NorthWest Overland Rally
I’m not a car person, really. I don’t geek out over rear differential locks, and if it weren’t for my husband I’d be getting hopelessly ripped off by mechanics and unable to do much more than change a tire or headlight.
I do really, really love camping though. I thrive on getting away from all of it on a regular basis. I dream of living up in the mountains, and hiking and skiing all the time.
My husband is a vehicle lover. His favorite things include long drives, fixing up and upgrading vehicles, exploring sort of sketchy unmarked forest service roads, and finding places that very few people know about.
Enter “Overlanding.” Basically, it’s self-reliant motorized travel to remote areas, but unlike many off-road sports the emphasis is more on the journey than overcoming crazy obstacles. It incorporates both of our favorite things: camping and getting away, seeing tons of things on roadtrips, some occasional technical off-roading, some navigation skills, and creatively outfitted rigs. (Josh has in fact started a whole business around awesome vehicle based camping accessories, which you can see at bomberproducts.com)
Now when I say creative, I mean creative: this is what was so fun about going to NorthWest Overland Rally. There was everything from rugged lifted jeeps and FJs, to trucks covered in all manner of shiny accessories, to little compact cars like Subarus that had clearly experienced a bad road or two. There were off-road capable camp trailers, roof-top tents and RVs. Some rigs were upgraded by professionals, some were put together piece by piece by their owners. Some were worth hundreds of thousands, others were badass budget wonders. There is something there for pretty much everyone.
The best part? The people. Overlanding is still a fairly small community, and very inclusive. Entrepreneurs trade tips, gear and collaborate on their businesses. You can always find some seasoned enthusiasts who will show you around their vehicle, tell you their favorite stories, and let you tag along on a trip. As a woman, I was thrilled to join many of the other women in discussing things like solo travel, road tripping in wine country and organizing off-road trips with other couples. Women are a growing group, and partly because of the inclusivity and diversity. My favorite part was participating in a women’s only four-wheeling 101 class put on by Rhonda and Rachelle from Expedition Overland. I learned the fundamental skills and concepts in a fun, no-pressure setting and left feeling very confident about driving tougher roads (I can’t let Josh have all the fun, after all!)