I grew up in an off-road family. My Dad raced off-road in the 1980’s with an organization called VORRA. He ran a two-seat unlimited buggy on a shoestring budget.
VORRA’s rules stated that navigators had to be 15 years old to race. I couldn’t wait for my 15th birthday—my first race was less than a month afterwards. Racing with my dad, we won our class several times, placed often and won the season championship.
In addition to our race car, our other off-road vehicle was a Honda 185 ATC. It was a pull start with balloon tires and no suspension. I can’t believe they are becoming popular again! My little brother and I rode it when riding doubles was still legal, and we lived to tell about it.
We were avid off-roaders on the race track and on the trails during holiday weekends. We frequented Glamis, Pismo Beach and Jawbone Canyon before any closures. I could hardly wait for our next adventure, whether we were racing or just riding for fun. I helped service our toys and pack for our trips.
The beginning of my motorsports passion.
Winning our first off-road win 1983.
My first car was (of course) a Baja Bug.
When quads hit the market, Dad bought our family a pair of Honda Fourtrax. They were a huge upgrade over the more demanding three-wheelers.
Predictably, my first car was a 1969 convertible Baja Bug. I loved that car. I wish I knew where it was; I want to buy it back!
Busy finishing a degree in marketing with a minor in technical writing/editing, college studies and finances caused me to leave the hobby for a period of time. Thankfully, I married a man who loves off-roading as much as I do. We re-entered the hobby with a used dirt bike and quad on an old open trailer, and an old truck and camper. We’ve been making steady upgrades to our equipment since then. Over the years, we’ve built four off-road cars, which my husband drove (he is much taller than I). He also built and successfully raced a Class 5 Baja Bug.
When I learned how to use a GPS, it took my off-roading to a higher level. In 2003, I borrowed a friend’s GPS to find my first geocache. It was hidden at Gold Rock Ranch, east of Glamis. I was hooked. And have been geocaching ever since.
The days of riding wherever the wind blew us quickly diminished when I realized geocaching provided us new, mysterious destinations to explore. These virtual treasure hunts led us to nooks and crannies we had never seen, even in areas we already knew well. Soon, I was planning rides with my computer using geocaches and electronic maps, and downloading them into my GPS. The GPS also gave me more confidence to explore new ride spots.
I was having a blast with my new skill set, and I wanted to spread the word. In 2006, I contacted Sand Sports Magazine. The editor suggested I submit a writing sample and photos. My background in technical writing paid off. The article was published, and I received an offer to write geocaching destination stories for each issue. My adventures have been published for over 12 years now.
Another huge game changer came along in 2013. On impulse, my husband and I bought a 2014 RZR XP1000, the first year of production for this model. Everything in the car is adjustable, which meant the car fit me as well as my taller husband. I drive a lot now, while my husband learns to become a passenger and navigator. We originally purchased the RZR to be a backup vehicle. However, it quickly became our primary vehicle for trips. We thrashed that RZR for over 9,500 fun-filled miles, and just traded it in for a brand-new Can-Am.
I believe off-roaders impact their environment, and we need to tread lightly. If we were all careful, it could help keep our public lands open. Because this is important to me, I am a lifetime member of CORVA, an organization dedicated to protecting public land.
Off-roading is a significant part of my life, giving me decades of prized memories. I have met kind, talented, and caring people, and made many lifelong friends. I always look forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge about different ride spots, and leading others to places they have never seen.
I love writing for USM! I have covered the dunes, forests, and deserts of California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. I am currently researching Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico for upcoming articles. I’m excited about the future of the sport, and I look forward to traveling to new destinations and working with the staff at USM to share my experiences. Stay tuned to UTV Sports Magazine for future Destination articles!