Vans, trucks, motorcycles…
…anything with 2+ wheels…
…and any sort of clearance, gathered together in Mormon Lake, AZ with their proud parents for Overland Expo. No matter the condition, be it spliced, hacked, welded, rusted, or brand shiny new, all gas and diesel creations clustered around in their respective areas for the event. Featured vehicles and vendors all tetrised around each other, packing in the space between the rodeo ring and RV Park of Mormon Lake, while all the campers extended themselves out beyond to the lake.
All walks and wheels of life came together for Overland Expo to showcase new and old imaginings of this thing called overlanding, and what it takes to make it great. It’s amazing to see so many years and miles of adventure meet in the middle of Arizona, and share their knowledge.
From the start of Expo on Friday morning, to the end on Sunday evening, folks could enjoy classes on every aspect of travel from fellow overlanders.
Wandering through the sea of vendors, you could find your learning experiences in all sorts of spaces. There were classes for food preparation and storage, along with ones filled with all sorts of great meal ideas. Then you had classes for travel safety, travel chic (ladies only), and ones filled with all sorts of other amazing travel ideas.
The most interactive, and exciting, aspect of all the classes were the driving courses. Land Rover instructors were standing by to take your vehicle, or you could just borrow one of their BRAND NEW Land Rovers…
…through the off-road course, help you learn marshalling (also known as interpretative dance regarding objects that want to destroy your vehicle),
or how to recover your vehicle (for those times where your vehicle would just rather be taking a nap, on it’s side).
During one of the Ladies Only off-road course classes, I was lucky enough to meet a woman who was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to drive her BRAND NEW Mercedes G-Wagon, ON THE OFF ROAD COURSE!!!
Honestly, I don’t know much about these cars, but if I had to guess, this thing is worth more than my left leg, both eyes, and somebody else’s first born dipped in gold, and sold on the black market. When she first asked me, I thought to myself, “Is she kidding? Is this the ‘jokes on the ginger’ kind of thing? Or does she actually have that much faith in humanity that this stranger is not going to brutally maim her shiny metallic dollar signs??!! Well, fuck it. Game on.” And the next day met up with her to have myself a little, off-road romp, accompanied by a Land Rover instructor. Be it the overwhelming generosity, slight boost in my ego, or sheer admiration for this woman’s ability to just be… well, cool, I KILLED IT. I, in laymen’s terms, made that course, my bitch (the incredible capability, and front, center, and rear differential lockers of the G-Wagon, had NOTHING to do with it… Cough…).
So beyond all the paid program details, there’s still the lifeblood left to this whole Expo. What makes all these twisted chunks of metal purr? Looking around the windy lakeside, you see all of the smiles and glinting pride of so many adventures, of life that was taken by the horns and said ‘Let’s do this’. There too are the traces of defeat, which in turn, just gave the inspiration to build these people up again to do what they love. Obstacles arise, passion conquers (even though the vehicle may be in shambles).
THE PEOPLE, yes, the people of Expo; transients, business(wo)men, filmmakers, retirees, entrepreneurs, weekend warriors, cooks, and teachers. All of who are sharing the love of overland.