^Thanks for the link above, and your comments. I'm glad you've enjoyed the thread.
So I returned from the Overland Expo East Monday evening, which we took the trailer to. I would have preferred to take backroads to and from the Expo as the area we drove through is beautiful, but I had to take the interstate the entire way to make it a one day drive as I had a lot going on with work around the expo and I could only carve out four days (Friday to Monday).
As I’ve said over and over, my Jeep drives great and tows the trailer no problem at 70+ mph, but dang, it’s heavy on the gas the entire way in order to keep from getting run over as traffic was mostly heavy. Just west of Asheville, the interstate is very twisty through about a 30 mile canyon, and my wife was driving at the point and she was cruising in the left lane around semi-trucks that were a foot or two away! Goes to show the importance of a trailer that the vehicle can safely tow so that you can get to your destination alive...
It was fun experience, and the expo was held on the Biltmore estate. My wife and I took two hours to walk around the Biltmore, however we didn’t have time to do an inside tour so we’ll have to do that later. We also were able to each drive Land Rovers on a trail, as they have a Land Rover driving school on the grounds.
The classes and courses that we signed up for where awesome! They specifically had classes for women only that were very informative for my wife. One lady specifically worked with my wife on four-wheel drive and trail spotting (they took our Jeep for a ride for about an hour). The experience the instructors had with repairs, equipment, and “overland” travel was very informative and gave us a lot to think about. Me and another guy learned to put a tire back on a wheel with hand tools, and used a compressor to reseat the beed. Cool!
In another discussion, we heard from a US couple that bought a used Land Cruiser in Australia, had it customized with a popup tent and slide out kitchen, and then flew in and spent a month driving 600 miles through the bush. The Cruiser is currently stored there and they plan to go back for more trips, including Africa, and then to import the vehicle into the US when it reaches 25 years old in a few years.
Most attendees left on Sunday afternoon, but the Expo provided a meal Sunday night, which the people that remained were the organizers and those that travel full-time around the US and/or the world. That was a great time for one on one conversations as we got a lot of insight and advice. I also talked with the guy that builds the XP Camper, who use to be a restaurant owner and went out on his own to build what he wanted for travel. Another couple six years ago sold everything and have since traveled by sport bike to 49 countries.
As far as trailers, wow there were a lot of trailer builders there! Some were small, some were large, and all very well thought out. About the large trailers, they're truly an off-road basecamp, and even one version included room on the back for possibly an ATV the size of a Polaris Ranger to fit on, and it still had a lot of storage, slide out kitchen, and a large RTT on top. I also saw some very cool off-road designed teardrop trailers.
I also saw a lot of cool ideas about storage. One guy is designing basically aluminum framed boxes for the back of Jeeps with slides. I’ve got to get a slide out for my cooler that I keep in the back of my Jeep. Also, we had an opportunity to look at different freezer/fridges. May have to consider one!
As far as the weather, fortunately Asheville is on the western tip of North Carolina so we only had some light rain on Friday, and wind otherwise from Matthew.
A few pictures:
This was Sunday evening when 90% of everyone had left. The two nights before, everyone was packed in side by side in this large field. It was tight, but okay for a few nights as we weren’t there to hang out at our trailers/ tents. So Sunday night was great as I had the Camp Fire in a Can going and enjoyed sleeping on the Biltmore estates.
You can read more about the Expos here: http://www.overlandexpo.com
I have to say long term, I really like the truck campers, such as the four wheel drive camper brand. I think eventually I may end up with one. At that point I’d remove the RTT from my trailer and mount bike racks on top of it, and the trailer would remain the camping supply box that it is. But for now, it fits my uses behind my Jeep. And today I need to finish cleaning it up as tomorrow it’s going back into storage for the winter.