Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

2018 Overland Expo, Day 1

This little guy was toddling around holding a pine cone in the Four Wheel display area, and was just so cute that I couldn’t help but take a picture (with parental approval). He looked to have just started walking a week or so ago, and had that hesitant high-step that makes you smile.

Friday was the start of this event, and this post is only a “photo essay” of that one day. Day 2 will follow, but that’s how it usually is, with Day 2 following Day 1. Some smart alack may argue using quantum physics or some such gibberish, but that’s how it is in my book.

The aisles were long, and the vendors plentiful.

The B.F. Goodrich test track was there to convince people that their KO2 all-terrain and new KM3 mud tire were capable performers. This is an interactive display: you sign up, and they let you get behind the wheel!

I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do this. The guide has them stop right here, and then ease up and over. On one of three vehicles, the front tires were slipping a bit on the hard-pack dirt, letting the front end shift very slightly sideways under power. Anyhow, I don’t like to go over what I can’t see, despite the poles and flags. Too big a dose of adventure, I guess, and no roll cage. Are you up for it?

The driving skills area for motorcycles had a nice display, with a couple of old Camel Trophy Land Rovers and a motorcycle strung between them. Click on this photo to see a larger version.

Clever, these people. The bike is on one rope, on pulleys, while two other ropes are used to control its position over the mini-gorge.

Motorcycle riding instruction on steroids. This pointed out the importance of momentum and careful throttle control, as well as balance. Some did it like old pros to stop at the top as required. Some were newbies at it, and it showed, with one nearly toppling over by ending up too close to the edge for foot support.

These is them. I should point out that all the riders in this group are women, and the course they have to train on is not easy. They all have some kinda intestinal fortitude, because you ARE eventually going to go down, and it’s important to learn how to combat that too, without injury. Negotiating obstacles under experienced trainers under controlled conditions is the smartest and quickest way to learn to master the rough stuff, seems to me.

The Land Rover test track. Again, you sign up, and they accompany you to guide you and point out various 4WD features.

Part of the Hallmark camper display area. As part of my quirks, all I can think of when I see the tall tires on a vehicle like this is accelerated brake wear. Sad.

Yep, Alaskan Campers was there with a couple of units. On these, the roof lowers down like a box lid to cut wind resistance on the highway, lower the center of gravity, improve overhead clearance, and there’s no fabric to leak cold or radiate heat.

The new Earthroamer XV-HD. If you have a spare 1.5 million dollars handy, you too can rough it in style!

Pedego had some of their electric bikes there, including a couple with tires 4″ wide. My e-bike has 2″-wide tires. This allows riding right over deep sand, but the added rolling resistance of this fat of a tire chops battery range quite a bit. Everything’s a trade-off. Looks cool, though, and it works if you spend a lot of time on sand and hate losing your steering and falling over.

This ugly duckling is an UBCO electric motorcycle from New Zealand, intended for utility and farm use. Both wheels are driven using high-wattage hub motors. Top speed is 30 MPH. The 2017 model is $6,000 and is not street licensable, while the $7,000 2018 model is street legal and has more power and range. With the ability to carry all manner of equipment as well as recharge your power tools in the field, it’s a niche bike that fills a hole which Hondas and such can’t service. If you worked out of a remote cabin with solar, the bike could keep working longer than you could.

I thought this was clever. A utility trailer for hauling a motorcycle, then once you get out there, drop the tent from the canopy and live large.

Not for sale at the show, this utility trailer has an awning attached, for use as a camper.

The crew from Expedition Overland. They make some very good pro-level videos of their travels, which are viewable online fer free!

Just a shot of some “adventure trailers”. Very handy if you don’t take really difficult trails.

Maxtrax traction boards, originating from Australia, have many cheaper imitators that tend to fail when you need them the most. Maxtrax boards are supremely popular among overlanders. Me, I’ve been trying to figure out where I could possibly stow a pair of Crux bridging ladders from CruxOffroad. They help greatly whenever ground clearance is an issue, and act as traction boards as well.

Alu-Cab is a South African company specializing in rooftop tents, awnings, and other accessories. Their reputation is very good.

James Baroud Rooftop Tents are made in Portugal and come in hardshell and softshell versions. Most often seen on SUVs, they’ve been around long enough to gain and hold an excellent reputation worldwide.

The Mitsubishi Delica (short for Delivery Car) offered 4WD with diesel power since 1982. This might be a third generation model somewhere between 1986-1994, but I’m not sure. Current production is generation 5. Sold all over, they are a rarity in the U.S.

Baja Rack (roof racks) wanted to brag about what they can build to fit, and this old Land Rover makes for an attention-getting proof.

On the other side of Baja Rack’s canopy, this new Toyota also wears their rack. Set aside reliability for a moment. Similarly outfitted for function, which has the most visceral appeal? You be the judge.

Here’s an adventure trailer that makes me wonder how long it takes to break camp. It has nearly every convenience known to man.

New this year (to the U.S.) is a phalanx of Black Series Caravans, which we call travel trailers. This one is Australian-made, and arrangements are being made now to set up production or assembly in California. This is their smallest hardside, a 15-footer. Any TT with bash bars along its bottom edges gets my attention. A 360-degree hitch, tall zinc-coated steel frame, and special off-roading independent suspension all point toward negotiating nasty trails without harm. Note the slideout stove and sink drawer to the right, and a full-width storage bin ahead of that.

The HQ15’s interior stove/sink combo.

The control panel offers a circuit breaker for every subsystem/device, instead of wiping out whole sections of the trailer when one of three breakers trips. Looking at this after all the serious external features, I began to wonder just how much this thing cost!

A sizable shower is tucked into one corner in the rear.

A generous sink & counter, ample storage and a toilet occupy the other rear corner. A dry bath in a 15-footer? That’s a rarity. Those aren’t chipboard cabinets.

A look forward from the bathroom, which is partitioned off, shows a queen-sized bed between high-gloss greyish walls. I didn’t care for the color, but Luan or Masonite, it’s not. Looks awfully roomy for such a small trailer. Dinette to the left, and the same Dometic CR-65 as is in the Intrepid, to the right.

A storage bin and spare tire mount aft. At this point I discovered the horrifying $50,000 retail price, which is outlandish for a 15-foot trailer, and the Aussies consider this to be a genuine bargain for what you get. Once I came to again, given its materials, gewgaws, no-holds-barred off-roading capabilities and 5-year structural warranty, I have to admit that I admire it a lot. The entire lower surround is diamond plate for protection, and solar power to a 400Ah battery pack is included.

This refurbished old Jeep Wagoneer drew a lot of attention, and its buyer picked it up on Monday.

The Thunderbox, a camping toilet that folds completely flat. Australian. I’m guessing that you place a waste bag under the seat and have at it.

I particularly like old vehicles that are rare to see in this country. This one was offered by Proffitt’s Land Cruiser Resurrection.

The front end of same.

iCamp teardrop trailers. The cooking area is under the rear lid, per usual.

This old Suzuki Samurai is nicely outfitted and looks like a lot of fun. Samurais are still often seen in the Southwest. Consumer Reports got itself a lot of attention when they publicized videos of them tipping over when cornered hard. Gee. What a surprise. They also railed against wide, low-profile tires as providing no more cornering grip than narrow, taller tires, which is why race cars today still use narrow tires to win races. Not.

The artsy-fartsy shot, kinda.

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2 thoughts on “2018 Overland Expo, Day 1

  1. Mark J. Palmeri on said:

    doug, i am just catching up on your adventures. YES I would do this !!!!!!!

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