Dirty Day Job: On the Trail with Sedona Jeep School

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In search of interesting Jeep jobs, Mark Stephens hit the road again and found himself in Sedona, Arizona, where he got taught a thing or two at Jeep School..

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“Work sucks. I’m going 4-wheeling.” Picture simple white lettering on a black background.

One of my Jeep buddies gave me that bumper sticker, and it’s an attitude with which I’m familiar. I can count at least a half-dozen friends who not only made that statement, but who did something about it. They’ve opened up businesses in the off-highway industry, trying to make passion produce paycheck. Quick mental count: three retailers, a consulting firm, two magazines, one guide service, and one videography service. Okay, make that eight business endeavors.

Here’s a different one, though: Sedona Jeep School. If Nena Barlow, the owner, has ever said, “work sucks, I’m going 4-wheeling,” she’s got a problem: she’s already out there where you and I would rather be. Nena spends her days on the trail with Jeep owners who want to learn how to use their vehicles.

I can’t be any more forthright: what a cool job.

Think about what her “office” looks like: it has a convertible top, removable doors, low-range transfer case, and 32-inch tires. It’s bright red, too.

My God, sign me up. “Goodbye three-hole punch, hello three-point-five trail.”

She’s got it figured out, and – what I think is most important – she’s helping new Jeep and SUV owners get a handle on their vehicle and trail ethics. Remember the first time you looked at a transfer case lever and saw “4-hi” and “4-low” etched on it?

“Aw, shit, I don’t have to learn how to use that do I?” is exactly what I wondered. I’ll bet you thought the same thing, perhaps without the foul language.

How about the first time you saw trash on the trail and thought, “Somebody should do something about that?”

Nena’s made it her daily work to teach driving technique, safety, and trail etiquette through Sedona Jeep School.

Bonus time: Sedona Jeep School really isn’t school at all, as there are no exams, there are no beatings with a yardstick, and (it seems) the whole day is recess.

Not all jobs are perfect, though – not even running a Jeep school. On the counter at headquarters I noticed a shiny, black three-hole punch. My least favorite piece of office equipment. Paperwork infiltrates every business, I guess.

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