September 27, 2021
I'm just back from Flagstaff, Arizona, where I attended Overland Expo West. It was a last-minute decision to go seeing that the pandemic seems to be under control. It would have been the first West event I've missed, so I was glad to get a chance to go. My friend Kevin had extra room in his car and accommodations, too. All I had to do was book the flights from San Jose. Yay! I love the overlanding and writing communities for connection and opportunities like this.
- Busy grasshoppers
- Sarah Leamy, author
- Roseann Hanson, author, field arts specialist (Exploring Overland)
- Me and Kevin arrive at Overland Expo
- A women's ride on the Ural
- I lost my phone! Esteban helps me find it
- Wild and crazy guys Andre Souza (Ride That Monkey) and Nick Calderone (Right This Minute)
- Jen & Chris at the Just Ride booth with moto shirts for women
- Eric at Wolfman Luggage
- Bill Whitacre of the Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR)
- Eric at Ruby Motorcycle Lights
- One of Eric's daughters motorcycles with a Mosko Moto Reckless 10 Liter system for saddlebags, LOL.
- The E&O Medicine Show at the Moto Party
We stopped by Arcosanti on the way. Years ago, I spent a significant amount of time here. It's an arcology prototype designed by the late Paolo Solari to solve the problem of urban sprawl, providing a urban living experience that is vertical, densely integrated with mixed uses, and environmentally conscious.
Overland Expo is in Flagstaff, Arizona, at Tuthill County Park where it's been based for several years. Its focus is overlanding by 4x4, motorcycle, van, truck, RV, and any sort of hybrid custom vehicle you can imagine.
You can wander the show for three days or take classes and workshops or purchase an Overland Experience package for hands-on learning how to recover, repair, and navigate in your own vehicle.
Usually, I present on motorcycling topics, solo-travel topics, or destinations (Asia, Africa, Baja, Europe, and even the USA!) but this year I couldn't commit, so I was an attendee. While I do love participating I really enjoyed being free to wander and visit with old friends and new.
In the gallery above you'll see van lifer and writer Sarah Leamy with a selection of her many books, some of them award winners. Check out Van Life: Exploring the Northwest with two dogs, a cat, and a van.
A serious writer, Sarah has been published in prestigious publications like the Los Angeles Review, Hunger Mountain, and Santa Fe Writers Project. Her other award winning books are When No One’s Looking, Lucky Shot, and Lucky Find. She also rides.
Her latest work is a collection of poetry titled Hidden, published by Finishing Line Press.
Roseann Hanson Field Arts
I've known Roseann Hanson for as long as Overland Expo has been going on. She grew the event from a couple hundred people gathered on a site by the Arizona-Mexico border to the impressive 20,000+ attendee extravaganza it is today. And that's just the West event. She added the Mountain West and East events a few years ago.
Wishing to concentrate on her Field Arts, she sold Overland Expo to Lodestone Events in 2019, just before the pandemic. Thankfully, Lodestone seems to have kept the spirit of the event and they even employ the same staff.
I saw Roseann (see above in the gallery) at the author's tent with her books, her Field Arts journals, pencils, and some leather packs she had made to keep your art supplies together and portable. Check out her Constant Apprentice blog and her online and on-site workshops, like her Feral Watercolor Workshop.
Though I did go look at the 4x4s, rooftop tents, vans, and RVs, I hung out mostly in Moto Village. It's organized by Eva Rupert, survivalist, event-maker, motorcycle maven, writer, and advocate for adventure. She really knows how to throw a party! Check out her blog.
I also got to reconnect with Sterling Noren of Noren Films, who's been busy making more movies about motorcycling. Eva and Sterling run The Jonquil Motel, a road trip oasis in Bisbee, Arizona, that's popular with motorcyclists and other overlanders.
I've got motorcycle gear from Mosko Moto, Wolfman Luggage, Atlas Throttle Lock, who were all there, and stopped by to say hi.
Got to spend some quality time with Heidi at Atlas Throttle Lock and reminisce about the early days when baby Brooklyn was also on the display table. She's in first grade now. Wow. How did that happen?
Backcountry Discovery Route
Sterling has made some great films about the various Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDRs) that dual-sport motorcyclists enjoy all over the USA. A new one is coming in Northern California, thwarted by the fires. Maybe I'll get to help scout! I need to put my KTM 450 EXC to work and I am NOT riding a behemoth ADV bike.
I chatted with Bill Whitacre (see gallery above) who presented on the BDR to a crowd of enthusiastic motorcyclists who want to experience the wild side of the USA. There are all kinds of routes and maps. Maybe I'll see you on the trail!
Catch my Report on Women Riders Now
Find my report on Overland Expo on Women Riders Now, for women who ride and the men who love and support us. Subscribe here to be notified.