Start: May 16, Phoenix Arizona
Finish: May 18, Phoenix Arizona
Books Sold at Overland Expo 2013: 124
Star Wars Conventions attended: 1
New Friends made: Lost count
Our last few months in South America were crazy busy, especially getting the cookbook finished and printed in time for Overland expo. Leaving Blue sitting at the port in Santos Brazil, we fly back to Seattle, say hi to the family and three days later fly down to Phoenix Arizona. We pick up a rental car and have a much deserved burger before heading over to Walmart to buy some supplies for our exhibitors booth.
We receive word that Blue has been loaded onto the shipping vessel, have a great time expo and finally wrap up a crazy weekend with a little fun.
The list of things to get done in time for expo was long. It involved ordering business cards and more books, drawing a life-sized version of blue on canvas, printing fliers, signage, banners, renting a car and buying flight tickets, resupplying our camp kitchen, washing sleeping bags and clothes. Oh and visiting family, all during our first three days back in the USA after being gone 19 months.
With hours to spare we had our to-do list buttoned up. Expo here we come.
After landing in Phoenix and spending an amusing 20 minutes saying no to upgrades on our rental car, our first stop is In-n-Out burger. Jared and I promptly order a 3x3 animal style, while Jess sticks to the classic burger. Ohh how we missed this place. Fueled up and ready to brave the local Walmart we head to Flagstaff.
Needless to say the trip to Walmart does not disappoint. People shouting at each other, kids screaming to get their way, all at low low prices. Welcome back to 'MURICA.
Once we get back to camp we promptly start drinking, missing our South American journey and reminiscing on times when arguments in supermarkets could not be understood.
The next morning we put the final touches on our exhibitors booth and authors table. Ready for action. The books sold like bacon on a Sunday morning. By mid-day Saturday, all 50 copies of cookbooks were gone!
With things looking good on the book sale front, I take a few hours to go explore the other exhibitors booths.
The guys from Pronghorn had an impressive display of their modular aluminum bumper for the Jeep. The bumper is like legos for outdoor recovery, with every part designed to attach and detach in a matter of minutes. I cannot wait for the 4Runner version.
The booth at MaxTrax (a plastic version of short sand ladders) shows off this road race car. Not practical as a overland vehicle but man will it make driving Bolivia's southwest circuit a totally different type of adventure.
Right across our exhibitors space is the fleet of XP campers. We quickly make friends with Sam and Erica from songoftheroad.com who are only a few weeks from setting off on their PanAmerican adventure.
One of my favorite exhibits was the Slatgrill, a portable and versatile modular grill. The entire grill disassembles to fit into a small flat carry case no bigger than a magazine. I want one!
People and their pets were everywhere. Pigs in strollers, dogs in backpacks and even a lion on a leach. No wait a minute that's a chihuahua. DAFUQ
We had planned to bring Blue to the expo, but because the ship was delayed for such a long time we had to make due with a life-sized line drawing on a sheet. Unfortunately the strong winds at Mormon Lake meant we could not keep the drawing up for the entire expo for fear of the giant canvas turning into a power kite.
We set it up took a few photos and as soon as the wind started to pick up again took the drawing down. Bummer.
On Sunday morning there was a walk around breakfast where exhibitors had to make some breakfast for the attendees. We gave some money to the team of Ruined Adventures and woke up to a cooler for off bacon, a Coleman stove and a griddle. Got to love waking up with gifts from the bacon fairies.
Jessica promptly starts cooking bacon. It was like watching moths circle a flame as people from the other side of Expo came walking over drawn by the smell. Six pounds of bacon and two hours later we cleaned out. Who knew making bacon and selling a cookbook would be a winning combination? Go figure.
And then, this happened.
So there we were in Uruguay with Ruined Adventures, three or four bottles of wine into the night when we decided on doing a little dress-up on the final day of expo in time for the BBQ. We wanted to dress up like old time travelers and considered conquistador costumes. But one look at the price tag on that, and back to the drawing board. Finally someone came up with the idea of Star Wars. There was this moment of drunken clarity when we all looked at each other and said, "Sold."
Four storm trooper and one Vader costume later overland expo 2013 meets Star Wars. Things just got weird. Thanks the ADV-o-DNA for the video!
A big shout-out to some of the friends we made at the Expo. And to everyone that came by and said hi that we've forgotten to list. Thanks for the great welcome home.
Sam and Erica from Song of the Road
Dave, Ann and Wynn from Adv-O-Dna
Tad and Gaila from Overland Now
Monica and Jeff from Overland the World
Sarah and Tom from This Intentional Life
Bryon and Sarah from Exploring Elements
Grant from Optimo Hat Works
Will and Kate from OverlandExpediters
The guys from Ursa Minor
Adventure IQ for teh reat pod cast
Up next: Blue arrives in Galveston, we spend a night camped in redneck central as we start the drive back to Seattle.