Admittedly I’m a bit tardy writing this — like two years tardy. But doesn’t somebody say “better late than never?”
As I’m sitting here writing this on a rainy day, two years later, I can still clearly remember the journey to and from OE West 2016. Overland Expo, for those of you not familiar is a gathering of like minded travelers who travel, well, overland. We drive, forsaking the the “friendly” skies for tried and true wheels on the ground.
I’ll save my dear reader the travelogue of play-by-play details and instead focus on thoughts from each day.
Day 1: Final packing a departure, in our Ford Econoline 250 extended body raised roof van. Precariously strapped in the back of the van with an amazingly spendy wheel chock was my motorcycle. It was raining hard and I didn’t fancy a ride over the Cascade maintain range.
Day 2: Unpacked the motorcycle from the back of the van. Mind you, this was only the second time we’d done this. The front wheel caught on the chock’s small ramp and I essentially skidded down backwards without brakes. Harrowing tales of loading/unloading the bike would continue to be a theme of the trip.
Day 3: Crazy wind, but I’m starting to see this as a theme to my travels. Either I’m becoming more sensitive as I age, or there is a god of wind that has an axe to grind with me for some unknown offense. Also, our first night camping in the van — ever. What could go wrong?
Day 4: Ever ridden a motorcycle at high speeds after zero sleep for 200-ish miles? I did. Miserable night in the van, and only caught a few hours of sleep. However, arriving in Utah it was toasty warm with lots of tar snakes which made for some squirrelly riding.
Day 5: Decided to pack up the motorcycle for the 300 miles into Flagstaff. Got to OE, and set up camp in a horse field. Interesting horse fact, they poop when ever and where ever they like. The site, beyond being filled with horse poop was also very rutted. Hoping it doesn’t rain, because the van may become a permanent feature of that field, and undoubtedly covered in horse poop. Another sleepless night in the van.
Day 6: First day of OE. Witnessed beautiful sunrise. I’m not a morning person, and I can probably count the sunrises I’ve seen on my digits. Did you know, dear reader, that horse poop can fly? Simply bake it in a field for an amount of time, then add strong wind and about 10,000 people walking around to smash it into smaller bits. I may have inhaled a whole an entire horse poop today, one microscopic piece at a time. Third night in the van.
Day 7: Second day of OE. Learned so much about how I don’t have my motorcycle configured for distance riding. Also how to make some field repairs on the bike. I feel like MacGyver. Almost worth the impending lung disease brought on by poop inhalation.
Day 8: Final day of OE and our anniversary! Angie is such a lucky girl getting to sleep in the back of a van with just the bare necessities and an (un)healthy dose of airborne poop as an anniversary gift. Packed up the van for early departure in the AM.
Day 9: Up early to get to the Grand Canyon. We spent the first day walking from Grand Canyon Village to the Hermit’s Rest on the south west rim. This was my first time seeing the canyon and it was amazing. When we first arrived I needed to take a moment to absorb the vastness. Hoteling it for the rest of the trip!
Day 10: Drove the south east rim. Stopped at all of the vantage points. Cannonball run up to the south Salt Lake City suburbs for next hotel.
Day 11: Cannonball run to Boise. Stopped at the Snake River Birds of Prey center to see the raptors they have there as teaching birds and some which are recuperating from injuries.
Day 12: Cannonball run from Boise to Portland. Stopped in Pendleton for a tour of the woolen mill and lunch in town.
Was OE worth the trip, the near death experiences getting the motorcycle in/out of the van, poop based lung disease, and the further wrath of the miscellaneous god of wind that has it in for me? Definitely a yes.