Monday, May 26, 2014

Overlanders Overlanding in Flagstaff, Arizona

Leaving Joshua Tree National Park

We left Joshua Tree National Park and rode and rode and rode and rode through the desert, over the hills of the original Route 66 and through a blustery evening to get to Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Oatman, AZ

Why? Believe it or not, there are 6,000+ crazy people like us and we all found a way to meet up in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Overland Expo plays host to dreamers, planners, gear and advice providers, and mid-trip RTW (Round the World) travelers, like us. It also brings awareness to excellent causes like (which is working to ensure that the Mexican Wolves stay off of the extinction list) and Lost for a Reason which raises money and does work to fulfill the needs of residents of  Native American Reservations. 

We got to connect with other RTW riders including Rene
The Lizzy Busy setup
Cormier, author of The University of Gravel Roads, which tells the story of his RTW trip by motorcycle. We got to meet the inspiring Lizzy Bus duo, going RTW in a Land Rover... their tagline: Un-sponsored - Un-supported & Un-hinged :)
Mark and Rose from KLiM/Wolfman were there, so we had a
Saturday night highlight: Ted Simon
chance to have dinner with the KLiM team, which includes Rene, Cristi Farrell of Motoriffic Podcast fame and Alison DeLapp, who, after riding South America solo, is living the dream in Panama. And, after watching a documentary about his second trip around the world at 70 years old, we got to meet the legendary Ted Simon, author of Jupiter's Travels.
The Ride of My Life and RawHyde crew put on a great show
A massive toy-hauler was set up near our tent and had a pretty sweet lounge area set up just outside of it... Mark soon introduced us to Brad Barker, a documentary filmmaker, who is looking for "good news" in a world where bad new predominates... and so he has taken to a BMW GS 1200 to find it, and find people with good stories along the way for his next project: The Ride of My Life. So we sat down with him for a chat on camera and the next day took a ride out to Sedona with his crew of riders, cameramen and a horde of GoPros. It was a challenging ride for me... only my second
The views of Sedona from Schnebly Hill were well-worth the
"bit" of gravel, sand and boulders we had to navigate to get there :)
"dirt" road since our 4-month riding hiatus. And while I had a couple of proud moments, they were frustratingly cut short when I would come to a stop to catch my breath and realize I couldn't touch the ground under my bike... and down we went :/ The good news was that it was a good test-ride for my new KLiM Altitude suit... no broken bones and no bruises!! :) And the other good news was that Brad's crew was never around when this happened, but my lovely boyfriend handed over the GoPro footage he captured from behind me. Hopefully, the quality of our old GoPros isn't good enough to make the final cut, but I have a feeling I'll see myself onscreen eating dirt a few times on Schnebly Hill Road. 

Payback, when I figure out something appropriately fitting, will be sweet, dear Roel. Muahahahaha!

Slow-speed racing the world-famous, Shawn Thomas
The next morning, I spent a few hours with Shawn Thomas from RawHyde Adventures, as he conducted a beginners off-road course. Hm... probably should have done that course BEFORE Schnebly Boulder Road... oh well. Anyway, it was a great way to get up my confidence after Schnebly Hill Road beat it out of me the day before, and I did pick up a few tips from Shawn.  

A lil bike winching action
After giving a presentation about our bikes and our travels (with a crowd largely made up of larger BMWs, the Hondas were quite a draw), we took the opportunity to wander around the Expo area... Roel and I are getting around the world just fine with what we have, but I have to admit there were some seriously drool-worthy exhibitors at Overland Expo:

Mosko Moto makes a seriously well-thought out, expertly designed (think along the lines of Dakine), and get this, AFFORDABLE, soft luggage system. Yes, not only have these guys thought out every element of this system, done extensive crowd sourcing 
The top duffle converts to a backpack
on ADV Rider, etc., as riders themselves, they have faith in these systems and know that if they price these bags lower, they'll ultimately sell more because their ingenious luggage system will speak for itself. You don't need to price a product at the high end of the market to make a lot of money - you need to make a solid product that sells itself and then you'll sell more than enough to make a good profit. They're good guys, too :)

We're going to try out a solar-rechargable Luci light by MPOWERD right now. Pretty perfect for motorcycle travel... I'll flatten it out and strap it on top of my topbox to charge while riding during the day and at night it becomes an awesome little lantern. And again, it's another socially conscious company, which provides these renewable light sources where there is no light, standing for "Solar Justice" for all. 

And NEMO Equipment was represented by The Raven Workshop. Again, both socially conscious companies that are doing their best to make/sell environmentally friendly products and make the world a better place for people in need. 

When we weren’t wandering around exhibits or going on rides, we were meeting other adventure riders and inspiring travelers, left and right. The Overland Expo attendees are an incredible network of like-minded individuals. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Brad asked us to join his team for some R&R and a little more filming in Page, AZ… tough offer to turn down, so it looks like our next blog post will be from the shores of Lake Powell, AZ.  

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