Monthly Archives: June 2017

Day 26 – Driving to Saline Valley 

May 17 

The next morning, Marc and the other XP vehicles were going to continue on the South Eureka Valley Road to Steel Pass and then down into Saline Valley.

We’ve gone through Steel Pass in other vehicles, but the Robinson Fuso is too big to make it through. So we were going to take the Saline Valley Rd. to enter the valley from the north on roads that can handle larger vehicles. 

After all of the washboard yesterday, I wasn’t looking forward to the inevitable washboard today. The roads did take us through some pretty areas. There were lots of wildflowers blooming along the road. 

We passed through a section of high desert with Joshua Trees. 

The road also winds through a Juniper – Piñon pine forest.

We stopped at canyon where there is an old, abandoned mine. Jon took a hike while I took photos of the area and wildflowers.


We were buzzed by a low flying jet. 

The road then drops down into the Saline Valley which means a lot of more washboard. The Fuso began having problems going up the hills. We stopped and Jon discovered that the strap holding the truck’s batteries had come loose. A strap would do the trick for now. 

One of the problems with washboard is that all the vibration causes everything tries to work its way apart.

We reached turn off for the Warm Springs. The palm trees are visible from a long way out. We stopped at the Bat Pole for photos of the Fuso with her new look. 

When we got to the Warm Spings, it was evident that Marc, Adam and Dean had not made it to the Warm Springs. We set up camp and relaxed.

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Day 25 – Death Valley National Park

May 16


Death Valley National Park

The next day we drove through Nevada to reach Death Valley National Park. It required driving through the endless traffic and suburban sprawl.

We stopped in Pahrump for supplies before taking Highway 190 into Death Valley. 

It is a good way to get lots of picturesque views of the park. 

The weather was very cooperative, too. It was hot, but in the 90’s hot rather than the 100 + temperatures. And it wasn’t windy. A couple of years ago, we were here during a big dust storm. Even once the storm was over, there wasn’t much visibility for at least a week. 

The air was clean so we could see all the important features, like Zabriskie Point

The iconic, vintage Furnace Creek Inn was currently under construction. We stopped at the Visitor Center. Their sign claimed that it was 92 degrees. The displays are interesting. 

We stopped by the post office to mail a letter. How many letters have a Death Valley postmark?

We continued north following the Scotty’s Castle Road up to Grapevine where the road to Scotty’s Castle is closed. We continued up the Death Valley/Big Pine Road to Eureka Dunes, our planned campsite for the night. 


After following us most of this drive, Marc and the guys went ahead.  It didn’t take Marc and the other vehicles to get out of sight. 

This section of the Death Valley/Big Pine Road is gravel, not paved. As expected, it was almost all washboard. It was a bone jarring experience. Thank goodness the views along the way are interesting, especially from a landscape and wildflower perspective.


We caught up with them, not too far from the turn off onto South Eureka Valley Road. They had been stopping to take photos of the Cube and the other two XP vehicles. 

Since the light was fading, we headed out to Eureka Dunes. 

The XP vehicles took off in front of us again.


The light on the mountains as we came into Eureka Valley was beautiful.

Eureka Dunes are in an enclosed basin. They are appropriately three miles wide by one mile deep. At over 680 ft, they are the tallest sand dunes in California and among the tallest in North America. One unusual feature is that under the right conditions, they sing.

Eureka Dunes

One of campsites was occupied, but all the others were available. We picked one near the end.

We took several photos of the area.

Marc cooked a very fancy dinner which included filet mignon, asparagus and a grilled Caesar salad.

We all ate and drank well and went to bed.

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Day 24 – Post Overland Expo 

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May 14 evening through May 15

We usually go to the BBQ on the last night of the Expo (Sunday). This year was no different.  We find it easier to wait until Monday morning to leave rather than leaving on Sunday. Much less chaos and it means we can make some distance before camping for the night. 

After hanging around with friends and talking with vendors, we went to the BBQ where we did more of the same.  

We planned on heading towards Death Valley with Marc Wassman and his crew.  However,  the Cube had been having trouble with its wheels because the bolts on the split rim wheels had been over-torqued. The only definitive solution was to replace them all. At about 35 per wheel, that is a significant exercise. 

We carry an air compressor and a significant number of tools and equipment. So Monday morning was to be spent on replacing all of those bolts. 

As it turned out, it took all of Monday morning and a good part of the afternoon, even with the additional tools.

And those wheels are heavy and awkward to handle. It was a hard day’s work. 

Adam and Dean put in a great effort to get it done.

We helped out for a while. I took photos. Jon caught up with some work online and I worked on getting some blog posts finished. 

Around 3:00, things had finally finished up. After a few minor delays, we headed west on I-40.

One thing we love about the southwest is the skies.

We turned off at Kingman to head in the direction of Death Valley. Jon found a great campsite on BLM  (Bureau of Land Management) land near the site of Old Chloride, AZ.

It was a nice, relatively flat area near an old mine site. 

We arrived just before sunset. The view was beautiful. 

 We all spent some time getting set up and comfortable.

Everyone spent a little time wandering around checking out the site. We saw an owl roosting in the old mine.

There was a huge, abandoned nest in the mining structures. 

We had a group dinner and hung out for a while.  It was great to be on our way to new adventures. 

We really enjoy Overland Expo, but it is a relief to be on the road again. 

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Overland Expo West – Vendor Photos

May 12 – 14, 2017
Lots of photos of the things we saw this year.

Vendors

Campers & Overland Vehicles

XP Camper 

XP Camper

We did catch up with Marc Wassman of XP Camper on Thursday night and visited his vendor site off and on during the weekend.

The Cube

Built on a Mercedes Truck chassis

Earthcruiser 

We stopped by to visit Earthcruiser several times.

Global Expedition Vehicles 

GXV

A very large truck


AeroContinental

Aero-Continental


Their vehicle is metal covered with rivets.

Jon checks out the back of the vehicle


Bliss Mobil BV

Bliss Mobil

This one was very large.



Alaskan Campers

Alaskan Campers

A hard-sided pop up truck camper



VMI Offroad

VMI Offroad 

They have an unusual pop-up 

Kodiak Trailhead Pop-up

A Few from Unknown Vendors

Roof-top Tents and Trailers

There were quite a few of these this year.

Terracamper

Terracamper

A pop-up roof

Tepui

Tepui Tents

Friday night, they had a happy hour with free beer and a musician performing from one of their rooftop tents.

We were impressed.

Taylor Rae

AT Overland 

AT Overland

An interesting rooftop tent by Nemo.

Camping Structures 

Advanced Shelter Systems

Shelterpod

It was great to see Shelterpod at Overland Expo. They’ve been to a couple of these before and their tents held up well against the strong winds. 

Overland Vehicle Rentals

You don’t have to buy your own Overland Vehicle, there were several that rent them, too.

Adventure Travel Sports Rentals

Adventure Travel Sports Rentals 

They’ve been to several Overland Expo’s, too.

Adventure Rentals 

They brought a couple of items to the show.

Additional Vendors 
And a few more vendors

The Turtle Expedition was there. 

They had started out in the Showcase Vehicle section but moved their vehicle to the vendor area. It was good to see them again. 

Kargo Master Safari

The brought live music, too. It is an interesting trend. 

Garmin inReach 

As always, we always visit the Garmin (formerly DeLorme) booth. 

We love the inReach. It is a great device for two-way satellite texting and reaching out for help in case of emergency. We used it last year when we were stuck in the Black Rock Desert Playa. We didn’t have cell service, so being able to reach out for help was great.

ARB 4×4

ARB USA

They brought a great display for their air lockers.

Here are a few more images

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Overland Expo West – Our Classes & Programs

May 12 to 14, 2017

Our classes

Jon points out the refrigerator electronics

We taught our Basic American Camper, Tricks & Tips on Friday and Saturday at 11. 

Friday worked well. We made it to the Demo Tent in plenty of time. 

On Saturday, the traffic to come to Expo was so backed up that we resorted to driving contrary to the flow of traffic to get there in time.

Jon discusses carrying spares

 

Jon talking about propane and maceraters

Our Presentation 
On Sunday afternoon, we gave our presentation “So This Happened: A heavy-vehicle recovery story”. It was on getting stuck in the Black Rock Desert Playa last year. If you want to know more, check out our blog posts from July 2016.

Our presentation was at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon. Most Sunday afternoon classes are lightly attended and ours was no different. 

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Day 20 – Arriving at Overland Expo West 


May 11, Thurs

On Thursday morning, we took our time getting ready to go. Once we had packed up our stuff, filled up with water, dumped our tanks, bought groceries and fuelled the vehicle, we were ready to go. 

New location very close and easy to get to,  but actually getting into the main area with registration, vendors and the Overland Theater was a little bit of a challenge.  

We arrived before the actual check-in time, so hung out with folks and chatted. Checked in. 


We were in the Showcase Vehicle section. At the old location, the Featured Vehicle section was between the vendors and the campground.  This time we were past the vendors and few visitors came over this time.  That was ok with us since we weren’t selling anything. For those individuals needing traffic,  it was a challenge.

Our assigned spot was too small for the length of our vehicle. The campsites were just regular parking spaces. Giving us two of them didn’t help. The area organizer did a great job of rearranging the assigned spots so that we were all able to fit.  

We were camped next to Bevan & Clare Walsh, a really nice Australian couple and their modified ambulance. We had been camped near them during the Overland Expo East in October. 

Terri Ann Wakeman and her Irish Wolfhound, O’Reilly, were close by. Since we have owned Irish Wolfhounds in the past, I always enjoy spending time with them both.  

She was selling her book, The Essential Guide to Overland Travel in the Exhibitors Tent.

We set up our camper, talked with our neighbors, and then headed out to check out the new venue before the Instructors meeting that afternoon. 

We always enjoy watching the Vendors get set up and with the new location, it required a little more imagination to picture what it would look like by Friday. 
We saw the Land Rover test track. The pavilion was up, but they were still finishing their preparations. 

We found our class location at the Hands-On Demo area. There were a couple of guys putting out chairs.

There were a few Food Trucks preparing for the crowds. I really hoped that we would be able to get a wood-fired pizza later. 

We attending the meeting in the Overland Theater building. There was quite a bit of echo, but the technology was up and running with a minimum of delay.

We wandered around the Vendor area talking with friends. It was great to see Lance and Michelle from Earthcruiser. 

Marc Wassman from XP Camper hadn’t arrived yet, but a happy customer was there already. 

It was a long day and we didn’t finally get to bed until quite late. Our first class started at 11:00. 

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