Hailing from the Southeast means it’s not too easy to drive out to the American West. Being an Overland company we could obviously make the drive, and would love to make the drive, but we just haven’t had the time to make a two week trip out West. So although Overland Expo had been on our radar for years, we hadn’t been able to make the trip. This year we decided to take a different approach. Since we knew a drive was out of the question because of other travel and work commitments, we decided to fly in. Heresay, yes. Flying to an overland event? Well what are you going to do, just not go? Nope. Sometimes you just have to make things happen. But this wasn’t going to be any old fly-in/fly-out trip. We’re Overland Empire! We had to make it an adventure. Make it fun. Here’s the story.
First, instead of getting stuck with a Ford Escape or some other wimpy truck from a rental-car company, we needed something good. Something worthy. So we got in touch with our friend Sean (@defconbrix) and asked if he knew anyone we could team up with to get a vehicle to the Expo. He put us in touch with the Pelfreys of PelfreyBilt Offroad, who had a beautiful, built 2014 4Runner we could drive to the show. Problem solved.
And do you know what’s incredible about this whole thing? Overlanding, the community, Instagram, whatever? All of it? Meeting people. From our trips to St John and Canada and meeting and hanging out with some incredible people, to meeting people in our local area, to meeting people on the complete opposite side of this country, somehow we’re brought together. It’s just been such a rad, unexpected part of this little venture. So, left the house at 2:30am to catch a 5:20am flight from Tampa to San Diego. Ugh. Not too fun. But this is what we do to make things happen. Then, arriving in San Diego, Mrs. Satin Pelfrey rolls up in the gorgeous white 4Runner above.
Super gracious, super kind, and having gone out of her way to drive to the San Diego airport. Just connected, right off the bat. We drove out to Poway/Ramona to their shop and met her husband, Tyler. Another incredible person. This was going to be a great trip, from the beginning. Went and had lunch with Satin, talked shop and customer service, then dropped her off and began the road trip to Phoenix.
A drive that should take maybe five and a half hours takes seven when you pull off to explore every dirt road or photo op. The scenery is a world away from the lush east coast oak hammocks. Brown, dry, mountainous. So fun to drive through. The opportunity to make this drive in—especially in a great ride like the PelfreyBilt 4Runner—was such a great part of this trip. We drove from Poway west through Ocotillo Wells, past the Salton Sea, then up through the Glamis sand dunes on the way to Phoenix. And those dunes are seriously amazing. Never been to Egypt, but it sure felt like that's what it would be like. Soft sand piled into sharp dunes. Breathtaking.
To be continued...