This past weekend we got back in our car and took a short road trip from Phoenix to Amado (about 2.5 hours) for the Overland Expo. This event brings together a diversity of travelers to swap stories, learn new skills, trade tips, oogle gear, and drink beer together. It was difficult to figure out before we went if this event was for us because we couldn’t nail down who their audience was. Turns out that is because there was such a diverse audience, anyone that travels anywhere in the world in some sort of vehicle, could find their niche at this Expo. Another pleasant surprise was that the event promoted giving back. It turns out the Expo was created by Roseanne and Jonathan of Conserventures and some of the proceeds go to fund this environmental nonprofit. The Expo also benefits the Muskoka Foundation, which connects Overland travelers with skilled volunteer opportunities along their routes. We found the experience to be great fun and will follow up with future posts on some of our favorite parts of the experience. For now, here is a photo review to give you a taste of what we saw.
You can see more photos of the Expo here.
Vehicles with animal print were surprisingly popular -- this one was set up in the "wild" of the campground
Here is a vehicle that would be used for driving / racing over sand in Baja
Another race car for Baja, this one is actually street legal and was custom built in Phoenix
Many of the travelers there were motorcyclists. We felt an affinity for the motorcyclists since they tend to be more like touring cyclists, tenting out and carrying very little.
The makeshift campground was set up right across the street from the Expo -- this is a view of the Expo from the camping entrance
Jay was all jazzed up about this truck (basically a 4x4 RV on steroids) because it's the same basic truck that he went to Montana in with the wildlands Fire crew
Speaking of the diversity of travelers, this photo shows the monster RV in front of a regular size van which has already carried a couple on 3 different continents! They have been on the road since 2000 and say "Go simple and you'll go further"
Jonathan from Overland Gourmet put on 2 cooking demos while we were there. In this photo he is searing Ahi Tuna on a Snowpeak grill set up. We enjoyed lots of fabulous food from this tent.
If water is more your thing, these folks were selling folding wooden boats that pack up into a carrying case for easy travel on plan or in your vehicle
We spent a lot of our time hanging out with Chris at the Drive the Americas lounge -- we got the tickets from them and had a great time getting to know Chris and hearing about his adventures driving the Pan-American highway from California to Argentina (photo credit: Chris Novak)
Our campsite -- Sharon chose the spot next to the "tree" which turned out to just be a thorny shrub that I cursed at everytime I needed to get past that side of the tent. We slept without the rainfly on the first night since it was so hot. Blowing dust and a desire for privacy led us to add the rainfly for the second night.
Quick reminder: vote everyday on the Travel for Good site (click on the photo of us in the tent on the right side of the blog). We are currently in 27th place and hope to get to the final four by the end of May.