[Update] No Highways Tour Vol 2 – WV, KY, TN & NC – Postponed!

If you’re not aware of Hurricane Irma by now I’d like to know the rock you’re living under.  In the next few days a (currently) Category 5 Hurricane is going to make landfall in Florida.  While that does not immediately affect me, within a few days the remnants of the storm are projected to drift inland.  That will affect me.

Irma is westbound and down with her sights set on the eastern seaboard of the US

With this in mind I have decided to postpone Vol 2 of the 2017 No Highways Tour.  It’s never easy making a call like this but there are multiple factors playing into this.  Read on for the rationale…

Safety

The primary reason for postponing the trip is obviously safety.  Not just my own personal safety but the safety of the Jeep, the trailer, and my gear.  Traveling in bad weather is always a risk and sometimes it’s worth it, in this case I don’t think it is.

It’s gunna rain!

The areas I’d be traveling in through in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina have a few things in common.  Two of which are they are mountainous and flood prone.  There are a lot of small valleys along my projected path that experience flooding in situations like this.  The last thing I need to happen is be stranded in some remote mountain valley during a tropical storm.

It should be noted that this cone represents the CENTER (aka Eye) of the storm.
With a storm of this magnitude the rain bands will be reaching for 100’s of miles.
Even with the far east track up the eastern shore heavy rain will still make its way inland.
This also only projects out to Tuesday.  Estimates are tropical storm level rain almost all week.

With that in mind, this alone is reason enough to postpone the trip.  However, there is another factor weighing heavily into this decision.

Photography

I pride myself on my photography.  When I started the No Highways Tour book series I wanted to bring my love of photography to the overland adventure lifestyle.  My goal was to inspire people to travel to off-the-beaten-path locations with breathtaking photos.  The idea of shooting a week or more of photos in a rain storm is not only a logistical nightmare but it’s also not inspirational.  No one wants to see a book full of dreary grey drab wet photos.  It just won’t do the locations I want to visit any justice.  In turn, it won’t do you, the fans of the NHT series, any justice by showing you a bunch of crappy photos.

American Adventurist Appalachian Rendezvous in 2015 during Hurricane Joaqin 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Bad weather happens and it does play a role in the story as it unfolds.  The first week of the 2015 NHT was mostly rain while I was in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  If you’ve ever been to New England in the spring you know that rain is just a part of life. The NHT trip earlier this year saw some rain and even some snow when I was in Arizona.  Again, that’s not abnormal.  This time around it’s more than just rain.  It’s a freaking hurricane.  That’s a bit more than seasonal weather and therefore outside the scope of what could be expected as part of the story.

It’s never easy

To say I’m filled with a mix of frustration and disappointment right now is an understatement.  To postpone a trip due to something like a hurricane is never an easy decision.  Especially when I’ve been looking forward to this trip all year.  Doubly so when this is my chosen profession.  However, I wouldn’t be living this lifestyle full-time and making it my career if I couldn’t handle a few setbacks.

The projected path for Vol 2 of the 2017 No Highways Tour.
Looks like a fun trip… but not during the fallout from a major hurricane.

It’s often be said that, “nothing easy is worthwhile,” or something to that effect.  I won’t give up on this trip idea and hopefully at some point soon I can revisit the route.  As we push closer to winter weather will obviously play a major role.  However, early November is currently open for me right now and I might be able to squeeze the trip in before things get too snowy in the Appalachian Mountains.  Again, making such a plan isn’t easy.

So what, now what?

I’ve had the idea for a while now of doing a compendium book to the No Highways Tour book series. There have been many locations I’ve visited while on smaller trips over the last few years.  There have also been many side trips associated with events like Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival, the Overlanders’ Hangouts in Virginia with Blue Ridge Overland Gear, and even a few personal trips where the “No Highways” philosophy has yielded some very fun experiences.

The trip isn’t canceled, just postponed.

I get asked a lot about how I plan trips an choose destinations.  This compendium would serve as a trip planning and logistical guide for No Highways Tour type trips be they a month, a week, or even a weekend long.  It will also point out some cool destinations that weren’t part of the larger trips.  The plan was to do this after the 2017 books were done.  However, I may flip and do this compendium next after the spring 2017 book is done (which should be sometime in October).  All that does is shuffle this proposed 5th book into the 4th slot and push Vol 2 of the 2017 NHT book into the 5th slot.  Got all that?

A huge Thank You to my supporters

Both East Coast Overland Adventures and the No Highways Tour book series can only happen due to the support of the Patron Support Team and the various Corporate Partners that we worth with.  Thankfully everyone I’ve talked to so far has been understanding and supportive of the decision to postpone.  I hope you my readers will also understand and support the decision.

As of right now I’m still planning on attending both the Appalachian Rendezvous in Uwharrie as well as Overland Expo East in Asheville.  Both events are “rain or shine” and have survived hurricanes in the past.  My plan is to head down south as soon as Irma blows through.  Hopefully by then we’ll have a better understanding of what Hurricane Jose is going to do.  So for now, both events are a go!