Office and Shop Expansion at Overland Journal World Headquarters

When we’re not testing out $600 camp chairs whilst sipping on gin and tonics in the shade of our safari tent, we love to roll up our sleeves and get dirty! We here at Overland Journal are excited to be experiencing growth in the publication to the point where we are expanding into the rest of the building. This will, in effect, triple our square footage, and allow for more office space and more shop space. There will be more warehouse space to store back-issues of the journal, a clean vehicle bay for photographing and filming, open work space for the creative design team, as well as more quiet office space. There should also be plenty of room to roll out a nap-mat for that mid-afternoon siesta.

This expansion has truly been a community effort. Gavin Ferguson, long-time subscriber and Expedition Portal member, put his Construction Management degree to good use by framing, dry-walling, plastering and building wooden table and desk tops. Dave Argust of Adventure Trailers is an expert welder, and welded the bases for all our new tables and desks. Stephanie Brady, President and Designer of Overland Journal, ensured that all interior design elements were held to a high standard, as well as sanded, painted and stained the new desks and tables. Chazz Layne, our new graphics designer, enlisted his expertise in network administration by pulling cable for the new network, in addition to configuring the new phone system. Dani (Chazz’s wife) assisted with sanding, along our accountant Andre, and subscribers Rex and Carrie. We had four electric sanders going simultaneously on the day dubbed our “sanding party,” and it sounded like the drone of a hive of bees! I (the Director of Operations) had a hand in just about everything mentioned above. Each of us have definitely been wearing a lot of hats recently. And all of this on top of all our regular day-to-day duties of running a business. We had just enough time between the completion of the Spring 2011 issue and starting the Summer 2011 issue to do all of this, although it made for some very long days and weeks! Quite a journey since the humble beginnings in a guest bedroom in a single iMac (see page 12 of the Summer 2011 issue).

The hive of bees sanding party. The million-dollar desk!

I know they like to pile the work onto me - and here I'm getting crushed under the weight of important documents. All smiles after the sanding is done (for now at least...)

How many overlanders does it take to assemble a filing cabinet? El Presidente, staining away.

Motorcycles & dry-walling; we know how to have fun here! Gavin makin' tables

Everything must go!! Box-o-rama.

Head first into the powdered sugar? Nope, that's drywall plaster dust -- possibly worse than silt or bull-dust. Forward progress.

Fieldsheer Adventure motorcycle jacket: long-term review

We ran a motorcycle jacket comparison article back in the Spring 2009 issue of Overland Journal (pg 80-81).  Although no awards were given (Editor’s Choice and Value Award), in my opinion this jacket should have received the Value Award.  Not only was it the least expensive jacket reviewed, it received a glowing review by the author, as well as withstood all of the abuse I sent its way.

fieldsheer

After the article was printed, Fieldsheer sent me an appropriate size of the Adventure to review.  By chance, UPS delivered the package just minutes before I was about to leave for a ride with some friends.  We headed out to a single-track area for motorcycles near town, and within 30 minutes I had washed out my front tire, flew over the handlebars and hit the ground.  But thankfully both rider and jacket were unscathed, albeit a little dustier than before.  And that was just the beginning. I would later have many more uneventful wipeouts in the dirt in which this jacket protected me well.

beach

Over the course of two years, I must have put well over 5,000 miles of dualsport riding on this jacket throughout all 4 seasons.  Only on the very hottest days of desert riding (100+ degrees F) was the Fieldsheer Adventure uncomfortable to wear, even with all vents open.  Most likely a combination of the black color and thick materials.  But this is a good tradeoff to have given that it is a sturdy and durable jacket.  During the spring and fall this jacket was a pleasure to wear as it kept me warm on the chilly mornings and evenings, and breathed well during the warmer days.  During the snowy winter months, I did have to wear a few extra base layers even with the liner zipped in.  The optional neck cover came in very handy for blocking most of the cold air from blowing into the jacket around the neck.

baja

I was very glad to be wearing this jacket on a 3,000-mile trip to Baja, which consisted of interstate highways and lots of technical dirt riding.  I found the overall usability of the Fieldsheer to be great, with plenty of big pockets that are easy to open with gloved hands.  It was a bit bulky and cumbersome to carry around under my arm, but that is by far my biggest complaint about the Adventure.  During the time I was testing this jacket, I know of at least 3 of my friends that purchased a similar Fieldsheer based on my report (and the low price).  I now look forward to giving this jacket a proper washing and using it for many more years to come!

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

Overland Journal participated again in this year’s Epic Rides mountain bike race event called the Kona 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. It is one of the largest 24-hour mtb events in the world, and takes place just north of Tucson, Arizona. We had two sponsored teams entered in the race: one 4-man relay team, and a solo rider. The 4-man team consisted of Scott Brady (of Overland Journal & Expeditions West), Travis Schanafelt (of Safari Pacific), Jim Feehan (of Here be Dragons Adventures), and Mike McMaude (fellow adventurer & all-around good guy). Christophe Noel (of Raven Singletrack) was our overall organizer, team captain & solo rider. Supporting the teams were Zach & Jonathan of Overland Gourmet, Jeremy Edgar of Overland Journal, and Expedition Portal members Heidi, Dave & Tim.

The event had over 1,800 riders this year, and probably a total of over 3,000 people camping in “24 Hour Town.” We started arriving on Wednesday evening to get a good camping spot for Overland HQ. Parked in the camp was the Jeep J8, two Earthroamer LTs, and a few Toyotas & Land Rovers. We used the Zero DS from Zero Motorcycles to get around and see the rest of the campground without creating any noise-pollution. The electric motorcycle drew a lot of attention—mainly because of how quiet it was.

the campOverland HQ

a section of 24 Hour Town the entire 24 Hour Town

The race started at noon on Saturday with a Le Mans start. Christophe the solo rider took part in the fray, as well as Jim who took the first lap of the team relay. It was great weather for the first few hours of the race, but then a ferocious storm blew in with high winds & plenty of rain, causing many riders to seek refuge in their tents for the night. Travis was out on the trail during the majority of the storm, suffering 3 flat tires and getting completely soaked. The team ended up doing a total of 7 laps (about 119 miles), and Christophe rode 8 laps (136 miles).

Christophe (6) and Jim (657)

We encountered many cool expedition rigs at 24 Hour Town, aside from those parked in the Overland HQ campsite:

Overall it was a great weekend, spent with good friends. Overland Gourmet prepared some delicious meals for us, and we all shared some great stories around the campfire. Even though the rainstorm put a slight damper on the race, we got to witness some beautiful southern Arizona sunrises & sunsets. Until next year!

A huge thanks to Tim Huber and Heidi Van Camp for helping to contribute photos for this post!

Memorable meals while overlanding

Aside from driving and sleeping, eating is one of the things we spend the most time doing when overlanding. So much of the time we are thinking about the new places we are going to see, and hoping to take great photographs of great vistas, flora and fauna. However I (like many people I know) enjoy taking photos of meals while traveling. I do so because many times they look absolutely beautiful–in addition to tasting wonderful–but also because it will remind me of a good memory.

On a recent trip to Baja I encountered many delicious dining experiences; two of which stand out. The first was a meal that I prepared, both with something I brought from home and items sources locally in Mexico. I made elk tacos, with an elk that I had hunted, along with ingredients I had purchased in Baja: fresh vegetables, a habanero pepper, corn tortillas and a margarita. At home I had eaten elk many times in different forms, but never as a spicy taco! The next meal that really stood out were fish tacos served to me at the restaurant Alfonsina’s in Bah­a Gonzaga. These are classic “Baja-style” fish tacos which are deep fried and served with Baja sauce along with many other toppings. The cold cerveza made for a perfect side dish. They have a lovely outside patio right on the beach which made for the perfect scenic lunch stop!

elk_tacos fish_tacos

Tools, bad and good

I’ve just finished an editor’s project column for the Gear issue that deals with quality tools. The importance of that subject was brought home to me this morning.

For nine years I’ve been using and abusing an excellent Bosch cordless drill, the batteries for which finally died a few months ago. To my chagrin, I discovered that that model drill was one of a very few Bosch made with a battery no longer available. So I put it on my list to buy a new pro-level drill, and until I had the money figured the Sears cordless model someone traded me for construction work a while ago would suffice. It was a nice-looking 18-volt model, and brand new when I got it. Not one of Sears’ professional models, but it should do, no?

No: This morning as I was holding up a panel of sheetrock to secure to the shop ceiling, and driving a drywall screw through the panel and into an ordinary 2 x 6, the gearset on the drill stripped itself of every tooth it possessed. Inconvenient enough that I was balancing sheetrock on my head, and now have to drive 40 miles to town to get a new drill. What if I’d been in the middle of nowhere using it to repair a broken-down vehicle?

It pays to buy good tools.

Update: Mark Weiss sent me a link to voltmanbatteries.com, a battery rebuilding service. I already bought a new 18-volt lithium-ion Bosch set, but now I can have my old Bosch batteries rebuilt so that drill can serve as a backup or loaner.

Open House

Overland Journal and Adventure Trailers recently hosted an Open House and BBQ at their headquarters in Prescott, Arizona. Overlanders from far and wide turned out for the event, the longest-traveled being Espen and Malin, a couple visiting from Norway in their Nissan Patrol. Many vehicles, trailers, and equipment were on display and there were presentations and slideshows on new mapping software, a trip to Mexico, and an adventure in the Mongol Rally. Clint Rounsavall was there to present his new book, Adventures From the Trail. Overland Gourmet was on site creating more delicious food made in the outdoors. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us and have some fun!

More photos can be seen at the Expedition Portal forum

Overland Journal and Adventure Trailers open house and BBQ

Chowin\' and chattin\'

Espin and Malin from Norway

Overland Gourmet made grilled peaches and bacon-wrapped sausages

Mountain Khakis Fly Fishing Vacation to Lake Tahoe!

There has been a growing interest in fly fishing among overlanders, or perhaps it’s a growing interest in overlanding among fly fishing enthusiasts; either way there is no doubt that the two compliment one another wonderfully!

So, when Mountain Khakis told us about their latest sweepstakes, a 5-day/4-night fly fishing vacation complete with a resort stay at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, a half day of training and over $3,500 in gear, we had to share it with you.

Registration in the sweepstakes ends on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. Good luck!

http://www.mountainkhakis.com/sweepstakes/enter-sweepstakes/

Here’s some of the cool gear included:

New sign for Overland Journal headquarters

In the previous blog entry you can see the Overland Journal sign on display in our safari tent at the Overland Expo 2010. We also used it in our booth at the Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike race at the end of April. That sign is now proudly hanging above the door of our office/shop in Prescott, AZ. It is lightweight so that we can take it to other events in the future.

new sign

building

Overland Expo 2010

This year’s Overland Expo is being held at the Amado Territory Ranch in southern Arizona. A huge thanks to Exclusive Tents for providing the awesome safari tent for the Overland Journal booth. So far it has provided for a great place for people to stop by and spend time with the OJ staff. The vehicles we are featuring at the booth are a Land Rover Defender 110 Dormobile, a right-hand drive diesel Jeep Wrangler, a Royal Enfield Bullet, and a Thorn expedition bicycle. We have definitely enjoyed the event so far, and are looking forward to the next two days!

tent

Short trip to Bisbee

Roseann and I managed an overnight trip to Bisbee from our house southwest of Tucson, she on her Honda NX250, me on the long-term Royal Enfield Bullet EFI.

We stayed on two-lane pavement on the way over – Sahuarita Road to Highway 83, south to Sonoita then west on 82 to 80, down through Tombstone. Self-portrait at 65:

. . . and on to the Copper Queen Hotel, historic and stately but seriously overpriced.

. .

We arrived in time to visit some shops, including a look in the window at the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel, which we knew would be closed (only open on weekends). But just a look was thrilling: the entire shop is filled with vintage bicycles and frames.

The next morning we headed south and west, to Montezuma Canyon Road, a dirt route that climbs to the pass at the Coronado National Memorial . . .

. . . which offers spectacular views to the west:

We continued on, through a few shallow water crossings . . .

. . . and out to Sonoita again, and west for lunch in Patagonia. We continued on to I-19 and north, but exited west at Arivaca Road. Rather than stay on pavement again to Highway 286 to head north to home, we cut off on Ryan Ranch Road, another dirt route that skirts the Cerro Colorado and Sierrita Mountains. We stopped at the old ranch house:

. . . came across a Border Patrol surveillance post:

. . . and continued on to home. On the way I found a 20-foot length of heavy choker chain with hooks on both ends that someone had dropped, so I stuffed the whole thing in one side of my Andy Strapz panniers. It made handling much more interesting on the rest of the loose dirt sections – which the Bullet EFI otherwise handled with ease.

Interestingly, both bikes – the 250cc Honda and the 500cc Royal Enfield – got exactly the same 71 mpg for the whole trip.

Jonathan