No Highways Tour – Update to the revised backup contingency plan

I’ll admit this planned trip bares little resemblance to what I originally envisioned.  It’s been hacked and slashed from an epic three month cross-country adventure through 20 states to a shorter two month trip through just half of the states, and now it’s been cut down even more.

The latest banner for the No Highways Tour facebook page.

Lessons have been learned.  Changes have been made.  My limits of adaptation and perseverance have been tested.  Still, the show must go on.  For further updates, read on…

Missing out on Easter Jeep Safari was a real kick in the balls.  Not only did I have obligations to fulfill I fell short on, but there was a lot of networking I was hoping to do.  Least I mention EJS has been on my bucket list for a number of years.  I know big events like that aren’t for everyone, nor is it really an “overland” event, but it’s one of those things I’d like to check off the list and say that I’ve ben there.  I guess there’s always next year.

The evolution of the camping trailer over the past few months.
Few subtle changes to the Jeep as well.

One of my other obligations still on my calendar is Overland Expo West.  Last year I volunteered at the Overland Expo East and, despite the fallout from a hurricane, had a blast.  As my plans or this year’s No Highways Tour evolved the opportunity attend expo and incorporate it into the trip opened up.  This year at expo I’ll have a full slate.  The Jeep and trailer will be parked in the featured vehicle area during the event.  I’ll be facilitating two workshops; one on visual storytelling, one on DIY storage solutions.  I’ll also be emceeing two roundtable discussions and sitting in on a third; one on solo overlanding, one on building your overland rig yourself vs. having it built by a shop.  Oh, and I’m volunteering again to help with tech support like I did last year.  So yeah, I’ll be busy that week.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

The new revised backup contingency plan.
Forget “Plan B”… we’re up to “Plan D”, maybe even “Plan E” at this point.

With my commitments at Expo I’ve decided to retain the Utah and Colorado portions of the trip.  While much shorter than the original trip, and even shorter than the contingency plan, this revised backup contingency plan will still be an adventure.  The plan is to head out for northern Utah and start the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route on May first.  I’ll spend the first week and a half to two weeks in Utah dropping down into northwest Arizona shortly before Overland Expo.  I’ll spend the long weekend in Flagstaff for Expo and then depart AZ for Four Corners New Mexico and the start of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route.  All in all it will be a month long trip covering somewhere around 2,200 miles.

Hopefully this will help keep the transmission happy when pulling the trailer.

Now, to answer a pair of questions a few people have asked:

    1. Yes, there will still be a book.  It will be just a long (page wise) as last year’s book, it will just focus more on the various locations within each state I visit as opposed to a summary spread like last year’s book.
    2. Yes, the pre-sale site is still up.  Although I am not pushing for more pre-sales, I am leaving the site up for the time being.  I will honor all existing pre-orders (and maybe throw in something extra when the books ship) but at this point I really don’t expect anyone to jump on board given the change in plans and the false start.
Beyond that, the idea is to move forward.  Once the trip is over I’ll head back here to PA and switch over to show mode for the summer:
      • Butler Heritage Jeep Festival – Northwest PA
      • PA Jeeps All Breeds Jeep Show – South central PA
      • Carlisle All Truck Nationals – South central PA
      • Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival – Central PA
      • Vermont Overland Rally – Southern Vermont
      • Overland Expo East – Western North Carolina
Sadly I’ll miss out on the American Adventurist Appalachian Rendezvous this year.  With VOR switching from the week after to the week before Expo it overlaps the Rendezvous.  Hopefully next year the schedule evens out a little better.
At any rate, thank you all for the kind words of encouragement as I scramble to recover from last month’s false start.  As I said, this has been a humbling and eye-opening experience and I have learned more than a few lessons from this.  I’m not one to give up easily so stay tuned for more adventures…
This is what it’s all about.
A long dusty road disappearing into the distance.