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 > (SN) OVERLAND EXPO 2015

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RickW

Sacramento CA

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Posted: 06/13/15 02:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Guess I picked a fine time to drive a thousand miles to the expo where the weather was the real story.

I got to Flagstaff Friday. it was raining with snow predicted [image]

I wanted a stocking cap and went to Walmart first. "We no longer have winter gear but sandals, sun hats and sunscreen are in aisle 6." No REI in Flagstaff but found the Big 5 Sporting Goods with several loaded jeeps in the parking lot. "Hats and gloves are over there with the crowd." I passed on the $25 ski hats and found a hidden stocking cap for $6. Apparently, those in the know went to a military surplus store for hats, gloves, boots and long underwear.

As I drove south towards Mormon Lake in the rain, several fully loaded Jeeps were coming back towards Flagstaff. Another bad sign.
When I got to registration, they said I could only enter if I had 4 wheel drive. I drove one loop in 6 inch soft mud, did a pirouette turn and lurched up on a small grassy spot almost running over some black tent ropes.
[image]
It was helter skelter camping. One thing I did not appreciate were those who put up yellow barrier tape on rebar stakes around their spot that blocked access to dry walking paths to porta potties and showers.

It rained, sleeted and snowed all night.
[image]

Saturday morning it stopped raining but everywhere were flooded mud flats. Fortunately, dust remained under control.

[image]

Vendors and customers were separated by a sea of slippery mud.

[image]

Some vendors prepositioned before the rain were underwater. Hay flakes, rolled car mats, tarps, planks, even smalls piles of gravel were thown down but ineffective.[image]

There was no activity on the driving courses.

[image].
Here is the obligatory photo of the big boys circled like covered wagons in the movies.. I learned that some rigs are leased and the owners limit the mods they can make.
[image]
The 4 wheel campers were all huddled together, I guess to keep warm.

The permanent campground was not affected but the open campground and vendor area, anywhere with vehicle traffic, was standing water and deep mud.
I waddled back to my camper. A military deuce and a half was towing out vehicles that came early and were stranded in the muddy morass.

[image]
[image]

Then it parked near me, out of diesel. Someone was dispatched with jerry cans to get fuel. A woman in a new jeep Cherokee parked near me clearly upset. She did not know how to engage 4 wheel drive and could not reach her husband on the phone. I gave her instructions so she could escape.

Clearly no one anticipated this weather and most were not prepared to camp, display or participate in these conditions.

Then I decided that anything, even a hole in the ground, was better than this. I packed up and sloshed my way out. The incoming roads were backed up for a mile because no one would drive in and park in the mud.

As I drove east toward meteor crater, the weather cleared up, but storm clouds were still visible in my rear view mirror...


Rick
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silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 06/13/15 03:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Rick.

There isn't much anyone could do (like move the venue), with only 4~5 days warning (at best) that horrific weather was approaching.

I imagine that 60 acres of 12 inch deep crushed 3/4 inch would have helped _shrug_

Last October, the OE East set-up days had torrential rains, too.

* This post was edited 06/13/15 04:06am by silversand *


Silver
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Mello Mike

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Posted: 06/13/15 06:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Deja Vu. I'm having flashbacks!!!

We got there Thursday night to great weather, but stayed huddled in our camper all day Friday as it rained, sleeted, and snowed. Left Saturday morning, but was one of the unlucky ones who got stuck in the deep water and muck (even with 4WD). Had to winch out with the help of a Good Samaritan. Boondocked nearby in the Coconino NF, returned Sunday to great weather and a great time. Hoping for good weather at next year's event.


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jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Posted: 06/13/15 12:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rick 4x4x4,
Nicely shaped trip report. I'm kind of sorry I missed the muddn'. When I was 20, mud was a party. Now, it is something to endure or avoid. I was not there this year but we had that same 'front' roll through 600 miles to the North West on the West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada. I did not think it would dip that far south. Seems like El Nino is alive and well.
You would think folks who are going to an Overland Expo would be equipped for any weather/any traction condition, rig-wise. After all, aren't these folks the self-proclaimed tip of the expedition/overlanding spear, or what's left of it? After 50 years of four wheel driving, over many miles of muck and mire; oceans of sand and mountains of snow, I rarely go anywhere in the TC without an abundance of self recovery equipment. It looks like a lot of people (I"m not going to call them Poseurs) relied on good old G.I., 6x6 heft to be extracted from the goo.
Rick, you have an ace up your sleeve with 4wheelsteer as you can 'waddle' the rear steer to help you get through the mud, zig zagging to and fro. My bro John won the Top Truck Challenge one year because he used that technique to swim through the 4 foot deep mud holes on the last obstacle which stopped most of the contestants cold.
The lessons learned are simple: Be prepared; Build your (truck) camping rig to be successfully motatable under any terra or atmospheric condition. Be self sufficient; depend on no one to help you out of trouble.
This is ultimate peace of mind while traveling in the overlanding mode.
After that I still have a lot of compassion for the people who made it through the week end at Mormon Lake: So many worthy, personal lessons learned. And memorable.
regards, as always, jefe

* This post was edited 06/13/15 12:29pm by jefe 4x4 *


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jefe 4x4

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Posted: 06/13/15 12:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rick wrote: "did a pirouette turn"
I'm really sorry I missed your pirouette show. I don't think the folks on here know what a pirouette turn looks like with a quad steer truck. I am one who has seen with mine own eyes your deft technique in turning on a dime in close quarters back in Death Valley in '08.
Those with a long bed, double cab, 56 foot turning circle, leaf sprung truck can dream on... but need not apply.
jefe

RickW

Sacramento CA

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Posted: 06/13/15 05:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Silver,
An ATV with a little landscape bed spread about 1/2 yard of gravel in the vendor area. It was a tiny island in the sea of mud..

Mike,
Yep, I stayed put Friday nite. Saturday was ridiculous to walk anywhere. People that slipped and fell wished they never came.

Jefe, old friend.

I have a 36 ft. turning radius, unless I do a drift turn in the mud. [emoticon]

Later in a Utah state park, I was starting a three point turn to back into my site. A gentleman started waving his arms and ran over to the truck. "Your rear end has detached from your springs and your about to have an accident." me. "Is that serious?" him. "Very serious. I know a lot about automotive equipment. You'll need to get towed." me. "Let me straighten the wheel and have a look." him. "I didn't know anyone made rear wheel steering!" (some automotive expert, I thought) [emoticon]

I figured out he was driving a big Moog Fuso thing. I wanted to ask him why his expensive rig only had two wheels that would steer, but I couldn't find him again.

For the record, Quadrasteer was only offered 2002 to 2005 on Chevy/GMC short bed trucks and SUVs.

The Mad Norsky

Yankton, South Dakota

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Posted: 06/13/15 09:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, I'd completely forgotten about the old Quad-steer options.

LOL, I would imagine that old boy at the campsite was confused beyond repair.


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sleepy

Oak Ridge,Tennessee

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Posted: 06/14/15 01:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the report Rick.... and all of the comments from others were interesting (even fun) for those of us that got lucky enough to miss the misery in our fancy campers or for some, the lost opportunity of a made to order challenge for off roading adventures..

If the Organizers could order up the same conditions for next year and the attendees were actually prepared there would be a huge crowd....I'll bet Steve and sally would bring their 4 wheeler from England.

Sleepy


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deltabravo

Spokane, WA

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Posted: 06/14/15 07:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've seen pictures from the event on other forums - what a miserable mess for all involved.

A friend of mine lives in Flagstaff and has posted some photos of snow in May in the area.

The worst I encountered when I was there in 2012 was on the first day - it was cold and windy - I wore a heavy jacket and jeans all day long, and never bothered to set up my vendor display due to the nastiness.


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sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 06/15/15 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

sleepy wrote:

If the Organizers could order up the same conditions for next year and the attendees were actually prepared there would be a huge crowd....I'll bet Steve and sally would bring their 4 wheeler from England.

Sleepy


Errr, no Chet - we get enough of that at home [emoticon]

Glad we weren't in that in the rear-wheel-drive class C we rented for Expo 2013.

Steve.


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