2019 Overland Expo West!
Our Journey to the Show
Published by Peri Peri Creative
With the 2 Overland Expo events on the calendar for the past 5 years, Rory and I find that there are benefits to the long hours we put in here at the shop every day; It is being able to travel different routes to take part in the Overland Expo Events.
This year, we decided to leave our fur babies at home with Rory’s wife, Ginny. We were both feeling lonely without them even before we left, but with only the 2 of us to work the display, we knew it was for the better. Traveling with the dogs makes us stop more often, rather than just driving hard and stopping for fuel. Knowing we weren’t taking the pups, we planned to leave bright and early on Monday morning (5 am), and take 2 long days of driving to arrive in Flagstaff Wednesday afternoon. However, we had arranged to meet with customers along the way to the show this year. The first one in Frisco, CO on Sunday to deliver a 2.95m BunduAwn and Soft Cased Quick-En-Suite, and the second in Basalt, CO Monday morning to do an on-site repair on a couple’s BunduCamp. With those extra stops, we decided to get a leg up on our travels by leaving late Saturday afternoon. That would, hopefully, break up the trip for a more leisurely pace. With all the presold tents and awnings, plus our new Quick-En-Suite shower enclosures and Zamp portable solar panels, we were pulling the 102” wide x 30-foot enclosed trailer with Rory’s ¾ ton truck, and the smaller 14-foot show trailer with my ½ ton truck.
Saturday afternoon and evening were spent on the road, and we had a smooth trip as we headed west to Colorado. Due to the late hour, and wanting to miss the flooding and rain around Omaha, we decided on a hard-surfaced Wal-Mart parking lot in Seward, NE. We didn’t want to get to our usual camping spot by the river only to find it underwater with both of us pulling trailers. Sunday morning, we got up and hit the road again with Frisco CO in our sights to meet up with Kingsley, our first customer en-route. We met up at Exit 201, as there wasn’t a good location in Frisco to accommodate the size of both our rigs with easy access. It was a great visit, and he is looking to contact us again in a year or so to upgrade his current set-up to a Side Entry Tray Build! We spent over an hour with him, and he was stoked about mounting both the Awning and Quick-En-Suite. We agreed to keep in touch, and I am looking forward to the photos from him. While enjoying our chat with Kingsley, we were approached by a professional drifter who stated she was on her way to Arizona and required a ride. While we are from the Midwest, and known for our friendliness, it was unsettling even to us as she appeared out of nowhere and had given us no end destination she wanted to ride 2019 Overland Expo West! Our Route to Overland Expo West 2019 to! After we politely explained we were only going a few miles further to camp, she disappeared just as she arrived. As we got back onto the interstate, we noticed she had ventured up into the mountains off exit 201 like a ninja! Once back on the road we were fortunate enough to see a large group of big horn sheep grazing along the side of the highway. Driving in the mountains, they came and went so quickly that neither one of us got photos, but promise you, we saw them!!
Sunday night we planned to stay on some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land in Gypsum, CO, but upon arriving we learned that the land was not open for the season yet; we tried the boat ramp close by, but that too was gated off and closed. We made the short drive down the frontage road to a campground we had seen many times called River Dance Resort. It is a pretty small area, but upon noticing the prices on the board for a single overnight stay, we decided to head down the road to see if we could find somewhere in, or near, Glenwood Springs. Turning west from the River Dance Resort entrance instead of east, the way we came, we found an overnight location for truckers. It was just a large, flat and paved open parking lot. There was space for over 30 trucks, but luckily there were only 4 or five trucks parked and we were able to fit into one space, front to back. It was a nice quiet place to get sleep for the night.
Monday morning, we made the short trip to Glenwood springs where we unhooked Rory’s trailer at the local Wal-Mart; it was quiet with almost no traffic so unhooking was a breeze! We parked my rig alongside his, then headed up the hill to Basalt to meet with Mike and look at his BunduCamp. We made it to Basalt rather quickly as it was only a 30-minute drive. It was a nice change of pace to ride with someone in the truck, as well as not having to worry about towing a trailer. Downtown Glenwood was quaint with more traffic on a Monday than we expected. When we got closer to the customer’s house, we were equally glad we were not towing the trailer and only had one truck. Mike lives in a very nice area, but the streets are winding with narrow roads!
Rory installed Truma’s cold-water shutoff for Mike so he can winterize it without getting antifreeze in the Truma’s reservoir, then added and tweaked a few other things that he had questions on after using his unit for the past 10 months. One was the pull-out table that would not stay in the travel position. Rory fitted a few washers on the rear of the ball bearing slides that snugged up the closed position nicely. The campers’ most recent trip was taken by Mike’s wife the week before. She enjoyed the unit solo as Mike could not get away to join her. They LOVE their BunduCamp. Having Rory’s camper parked in the street and Mike’s in his driveway brought out onlookers in his neighborhood who commented on both rigs. We were told by one guy, driving by that we had a “bitchin ride”!! We could tell we were in CO
While Rory worked on Mike’s camper, I was able to spend a little time in my mobile office (Rory’s camper). It gave me time to check emails and answer phone messages from those contacting us while we traveled. We spent a little over 3 hours with Mike and he thanked us for the consideration and house call to look at his unit. He is in good shape for camping season, and I am sure they will continue to use it often. Upon returning to hook up to the trailer, we found that the sleepy little Wal Mart had gotten much busier. At first the trailer was blocked in with carts and parked cars, but we managed to catch a break with a couple cars leaving at the right time to get hooked back up, and snake the trailers out of the parking area! Rory had to jump in my rig and back it up for me to get out as it was really tight, but we made it!
After fueling in Glenwood Springs, our next scheduled stop was the Overland Expo in Flagstaff! We had a full day of “down-time” and took that time to do some exploring for different potential camp sites for future trips. We decided to check out some areas around Moab. The first spot we tried to navigate was some BLM land (we like these locations!). But the area was occupied by two Corporate Honda semi-truck rigs where they were offering a weekend quad trail ride event. The quads were kicking up a bunch of dust and were pretty loud, so we decided to go a bit farther down the road to a second location. After making the turn off the highway onto the trail. We encountered two off-road desert rigs exiting the off-road area, and from the looks they gave us as they passed, we should have figured it would be an adventure!
This area was definitely off-road and not RV friendly. The huge rocks were slippery from the fine sand in UT and off-road travel. After navigating the slick rocks and rutted trail for nearly 3 miles, we could not find the camping area our phone app rated so highly. Towing our low clearance stock trailer (which Rory was pulling), we finally came upon an area where we could get turned around. It was getting late, and after a quick powwow, we decided that was a good idea to find someplace else for the night. We had a few large tongue drags,
and the rear molding on the big stock trailer was starting to be banged up quite badly, but with the trucks in 4×4 and Rory spotting me on a few steep drop gulches, we managed to get back to the highway intact! Once back on the main road, I was tasked with finding a new area to camp in. I found a location throughfreecampsite.net in the Manti National Forest. We were navigating over our cell phones because Rory could not get his mobile data to work properly and I was the only one with the location and directions… Teachable moment, this is NOT a good idea…. the one with directions should always be in the lead… I say this because I was the student on this teachable moment After losing cell service and dropping my call to Rory, I glanced at my phone to re-dial him. In this short glance down, he had stopped in the road to view a potential campsite. I looked up just in time, and it was either slam on the breaks and rear-end him, or veer right to miss him!! I choose the veer right option with a jolt of body shaking adrenaline, just missing the trailer with my mirror and stopped with my door past the end of the trailer! In hindsight I probably should have gone left to miss him; When Rory came back to see “What I was doing”, he noticed I had stopped on a small tree that was supporting my right front tire, stopping me from going down the embankment!! He instructed me to hold my foot on the brake, put the truck in reverse, not move the steering wheel, and slowly back up the way I went in. After taking a few moments to breathe and to tell the nice motorist who stopped that we were alright, we got back on the road. We continued up the hill because the parking area Rory spotted was not the one we were looking for. We drove up the hill for another 3-4 miles, but never found the actual camping location. So again, Rory had the task of backing up both rigs to turn us around. On the way back to that original parking area Rory saw, we found a pull-off area large enough for both of us and decided we would just camp there. I was not too excited about returning to that first area as the campers who were already stationed there had been privy to my “teachable moment”. I slept like a rock Monday night after my adrenaline rush, and while it is frustrating not to get any cell tower or radio stations, camping is about the serenity of your surroundings, and we were able to enjoy some beautiful landscape and quiet.
Tuesday was another day of driving, but today we had a game plan! We knew we wanted to check out an area in the Coconino National (those that know me, know that I am a planner, so I was more than happy that we set up our next destination for the evening before we left Moab). With no stops for Tuesday, and not needing to arrive at the Expo Location until Wednesday, we had a leisurely day of travel. We made it to our spot in Coconino late afternoon and decided to take advantage of the Quick-En-Suite as well as test out the Truma as both of us needed a shower. I was impressed with the En-Suite, not only is it super easy to set up, but the aluminized material on the interior made it warm and comfortable to shower in. I was second to shower so the warming was important to me! Rory seems to be the master of setting up his camper, so he got to shower first, while I took some photos. Rory had an old yoga mat in with his stuff, so we used that as a floor in the En-
Suite which worked perfect! We both have “tender” feet and I was happy not to stand in the mass amount of pine needles while showering. There was only one other person camping near us, so it was a quiet location to enjoy the sounds of the forest. We had another set of ruts to navigate around, and our spot already had a fire ring set up along with some trash from a previous tenant Have they not heard of “Leave Only Footprints”? We cleaned it up and carried all the trash out the next day. We stopped early in the evening, so we were able to make an actual meal and enjoyed burgers on Hawaiian King buns with fried potatoes for dinner. (Although we realized we had missed a few essential utensils while packing.) The smell of the pine was wonderful in the evening and overnight. We get small pockets of pine on some of the recreational trails back home, but the abundance of it in CO and AZ always takes me to a happy place. Wednesday morning, we packed up camp (making sure to leave only our footprints), and headed into Flagstaff for a car wash and fuel. Fuel is always at our standard Sam’s Club visit. We took advantage of the $4.95 whole roasted chicken, but this time we made a trip to a Target for a spatula and tongs to make dinner a little easier.