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In case you haven’t heard, Overland Expo WEST 2015 will be May 15–17 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The event plays host to 170+ classes, 180+ exhibitors, as well as food, films, happy hours, a BBQ, and, according to last year’s figures, about 8,000 people from around the world. Camping is available onsite, though you can also come for the day or weekend without pitching a tent.

What does all of this fun cost? Here’s how it breaks down, if you get your tickets in advance.

Entire weekend of camping, classes, and the event:
$285 per person, or $490 per couple (kids under 17 are free with couple rate)

Entire weekend of camping and the event, but no classes:
$90 per person, or $155 per couple (kids are free with couple rate)

Entire weekend, just the event, no camping or classes:
$55 per person, or $95 per couple (kids are free with couple rate)

Single day at the event, no camping or classes:
$25 per person, or $45 per couple (kids are free with couple rate)

Check the site for day-of pricing and other special deals.

Link:
Overland Expo WEST 2015
Schedule and Classes info

There are many famous overlanding routes: Australia’s Canning Stock Route, for example, or Russia’s Trans-Siberian Highway. But what if you’re looking for an epic off-road journey a little closer to home? Well, a man named Sam Corerro has spent about twelve years scouting an all-dirt route across the United States for you. He calls it the Trans-America Trail.

The Trans-America Trail (TAT) makes it way 5,000 miles from southeastern Tennessee to the Oregon coast. It is meant to be driven from east to west, and was designed for dual-sport bikes, though it was recently tackled by Land Rover fielding its LR4 (see video above or Gear Patrol link below).

The route was laid out as to provide adequate fuel stops for non-desert-tank motorcycles and technical riding on every section of the trail. The Tennessee starting point was chosen on account of there being no continuous dirt any further east.

How satisfying ride across the U.S. on nothing but dirt.

If you’d like to learn more, check the links below. Scott Brady from the Overland Journal has made the trip and posted a descriptive write-up.

Links:
Trans-America Trail website
Scot Brady Rides the Transamerica Trail
Gear Patrol

 

Here’s a well-shot video of Pinzgauer 710M negotiating the Defense Mine / Cummings Cutoff trail in south-eastern California’s Panamint Valley. The driver doesn’t always choose the best lines, and the trail is pretty tough, but the ability of the vehicle is unfailing. It’s amazing to see what these trucks can do.

 

A couple of weeks ago I dropped by Thorson’s Off-Road in Santa Rosa for a quote on a new skid plate. We got to talking and I was given a quick tour of the shop. They were prepping an insane looking Jeep for the King of Hammers, a 165-mile desert race in which teams must blast through open terrain at 100+ mph and also negotiate difficult, slow rocky sections.

The week-long event takes place in Southern California near Twentynine Palms, features motorcycles and buggies, and starts on Friday, January 30th. The main event takes place on Friday, February 6th.

See the rest of the post for links and photos of Thorson’s crazy Jeep.

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The Rubicon Trail is one of the toughest in the country. Though some of the most truck-destroying obstacles have reportedly been made less trecherous in recent years, the trail is still a grueling, 12-mile challenge. If you’re interested in tackling it, check out this video review from Terraflex. It’s one of the first I’ve seen that gives a good overview.

This is a 10-out-of-10 difficulty trail. Stock trucks can make it with difficulty but should expect damage. According to the video, 35″ tires, lockers, and 3″ of lift could be considered baseline for making through without undue stress.

If you do go, do your research, and don’t go alone. I’ve included some links below to get you started.

Thanks to Greg from gadmachine for suggesting this video.

Links:
Rubicon Trail Foundation (vehicle and general prep.
)
County of Eldorado (trail conditions)

WCXC: Rookies on the Rubicon (a 7-part series on this site of man’s first time on the trail)

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About a year ago the forgotten ghost town of Seneca made national news after Paul Reubens (of Pee Wee Herman fame) tweeted about a long-idle Craigslist ad listing the town for sale. This year the “town,” which is just three rundown cabins and an old bar, sold. The bar, once called “The Gin Mill,” did come with an actual liquor license, so who knows, maybe it’ll reopen one day.

I mention it here because, if you live anywhere near the Sierras, it might make a good overlanding trip. The town sits at about 3600′ elevation in a canyon along the Feather River, about 50 miles northeast of Oroville and about 75 miles southwest of Redding. It’s actually just south of Lake Almanor, if you know where that is. Here are the coordinates: 40.112083,-121.0848

The roads to the site, though not that rough looking, are said to travel along 1000′ dropoffs, so if you go in winter, bring chains, shovels, and another friend with a truck.

Keep me posted, if you go check it out!

Links:
Craigslist ad

Google Map

LA Times article

Facebook page

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There’s a great post on the Expedition Portal Forums about a guy and some friends that do some overlanding through Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains and the Morrison Jeep Trail in Northwestern Wyoming. Early on they suffer the consequences of some deferred maintenance (in dramatic fashion) but get truck home, fix it, and get back out on the trails.

The photos are amazing.

Link:
The SOS Report on Expedition Portal

 

 

This is what I love about heading into the wilderness, having experiences that not many other people have, like these guys. They hike into the Sierra Nevada, fish, and just skate the smooth, 100-million-year-old granite. Pretty awesome.

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In honor of Halloween, here’s a spooky but true tale. In the 1950s three Oregon hunters went missing. They were discovered, weeks later, dead, around their campfire. There were no signs of foul play. Nothing had been taken from the camp nor did any of the hunters bear signs of injury. The only odd thing investigators found was rough-skinned newt, also dead, at the bottom of their coffee pot.

The case remained unsolved for about 10 years until a biologist named Butch Brodie discovered that the newt’s skin produces a toxin called TTX, a toxin 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide.

Apparently though these rough skinned newts don’t just go killing everything they touch. They only produce toxin when they feel highly stressed or threatened, like being scooped up from a stream in a coffee pot and boiled alive. In those kinds of situations, they arch there heads back as a warning and then let the toxins flow…

To read more about this, and to learn how these newts got so toxic in the first place, check out the links below.

Links:
Discover: A Beautiful Web of Poison Extends A New Strand : The Loom

Mental Floss: Silence of the Newts

Here’s a five part video from YouTube user Mark Doiron about their 2011 trip through Moab, Utah, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Part 1 (Ridgeway, CO to Murphy on White Rim Trail in Canyonlands NP)
Part 2 (Murphy to Caineville, UT)
Part 3 (Caineville, UT to Batty Caves in Grand Staircase-Escalante)
Part 4 (Batty Caves to Lake Powell)
Part 5 (Lake Powell to Grand Canyon north rim)

See the rest of the post for the all the videos.

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