Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Overland Expo 2013 - Overland Driving Course Photo Gallery

I attended this year's Overland Expo at Mormon Lake just south of Flagstaff. The event was held May 17 - 19th and included exhibits, demonstrations, classes and the Overland Driving Course. The Driving Course was sponsored and set-up by Land Rover. Anyone attending the expo could drive the course either in their own vehicle or one furnished by Land Rover. In both cases an experienced Land Rover Driver would sit in the front passenger seat and provide instruction, tips and techniques.

Note: this post only covers the Overland Driving Course. My next post will be my main report on the Expo.

I went through the course the first time on Friday driving a super-fancy Range Rover with computerized controls that handled everything to do with controlling the engine and suspension. It was fun, but more like a theme-park ride. I kept asking about how my Tacoma would do on those same course features and the instructor kept encouraging me to bring in my Tacoma and camper and try it for myself. He said they would pick a route and lines appropriate for my vehicle.

After some thought I decided to take advantage of this opportunity. How else would I learn so much about the 4WD performance of my rig in such a safe environment where a super experienced instructor would make sure nothing "bad" happened. I drove the course in my truck on Saturday.

Below are general photos of the course. I end with two photos of my vehicle stopped on the course in the section which would lift one wheel of a Land Rover in the air and thus required differential lockers. My stock Tacoma does not have lockers, though they could be added after-market if I wish. The instructor guided me from outside the truck and eased me as far as we were both comfortable going and where the truck was losing traction. He had me exit the cab and take a look saying I could probably get though if it were absolutely "necessary," but recommended I back up and take the bypass for this section. Whew!

I was amazed at how well the stock Tacoma and camper did on the course as we went though most of the rest of the features including the steep climbs, dips, and cambers. The instructor commented several times at how great the stock limited-slip differential performed. A wonderful experience and I came away with new ideas on how to drive in these situations and what the truck, even laden with the camper, could do.

The Overland Driving Course at Overland Expo 2013.

I was able to go this far, but then stopped at the next "bump."

Another truck and camper at full tilt.

Three hills; three Land Rovers.

Another truck and camper climbs a small hill.

A little log bridge to add some flavor.

This is the section that requires differential lockers, as you can easily see.

My Tacoma and camper at its limit.

Other side of my Tacoma and camper at its limit.

Driving the course was a great, fun experience and I encourage everyone who attends the Overland Expo to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity!

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