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  1. #1
    Bald Tire
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    Planning My Overland Expo Trip

    Hello H4O!
    I've been lurking around for a while, seeing everyone else's adventures and builds, now I need some advice planning my first big offroad trip!


    One of the reasons I got my Hummer was so that I could do more cross country camping and offroading, and now I'm finally looking at taking the trip I've always dreamed about. Shortly after I got my truck last year I found out about a meet up in Arizona called "Overland Expo". If you've never heard of it, basically it's part conference, part car show, part barbque, and part offroad training. They usually have around 5000-6000 people show up in the desert near Flagstaff, AZ.


    Here's their short teaser video for last years Expo:





    Well, as soon as I heard about it I was hooked. It's a chance to learn and hear stories from people who have traveled all around the world with their vehicles, so I signed up last August. Now as it's getting closer (it's in May), I've started planning my trip.


    Here is a rough layout of the route I want to take.


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    Starting in Chicago here are some of the major places I want to visit.


    1) Chicago
    2) Omaha
    3) Denver
    4) Boulder & Rocky Mountain National Park
    5) Moab
    6) Flagstaff & Overland Expo
    7) Spaceport America in Southern NM
    8) Albuquerque
    9) Dallas
    10)Chicago (OR...small possibility of going from Dallas to Tampa FL instead)


    I'm pretty much looking at 2 weeks on the road, camping as much as I can and visiting some places I've never been.

    These are just my first thoughts on places along my route. I'm thinking of crossing the plains in one day (1000 miles) to get to the Rockies. My challenge is that since I am travelling solo, I need to pick my offroad route carefully. I don't want to have a break down or get stuck miles from the nearest road. Also, New Mexico is quickly moving up on my list of places to do some exploring. Anyone with favorite places or best camp spot would be appreciated!



    Now to throw a curve ball in, I want to video and photograph as much as I can. I still have my D600 (somehow I've avoided selling it), a GoPro Hero3 Black, and my friends Canon T3i. It's going to be a lot of work, but I think it will be really fun to have something when I'm done to look back on for memories.


    So I have a few questions for you guys:


    1) What do I need to watch out for with the Hummer in terms of solo exploring? I will meet up with some friends along the way, but good portions of the trip will have me pretty far from Pepboys.



    I have a list of things I want done before the trip.
    -New Battery (maybe dual)
    -Fix some rusting lines
    -Sleep platform
    -Winch or Maxtrax


    2) Does anyone have any tips on photo or video? I know there will be some, pull over, set up camera, turn around, drive past camera, stop, grab camera just to get shots, but if anyone has any thoughts on this let me know.


    3) Do you have any "favorite" or "must see" spots along the route I've laid out? Don't be afraid if it's off the beaten path, that's kind of the point of this trip.


    Any good breweries along the way? I love grabbing local beers from anywhere I visit.
    Last edited by Spectre; 02-17-2014 at 04:45 PM.

  2. #2
    El Diablo
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    1) Get an Odyssey or other AGM style battery - more durable and reliable. Other things for solo exploring: Water canisters, like the Rotopax. The biggest mistake people make in AZ is not having enough water in the event of a breakdown. You could be on a road that doesn't see traffic for days. Get a tire patch kit. One flat isn't a bad thing, two sucks and three is a disaster. Came across an H3 once with three flats, including one destroyed rim. They weren't prepared for the trail they took.

    SPOT locator. Note that you must buy activation for this, but you only need to buy it for a short period. LagunaH1 has one and can probably tell you more about it.

    Spare serpentine belt. Not sure of your mileage, but it could be a good time to replace the belt, idler pulley and tensioner and throw the old parts into a trail kit.

    How many miles are on your truck? Could be other maintenance to recommend ahead of time, or maybe isn't needed.

    2) Get used to using the GoPro with a wi-fi remote, either with your smartphone or the GoPro remote. I like the Ram Mount products better for mounting cameras. You can buy different extensions, arm lengths, etc. Note the style of suction cup base in the link as there are two types, and this is the stronger one. I've had cameras on the outside of my H3 many a time and I always use this mount.


    3) Monument Valley is a must, and your path takes you through there. You can do the self driving tour, only takes 1-2 hours. You can ride on their tours and see more of the area for about 4 hours. Those tours are great.

    Normally I'd say hit Ouray, CO but you'd be too early in the season. I'd check your CO stops carefully as I think that's "mud season" and not everything is accessible if you want to do anything off road.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to alrock For This Useful Post:

    abearden (02-17-2014)

  4. #3
    Street Tire
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    Looks very interesting and tempting!!!!!! I'm in Chicago too

  5. #4
    Hamster that pokes Bears
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    I would get dirt bike as spare transportation( if truck breaks down and u can't repair it, u cad take bike to get to next town).
    extra gas, water bottle and grey, SPOT or HAM radio for emergency, tire repair and air compressor, tools, etc. list is long. If u can I would take trailer for extra gear.

    Whit Are u going offroad or not?
    1000 mi in one day is rough, if u average 50mph(including pit stops) it's 20hr.
    2009 H3t (Hamster Jr.)build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...009-H3t)-build
    2009 H3t Alpha
    HMBP (2000 GMC) build (sold) - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...s-quot-project
    2008 F350 (Behimot) build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/forum/showthread.php?2208-Project-quot-Behemoth-quot
    1995 YJ locked and loaded
    2017 JK "Spicy chicken" + personal touches.

  6. #5
    All Terrain
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    I would agree w/ the posts above, research w/ updated reports. Here in Co, we have had alot of snow in the mtns. So melt and run off my be an issue on the trails. And bein ready for almost anythin is important too. Pack that rig, you never know.
    Also, your route takes you around alot of members on your travels. Maybe get some advise from them as your about to go through and maybe be able to meet up w/ some an wheel w/ them. Support is good.
    Good luck and keep us updated.
    Just slowly buildin and wheelin

  7. #6
    Bald Tire
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    Wow thanks everyone! I guess I'll start at the top with Alrock.

    I actually spent about 6 months in Prescott at college before transferring, so I know what you mean about water. I've also lived at lower elevations long enough that my body is no longer acclimated to higher altitudes so dehydration is a serious risk. If your driving all day and don't want to have to keep stopping to use the bathroom you may think that drinking less is ok, but add in heat and altitude and you could have an issue. Spare water will be a must have for sure.

    Also, I've done some research on PLB's and the Spot locator. From what I have read Spot isn't all its cracked up to be, and I wouldn't be comfortable with one. I am planning on picking up a Deloreme InReach Communicator. It comes down to the network. Spot uses the Globalstar satellite network, and Deloreme uses the Iridium network. One VERY nice feature is the Iridium network can work much like a cell tower, and bounce your signal between satellites to get your message where it needs to go. This means your message will get where it needs to go in seconds not minutes. Also, the InReach is a text communicator so you can send 160 character message and confirm your SOS was received. I don't mean to rant, but I just wanted to share my research on communicators. I'm very aware that these could be the difference between life and death so I just wanted to share what I have learned. The InReach is a bit more expensive at around $300 but I think it's worth it for the extra features and better network. I'm also going to try and get my HAM license before my trip and pick up a cheap radio.

    ANYWAY moving on, Monuments valley is a must hit for sure. That's good to know about the times. As I'm planning my route I'll try to build in enough time for a tour, although it's good to know there is a self drive option that may be faster.

    As far as on/off road, I would say more off the better. I would like to camp as much as possible so I may end up planning routes between national forests where I can camp for free. If anyone has any insight on this I would appreciate it. I know there are some rules for dispersed camping in national forests but it doesn't sound too difficult.

    I like the dirt bike idea, but I don't think I'll have the money to pick one up before my trip. Who knows, I've wanted a dual sport for a while so I will watch Craigslist for one. I'm trying to keep things as minimalist as possible so if I don't need the extra weight that would be a good saving.

    Thanks Highatop. That's good to know about Colorado. I have to admit I was hoping to do more offroading in Co than it seems I will be able to. I was up in Denver and Rocky Mtn. National Park last May for a visit, I was amazed at home much snow was still on the mountains.

    One of the big challenges with this trip is weighing the risk of travelling alone with the fun and rewards of some of the places I want to go. Over all I'm going to lean to the side of caution and try to avoid situations that could put me in a jam.

    That said...if anyone knows of any good routes or great camping sites (that you wouldn't mind sharing, I know the GOOD ones are closely guarded secrets in the Overland world) please share!

    Thanks again everyone! Good advice.

    -OH, also my truck is a 2008 Lux. No lockers or anything fancy. Pretty much stock with 305's. Just over 80K miles.
    Last edited by Spectre; 02-19-2014 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Added Truck Info

  8. #7
    Super Moderator
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    The usual spares and tools to swap them out. A spare half shaft and tie rod. Couple of gallons of coolant. Call and let people know where you are and when you will hit the next spot. Lots of us in Texas, Co and AZ so help might not be as far away as you think. Numerous members in Dallas, Neo is in Moab, etc. do you have OnStar activated?
    1998 H1 Open Top
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    1992 H1 HMC4 LE
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    KJ6JCC

    BlackSheep Hummer Squadron, H1 PsychoSquad

  9. #8
    All Terrain
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    Also, looks like your doin Rocky Mtn Natioal Park. When you leave there, you could go south on 9 to Alma to Wheeler Lake. Not to far off your route. I believe its a moderate trail. I haven't been there yet but, it only about an 1 1/2 hour from me. Dependin on timin and day of the week maybe be able to meet up and wheel it? There are youtube videos of the trail
    Just slowly buildin and wheelin

  10. #9
    Hamster that pokes Bears
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    At least get a bike so u don't have to walk in case of break down.
    2009 H3t (Hamster Jr.)build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...009-H3t)-build
    2009 H3t Alpha
    HMBP (2000 GMC) build (sold) - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...s-quot-project
    2008 F350 (Behimot) build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/forum/showthread.php?2208-Project-quot-Behemoth-quot
    1995 YJ locked and loaded
    2017 JK "Spicy chicken" + personal touches.

  11. #10
    Baja
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mb30sdl View Post
    Whit Are u going offroad or not?1000 mi in one day is rough, if u average 50mph(including pit stops) it's 20hr.
    I've done several trips back and forth between ABQ and SA on a crotch rocket. That's almost 800 miles and around 13 hours (extra gas stops on a bike for small tanks compared to a car). I've done a couple 1000 miles days on BMW motorcycles and those were only around 15 hour days. I think that he can do a 1000 mile all-highway day in the H3 in about 15 hours if he sticks to the highway and doesn't stop every hour or two to stretch or eat those big, fancy meals.Funny story, a co-worker picked up a hitch-hiker on the way to El Paso a few years back and made him ride in the bed. What that poor Mexican didn't know was that he was resting his head against a 90 gallon fuel cell and my friend would not stop for anything until he made it to to his destination or ran out of gas. That poor guy was so glad when they finally pulled into EP!

  12. #11
    Hamster that pokes Bears
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    Actually I will be at Overland Expo in AZ. This may. We leaving on may 17 from there for a ~10 day off road trip (AZ-CO). So I'll probably be there 1 or 2 days before to check it out and get some ideas.

    1000 mi days can be done but they will wear u out and u loose any will to stop and "smell the flowers"
    I have done CA to FL trips number of times and it was a lot better when it took more that 2,5 days non-stop.
    Last edited by Mb30sdl; 02-21-2014 at 09:57 AM.
    2009 H3t (Hamster Jr.)build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...009-H3t)-build
    2009 H3t Alpha
    HMBP (2000 GMC) build (sold) - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...s-quot-project
    2008 F350 (Behimot) build - http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/forum/showthread.php?2208-Project-quot-Behemoth-quot
    1995 YJ locked and loaded
    2017 JK "Spicy chicken" + personal touches.

  13. #12
    Guardian Angel

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    In my BMW race days, I used to do LA-Houston in 17 hours. Helps to have a race ready M3 and a lot of luck never getting nailed at the speeds I was going. Nowadays I'm much wiser and keep trips down to 800 miles max per stopover.


    "Ex Umbris Venimus"



    Facebook NC Hummer Group

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    Quote Originally Posted by goob3r View Post
    Your truck is HUMMER porn, seriously.

  14. #13
    Super Swamper


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    I went thru 9 states and over 4000 miles in 10 days with a co-driver and all that did was give me a sample of where I wanted to go back and spend more time.

    Two weeks will wear on you but you will have to skip a lot of wonderful areas to make that route.
    Maybe select fewer places to explore well, and travel less miles.

    I have been back out West four times and still feel like I rushed it.

    A bit farther and you could do the Mojave Trail and some trails in Death Valley.
    Both would be do-able by yourself, or like we did, find some locals to wheel with.

    Burn up the miles on interstate if you are rushed for time and then slow down in the more remote areas.

    Always check in at remote parks and let the Rangers know your plans, if you want help.
    Like at Capitol Reef, in Utah

    I would suggest renting a SAT phone so you can carry on conversations as to what your emergency is in real time and avoid drastic rescue when you need a belt or gas!
    Then of course proper planning will avoid some of those possibilities.

    If you miss the Ozarks in Arkansas you will have to come back.

    I posted a couple of threads that are in my signature.
    and here is some more light reading

    http://www.hummer4x4offroad.com/foru...arts-and-Weigh

    Have fun and give us a report!
    Last edited by Hunner; 02-23-2014 at 07:15 AM.


 

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