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Magnadyne’s COO Overland Adventure

It all kicked off in late February when I swapped my city slicker convertible for a rugged mid-size pick-up truck. Imagine a sports car enthusiast who’s equally at home mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking. That’s me. With a career in the RV and automotive industry, I’m always on the lookout for the latest and greatest, and suddenly, the overlanding bug bit me hard.

 

 

By April, I was all in and decided to hit up the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ. I'd never been to anything like it and never owned an overlanding rig before. After hours of deep diving into YouTube, Instagram, and all things overlanding, I realized I had some serious work to do. I kicked off the build with a 1.5” Nismo lift kit, picked out an Ironman 4x4 soft top tent, and slapped on an RCI 12” universal bed rack. And we were ready to roll.

 

May 16 – Day 1

The adventure began at 3:30 AM from Santa Cruz, CA. My daughter Isabella and I had a 747-mile trek ahead, with a campground check-in deadline of 6 PM. The drive took us through the vast Mohave Desert, past Edwards Air Force Base, and over to Needles before finally landing in Flagstaff. Miraculously, we cruised into camp at 3 PM. After setting up, we strolled around to meet fellow adventurers and whipped up some BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner. Not a bad start!

 

May 17 – Day 2

Showtime! We woke up to a crisp 32°F morning, brewed some pour-over coffee, and had a light breakfast before heading to the expo. The event grounds were stunning, impeccably organized, and buzzing with friendly faces. We spent the day mingling with YouTubers, vendors, and other campers, soaking up travel stories, product tips, and event hacks.

 

We scored a cool carry bag from BAREBONESLIVING.COM and had some great chats with Evan Currid from HITCHFIRE.COM, Reed Frick from Pacific Adventure Works, and the teams at OVRLND Campers and Goverland. By the time we got back to camp, the air was filled with the mouth-watering aromas of gourmet campfire cooking. We settled for some good ol’ grilled burgers and corn on the cob, feeling like we were in the middle of a top-notch food festival.

 

May 18 – Day 3

The day kicked off with a test drive of the brand-new INEOS Grenadier SUV on a challenging track, complete with a pro driver guiding us through. The expo was packed with interactive events – from Yamaha cross-bike rides to electric motorcycle and bike trials. Classes covered every imaginable topic, with special sessions for women in overlanding.

 

In the afternoon, we took a 5-mile hike through the scenic event grounds before heading back to camp for dinner. We grilled some chicken kabobs and tossed a fresh apple salad. After dinner, we wandered around the campsite, admiring the rigs, petting dogs, and swapping stories with new friends. We even ran into Kris and Robbie, the brains behind Overland of America, and spent the evening sharing laughs and tales of the road.

 

May 19 – Day 4

We broke camp at 6:30 AM and made our way to the Grand Canyon. For just $35, you get a seven-day park pass, which is a steal. We rented bikes from Bright Angel Bicycles next to the visitor center and pedaled an 18-mile route through the forest and along the canyon’s edge. It’s a sight that leaves you awestruck, needing a moment to process its sheer magnitude. We camped at Tusayan-Montane, booked through Recreation.gov for a mere $20 a night – clean, well-maintained, and perfect for our adventure.

 

After unwinding, we cooked our final trip meal: skirt steak, baked potatoes, garlic bread, with an avocado salad. As the sun dipped below the horizon and the winds picked up, we retreated to our tent to enjoy some tunes on the Linear Series LS-BT1 Bluetooth speaker and did a bit of reading.

 

May 20 – Day 5

We woke at 5:30 AM to a chilly 31°F morning, packed up, and hit the road home. Retracing our route back to Flagstaff, we rolled into Santa Cruz 12 hours later, reveling in that unbeatable post-adventure warm shower feeling.

 

What a ride! Arizona, you’ve got our hearts, and overlanding, you’ve got our wheels.

 

 


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