Rookie I was actually surprised that you did that hill it was awfully steep!

Laurie It was a very interesting ride I do have to admit that one of the reasons I didnt chicken out was because I didnt think youd let me!

Rookie Thats very true but something important to remember is that a good trail leader will never force anyone to do something they dont want to if I didnt feel you were ready and could handle it I would not have encouraged you to give it a shot!

What were you thinking the whole time you were out there?

Laurie My first thoughts were pure amazement I couldnt believe TDs going to let me drive this thing, especially without him by my side! Im going to cause SO much trouble with this thing. After I had been driving for a little while, I thought that it wasnt as hard as I thought it might be. I knew (wrongly now) that we would just play in the gravel and other easy things since this was my first time ever driving Mazuki!

Rookie What part did you enjoy the most? I dont think I ever saw you not smiling out there!

Laurie I think the creek was my favorite there was the anticipation of just how deep DOES this thing get, are we sinking? Oh my! Are we taking in water? What if I get stranded down here? How will I get out? And will TD let me come home with him if I break it? all the while knowing that I was in good hands, and many had driven the same path before me.

I also enjoyed that our group was small enough that we werent sitting around waiting on people to get through the trail. Everyone knew what they could and couldnt handle maybe because the trail was so easy though.

Rookie Let me interrupt though, Laurie. Even though the Blue trail (Formerly Murphs Mary-Boy Plaid Skirt Trail) was supposed to be quite easy for the beginners, some other groups had gone through and really tore things up, so it was quite a bit more difficult than we had originally anticipated. In all honesty I think you accomplished a lot more than you give yourself credit for!


Laurie Well that explains why I felt like I was holding everyone up the whole time but looking back nobody seemed to mind since there was just a few of us out there.

Rookie What did you not particularly care for?

Laurie I got a little uncomfortable when I couldnt see when we were going sometimes, like when we were going down a steep hill, having to trust my instincts and hoping there wouldnt be a bear or Zuk-eating tree at the bottom waiting for us! I also didnt like the fact that I had to have John guide me to where I needed to go, but I sure appreciated him for helping me.

Rookie I do remember you not liking that but remember, what you mentioned above is part of the Zookin experience driving off camber sometimes makes your line of sight go in different directions than the truck is headed, and one must adjust for that. In this case, John acted as your eyes as a spotter, and you did the right thing by trusting his judgment, and knowing that he had nothing to gain by leading you the wrong way. Having a spotter is by no means a sign of weakness or lack of skill I would be inclined to say asking for a spotter is the best judgment call ever knowing your own limits.

Do you think youll come out again with us next year?

Laurie Yes, I know I would. I think that Id start out on an easier trail first though, and build my confidence a bit. Depending on how that went, then Id work up to some more difficult trails. However, I dont think Ill be following you on the Orange trail next year.

Rookie Whatever do you mean? I thought we had a good time!

Laurie All I have to say is youre lucky I have a sense of humor, Murph!

Rookie Why dont you share with our readers what youre talking about

Laurie Ok, so later in the day after my first run on my own, Murph said he would take me for a ride on the Orange trail, and I had nothing to worry about, it was just for fun. Well, Murph got a little off course and decided to see if his truck would float.

Rookie (interrupting) Laurie, I dont think thats what happened exactly

Laurie Hey now (laughing) you said I could tell the story. Ok, so goofus here in the Yellow Submarine tries to cut across this puddle which was filled with the gooiest, slimiest mud I think Ive ever seen. I do have to say, Murph, that the look of helpless panic on your face was somewhere between adorable and hilarious.

(Murph drums his fingers on the table impatiently, wishing this would end quickly knowing it is now immortalized)

SO Murph is on the CB saying Uh, guys, can someone come get us, I mean, like, NOW? Were sinking and I cant move. He had to keep the engine revved up so that water wouldnt get into the exhaust and ruin the engine. It was making the weirdest blub-blub noise!

Rookie Oh sure, youre laughing now. I dont remember you thinking it was that funny at the time


Laurie Oh, Murph, you know I wasnt really mad I knew I was in good hands. I guess I just didnt know how to react, wondering if this is how you show all the women in your life a good time!

(Murph pauses for a moment and recalls earlier dating years in his 71 Beetle featured in Bugtales and remembers many a first date being interrupted with exploding generators, a broken fuel pump on the south side of Chicago, and a gas gauge that lied more often than I did explaining why I was out past curfew)

Rookie Well, after all this adventure, do you plan to get your own Zook someday?

Laurie No, not really. I have no extra money to invest In anything and I dont think I could spend the proper time to take care of it. I think I like things just the way they are as long as TD will let me take the wheel of his wonderful machine, Ill be proud to enjoy it with him.

Rookie Thats wonderful now that I think of it, you may be the only Seasoned Rookie who doesnt own her own rig and thats ok by me! Can I expect to see you on the Ladies-Only run next year?

Laurie No, I probably wont do it. (laughs.) Here I go again, talking myself out of things again. I dont know how this will sound, but I think that Id be so afraid that something would go wrong and there would be none of you big strong men to help us out! I guess Ill have to count on you to talk me into it, huh?

Rookie Thats right, Laurie Youd better start practicing your puppy-dog eyes to get the keys from TD for the run! So, what do you enjoy most about the Melts?

Laurie I enjoy seeing the different Zooks and how they are set up to go all sorts of places and do amazing things. I enjoy seeing people come from all over the country including Canada! to come to this little gathering in Indiana. I like it that perfect strangers have something in common to talk about and at the end of the weekend, theyre trading e-mail addresses and planning visits to each others stomping grounds. Everyone was just so friendly!

Rookie I couldnt have said it better myself. So, tell me. Do you think youre worthy of being listed on the Seasoned Rookie Fender of Fame?

Laurie Id hope so, Murph you had to practically beg me to give it a try! I of all people would not be very likely to take the Zook out on a trail especially alone! It was so exciting though it was scary at times but I had the absolute best time after it was done. I remember laughing saying That was SO awesome! and I cant believe I just did that! If I can do it, then I think any other ladies can do it. Many of us sit patiently beside our man and try to remain content there and I feel we do a good job. However, if we have an opportunity to actually take a try at driving off-road, we should take it. Maybe my story will inspire other ladies to get their men to move over and take the wheel for a little while and find out what the Zookin craze is really all about. (long pause) Oh no Murph, what if I am the ONLY lady who has never driven on a trail before!!

Rookie No worries on that one, Laurie. Im sure there are plenty, and I hope your words have been an inspiration to all those who have wondered if they could handle it I say if you want to, it will happen. Im still trying to get my mother to join us on the trails. (Maybe we can get her to come out for a birthday run in October, seeing that she just had a landmark birthday on the third!)

Laurie That would be SO much fun! Murph, thanks for letting me talk for a while this has been great. See you around real soon?

Rookie Not so fast, Laurie youre forgetting something very important The Rookie Motto, please..

Laurie (deep breath) A rookie is someone trying something new. Youre a Seasoned Rookie if you come back and do it again. (big beaming smile) I have been on the trails as the ride-along and I do enjoy it and there have been times when Ive bailed when the hill looked too steep. Ive been on the trails and been the one taking the pictures, and now Ive been on the trails and driven myself so I have been there, and I have indeed come back again, and you can count on seeing me out there again behind the wheel.

On a personal note, I feel it is appropriate to mention The Seasoned Rookie is dedicated to encouraging newcomers to the sport to enjoy what we do and get to know others who are just starting out. Recently two more people in my life have just started out and Id like to congratulate my sister Kerry and her new husband Jon as they begin their new life together. This is an exciting time for all of us and I hope my Zookin friends will welcome him at future events as you have the other members of my family many of you have met.

Even if he does drive a Jeep.

Murph, The Seasoned Rookie Life is Good.

As always I invite anyone who has a special story to share, questions, comments, or suggestions for how to improve the Seasoned Rookie, please email me at and well chat. 


08/11/10 14:37


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