. Once you own a Jeep you become part of the massive Jeep family, no matter where you go or what you do you can always find another Jeep family member to talk to and exchange stories of adventures and builds with. Double D’s actually started off with just selling my Bullet Valve caps and decals at shows but has now evolved to a full store.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us a bit about Double D’s Customs, the services and products you offer?”

Dan: “Double D’s Customs is Barrie’s only Jeep specialty shop. With over 500 manufacturers to shop from, Double D’s is your one-stop-shop. From lifts, tires, rims, axles, gears, and all your bolt on accessories. We also offer installations of your parts and accessories.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “With all the builds you have done, which build was your most memorable and why?”

Dan: “I really can’t pick one build in particular because they are all different. Each one, I have literally put my blood and sweat into.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur in the offroading community?”

Dan: “Probably the fact that I get to participate in different events, meet all kinds of people, and travel to check out new products. I participate in shows almost every weekend in the summer and it is nice to have my family along with me.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Dan: “My biggest accomplishment has to be The Canada Jeep Show. It has become Ontario’s largest All-Breeds Jeep Show. 2018 will be the 6th year of the event, and we are expecting our largest turnout yet!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for Double D’s Customs?”

Dan: “I would like to stay in business…lol. No seriously I would like to grow into a larger facility but still keep the one-on-one family run feeling. I really enjoy seeing each one of my builds driving around.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” Thank you Dan for sharing your Jeep journey with us. I also wanted to take this moment to thank you again for the wonderful job and customer service we received on Lucy’s build. It was a 5 star experience. We wish you and Double D’s Customs all the best in the future.”

Photo from Dan Ruffolo, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Dan Ruffolo

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Toxic Jeepher

The Faces of Jeep interview with Sam Morse, Ambassador for Crawlher

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Sam: “I grew up in the country where 4×4 is a necessity. My dad always had lifted or levelled vehicles and I looked up to him so of course I needed the same. I chose a Grand Cherokee over a Wrangler because I liked to be different. Oh and of course Jeep is life.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Sam: “I travel all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. I’ve also gone to Connecticut, my favorite place to wheel is Broome Tioga in NY.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite events you have attended?”

Sam: “Bloomsburg truck show in Pennsylvania and the Great American Jeep Rally.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done to your Jeep, and which companies would you recommend to others?”

Sam: “My Jeep has a 6.5” critical path long arm lift kit from Iron Rock Off Road. I run Mickey Thompson 15×10 classic’s black wrapped -45 offset wheels with Mastercraft MXT 33×12.5s. I also custom painted my Jeep in a flat purple with all black trimming. ABS hummer style grille. My interior is all toxic camo with tailor made toxic camo seat covers. (where my Instagram name comes from) My headlights are 100% DIY and Spyder LED taillights, and finally I am finishing up DIY half doors. Stay tuned so much more to come! I highly recommend Iron Rock Off Road to anyone looking to lift their Jeep or need some upgrades!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us a bit about your Jeep family and how you became an ambassador for Crawlher?”

Sam: “My Jeep family is some of the greatest people I’ve met, I’m truly blessed to have each and every one of them! I won a free tank top from Crawlher once and I wore it with pride, always showing it off on Instagram. I must have caught their eye, because they asked me in September of 2017 to become one of their ambassadors.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What’s your favorite part about being an ambassador for Crawlher, as well as a woman in the off-road community?”

Sam: “Oh gosh there is so many reasons why I love being apart of Crawlher, but the best part is we’ve all become one big family it’s great. Brittanie Calkins and Tiffany Treese are fantastic, always giving us a helping hand in and out of the Instagram community! The best part of being a woman in the off-road community is the people I have met and the role model I try my best to be.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What would you say to other women wanting to get involved in the Jeep life?”

Sam: “I say go for it, the sky is the limit with a Jeep build it’s addicting. It becomes a passion, you meet so many awesome people on the adventure what’s not to love!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep influenced your life?”

Sam: “Jeep has influenced my life in so many ways. I definitely never thought I’d be where I am today in the Jeep world, it’s become so much more than just a Jeep.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite Jeep adventure moment?”

Sam: “I don’t even have to think of this one, it’s a no brainer. I did the expert course at a wheeling event with my boyfriend and best friend cheering me on and made it through the entire thing no problem, it was an awesome experience!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” What are your future goals for yourself as a woman in wheeling?

Sam: “My ultimate goal would be to go to SEMA with my Jeep, but realistic goals are to get to travel to more events around the United States.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” Thank you Sam for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We wish you a great 2018 wheeling season.

Photo from Sam Morse, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Sam Morse.

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Michigan Jeep Girl

The Faces of Jeep interview with Krista Kunkel, Michigan Jeep Girl

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Krista: “I chose a Jeep because they are versatile and functional. I also like that a lot of the things on my 1998 Jeep TJ can be fixed and replaced by me. The straight six is very reliable and I trust my Jeeps. I have a 2017 JK, 1998 TJ and a 2004 LJ.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling and wrenching your own Jeep?”

Krista: “ I’ve owned my Jeep for over 10 years but I’m not an intense wheeler. I go when I can between working two jobs or if I have the money. I’ve been working on my Jeep since I got it.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would your recommend to others?”

Krista: “I think a huge overlooked upgrade is a procal or a speedo gear. In the older jeeps you change the speedo gear. (Correct speedo gear for your tire size /axle gear ratio) I have a lot of money invested in my TJ. Between having to have the rusted out frame repaired all the way to a Clayton long arm suspension kit. A lot of the things on my Jeep are for function. I haven’t got around to doing anything with my axles yet but I haven’t blown anything up yet. As for companies I look for companies with good customer service who will back their products. I love Teraflex, Clayton, American Expedition Vehicles, Rancho, Synergy.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Krista: “I’ve traveled to Drummond Island Michigan, Jeep Beach, KOH, Silver Lake, Rocks and Valley, The Mounds, Bundy Hill and a overland training facility in Virginia.”

“My favorite place changes a lot to go to because some parks don’t really keep up with maintenance. I love ORV trails in Michigan we have a lot of woodsy nature trails. Drummond Island is beautiful and can only be accessed by ferry. I recently went with FireStone Tires to test their new off-road tires (Firestone Destination M/T2) and I really enjoyed that. I had a guide with me, telling me how to do things better and address issues I had. It was also the second time I’ve ever wheeled a JKU and it was a little unnerving taking a brand new Rubicon stock on a rock course. I love doing things like that where I get to review items. The tires did amazing by the way.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite events you have attended?”

Krista: “My favorite event is Jeep Beach, I know it’s not about “wheeling” but I love how so many Jeep people come to attend and it’s such a great time being able to enjoy the Daytona sun and mingle with others who share my hobby.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is one of your most memorable Jeep adventure moments?”

Krista: “When I took a JKU to Bundy Hill and the company wanted me to take it over rocks for photos for the website and I was terrified I’d blow his axles up. I kept screaming I was going to pee myself, I was so scared and he spent all money on 38’s and not lockers.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Krista: “Yes, it has influenced mine in a huge way. When I started my media it was just for a fun hobby. Now I reach 300k people on just my Instagram and I’m always thinking about Jeeps and how to create content.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What inspired you to start your own clothing apparel and Michigan Jeep Girl?”

Krista: “I hated all the lame Jeep apparel that people made on tee spring. I started designing items I knew I’d like it to buy. Majority of the time I’m just making something for myself and I put it on the website.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Krista: “My biggest accomplishment is being respected by females and males. I have a lot of males even come to me for advice and it makes me feel good at the end of the day knowing I can make a difference.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about being a women in the offroad community and what would you say to other women wanting to get involved in the Jeep life?”

Krista: “I love showing ladies that you don’t have to act a certain way to get attention. I have never sexualized my look or acted a certain way to get attention. I just do what I do because I love being a Jeep owner and showing others you can be a educated women in the offroad community. I love seeing more girls who are wrenching!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for Michigan Jeep Girl?”

Krista: “This will be my 11th year doing MJG and my goal is to make it a full time job and do what I love for a living. I work hard and have been scared to try and to peruse this as a full time Job but I’m not getting any younger and I’m almost ready to take a leap of faith.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” Thank you Krista for taking the time to share your Jeep journey with us. We enjoy following your journey on Facebook & Instagram. Wishing you all the best with your Michigan Jeep Girl adventure.”

Photo from Krista Kunkel, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Krista Kunkel.

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JeepHers

The Faces of Jeep interview with Stephanie Golden, Founder of  JeepHers

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Stephanie: “I was on a back road and saw an old Jeep! I thought “that would be so fun for the summer and as a second vehicle.” The more I looked around, the higher my budget kept getting and soon it was my main ride! I ended up selling my car because I loved driving the JKU so much!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Stephanie: “I work six days a week most weeks and unfortunately that doesn’t allow much time for play but there is this one mountain road about twenty minutes from home that I love!  Mud and awesome views of the valley I live in, it is great!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite Jeep adventure moment?”

Stephanie: “Any time I put the top back I am just overcome with joy! I know it sounds corny, but after a long day of work, putting the top back and taking the long way home is just the best! The first time we took my doors off was such a feeling of freedom! Playing in mud for the first time was so awesome too!! I’m not hard to make happy as you can see!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Stephanie: “Jeeps connect you with so many good people! Jeep owners just have a bond that I’m not sure any other vehicle offers! I’ve made some amazing friends, and even met my boyfriend because we are both jeep owners! It’s opened me up to more networking opportunities.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What inspired the concept of JeepHers?”

Stephanie: “I was a little let down on other groups on Facebook because they allowed some pretty awful comments from members. I wanted to create a place for women to ask “stupid questions” and not be mocked. Women supporting, helping and lifting up other women is and will continue to be my goal!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running a women’s social media page in the offroad community?”

Stephanie: “Empowering women to get hands on with their builds is awesome! Encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones to go to the local meet and make new friends. Then seeing they actually did and loved it! I know I am learning something everyday and sharing that with so many others around the world is a good feeling! When you see posts or get messages about how happy women are to have a group like mine, it truly warms my heart!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many admins do you have helping with the page?”

Stephanie: “6 admins plus myself. Ashton Pearson, Kate Michelle, Amanda Hazard, Anna Fleming, Kate Hough and Meghan Garrity.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would your recommend to others?”

Stephanie: “One of my favorite changes made to my jeep was getting the fastback style soft top! I love that look! I have a Teraflex leveling kit, BF Goodrich K02’s tires, Mamba Offroad Wheels, Rampage stubby bumper, Rugged Ridge gas cap cover and the round tail lights which would be another modification I love! I have some other small upgrades but those are the main ones. When we get some warmer weather in PA, I will be adding Buchwacker flat fender flairs and rock lights! I upgraded my headlights for safety reasons! A fellow admin/JeepHer has a Jeep mod business, Performance Detailing &HP! Shopping and supporting small businesses is definitely something I love to do when I can! I like the companies mentioned for their quality, being made in the USA, and/or great customer service!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Stephanie: “Sadly, I have yet to get anywhere wheeling outside of my local area. I want to try Rausch Creek so badly! Something on my bucket list is to go around collecting the Jeep Badges! How awesome that would be to have completed!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your favorite events you have attended?”

Stephanie: “This will be my first year attending events! I cannot wait for All Breeds in York, Pa! I want to try to get to one of the beach events since Jeeps and the beach are my two loves! Smoky Mountains seems to be a huge hit! Moab is also on the bucket list to attend!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?”

Stephanie: “I would have to say becoming a brand ambassador for four awesome companies! Crawlhers reached out to me and I couldn’t say no! I was a fan of theirs and had been following them on social media for awhile! Crawlhers has opened the door for me to Mamba Offroad Wheels, Alien Sunshade and Ace Engineering & Fab! I am grateful they are allowing me this opportunity! Seeing a Facebook group I created one morning, grow up to 16,000 members in less than 10 months is totally mind blowing!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What would you say to other women wanting to get involved in the Jeep life?”

Stephanie: “DO IT! Don’t waste another second holding yourself back from this awesome family! People are so welcoming! By not going to that local event or meet up, you’re truly missing out! I’ve done wing night with 10 women, Sunday lunches with 30 people and taken a short trip with admins from JeepHers! Big or small, please go! The adventures are endless!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are you future goals for yourself and JeepHers?

Stephanie: “Currently, JeepHers is franchising out to local state groups. It is great to see the reach and impact the group is having. I love seeing what they are doing and the bonds they are making! Of course I want to see JeepHers grow to be the largest of all female groups! I would love to be an ambassador for more companies! I enjoy promoting and helping others grow! I have so many friends and family to thank for their support!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “ Thank you Stephanie for taking the time to share your Jeep journey with us. We enjoy following your page and look forward to the exciting things to come from JeepHer. Best Wishes”

Photo from Stephanie Golden, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokinis & Answers from Stephanie Golden.

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