[Status Update] Overland Skills Weekend, Overland Expo West, and the LS Swap

By the time you read this I will already be on the road headed to Virginia for the first Overland Skills Weekend hosted by ECOA and Overland Experts.  As soon as it’s wrapped up I’ll be making a marathon dash westbound to Flagstaff, Arizona for Overland Expo West.  Sadly I will be doing it all without the LJ.

This is what trip planning and logistics looks like at ECOA.
A little big of research on the web, a nice spreadsheet, and some paper backup copies.

Keep reading for an status update on ECOA and how things are going…

Overland Skills Weekends

This weekend is the first of the Overland Skills Weekends hosted by yours truly.  The theme of this first weekend is off-road recovery and I’ve opted to partner with Overland Experts out of their Orange, Virginia location.  The event is being hosted at James River State Park in central Virginia which is the same location as the annual Virginia Rooftop Tent Rally in the fall.  This is of course no accident since the park and its staff is very interested in hosting connecting more with the overland adventure community.

Too late to attend this year’s recovery training weekend…
but there is always next year!
Stay tuned for the 2020 Overland Skills Weekend Schedule this fall.

In total there will be four Overland Skills Weekends this year.  The three remaining training events will be Communication & Navigation in June, Trip Planning & Logistics in July, and lastly Wilderness First Aid in September.  These weekends are a great opportunity for those of you looking to develop new skills or hone existing ones.  Details can be found via the ECOA Store link up top.

Overland Expo West 2019

I missed Overland Expo West in 2018.  That will go down as one of my major regrets and one of the biggest reasons I am back to living the overland adventure lifestyle full-time now.  As such, Overland Expo West was at the top of my events list for 2019.

Overland Expo West is pretty much the Super Bowl for the overland adventure lifestyle
It’s part trade show, part social event, and part educational.
Like anything in life, your experience at Expo is what you make it!

As usual I will be attending Expo as both an instructor and as a staff member.  This will make my 8th expo in total (four easts in 2015, 2016, 2017, & 2018; and my third west, 2016, 2017, & 2019).  I’ve enjoyed every Expo so far despite the weather, traffic, and logistical problems that seem to plague the event.  I’m super excited to see what the new owners have in store for the 10th Overland Expo West as well as Overland Expo East this fall (and it’s new venue!).

The status of the LS swap in the LJ

Now for a bit of a downer.  Despite starting the LS swap way back in January of this year, more than four months ago at this point, it’s still not done.  There is no one to blame, other than myself I guess.  It’s just been one of those projects that has taken on a life of its own.

The current state of the LJ.
A lot of the heavy work is done.
It’s just a long list of little things that need to be finished.

There have been a few setbacks along the way and more than a few lessons learned the hard way.  That said, it’s still be a fun process and I’m super excited for the finished product (and not just because I’ve been waiting 126 days, 17 hours, 39 minutes at this point ~ but who’s counting).  When all is said and done the LJ will be nearly complete to what I envisioned when I first got back in 2014. And yes, an LS swap was always part of the plan.

Looking Ahead

There are some really cool things on the horizon.  I will be setting up an “Overland Mini-Camp” at this year’s Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival.  Myself and Dan Grec of The Road Chose Me will be headlining a number of workshops and presentations during the event as well as giving walkarounds of our rigs.  I will be doing something similar at the Toledo Jeep Festival in August as well.  They are going to have me as a keynote speaker talking about my No Highways Tour book series and my various (mis)adventures.

As mentioned I will hosting three more Overland Skills Weekends throughout the summer.  I’ll also be making my rounds at the Virginia Rooftop Tent Rally and of course Overland Expo East.  I also hope to get down to Uwharrie for the American Adventurist Appalachian Rendezvous again since that was another event I missed in 2018.

Becoming a Patron can help pay it forward and subsidize these kinds of opportunities.

Two other things I will be doing later this year will be reviving the Patron Support Team and (finally) starting to do videos.  I didn’t feel right continuing the Patreon page while working a day job in 2018. I didn’t have the time to travel or write enough to justify it.  However, with being on the road again and back to writing and teaching full-time I plan on starting it back up.  I’m just waiting till after the LS swap is done lest people accuse me of using those fund to finish my engine swap.

The cornerstone of the revived Patron Support Team will be built on the mission statement that has guided ECOA since day #1 and that is to Educate, Encourage, and Inspire.  The videos I will be making will parallel the articles on the blog as well as the workshops I present at the larger events like Expo and the smaller regional rallies.  This will be a great way for those of you who follow ECOA to pay it forward and help subsidize future educational opportunities for the overland adventure community and possibly other outdoor and off-road communities.

Looks like I’ll be rocking the Liberty for just a little while longer.
At least the Poor Man’s Teardrop looks good behind it.
Just have to do something about those tires…

As always, thanks for checking out this week’s blog article and your continued support of ECOA.  I know I’m looking forward to the rest of 2019 and what it has to offer!  I’m glad you’re along for the ride.