If you haven’t been to an overland expo, and you are interested in overland or international or adventure travel (and I am not being particular about any other details here, just interest in one or more of those things), you should go. I’ve been going off and on since 2011.
Okay, to be honest, I went in Spring of 2011 because Carla King thought I should I was leaving in a few months to spend a long time on the road and going to something like Overland didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Looking back, I’m glad I went. It was a really good time.
So, I’ve been going and presenting regularly since 2013 (having gotten back from South American in 2012). I started just talking about my trip and packing, but have added in other things people seem to want to know about – budgeting, finding time to travel, photography – and sometimes have a table with the authors where you can buy books or stickers. Most of the time I’m meeting travelers or talking to people who want to be travelers or looking at all the cool traveler kit that wasn’t available last year.
As a reminder, I documented this trip on a Minolta x370 Film camera, so these are scans of the negatives.
I had spent a few days in Albuquerque, and left in the morning to ride to Flagstaff where Overland Expo West is located. It was a new venue in 2017, and it looked much easier to get to, and closer to Flagstaff. But the ride from Albuquerque to Flagstaff was long I-40. And I-40 isn’t the most friendly of interstates.
Now I know so of you will point out that I could have gone around, and or avoided parts of the interstate, and you would be right. But there just aren’t a lot of good options, in fact there are so few options that stretch is one of the few in the USA where they allow bicycles.
I was well rested, and it is more than 300 miles, but I was still pretty drained by the time I got to the city. Rather than shopping, I went right to the venue to get a camping spot, figuring I would head back into town for supplies later. All that worked to plan, though the camping area was huge and it was hard to find people who were already there, unless you just lucked into it.
Friday morning things started with a set of opening remarks –
Which a friend of mine (Gina) translated for the hearing impaired.
With that out of the way, it was time for classes and tech sessions. I was teaching a lot at this event, and didn’t have an author table. I did try to check out some of the other things going on.
There was a Land Rover course, where you got to drive a land rover and the best times were in a drawing for a trip to Peru –
In the truck area they were also doing this –
Which I think was supposed to explain how far over you could lean without tipping. They were also talking about proper techniques to right a truck which had rolled over, but mostly I think they were just playing with their kit.
With the larger venue (it was very large, still full though) and being closer to Flagstaff, there were a lot more food options. Mostly food trucks, which came in and set up for the weekend around the site. Mostly near the camping areas, and some near the vendors. At the old site there was pizza, sometimes, and a restaurant that was good but expensive. And whatever we could cook, of course. Busy days cut into cooking times though.
Here, there was wood fired pizza, salads, burgers, BBQ (well, it wasn’t the Southeast, but they were trying), and all kinds of other stuff. So much yum. Of course, I’m cheap when I travel so I didn’t get to try all of it.
My favorite time though is Sunday morning. There are no sessions, so I have time to walk around and look at stuff. The vendors, though, offer up breakfast items. Not all of them, but a lot of them. You just need to bring eating utensils – plates, cups, whatever.
It’s also a chance to actually talk to some people who previously I just had time to wave at as we went in different directions.
This may also have happened –
but I am not going to go into the details.
Sunday night, after the sessions, is the closing BBQ (Really good food, it’s included with the Overland Experience package and I recommend it), which lets everyone relax for a minute, talk, and make sure all contact information has been shared before everyone scatters in the morning. I know a lot of people skip this, wanting to get back on the road earlier than Monday morning. I wait until Monday morning, it’s not list I travel all that fast anyway.
I don’t usually take a lot of pictures then. I didn’t take any pictures in the morning, or the ride home. In face, I actually went home very quickly, since I was missing my wife at this point. Some time, hopefully very soon, she’ll get to come with me on this stuff.