The new and the interesting at this year's Snoverland Expo – The chaos which ensued in the weeks leading up to OX15 should have been a hint. I wrote chaos as if it was a bad thing…often times it isn’t, and this particular chaos was the good kind. The out with old-and-busted, in with new hotness, perseverance and persistence overcoming, new alliances and last-minute salvation kind of chaos. The weather that followed us to the show was much of the same: wind, rain, snow, sleet, and the endlessly deep slurry left behind when all of the above happens on a dry lakebed. I’m making Overland Expo 2015 sound miserable, when it was quite the opposite. The beauty of a trade show put on by a group of self-reliant world travelers for a group of self-reliant world travelers is that the principles of adapt and overcome are second nature. Exhibitors braced against the cold and wet with fire and awnings; attendees strapped on the mud gear, grabbed a hot beverage, and slugged on through the muck; when the heavyweight campers bogged there was no shortage of torque and strap to free them. The fellow adventurists that weathered out the storm and stuck it out through the aftermath made the show —in four years of going to Overland Expo, this was the best one I’ve attended. Plus, there was bacon. This year American Adventurist stepped up when our campsite was canceled mere days before the event. Their answer to my panicked “Dude, can I crash on your couch?” was to place the Discovery as a featured vehicle in the booth. What a welcome change in pace to hang with a group of such chill-yet-prepared folks and make new friends. Humbled by their generosity, I prepared a little something special for the show (first photo). As the Friday winds started to die down the snow rolled in, nothing overwhelming, just that perfect light dusting that makes everything with a light seem magical (especially the Rigid Industries beacon). I never saw the six inches of snow I was promised, but we did wake to a beautifully crisp Saturday sunrise. I love a good saloon, and thankfully Mormon Lake Lodge keeps theirs well stocked and at the perfect temperature—a welcome respite when the weather turns too cold (or too hot). Enough about the weather, on to the adventure vehicles. The usual suspects returned this year, but there were a few standouts: more classics, more motos, more trailers, and more fatbikes. Rocky… Overland Expo 2015
I should be used to this by now. After all, the past 3 years have been exactly the same. In 2008 they claimed it was a “freak occurance”, in 2009 they pondered the odds, in 2010 “a record breaking storm”, and this year they finally admit that “weather extremes” are the new norm. Snow, in the Mojave, in April? Sweet! The forecast called for a warm and sunny afternoon. Knowing this last snow of the season wouldn’t stay long I grabbed some munchies, scraped the ice off the windows, and headed out to explore the Cerbats. My first stop was the Chloride general store in search of a refill for my now cold coffee—no joy. “Sarsaparilla?” The shopkeeper looks at me with confusion. I settle for a Weinhard’s root beer and wonder to myself if the previous owner is enjoying his retirement. Soda in hand I wander the streets of the old mining town, snapping photos of snow-covered relics and watching the sun come out. From Chloride I pushed east in search of some landmark called “The Mural.” Just outside of town the first in a series of prominent markers led the way. The location of The Mural on this route couldn’t be better: just before the first obstacle on the trail leading up the mountain, and right in front of the perfect air-down spot. I spent the next few minutes checking out how the artwork changes from different angles before a fellow traveler pulled up. He was once a prospector out here, and after a brief conversation I learn that the original Mural is still intact nearby—a mosaic of the old town made up from the glass of broken bottles. I’ll have to come back after the snow has melted and look for it. With the sway bar disconnected and the tires aired down I continued east, climbing quickly over the ice-covered boulders. I didn’t make it very far. At the first switchback the sound of rushing water overpowered the purring of the engine, and I spent the next two hours getting to know the full potential of the Canon S95. I left the waterfall and crested the next ridge, only to be met by a wall of dark clouds and snow. Time and weather had once again lined up perfectly, and the hours spent at the waterfall were just long enough for the last remnant of the snowstorm to… Cerbat Mountains
We had heard the two feet of snow that fell last year was a freak occurrence, not likely to repeat for many years. I could already see the next storm system moving in, so without delay we loaded up and went into the park. For us, the rewards of rural living far outweigh the costs—to be first since the snow through the gate on the dirt road to Queen Mine, and at the same time last through the gate before the Park Service closed it, this beautiful unspoiled scenery would be ours alone to enjoy. More in the Flickr set »… Joshua Tree Snow Day