Scott Brady, the publisher of Overland Journal, recently had an eye opening experience with English food. We were on our way north out of London to visit some overland companies. We had set off very early, and by the likes of 8am we were famished and ready for some relief. Stopping in a small town off the motorway provided no obvious place for refreshment. The town seemed hardly awake and, grim morning that it was, we had to stop and ask for help. The only people we could find were a group of construction workers, and a particularly portly gentleman was happy to direct us to a local establishment for an â€˜English breakfastâ€™. To be fair to the English (I am one) English breakfasts can be stellar; this was not one of those. The fried bread had that slightly rancid taste accompanied by pure grease and no discernable flavor. Sort of like eating pressed lard. The sausage was similar to the fried bread; tasteless and greasy, though it was hot. The baked beans were from a can, so they were at least edible and the bacon was passable at the time. Twenty minutes later we both felt like we needed to visit the hospital. My insides were coated like the bottom of a frying pan the day after cooking a pound of bacon; that white congealed grease requiring a scoop to get rid of. Take away lesson was not to rely on large construction workers for dining advice and the parting comment from Scott; â€œI need to get my stomach pumped!â€
Coincidence is an over-used term, and in my opinion, is made a lot more common than we tend to believe. When something is forefront in our minds we will gravitate to finding relationships between it and other things we see around us as we go about our daily routine. I was actually thinking about coincidence last month as I strolled the streets of Dubai in the UAE on a sultry first day of Ramadan. What were the chances that I would find myself in the Middle East on Ramadan when earlier this year I had been contemplating a comment that Jonathan Hanson made regarding Ramadan in the Overland Training Cultures course? Jonathanâ€™s measured and thoughtful comment about Ramadan is not the subject of this blog entry though, rather coincidence is.
The week previous to my stroll in Dubai I had submitted a lengthly technical article for the next issue of Overland Journal on water treatment systems. It is an article that takes a dozen systems, and measures them against each other using not just opinion, but real performance evaluations in lab tests. This is probably a first for any magazine, and certainly a large undertaking for Overland Journal.
‘I should write a blog entry on the water systems,’ I had told myself on the flight in. So this stroll in Dubai, on my last day in the Middle East, was as much for assuaging my curiosity about the town as searching for inspiration for this blog entry. I had considered the first day of Ramadan, but was short on ideas for how that relates to water treatment systems. A large poster proclaiming ‘Get a trophy life,’ didnâ€™t seem to fit either. The heat was certainly in a more productive vein hanging in the region of 115Â°F with a humidity high enough to soak my coolmax t-shirt in very short order, but the link just wasnâ€™t there. Yet.
Walking along the water-front after popping in on a luxury hotelâ€™s beach, I came to a break in the shield wall facing the street and found a drinking fountain. Could I call that coincidence given my thirst? Well I could. I could also tag coincidence on the drinking fountain manufacturer: Helton who also makes the water heater I use in my Defender.
But as I moved towards getting a drink from the fountain, I saw a round structure on the incoming line. Normally I would have made a mental note of â€˜filterâ€™ and then taken a drink, but given my mission, I took a closer look at the filter first. Inspection removed my desire for a drink, and also gave me the perfect picture for this blog entry. Take a close look at the filter; if you have a filter in your overland vehicle that looks like that, I suggest you renew it with a new unit. Promptly. For more on water treatment systems take a look at the upcoming issue of Overland Journal. Sometimes coincidence works quite nicely.
There is nothing more humbling and inspiring for the overlander than to go to a Horizons Unlimited travelers meeting.
Being surrounded by current legends like Grant Johnson, Greg Frasier and future legends like Annette Birkmann and Dave Peterson will inspire even the seasoned traveler to new heights; to follow their stories and listen to them talk is a tonic for work-a-day life. It was just this environment we enjoyed in Silverton, Colorado for the annual HUBB meeting July 10th through the 13th. Surrounded by the magnificent San Juan Mountains, and the relics of Colorado mining history this was the perfect setting to catch up with travelers, show slides, give clinics and meet fantastic people. Sitting at lunch one day I quizzed Dave Peterson on his future plans having just completed a three-year round-the-world on his BMW 650.
â€œI plan on starting again in about six weeks.â€