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The Offroad Rhino

The Faces of Jeep interview with Gabie & MacLean Smith

Founders of The Offroad Rhino

 

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

Gabie & MacLean: “The Jeep life is the best life! We are adventurous people and we needed a vehicle to take us wherever we wanted to go!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “Started at a young age on ATV’s! Only a couple years of Jeeping.”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “One and more in the future!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “The Metalcloak lift with Falcon shocks is our favorite. Both are great companies and are VERY reliable and impressive! Our rooftop tent is Smittybilt and we love that as well.”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “Moab, little Moab, 5 mile pass and more local trails in Utah. Our favorite by far is Moab, it’s the best!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “Moab for sure. We have a YouTube channel to share our trail videos for those to experience as well!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “When we first got the Jeep we took it out to a local trail to test out our abilities. We were going up a hill and got “stuck” due to a rock. We really weren’t stuck, we just had to push harder on the gas! It was really funny, we were really new to the whole thing.”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “Easter Jeep Safari by far!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “We have met amazing people, seen incredible views and grown closer as a couple. It has made us happier people and we love working on it together.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Can you tell us a bit about Offroad Rhino and your goals?”

Gabie & MacLean: “Our names our Gabie and MacLean and we are both behind the wheel in the Rhino. We have Instagram as well as a YouTube channel to share our adventures with others. We have Moab very close to us, so since we are going often anyways we figured we could share our experiences with others so they can be informed if they decide to run that trail. Our goals are to help others through our channel and to help be a support when it comes to new parts/upgrades. We also have an interest in design and marketing and we regularly update our online store with Jeep decals. Our website is www.theoffroadrhino.com Also we love to trade decals with others in the community to show our support.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about being a Jeeper in the off-road community?”

Gabie & MacLean: “It is so great to support others who share the same interests and hobbies! It’s also so cool so see how helpful and uplifting others can be.”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “We have done most of the work to our Jeep ourselves and our Instagram has been pretty successful in the time that we have had it!”

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

Gabie & MacLean: “Go for it! There are endless opportunities that arise with having a Jeep that you wouldn’t think about. I would also suggest for you to do what you want to YOUR build! Custom it to your wants and needs!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Gabie & MacLean for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We enjoy seeing Jeepers helping Jeepers and spreading the love for Jeep in a positive way in the off-road community. Keep up the great work you two. Wishing you both a wonderful 2018 wheeling season.”

Photo from Gabie Smith & MacLean, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Gabie & MacLean Smith

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Look Pretty, Play Dirty

The Faces of Jeep interview with Morgan Johnson, Ambassador for Crawlher

 

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

Morgan: “I actually didn’t realize what the “Jeep life” was when I bought the Jeep. She was my first vehicle, and I’ve had her for 6 years. We went with Jeep because we wanted something to take to the mountains and for hunting purposes.”

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

Morgan: “I started really getting into the Jeep lifestyle back in 2016, that’s when I started going out to some local areas to wheel. So not too long ago, but I wish I would’ve started sooner.”

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

Morgan: “As far as upgrades go, I haven’t done a whole lot. I run an E-Autogrille front bumper, and a rear one that I’m putting on soon. I have some Truckmall LED Halo Headlights. I just put on a Flowmaster Super 44 muffler, and have a Teraflex steering stabilizer. As well as a rear Dana 44 and a front High Pinion 30. My list of upgrades seems endless.”

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

Morgan: “I don’t live anywhere close to Jeep events, so I haven’t traveled much. I take the Jeep down to the lake during the summer. My closest wheeling spot is 30 minutes away. I love wheeling at this dairy; it has some huge sand dunes in the back. It’s a good time, all the Jeeps come out & so do the dirt bikes.”

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

Morgan: “Since I don’t live close to Jeep events, we make our own here. My favorite one so far we have done is the Memorial Ride for “Jeepin On For Jackie”. We met up & eat lunch, and then go wheeling. It was a good time, with good people.”

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

Morgan: “About a year and a half ago, I blew my front differential. Yay me. But that didn’t stop me from wheeling, which obviously isn’t the brightest idea. There were 4 of us, and only two Jeeps. We went out to the sand dunes to wheel and I got stuck instantly because of the lack of 4WD. So my buddy pulled me out, and I was really stuck. All four of my tires were halfway buried. So he pulled me out, removed the strap, and I got stuck. Again. So he pulled me out again. This continued to happen a few more times, he finally told me to hold on and he floored his Jeep down the sand dune and drove me to a hard spot to where I couldn’t get stuck. But of course, with my luck, I got stuck instantly again. Needless to say, I didn’t go back out to the dunes until I got my differential replaced. Wasn’t the brightest idea, but it was definitely a fun memory.”

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

Morgan: “Owning a Jeep has changed my life in so many ways. I didn’t know a vehicle could bring so much joy. It’s taught me different things, and allowed me to meet so many incredible people throughout the years. The Jeep Wave is one of my favorite parts about it.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about your ambassadorship with Crawlher?”

Morgan: “Crawlher approached me about a year ago about becoming an ambassador. I was so excited. Over the year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with the other ambassadors and create friendships. My social media has grown thanks to Tiffany & Brittanie. It’s definitely an honor to have been asked to be apart of the Crawlher family. I was told that people know my Jeep around town simply because of my Crawlher windshield banner. I’m like a little celebrity around here!”

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

Morgan: “My favorite part about being a women in the off-road community is definitely being able to break the “norm”. Growing up, I used to think that Jeeps, cars and trucks etc. were for men. But I realized that’s not the case. I’ve met so many incredible women in the off-roading community, that prove women can do the things that men can. I think if you’re a women who is interested in Jeeps, you should definitely go for it. You learn a lot. The Jeep community is definitely like a huge family; I’m able to ask questions and get advice from so many people without fear of judgment. Plus, you can make awesome friendships with people. I’ve met some of my closest friends on Jeep pages.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a woman in wheeling?”

 Morgan: “A year and a half ago, I noticed there wasn’t a Jeep club in my town. Yeah, there was an off-roading group, but nothing like a “club”. So I started one. For the longest time, I was the only female in the group. That’s where I got the name “Alpha” for my Jeep. My club, Curry County Jeep Junkies, is definitely like my second family. We all go out and wheel together, and have dinner, and just have a good time. We participate in parades, and we do memorial rides and even fundraisers. That, by far, has been my greatest accomplishment.”

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

Morgan: “As far as future goals go, I’m not sure. I’m hoping to be able to travel more, Moab is on my bucket list. I know my TJ isn’t going to last forever, but I plan on getting another Jeep in the future and building that one too! Bigger, and better than ever.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Morgan for sharing your Jeep journey with us. Wishing you and the Crawlher family an awesome 2018 wheeling season.”

Photo from Morgan Johnson, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Morgan Johnson

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Krenik’s Garage Blog

The Faces of Jeep interview with Tyler Krenik, Founder of Krenik’s Garage Blog

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

Tyler: “In all honesty it’s because it was only $500. I got my jeep in high school, so I was looking for a good deal and didn’t care what it was. That being said, I grew up around my uncles and his buddies CJs and wranglers, so I wasn’t much into Xj’s at the time. I didn’t know much about them because there were not that many in my area built, but this one fell into my lap for a great deal and that’s where the story starts.”

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

Tyler: “Off and on since I was a kid, but I got my Jeep in 2010. I went wheeling a lot the summer of 2011, but then my group fell apart and I moved out on my own that winter. So my Jeep became my daily driver and I could only do occasional trips.”

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

Tyler: “Rancho 3″ lift (coils,4.5″ shocks, 3″ shackles), 31″ tires, DirtBound armor w/flares, new exhaust(pacesetter header and just a glass pack), Thor cowl intake, Corbeau Baja RS seats, Raptor Lined floors, Led head lights, DIY oil catch can, T&M Door hinge and striker stiffeners(check out my write-up), made the doors removable and 97-2001 front clip. Oh and JCR “mall rated” badges. There is more planned in the coming months, so follow my blog. Most of my work has been fixing the worn out factory components because she has 260k, I’m finally caught up on that. I’m not brand bias by any means; I’m not sponsored or get promo deals (Just saying I’m open to a sponsorship). I recommend anything that you can afford and that gets the job done. I buy my parts by my opinion and not others. I like supporting the smaller company’s like Trail Head Off Road(Thor intake), T&M metal fab and DirtBound. I also like building my own stuff.”

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

Tyler: “I like trail riding, it’s fun just being in the woods surrounded by trees following little road. I live in the perfect area because I live pretty much in the middle of the state and we get a choice on what we want to wheel in. Our flavours are sand, mud, mountains, snow or desert(those two depend on the time of year). My recent favorite place is Horsefall Dunes in North Bend, Oregon. I enjoy the southern part of Oregon Coast. I enjoy those dunes more than Florence because there is a lot more stuff to play on and it’s a new area for me. I would like to start over landing because it’s a road trip, wheeling and camping all in one, it just seems like it would be a great time.”

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

Tyler: “HHHMM…..there is a few, probably when I first got my Jeep and my friends and I were cruising around town. Well I found a mud puddle to turn around in, it was pretty deep and the passenger side fell into it. It was so deep and the Jeep was leaning over so far, that the cab started filling with water. It was deep enough to choke the exhaust and it would kill the engine. My friends started freaking out and didn’t like it when I went the rest of the way into the puddle, than let her eat the rest of the way out. I had to wash and vacuum it before I went home because my mom would have been mad.”

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

Tyler: “It has honestly made me pursue a career in mechanics.
One: it is my passion. Two: I need money to build my Jeep.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about Krenik’s Garage and what inspired you to start it?
I started my blog because I like being creative and I figured maybe my content could inspire others. I want to showcase my career and builds, but Youtube isn’t my style (I’m not ruling it out) and some people enjoy technical articles. My downfall is that I’m not the best writer and it’s something I need practice at. What inspired me was “Bleepin Jeep,” I really enjoy Matt and his content.”

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

Tyler: “I recently completed an Associates Degree in Diesel Technology. Even thought it is a two-year degree, it took a lot of work in and out of schools. School was never my favorite thing, but I really enjoyed college. I was just floating through life from 2011 to 2014 and wasn’t happy with how it was going, so I decided it was time for higher education. The amount of support I got from friends and family was amazing, it really helped me when things got tough.”

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

Tyler: “I have too many goals and it gets overwhelming, I just have to take a deep breath. My main goal is to grow as a mechanic and learn as much as a can. I also would like to grow Krenik’s Garage as much as I can, maybe into some kind of business. Next would be to have my own shop because I’m tired of not having a solid place for working on my projects. I recently joined the local search and rescue group, the team I’m apart of is called the “special vehicles group” and we use our vehicles for different rescue missions. I’m really excited about being involved with this group.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Tyler for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We wish you all the best with Krenik’s Garage blog and a great 2018 wheeling season.”

Photo from Tyler Krenik, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Tyler Krenik

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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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