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This is Botswana. Steve and two complete strangers fixing Toto, who had two rear bushings improperly installed, resulting in the entire back axle shifting forward. We started two years ago with the kindness of strangers and we end that way. This is typical of the kindness and character of Batswana. Not only are they helping fix the truck, they said “my home is your home.” #botswana #botswanaisbest #payitforward #totothelandrover #kindnessofstrangers #overland #overlandafrica #africaoverland #botho #roadsidemechanic #landroverlife #landroverdefender #defender110 #onelifeliveit
After two weeks in the shop, major parts replacements, and more money than we should have spent, we spent our 18th anniversary swapping the brake pads that were improperly installed and trying to fix the bushings that were brand new as of yesterday. Posted up at SOS Children’s Village thanks to the kindness of a Motswana who spent his ENTIRE afternoon under the truck with Steve. Tomorrow, we start over. #happyanniversary #kindnessofstrangers #rollwiththepunches #landrover #defender110 #africaoverland #overlandafrica #overland #torothelandrover
We left Gabs this morning. Our farewell tour of Botswana begins as do many of our trips these days - with Toto on the side of the road and Steve with a wrench and manual. #landroverlife #cliche #landrover #defender110 #roadsiderepair #noreallyitsfine #readthemanual #overland #overlandafrica #africaoverland #totothelandrover
Two years ago, I stood in front of this classroom on my first day of teaching at UB. Today is my last day on a campus that has become home, with colleagues who have become friends, and with students who are going to change the world - at least as much as they changed me. #universityofbotswana #ub #gaborone #botswana #africa #classroom #highered #botswanaisbest #ilovethisplace

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The 2016 Overland Exposition East in Asheville, North Carolina was our first visit to an Overland Expo – but it won’t be our last. And, there’s so much more to the Overland Expo than just Land Rovers.

Sited on the magnificent and sprawling Biltmore Estate, the Expo hosted thousands of overlanders, campers, and explorers of all stripes for three days of education, skill building, networking, and general camaraderie. Julie and I presented two sessions on our 2015 trip to southern Africa, and participated in an Africa travel roundtable.

There were dozens of exhibitors selling everything from cutlery and portable solar panels, to tents and fully-built global expedition vehicles. Our two-wheeled friends buzzed around on Triumph Tigers, BMW GS’s, and Honda Africa Twins, and hundreds of folks turned a wheel on the B.F. Goodrich and Land Rover off-road driving courses. Winches and tow straps were put to the test at the Camel Trophy Overland Skills area.

The campground was a sea of roof-top tents and expedition trailers – and not even two days of wind, rain, and drizzle (courtesy of Hurricane Matthew) could put a damper on the good vibes at the event.

But, beyond the striking array of jaw-dropping adventure rigs and drool-worthy gear, the real heart and soul of the Expo is the human element. The opportunities to swap knowledge, stories, and aspirations with your fellow travelers, to share a beverage with one of your overlanding heroes, meet new friends, and simply to learn something new are unparalleled anywhere.

These were our people.

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The Expo offers scores of classes on topics ranging from camp cooking to major expedition route planning – all from folks who have been there and done that.

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At the Camel Trophy Overland Skills area, you can learn a variety of essential skills from some of the most experienced off-road and adventure travel instructors on the planet.

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This vintage FJ60 Land Cruiser equipped with an AdventureSole RTT caught my eye.

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As did this beautifully restored FJ40 ‘Cruiser – an iconic shape.

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While they were definitely the soggiest bunch, the moto tribe always seemed to be having the most fun.

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Not your average biker bar – adventure bikes lined up in front of the concessions tent.

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Dometic was a major exhibitor at the Expo – a 12v portable fridge is a prime piece of overlanding kit.

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This Syncro Westfalia sports 6-cylinder Subaru power and a trick custom rear suspension with massive amounts of articulation.

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The owner and builder says he surprises lots of folks on the highway with all that new horsepower out back.

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Our only complaint? Too many amazing classes and sessions to attend, and not enough time to see them all.

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Says it all.

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The bridge spanning the entrance to the Camel Trophy Overland Skills area was built using nothing but logs and manila rope.

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One of the perks of being an instructor was access to all the amazing educational opportunities at the Expo.

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Role playing in the “How to Cross International Borders: An Interactive Simulation Experience” course with Peter Sweetser as the Congolese customs agent.

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This little guy looked familiar.

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There were a surprising number of military vehicle-based builds. Some of them were huge.

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Speaking of huge, this GlobalXVechicles expedition rig drew a lot of attention all weekend.

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Based on an International Trucks platform, it looks ready to conquer the world!

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Egypt – a classic overlanding destination, but recent travelers there have run into a host of geopolitical and logistical problems moving through the country.

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This International Scout sported a V8 from a Cadillac CTS-V.

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I hope it has upgraded brakes!

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The Mitsubishi Fuso is a versatile platform that has been popular with European overlanders for some time now – the well-respected firm EarthCruiser is responsible for this impressive build.

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Four Wheel Campers had a large display, including this undeniably cool flat-bed Mercedes Unimog.

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Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-stocked kitchen to enhance your travel experience. This is a high-end Camp Champ set-up.

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More from the Camel Trophy Skills area – winching and recovery on side-slopes. Skills instructor Tim Huber is behind the wheel of the yellow Discovery.

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One of the highlights of the Expo was meeting Overland Expo founders Jonathon and Roseann Hanson, and having Jonathon sign my copy of The Vehicle Dependent Expedition Guide.

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Photos: Julie and Steve Edwards

6 comments on “More from Overland Expo East

  1. Tobias Mann says:

    I’ll have to make my way down to the next Overland Expo. I’ve got some friends in Arizona so I might just make my way down there next year. Theres a great opportunity to take the long way there. Now if I could just get the paper to pay for me to go down there. Probably won’t happen. I’ll have to check out the book you link to as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arizona is pretty amazing, especially the Flagstaff area where the Expo is held. We’ll definitely be there! Plus Utah, which we can never get enough of, is on the way.

      The Vehicle Dependent Expedition Guide is something to behold – 600 pages of some of the most comprehensive expedition planning and execution information you could possibly imagine. It’s a little bit quirky, due in part I think to the very, very British worldview the primary author (Tom Sheppard) has.

      Jonathon’s updates and additions are much more relevant to the North American reader, and the updated 4th version that came out last year is worth the $75, especially when you consider that used 2nd and 3rd editions of the same book are being sold on Amazon for upwards of $250!!

      Like

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