EVENT: NE Overland Rally & Workshop

Sept. 20-23, 2012 (Rockingham, VT)

Extended Photo Galleries on FB-

Event: Things, People & Happenings

Rigs: Trucks, Motos & Trailers

This is the 4rd overland event that I’ve been to this year (SOCAL Desert Rendezvous, Overland Expo & WA Overland Rally) that included driving excursions, skills trainings/clinics, inspirational presentations, amazing food, fun parties and above all great people. Each event has also had a lot of local flavor and location specific info about exploring the region. The NE Overland Rally was all about localvore destination overlanding and really delivered on that theme. Vermont Overland hosted the event and provided detailed local knowledge that really allowed the event and area to shine. Vermont in the fall came through with beautiful tight trails through forests of multicolored leaves and crisp air, with some New England rain thrown in for good measure Saturday night. The local flavor really shined through our location host Lillie Brook Farm. We ate amazing baked goods each morning and beef and vegetables, all from the farm, in the evenings. How can you go wrong or get more local than with Friday night’s meal: fresh-baked rolls, freshly slaughtered grass-fed beef with local Vermont sharp cheddar melted on top?

Big drivers meetings each morning. The trail groups were large!

VT back roads is what it was all about.

Not sure about the Maple Soda, but the lunch stop in Grafton Village on Friday was quite nice.

Saturday night’s dinner: Farm fresh veggie and beef soup, fresh-baked bread, homemade cookies, local apple cider and I brought along local VT micro brew for good measure:)

Ummm, yes please! Local whisky and local maple syrup go together quite well.

Big boys with big toys. The Mogs had some heafty recovery gear that they took out and played with.

The event highlight for most is probably the local trail runs. On Fri and Sat 3 runs left each morning: off road, on road and moto. The moto guys had huge smiles each day and covered big distances. I might have to get in on that fun sometime soon! The on road guys got to tour the many quaint little VT villages and back roads around the area. The off road runs consisted of BIG convoys of rigs, at least 21 rigs on Saturday’s run and more rigs in smaller groups on Sunday, rolling through the many tight and sometimes technical class 4 VT back roads. I stripped my adventure sports toys off the Sportsmobile and joined the run on Friday. The BIG rig did quite well in the very tight trails that VT is known for. I’d like to send out a huge thanks to Charlie from VT Overland for riding with me and being my spotter for some of the tight and more technical sections. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good spotter, especially when driving a really big vehicle. Saturday’s route was a bit tight for the Sportsmobile, but I did get to see most of the route with a small group that tackled it in the late afternoon. I ended up being the spotter and photographer for this small fun group that consisted of a well-sorted TJ, beefy and stylish Wagoner and an amazingly capable ’07 Grand Cherokee. It was like a rolling history of awesome Jeeps.

You know your having a good day when you see this in your mirror!

Cool diverse rigs in the VT woods:)

The one recovery on Friday’s trail run. Soft narrow trails and big heavy trucks make for tough companions. No damage on the recovery though!

Good people, cool rigs and VT back roads. What more can you ask for???

Besides the off road driving fun there were also really valuable trainings on offer. CPR and first aid classes were offered Thur-Sat nights. Fri and Sat during the day Garrett from Overland Experts offered a rescue and recoveries class. The class consisted of a few hours of lecture, some demonstrations and then a few hours of technical off road driving on the farm. Garrett knows his stuff and I learned a bunch of new things, and probably more importantly WHY certain things are done the way they are. I also picked up some super valuable safety tips when using winches and highlift jacks. I’m for sure looking forward to taking more classes of this type.

The highlift training also included using it as a come along.

Gotta love the ether technique for getting the tire bead back on the rim:)

Garrett gave great driving instruction. This steep loose hill gave the Willys a run for its money. Some good driving, lower tire pressure,  and some Maxtraxx made it possible.

On both Friday night and Saturday night there were scheduled presentations from adventurers out there doing cool things. The Friday night talk was given by Tim Smith about how to just drop what you’re doing and just go. He gave a great little presentation about a bunch of trips that he has taken with his ’74 Land Rover Air Portable. The message the he was delivering, and that I try to promote, is that in the end the only way to have adventures is to just go out there and have them. Mike and Kim Botan gave the Saturday night talk about their Iceland moto expeditions. Very cool couple that shared great stories about renting dual sport bikes in Iceland and exploring the very diverse countryside. One good take away is always be aware of weather and act accordingly.

Tim gave a great presentation. Not sure I’ll take the Sportsmobile on some of the trails in Moab though;)

There were two competitions held on Sunday: Overlanding Camp Setup and Expedition Trophy. The camp comp had a ton of categories and some people went all out in the excess category. The Expedition Trophy was a driving skills challenge. It was held on a very technical short section of trail on the farm and was all about speed and driving precision, with penalties for hitting trees, reversing or winching. In the end a VERY diverse collection of rigs tackled the course with varying degrees of success. I have to admit that the little Willys Jeep was the most fun to watch and that I was most impressed by the driving skills and capabilities of the Vermont Overland G Wagon driven by Peter.

Competitors meeting Sunday morning for the Expedition Trophy.

The little Willys that could, tackling the first obstacle on the driving course.

Speed was the name of the game. This rig took a bit of a short cut on his first pass, DQing him, but he was game for some bragging rights and did a second run with the fastest time and only clean run. Impressive driving and rig!

Peter’s G Wagon was impressive!

At the core of events like this is the gathering of the tribe of like-minded overland adventurers and letting them share stories, experiences and tips. Big communal meals, huge campfires and a great camping location all allowed this to happen with ease. The new friendships and experiences with such amazing people is what I will take away from the Rally.

Overlanding is fun for all ages, and how can you not smile behind the wheel of this little Willys!

There was a plethora of amazing and diverse rigs that showed up to this event. We literally had everything from restored Willys Jeeps to the brand new F550 based Siberian Tiger. As with all quality overland events there was also a good selection of Sportsmobile, Jeep, Land Rover, Toyota, Unimog, full size trucks with slide-in campers, motos, off road trailers and all kinds of other cool odds and ends.

(FULL Gallery of EVERY Rig at the event: HERE)

The evolution of the Mog. It just keeps getting bigger!

A huge thanks goes out to all the amazing overlanders who attended, Peter and all the folks at Vermont Overland, Justin & family from Lillie Brook Farms, Tiger VehiclesOverland Experts, ExOfficio, Overland Journal and all the many sponsors who helped make this event such a success. I’m looking forward to more amazing experiences with overlanders from around the country and world at future events and while on the road.

Happy drivers:) Catch you all on the road soon.

Check out the Extended Photo Galleries on FB-

Event: Things, People & Happenings

Rigs: Trucks, Motos & Trailers

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