A trip to Overland Expo


My riding partner, Hal, had wanted to go to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona. I just wanted to go somewhere, get out of town. We’d been to an Overland Expo a couple of years ago, and it was dusty, hot, and expensive. That one was held near Tucson, Arizona, not the best choice. From mid-March through October, the strong possibility exists for 100° F.+ temperatures. The promoters of the event must have had similar thoughts, because then the expo was moved to near Flagstaff. The only bad thing for BMW riders in our state was that the promoters decided to take the one weekend all year that we held our BMW rally. Our rally had been on those dates for over 30 years, but we can’t compete with a money machine like the Overland Expo, so we moved our rally to a different weekend. That left us free to attend the OX (as it’s called), too.

I agreed with Hal that it might be fun to go, give it another chance. Even if I got there and hated it, at least I would have had the chance to ride one of my bikes up into the cool air and escape the Phoenix area heat. Since both of us work, Hal and I didn’t leave for the expo until Saturday morning, which was okay because it’s only about a three-hour ride from where we live.

It was in the 90s F. as we left that Saturday morning. The night before, Friday night, I struggled, trying to decide which gear to wear, and take. I desperately wanted one last trip with the normal textile riding jacket, but “caved” to practicality: I knew that when I returned home on Sunday afternoon the temperatures were forecast to be over 100° F. It is always easier to “layer up” a mesh jacket in the cold, then peel off layers the closer we get to home. So, that’s what made my final decision to wear the mesh jacket.

I also wanted to continue my theme of minimalist touring, at least to some extent. I thought all week about how I would pack my stuff, leaving the big Caribou cases at home. I like them, but I’ve used them for a long time, and just didn’t feel like hauling all that “bigness” and weight for just an overnight trip. I almost changed my mind at the last minute because it was all getting too complicated trying to figure out the “new” way, but before I went to bed Friday night, I thought just go with what you originally planned! Don’t over-think this! On Saturday morning, I packed my 2006 BMW F650GS with two bags, my usual clothes and things that I take on trips, and a bag with “travel stuff,” bike cover, tools, clear helmet visor, granola bars, water. On top, I put my daypack that is my “purse,” so I didn’t have to transfer things that I use every day to another backpack that is even bigger. It all didn’t look too bad on the bike, it was fairly compact as I tightened down the straps, and put one of those bungee “net” things over the top. I didn’t really need that last piece, but it made me feel better!

How it looked:

So, Saturday morning we were off on the first official road trip, short as it would be, of the 2014 summer season. We had both been waiting since the Death Valley trip in March to get back out on the road. This trip was long overdue!

Tomorrow: Saturday at the “OX”

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2 thoughts on “A trip to Overland Expo

  1. Can’t wait to hear about the expo, I always wanted to go to one. I suffer in temps over 90 degrees. I like AZ in the winter, but I’m not sure if I could deal with the hot summers.

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