In keeping with the spirit of Jeepers are male and female alike, of course we have to feature the guy Jeepers too! Today’s feature is another one of XtremeTerrain’s Facebook Fans – Mark Kestner! You too can be a featured Jeeper by just dropping us a line at XtremeTerrain Facebook Page and we will get you set up! For being a featured Jeeper you will receive a XtremeTerrain Sticker as well as a discount code to use on your next order from XtremeTerrain for FREE SHIPPING!!! Without further ado.. allow me to present… Mark Kestner!
My name is Mark Kestner and I am almost 30 years old. I have a daughter who will be 2 in October. She loves to go mudding she sees the mud holes and says yayyyyyyy! I am married to the best woman in the world – Amanda. She goes wheeling with me a lot too. I don’t make a lot of money so our family time isn’t a movie its going down to our favorite place to go wheeling. It’s called Bumpus Cove and trust me. it stands by its name. Its about 23 miles of mountain riding with trails for the beginner and trails that almost make you do number 2 in your pants. I am notorious for saying ” ahhhh its not that deep… go ahead” lol! But usually I am the one that goes first, but its fine with me cause I can always say I was first to go through it – “bragging rights”.
But a little about my jeep…and I think some of you will be shocked to hear some of this. Okay, my jeep is a 1994 YJ Wrangler 4 cylinder with stock axles. The reason I chose the YJ was to prove to people that leaf springs WILL FLEX with the right set-up and they will do just fine. I have added a spring over to it, 3 inch shackle lift and a 3 inch body lift. It has 2 inch wheel spacer to help with the stability of lifting it so much, has a warn rock crawler bumper on it, 16 x 10 pro comp black wheels and the tires are a 35′ nitto extreme mud terrain tire. They are a really good tire. To be just what it is, a little 4 cylinder with a rock-it cold air intake and a flowmaster exhaust, this jeep will go anywhere’s. It is not much at hwy speeds but I didn’t build it for speed but what I did build it for, it is, simply put, the biggest rush you will ever get at turtle speed.
I love my jeep and I have been four-wheeling since I was a kid. I remember my dad used to get so mad at me when we would go hunting and i would cover my boot with mud and kick it up on his truck. I thought it was cool and all he saw was a car wash the next day. I do not believe I will ever own anything but a Jeep. My dad would always say “boy you got mud in your blood.”
I honestly believe that doing the spring over conversion to the jeep has been the best thing I have done to my Jeep. I really wouldn’t change anything on it except maybe put 38′ tires on it and maybe a winch. The Jeep is a hardtop which really helps with not tearing a soft top off road and it stay a lot warmer in the winter months cause we all know how great them jeep heaters are! LOL!
I do belong to a local off road club. It was actually founded by me and my friend Mike. It is called “Extreme Jeep Mudders.” We didn’t want to have a bunch of other Toyota’s and things running with us so that is why its just strictly a Jeep Club and in order to be a member you must have a minimum of 33′ tires.
All and all, Jeeping’ is probably the best way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and have family time while your doing it. I love to go wheelin just because I do. I can’t really sum it up and say this is why… maybe its that little feeling you get when crawling a big rock or going into a deep mud hole. Whether it’s the first time or the 25th time you have done it, it is still the greatest feeling when you conquer it. Over the years, I have learned a few tricks here and there. Mostly these kinds of things cannot be wrote in a book and called “Wheeling for Dummies”. These are the kind of things you just have to experience and try for yourself. Cause what works for me and my Jeep may not work for you and yours.
I do not have lockers in my jeep simply for the fact I like the challenge but I guess my worst wheeling experience came this past winter sometime in February I do believe. Me and my family and good friend Mike and his family where out wheelin in our jeeps. Mike has a 82 CJ7 Widetrack. We were at our favorite place wheeling in Bumpus Cove Tenn. when we where roughly 3 1/2 hours into our ride, all of a sudden it came snowing and we ended up getting 9 inches of snow. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to snow wheel. The only thing is that when it started we were on one of the roughest trails there is, which was basically hanging on the side of a cliff when just BARELY enough room for the jeeps to go through. There were no turn around spots. So, we were only able to go 10 feet at a time while the other was out spotting. That doesn’t sound bad I know, but when you only have half an inch to determine whether you stay on trail or tumble a merely 1000 feet in a valley and add 9 inches of that slick stuff to it then it gets a little scary. My advice to the other wheelers out there is to try to be safe and to try to get the new generation of kids into wheeling. It’s just good ole fashioned clean fun… well its not clean you will get dirty no matter what.