Overland: Accomplished, traversing, or passing over the land instead of the ocean: an overland journey; an overland route. Thats the definition I found online, but what else does it mean? Like many other things in life, it could vary depending on perspective. Is it a 3 year tour around the world in a heavily equiped 4x4 vehicle? Or a 2 week trip thru diferent states or countries?
To me its not just the journey, vehicle or leght of it, but the preparation before, adaptability during, and persistance thru it to not give up and succeed in reaching your goal.
This year's Overland Expo East seemed plagued with "inconveniences", from bad weather that prompted the closing of vehicular traffic in the event, class cancelations, registered campers not allowed in due to deteriorated driving conditions in the ranch hosting the event.
This year's event also had a diferent tone for me, I came back for the second year in a row as a presenter and expert panel member, brought some new faces with me in a 4 jeep convoy, and it was my first annual Anvil Adventures Club reunion with most of the original members, plus several newer ones that I've only met online yet felt like we've been friends for a long time. Some (if not most) of the guys had already been camping and overlanding for 9-12 days prior and mostly under the weather conditions we were dealing with, rain, mud and cold weather, yet the "welcome home" was as warm as a "Florida chamber of commerce" day.
In my opinion if the weather conditions did anything was make the event a much more real overland experience since it made attendees use their driving skills thru muddy hills, use clothing that should be standard "equipment" and cook meals in adverse conditions, in other words put to use equipment, knowledge and attitude. All this things not only apply to overlanding, but to every day life, it's just a different approach.
|Oz Tents were very popular and so were their room additions that can be used as kitchens or living areas.
|Kitchen set ups were in abundance in all configurations
This year for the first time in this event, I offered a Basic First Aid skills class for children, besides an Intro to Wilderness and Remote First Aid class. Someone asked me how I felt after a long day of teaching, meeting people, and answering questions, if it was a success? My answer was the same as any other class I've taught or water safety presentation I've given "I loved doing it! To me that is a success" and judging by the participants reactions and their participation during class, I'd dare to say they did too. Another new thing that happened this year was having friends in my class (it was great, but don't tell them I said that).
What was new and the same was the amount of great vehicles that were in attendance, many older than myself that are still in use.
|The owner of this bike has traveled to Alaska and all over the U.S.A. with her dog on the sidecar
|The trailer was a hand built Anvil Adventure Trailer, check them out on Facebook.
|An Ursa Minor Jeep
|Sports Mobile was on hand with their amazing vans
As for vendors my favorite this year was Simple Shot Shooting Sports, not only they had a booth/tent to display and sell but also a range where we could go shooting free of charge and for the fun of it and free instruction on proper technique, use and care of the equipment. However just because that was my (inner child) personal favorite doesn't mean I didn't enjoy all the other vendor displays and vehicles, like ARB's fleet which is always different and outstanding.
|I was very impressed with the Sylvan Sport Go camper
|Very spacious accommodations on a very small and lightweight package when closed
|The Editor in Chief from Outdoorx4 Magazine was in attendance with his family braving the elements in this very nice set up
|This beauty of an ARB FJ is nearly bullet proof, from the diesel engine to the axles and suspension
|ARB's F-350 was on display prior to being used after the expo to go to the Vermont Overland Expo.
|Derek and Ludy got a very in depth product description from Eric Valdes from ARB
|The latest OME adjustable shock absorbers where displayed on ARB's Rubicon JK
|Getting a personal tour of ARB's new products never gets old, if you ever get a chance to go on one, do it!
|U-Joint's vans are always something to drool a little over
|Tiger Adventure vehicles never fail to impress
Some items seemed to be a common theme among the overland community these days like ARB refrigerators, Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generators, Oz Tents, and on/off road trailers with awnings and or Roof Top Tents, and Trasharoo bags
|Justin's SoCal Trailer and Foxwing Awning make for a nice dry living area and sleeping quarters
|Scott Quinn actually built this camper from scratch on a military trailer platform
|OK4WD turned this ARB refrigerator into a kegerator and powers it up with a Yeti 400 from Goal Zero
|My ARB 37Q fridge, perfect size for the 2004 TJ
|These bags were designed with overlanders and people that would go wheeling in remote locations so that they could not only bring their own trash back, but whatever other trash found along the way. Mine got immediate use as a dirty laundry bag.
|Scott K.'s Oz Tent and Manley ORV Trailer with James Baroud's roof top tent, notice the awning mounted on the Jeep's roof rack
|Derek and I like to have some tunes while at base camp and EcoXGear never fails under any weather
|Survivor Filter Pro provided me with all my drinking water for the trip
Another thing this event is great for and probably my favorite part of it is the getting together with old friends and new ones alike.
|Byron from Exploring Elements was one of my first inspirations not just to road travel, but to share my experiences thru blogging
|Exploring Elements adventure mobile
|R.J. and Bart checking out Ben's galley
Yeap I got a pic with Alison DeLapp from Overland Journal, if you don't follow her blog yet, do yourself a favor and go follow her.
What can I tell you? If you like to road and off road travel you need to go to an Overland Expo, not just for the classes, but for the friendships, and inspirational atmosphere.
On a side note: Thanks to Donny Hodges for some pictures used in this post, and please check my youtube channel as I'll be posting a slideshow/video of the entire trip that covered Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Also please keep in mind and if you are able to donate to the victims of the South Carolina floodings.