When I stop and think about the topic of overland and what peaked my interest in the activity or maybe it’s an obsession? Regardless, there were a few of my other pastimes that seem to pave a road to overlanding.
My earliest memory that set me on this path was an unusual fascination with the idea of an impending zombie apocalypse after reading Day By Day Armageddon. I had spent much too much time thinking about how I would escape the oncoming hordes, where I would go, who I was considering a part of my “contacts with useful skills” to rally with after escaping and all the equipment I would need to accomplish my own personal survival story.
Something else that really made a compelling case for overlanding was my first remote or primitive camping trip. A group of friends and I headed to Green River Reservoir State Park in upstate Vermont for a four day trip. Although there is a rather unhappy ending to that trip (more on that later), it was enough for me to understand the way camping was meant to be enjoyed.
The last thing that I would say made an impact on my new found interest in overland really has not much to do at all with outdoor recreation. Unless of course, you consider spring, summer and fall yard work to be recreational. I myself do not consider yard work to be recreational but I do consider it to be at times, therapeutic.
Overland & Zombies
As far as zombies are concerned, I have no reservations in calling myself an expert. I have seen most movies that are worth watching and I was indoctrinated at a pretty young age into George Romero’s world of the living dead. Inexplicably, my father thought it was “ok” that I watch the 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead, much to my mother’s dismay. Needless to say, I developed a healthy fear of flesh eating ghouls from that moment on in my life.
Fast forward about twenty plus years and I found myself wandering into the now defunct Borders Bookstore. Naturally I headed straight for the Science Fiction section and much to my surprise was a full aisle solely dedicated to Horror fiction! I think I literally spent a couple hours that day just looking at all the zombie titles that were available. How was I going to be able to choose!? I eventually settled on Day By Day Armageddon by JL Bourne. In hindsight, I don’t know if it was a good choice or not because it kicked off an obsession that didn’t die until the lack of quality zombie horror titles disappeared. My zombie fiction affliction, specifically JL Bourne, started me on making equipment lists and thinking about everything I needed to survive…which obviously included a 4×4 vehicle for overland.
Overland & Remote Camping
My first primitive camping trip was eventful to say the least. After about a three hour drive from central Massachusetts to Green River Reservoir State Park in northeast Vermont, our crew parked the vehicles at the park ranger cabin, loaded up the kayaks, canoes and inflatables then proceeded to paddles two and half miles to our secluded site for the next four days.
After unloading all the gear, the weather took a turn for the worse and we enjoyed a deluge that seemed to dump an inch of water a minute. Post the rainfall, we finished setting up camp and started splitting logs to hopefully get some dry wood to burn that night in the campfire. Here’s the painful part and you can probably imagine what happened next…Yes, I got into a fight with the Fiskars Splitting Axe. Needless to say, I lost and the axe won. I miscalculated my swing and the axe found its way to my lightly clad foot and decided to teach me a very hard lesson. The silver lining in this story was my new found love of primitive camping and the thrill of the journey.
I am a homeowner. I have a good size yard on (1/2 acre) on a decent slope. If you put these two things together it means that during the spring, summer and fall, I am doing yard work every weekend for at least six hours or more. There are always projects that need to be completed, mulch, flowers, stone, grass seeding, paving stones, etc.
Yard work is one of those areas where I can confidently state I am almost 100 percent Do It Yourself, mainly because it requires just a lot of physical effort and time. I’ll also mention that paying a landscaper to everything would just be too damn expensive! Yard work for means lots of exercise, helps keep my weight in check and helps me save a few bucks that can be spent on things the keep the wife happy!
What does all this have the do with overland? Well, I had finished paying off my 2010 Toyota Corolla and as much as I appreciate the reliability and excellent gas mileage, it was just not cutting it on trips to Home Depot. I was in the market for a new vehicle, I was ready to upgrade and I needed something that easily haul massive amounts of plants, flowers, grass seed, mulch and stone. It was around the same time I had discovered the Expedition Portal. The wheels started turning and I had some serious decisions to make.
Next up…What were all the considerations, what vehicle did I choose?