Despite my best intentions, I just couldn’t keep up the daily posts while at the Expo. There was too much going on, usually at the same time, and every time I did something there was something else I had to miss. In that environment taking an hour or so a day to write a blog, and longer to keep the vlogs going (Did you know I did vlogs from my trip?) seemed too much of a waste. I mean the Expo is only once a year, though there are other events (HU Meetings in particular) which offer similar conditions. Less stuff for sale, though.
I stayed the night before arriving at the expo in a motel in Flagstaff. This was so I could do laundry and shower. It also let me plug in my various electronics, though so far nothing had failed on the ride. Using my phone, which was also my GPS and so plugged in while I was on the road, as a camera and blogging computer, seemed to work pretty well.
In the morning I did Curiosity’s valves, something which is has become habit. It seems I’ve actually done it more often in random parking lots than at home.
The bike ran much better, of course, and after a quick grocery stop I headed south to Mormon Lake.
The last time I’d been to the Overland Expo was in 2011, when it had been located in Amado, AZ. That event had been pretty big, even though it was still dominated by 4x4s. As I reached the Mormon Lake Lodge I was stunned by the number of people, vehicles, and motorcycles already there. Registration wasn’t even to open for hours and the place already felt full, though in truth there was still lots of space available in the more open areas.
The Adventure Trio had arranged for a ‘special’ camping area for some instructors. While I had been hesitant to camp there (while I acknowledge having done cool things, I don’t always think I’m on that level of coolness), but decided to just suck it up and pitched my tent.
Minutes later I met Tad, who was recently back from Central America where he had been traveling with Do Good As You Go, a program I hadn’t heard much about.
He was changing brake pads, something which garnered him a pretty good crowd as time went on.
I went for a stroll around the grounds, looking to see what was there before the crowds really showed up, and I was continually amazed at the number and diversity of what was already there. Well, I guess there wasn’t much diversity of machines, BMW and KTM for motorcycles and Land Rover for the trucks, but there were far, far more vendors than in 2011. Motorcycles got a whole area to themselves (isolating them from the rest, maybe?)
Walking meant running into people I knew, and people who knew me (something I am still not used to), and each meeting meant talking and laughing and sharing stories of improbable adventures. Before long I had to head back and sign myself in, getting an actual map and the official schedule for the weekend with my classes listed. I also confirmed I knew about the instructor meeting later in the day, then went back to my camp (which I had already started thinking of as Base Camp) to look through the material.
More people had arrived, some I knew and some I didn’t. This meant more introductions and catching up, and before long it was time for the meeting, which was supposed to go two hours but thankfully didn’t. While I was there it seemed like the number of attendees had doubled, but in truth I couldn’t tell since there were already so many people there. Back at camp it was time for dinner, talking, more talking, and some wine. Well, there was beer too.
Everything started the next morning