Monday, July 6, 2015
2015 Northwest Overland Rally
By Andy Lilienthal
We look forward to the Northwest Overland Rally each and every year. It brings together overlanding and adventure enthusiasts from around the Northwest part of the U.S. as well as many Canadians and even people from other parts of the world (we met people from as far away as Australia and South Africa!).
We always bring up the Teal Terror, but this year we brought our Dinoot Trailer along with us. However, we got a ride behind the Bushwacker 2015 Ford F-150 this year. Frankly, that was totally fine. First, it kept the mileage off the Sidekick. But more importantly, the F-150 has air conditioning and the Suzuki doesn't.
This year's rally was exceedingly hot with daytime temps over 100 degrees everyday. Mercedes and I drank over 10 gallons of water in just three-and-a-half days. Luckily for us, the Wenatchee River provided us—and plenty of other attendees—relief from the scorching heat. For those not lucky enough to make it to the river (or Lake Wenatchee), there were cold showers and sprinklers setup.
As usual, there were lots of classes to take on just about anything you could want to know about overland travel. This included how to pack meals and cooking gear, fire fighting, first aid, photography, and more.
Mercedes and I taught a class in Northwest Wines. Our second year teaching the class, we shared six different wines from Anam Cara Cellars and Trisaetum in Newberg, OR, and Cultura, Portteus Winery, and Severino Cellars from Zillah, WA. We often visit different wineries, breweries, and restaurants when we travel, and it's great to share a bit of the Northwest with people who may not be familiar with some of the wonderful wines we have in our area.
There were tons of vendors again this year, and we may have purchased some rad stuff. OK, we did. Here are some of cool bits of gear we purchased:
Simple Shower, which allows most plastic bottles to be turned into a shower, are nice and small. They're a great solution for showering, cooling off, or rinsing down while on the go, and they don't take up much space.
Mule Expedition Outfitters had a great camp axe for sale, and really, when camping or when you're in the backwoods, an axe or hatchet can be great for cutting wood, using as a hammer, or protecting yourself from zombies. The one we bought is from Hudson Bay.
The Waterbrick is a stackable water containers that save space and can be tied to things during windy moments. We bought two 3.5 gallon versions as well as a spigot. These will be great for camping excursions.
Compact Camping Concepts offers a gear loft that spans between the bows on a rooftop tent. We had one, but we purchased another. A must-have for any compact camping setup, and it works awesomely for our rooftop tent setup.
Luci Solar Lights by Mpowerd, we were hooked. We purchased two of them at the Rally. These LED lights charge via solar power and keep a charge for up to a year and have up to four hours of battery life. They are inflatable, so they pack down to nearly nothing when not in use—perfect for subcompact campers.
One of the most exciting moments was at the nightly campfire. They give away raffle prices that range from hats and t-shirts to tents, and tires. And speaking of tires, Mercedes had the winning raffle ticket and she won a set of new General Tires (in any size!). Our Subaru WRX is going to need new shoes here soon, so this came at a great time!
Due to the heat, we decided to pass on the off-road trail runs, but some of the groups has more than 40 rigs this year! However, I did use the Suzuki to participate in the Advanced Vehicle Recovery Class. I played the part of "Unfortunate Andy" and got the truck stuck a few times (purposely, of course), and we then went through several recovery scenarios. Above, we demonstrated how hanging logs from the vehicle can prevent the truck from falling into a ditch when crossing a log bridge. It sounds a bit crazy, but it worked—we tried it.
If you're into camping, trucks, and/or overlanding, the NW Overland Rally is a great event. And while there are some amazing vehicles, the people are what really make this event a standout. WHile that might sound a cliche, it's totally true. This is a fantastic event with excellent people. We're looking forward to the 2016 event, but do hope it's a slight bit cooler. Here are a few of our favorite vehicles from the NWOR: