Overlanding is vehicle based expedition travel. The type of vehicles are as varied as the people who do it. There is everything from adventure motorcycles to car camping with tents to pop-up campers to giant Unimog based specialty vehicles.
The Overland Expo West is a yearly event held in May at Mormon Lake in the Coconino National Forest about 20 miles southeast of Flagstaff, AZ. The site is huge and includes driving courses, vendors, camping, classes, a restaurant and theater. Except for a limited RV campground that does provide water, electricity, and sewer, the camping is primitive. There are classes, presentations, roundtables, demonstrations, driver’s training and an extensive vendor area.
You can attend with a Day Pass and get access to the vendors, roundtable discussions, many demonstrations, and presentations. Or you can sign up in advance for the Overland Experience Package which includes all of what a Day Pass provides plus access to a number of classes taught by leading experts and driving/recovery classes.
Things start with a Welcome Ceremony on Friday morning at 8. Events finish up with BBQ Celebration on Sunday at 4:30.
Jon and I attended with the Overland Experience Package last year. This year, Jon was an expert on a couple of roundtable discussions and we both led a program on our vehicle: “My Perfect Overland Vehicle (Large): Mitsubishi Fuso Custom Rig.” I kind of overdid it with classes last year, so we had not signed up for any this year.
We left for Overland Expo in the late morning. We were surprised to see water in Morman Lake. Last year, there wasn’t any water in it.
Jon & I both attended Overland Expo West for the first time. We had been overlanding for years, we just never called it that. Last year was hot, dry and dusty.
There was a long line of cars to get into Overland Expo. After a long wait, I got out to find out what was going on. The hold up was due to registration. By the time I got back to the vehicle, the traffic issue had been sorted out. We waited in the registration line right in front of Fred Cook. There were lots of familiar faces. The line we were in took a bit of sorting out, but everything did and we were on our way to the Featured Vehicle area.
When we arrived, there was no one around us yet. We happened to be near the back corner of the Featured Vehicle section. It meant we had a great view of some of the driver training courses.
Once set up, we went out for a walk around. The sun was shining and the weather was cold, but beautiful. We headed over to vendor area. A number of exhibitors/vendors were setting up. Quite a few hadn’t arrived yet which is typical since things don’t officially start up until Friday morning.
Fred & Denise were camped in the to the Tiger Adventure Vehicles exhibitor area to show off their vehicle. It is the very tiny blue vehicle in the center of the photo.
They had finished getting settled into their spot and had gone out for a wander as well. We met up wandered around the main exhibit/vendor area together for a while.
A very creative use of a horse trailer
We had an Instructor’s meeting in the late afternoon. Jon and I wandered around talking with people for a while after the meeting. It was great to see so many friends and acquaintances. We had a chance to talk with Nina and Rob of Whiteacorn. We stopped in the Sportmobile area on our way back to our truck and talked with Bill & Deb. They had been camped next to us at the Flagstaff KOA last year and this year.
The Featured Vehicle area had gained quite a few more vehicles. Luisa and Graeme Bell of A2A Expedition were just pulling into the area. It was great to talk with them a bit. We had met them for the first time at the Flagstaff KOA yesterday.
It started to get quite cold once the sun went down, so we had a nice dinner in the Fuso. Between the rain and the cold, it just wasn’t a good night to sit around outside socializing.