I learned something important at this year’s Overland Expo West, held in a usually dry lake bed 30 miles north of Flagstaff when the conditions are usually dry, hot, sunny, and windy, and the complaints are usually of sunburn, windburn, and blowing dust.
I learned something important, because the conditions were not at all what everybody expected, even with benefit of NOAA’s weather forecasts.
It wasn’t hot, dry, sunny, and windy.
It was freezing cold, raining, snowing, sleeting, and windy. All of the above. Relentlessly. Blue-fingers cold. Wet. Muddy. And mean.
And it was a blast.
We started setting up our booth. It was supposed to include a fancy canopy-like affair attached to Lily, our white Rubicon Jeep. The wind had other ideas, and tried to take the canopy sailing while we were trying to tie it down. And because the canopy wasn’t meant to be used in the driving rain, it leaked something awful.
So we bagged the fancy canopy, grabbed our orange 8 x 10 plastic tarp, and opened a couple LYNX Hooks Stash Bags. We attached the tarp to the Jeep with LYNX Hooks Bobtails and Gear Grabbers. We used Bobtails to attach the other end to the support poles, and staked them out with LYNX Hooks adjustable tie-down gear straps. Tightened the whole thing so you could strum a tune on it.
Problem solved! It looked nice, it was solid, secure, didn’t leak, held fast despite the wind, and it literally saved the show for us.
What did I learn? Fancy isn’t what overlanding is about. Having a great time outdoors isn’t about perfect conditions. Having the tools and the know-how to create comfort no matter what Mother Nature throws at you? That’s the ticket.