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Life Is A Jeep - Catching Up (with Katie)

Levi JansmaPhotographerKatie JansmaWriter

It’s really funny the way life works out. We started out with the ’86 CJ-7. Then I got the JK because it had four doors, which made it much easier to get both girls in and out of. Once I got this handy gig, I picked up the ’76 J-truck. Heck, a Jeep girl or, as I like to say, a Jeep mom you can’t only have two rigs anyway, so now I’m over here trying to figure out which Jeeps to take to Easter Jeep Safari like it’s going to kill me if I leave one at home. Yes, that is how I feel about my Jeeps, don’t judge. Heck my 6-year-old is asking me if she gets to go ride in the J-truck or if is she stuck in the JK. This girl loves classic AMC Jeeps. She saw a Willys for the first time not too long ago and asked me to flag down the driver so she could check out this man’s Jeep. Yes, she is 6 and can tell the difference between most Jeeps. I’m sure she’ll school me one day at this rate.

The past few months have been spent saving money and sticking to a tight budget. Being that my girls are in these making sure our Jeeps are 100 percent before any trails is number one on my list. The J-truck needed the most work. Fuel lines were all cracked, fuel pump was leaking more fuel than pumping, and most of all the extra add-on tank the owner before tried to make work was, well, pouring most of the fuel on the ground. When I filled her up, it looked like my Great Dane just got done drinking.

While fixing the fuel tank issues, my beautiful 4-year-old thought she would help out and crawled under the truck with us. This little girl is my peanut, so seeing her tiny self under this truck with 40s is well pretty much a “that’s so cute” moment for a parent. She then asked a bunch of questions and wanted to know why someone would do that to the truck. Of course we took the time and explained everything to her. In case you couldn’t tell, my two girls don’t know anything besides the Jeep life. I was the one that was eight and a half months pregnant and still hitting the trails. Don’t give me that “I’m bad mom” crap—I asked my doctor first and was told it wouldn’t hurt the baby. Once all the fuel issues were fixed on this truck, damn, that thing sounds good. It’s amazing how good an engine can sound when it gets fuel.

While fishing this up and feeling pretty good about everything almost being done, my lovely boss asks if I can bring another trustworthy rig, the CJ-7. As I haven’t gotten the J-truck off the pavement just yet, and it also doesn’t have lockers. To me, a rear locker is the thing to have at Moab. This means I need to work on the little things on the CJ-7, and turning it into a hardcore rig is on pause until after this trip. However, it has this lovely trick that when you push the brakes, it likes to shake you right out of your seat like you are in a popcorn machine. She is extremely touchy woman, so the death wobble has to go. Remember I said I was on a tight budget for a few months? This is why: You seriously don’t know what will come out of the woods with this job.