Field Dispatch, Fall 2014

With the summer quickly moving beyond the halfway point, we find our team once more scattered to the far corners of the globe. From the deserts of the Atacama to the rain soaked mountains of Iceland, we’re in search of adventure and the stories that ensue.

Reflective of that spirit of exploration we have compiled another incredible issue of Overland Journal. In this issue we visit the shifting sands of the Sahara as well as the high peaks of Nepal. Our Creative Director, Sinuhe Xavier, rides into the heart of Death Valley, and Lois Pryce, entertaining as always, explains the finer points of motorcycle touring for two.

From all of us at Overland Journal, we hope your summer is filled with adventure.

 

In Search of the Wild Sahara

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For several months I’d been planning a trip with a group of friends into the deep Sahara. We planned to cross from Egypt into Libya and Sudan, exploring its spectacular wilderness,10,000-year-old rock art, and 1940’s wartime remains. We intended to use our six Land Rover Defenders and spend a fortnight out in the boondocks, covering 2,500 off-pavement miles and crossing the Great Sand Sea into Libya. The route would take us into a silica glass field (more on this later), and pass several abandoned trucks of the Long Range Desert Group, a British Special Forces unit of deep-desert raiders from the Second World War. We’d then traverse the vast cliffscape of the Gilf Kebir, an area of forbidding black crags the size of Connecticut, and Jebel Uweinat, the little-explored mountain forming the border point of Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. It would be the stuff of dreams, all off-pavement apart from a narrow 250-mile thread of tarmac extending from Cairo to the Farafra Oasis, our jumping-off point.

 

The Slow Road

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Delhi has its charms, but its traffic and often-narrow streets are, from previous experience, not exactly compatible with a vehicle of Mog’s proportions. We weighed up our options and decided to drive through by night, arriving on the western side just as dawn broke, exhausted and on edge. Although the road surfaces around Delhi are reasonable, the other road users will cause you to break into a cold sweat. Apparently, the truck drivers think they can save fuel by turning off their headlights—the coloured fairy lights around their windscreens are the only sign they are approaching. Camel carts use either carriageway, oblivious to the direction of traffic flow. Pedestrians,(often dressed in black),walk in the middle of the highway, using the lamps of the cars to light their way home. We were told to watch out for any solitary light approaching. Whereas in the West you might expect it to be a motorbike, in India it could be a motorbike, a car with one light out, or two motorbikes driving side-by-side carrying a wardrobe between them. You never can tell.

 

In the Shadow of the Valley of Death

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Our wheels passed from pavement to dirt as we turned north onto Saline Valley Road from SR 190. The hardpacked dirt road shot straight across the desert floor with a linear exactitude only possible in parts of the world where the presence of nothing greatly outweighs the presence of something. Low-lying scrubs, creosote bushes, and Joshua trees whizzed by as we made good time across the flat, dusty plain. But as we started to gain elevation near Hunter Mountain, our dirt speedway began to twist and turn. The trail narrowed and things started to get spicy.

 

Land Rover to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of the Great Divide Expedition

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In 1989 Land Rover embarked on an ambitious adventure to traverse the most demanding portion of the Continental Divide in Colorado. The 1989 Great Divide Expedition was the launch event for the 1990 Range Rover. With the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, a caravan of stock Range Rover vehicles navigated their way along a route that took nearly two years to develop. Now 25 years later, Land Rover is gearing up once again for the adventure of a lifetime, with a limited number of seats available for customers.

To commemorate this legendary journey, a fleet of Range Rover vehicles will travel nearly 1,000 miles of unpaved roads and 4×4 trails along a portion of the original Great Divide route. Throughout this expedition, participants will navigate narrow rocky trails with steep drop-offs and mountain passes over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). Using stock 2014 Range Rover vehicles with no special modifications, Land Rover will demonstrate its continued leadership at providing off-road capability with exceptional luxury.

Space is limited as is the opportunity to replicate one of the most storied adventures in North American overlanding history. To learn more about this trip, visit: Land Rover Experience

 

Meet the Team: Overland Journal’s Creative Director, Sinuhe Xavier 

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Overland Journal is fortunate to benefit from the talents of many illustrious photographers. We appreciate the visual aspect of travel and understand how elemental it is in the sharing of life’s fleeting moments. Ensuring we feature only the best images possible, our Creative Director, Sinuhe Xavier, is one of our most valuable team members. His many years on either side of the lens have aggregated professional and life experiences which lend depth to his vision, and subsequently his extensive catalog of work. So who is this man?

Sinuhe Xavier is perhaps the only washed up professional skier to become an award winning commercial director and photographer having shot for Ford, Toyota, Gillette and Spinal Tap. He is further distinguished by the fact that he did not pursue a career in directing films until 2003, when he traded a life in the mountains for the potentially more treacherous terrain of Hollywood.

After co-writing the Sony Dreams short “Little Pony” with Filip Engstrom at Smuggler, Sinuhe directed two projects with Creative Artists Agency: the first was his critically acclaimed stop motion Lego piece for eBay’s “Let Them Post” campaign (featured in Creativity, Boards and Shoot); he next directed Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKeon  for Spinal Tap’s 2009 twenty-five year Reunion Tour.

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High profile spot work followed. Sinuhe directed Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter for Gillette, Michael Strahan for Subway, and Steve Casimiro on several segments for National Geographic. Most recently he has brought automotive campaigns to life with humanity for Toyota, Ford and Jeep. Over the past several years, advertising agencies BBDO, TBWA Chiat Day, Saatchi, 180LA and Euro RSCG have all turned to Sinuhe to bring their unique visions to life.

Sinuhe’s photography career actually began in front of the lens, as a professional ski mountaineer for The North Face in Bozeman, Montana, working with National Geographic photographer Gordon Wiltse. During this time, he also designed the “Heli Pack” for DaKine, a design that went on to become the best-selling technical backpack in history and is still in production 17 years later. While studying architecture and photography at Montana State University, Sinuhe transitioned his way from in front of, to behind the camera and found his love of visually telling stories. He has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Overland Journal, Print and Transworld Snowboarding magazines and has also shot for Burton Snowboards, Nike, Volvo, Toyota, Marmot and EA Sports.

www.sinuhexavier.com

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