As many of you are aware, we built Project RangerX for the 2018 SEMA show. When the opportunity arose to be a part of the inaugural 4Wheeler Overland Adventure, we knew that Project RangerX was the perfect rig to take overlanding.
The event started at Flying E ranch in Wickenburg, AZ where 35 overland vehicles, ranging from a nearly stock Nissan Xterra, to a Unimog with 46” tires and a fold out deck came together to prepare for the adventure to come. The evening was spent sharing people’s favorite beverages from different regions of the country, and was concluded by the dinner bell to let everyone know food was on the table.
Day one started with an 8am driver meeting to introduce staff. The trail leader for the week would be Nina Barlow, a well-known off-road driver and racer from Arizona, as well as Rick Pewe, Editor of JP Magazine and Jeep extraordinaire. After the driver meeting, everyone lined up and headed out. We spent much of the first day driving through a mostly dry wash in the Arizona desert. There had been a storm a couple of nights before, so we encountered numerous shallow water crossings throughout the day. Nina made sure to educate everyone about the local wildlife, plants, and the small towns and ghost towns that we went through. The day concluded at Gold Bar ranch, where we were met by cows in our camping area. The dinner accommodations were 5 stars to say the least. The organizers brought in two amazing chefs to cook what was definitely the best meal I have ever had outdoors. Miles, our Rocky Mountain region rep brought out a keg from Brass Brewing in Colorado Springs, CO to pour from the new tap system that was installed in the service box of RangerX. So during dinner we poured beer for everyone, and provided tunes from the external Kicker audio system on the truck. Stories of travels were exchanged, and the night under the stars was amazing.
Day two was underway bright and early after everyone made their own breakfast at camp. One of the RAMs that were along for the adventure actually had a pizza oven installed in the bed, so we were greeted with cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. From Gold Bar ranch we headed to the black mountains outside of Prescott. We spent a good portion of the day climbing steep grades, and taking in the views. We were stopped for a quick break and met with some motorcycles and UTVs that were headed the opposite direction. One of the UTVs caught on fire as they were passing by, but the fire was quickly extinguished by a couple of participants in our group. We kept climbing and eventually made it to our next way-point for the night. We pulled into Dogtown Reservoir and once again were greeted by the two chefs from the previous night. Everyone picked their spots to call home for the night, and headed to dinner for what ended up being another amazing feast.
Day three was a shorter day because we were scheduled to arrive at the Overland Expo West around lunchtime. Nina brought us all out to an amazing overlook of a canyon near Dogtown Reservoir, and then we all headed west towards Flagstaff. All in all the experience was fantastic. Traveling and learning with like-minded people from all over the world was a blast, and we were very happy to be a part of it.
Once the caravan arrived at Overland Expo West, we split from the group. RangerX was headed for the FOX booth for the remainder of the week. Most of the group remained camped together at Overland Expo so they could continue to share travel stories, and plan out their next adventure.
Overland Expo is a pretty amazing show. If you are into off-roading, overlanding, camping, unique vehicles, or even eyewear for your dog, this is the show for you. There are hundreds of vendors and manufacturers showing off the latest and greatest within the industry. There are multiple classes offered on topics from topographic navigation using a good ole compass, to cooking over an open fire. There are motorcycle riding courses, and there are auto manufactures that actually let you drive their newest offerings on a closed off-road course. Needless to say, there is something for everyone. The show was open until 5 each day, but that definitely does not mean that the day ends at 5. Every evening, multiple vendors throw parties at their booth that are open to anyone that wants to come by. FOX was no exception to this. On Saturday night FOX and a couple of friends threw the “party to be at”. We guess that there was upwards up 500 to 600 people that came by throughout the night. It was a chance for Expo attendees to talk with manufacturers in a casual setting while having a beer and some food under the lights and heaters. We had a great time catching up with old friends and making plenty of new ones as well.
Sunday, the last day of the show, proved that spring time in Flagstaff can bring thunderstorms, warm weather, and snow all in the same day. Everyone was still enjoying themselves though, and as the show closed attendees, vendors, and manufacturers all went off in their different directions to start their next adventure.