04-18-2013, 12:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Overland Expo 2013
I was sorting through photos and came up on a collection from the Overland Expo last year in Flagstaff. This expo is nothing short of inspiring and is guaranteed to make you want to quit your day job and wander aimlessly around the planet. A big highlight for me was meeting the legendary Ted Simon. He possesses a calmness and confidence about him which can only be achieved from decades of wandering. He is a true adventurer.
My buddies Tim, Jimmy, and Billy all flew into Phoenix for the event. Tim arrived from New Jersey, Jimmy from Seattle, and Billy from the UK. It was great great to reunite with the three of them and ride again.
They rented bikes locally and we took the long way up to the Expo. One can easily drive the Interstate between Phoenix and Flagstaff in under 2 hours if you are in a hurry. Our route was 297 miles mostly off road and took nearly 9 hours. A much better option.
We launched from my home into the 105 degree weather and descended into the Apache Trail. This follows the Salt River Canyon as is meanders along the Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt Lakes. We then headed into the mountains to the quirky little town of Young, Az.
From here, we hopped on Forest Road 300 and rode along the majestic Mogollon Rim above Payson, Arizona. A stunning ride with dramatic views and great twisties. Finally, we jumped on Lake Mary Road to end up at the Expo at Mormon Lake.
The Expo itself was quite a spectacle. There were numerous venders offering every service and luxury imaginable for the serious overlander. I was envious of some of the rigs these people had. We are talking about vehicles in excess of $500,000. I was immediately drawn to the earth Roamers and the Sportsmobiles. Those beasts are the bomb!
Until I hit the jackpot, I will stick with my 2 wheeled setup. It can get me anywhere I need to go and costs less than $20 to fill up.
Numerous bikes were on display including BMW and KTM. All the tire vendors were there showing off their new rubber. Classes and clinics were ongoing throughout the day and included first aid, rollover techniques, and riding techniques. Rayhyde put on a great demo for Dual Sport riders and had participants ride their bike along the man made course with hill climbs, whoops, and jumps.
I decided to suit up and give it a shot. A fun little course!
The group stayed at the Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff. This quaint hotel is in the heart of Flagstaff and is quite the scene. The lobby bar has been a gathering place for weary travelers for decades. Like usual, we stayed up late, drank too much, and suffered the next morning.
The next day, Tim and Jimmy headed out to check out the Grand Canyon while Billy and I wandered the Expo.
That evening,Billy decided to camp out at the expo and froze his ass off. I believe the temp dropped down into the high 20's. I decided to opt for more luxurious accommodations and stayed at a friends house in town.
Billy woke to find this ugly little FF staring back at him!
We headed back to the "Valley of the Sun" the next day. Our route home did not include any gravel roads, but it was just as much fun. The temp steadily climbed from 50 degrees back up to over 100 degrees.
It is hard to act manly when you are posing next to a pink jeep!
From the expo, we dropped down into Sedona along the Oak River Canyon. This provided miles of twisties through a deep canyon. We then proceeded to the historic ghost town of Jerome AZ...the wickedest town in the west. We had a great lunch at a restauratnt overlooking the valley, and then blasted off for another long section of fast twisties before arriving back in Phoenix.
My wife and I are going to attend the EXPO again this year in Flagstaff. We are going to camp out this time and soak it all in. Billy Ward, who is Charley Boorman's tour manager, will be there with a stand this year. I am still waiting on final confirmation as to whether Charley himself will be there. If you are in the area, stop by Charley's and Billy's booth and share your story. We will all be camping out, riding motorcycles, drinking beer, and sharing stories. It should be a great weekend!
A single adventure can change the course of a life...
globalpilot4 screwed with this post 04-18-2013 at 01:22 PM