We Ride in a Petrified Forest and Live It Up at Overland Expo West – Moto Travel Diaries [S1 Ep31]
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Notiers Frontiers Diaries. Today we go to Overland Expo West, which is the biggest and grandest of all the Overland Expos. The flagship expo. And it's the original one that you went to to get inspired for our own personal journey. Yeah. That was four years ago, right before we started on our trip. We'd still been dreaming of going on this big round-the-world motorcycle trip, but you were able to get some time off of work before we ended up quitting our jobs, and you went out there to the Expo. And that was some real inspiration.
It was a blessing, and I won't say "curse," but it was a blessing and a financial burden. The ticket price was not expensive at all, but the knowledge that I left with... I mean you can walk out of there with a two million dollar Earthroamer. But, I realized that some of our camping gear was just not going to cut the bill. We like to do everything on a budget because the less we spend now, the more we can be on the road. Exactly. But there is a happy medium on this scale. And somewhere right in the middle is what we are trying to aim for now. But
when I got back from this event four years ago... We were really on the cheap end. And that was not good, and you realized that, thankfully, before we embarked on our big trip. This is true. Because we had really bad camping equipment. Just, it was not the smartest. We had a huge queen-size blow-up mattress that we were using. And a four-person tent. And it was just cold every night. I woke up at the first night of the Expo years ago, and I
just walked around to everybody, and I said, "Who here wasn't cold? Because I want to investigate what equipment you use." Because also, you were under the impression like, "I'm going to Arizona." Arizona is a wide, vast desert in my mind. Right. It's going to be a zillion degrees. The sun is shining all the time out there, it's going to be really, really hot. But Flagstaff is really high altitude. It's almost 8,000 feet high, I think. So that definitely cools it down a lot. And some years it snows at the Expo, that's how cold it can get. And this year, the Expo was even pushed further back into the year, because they finally opened up a lot of large public events. And it was
very exciting, but it was all pushed towards the end of the year. And by end of the year, you mean like in the middle of the summer? Which was perfect, weather-wise. This is true. Correct myself. So you had been there before, we'd also been there the year before, and together, and as presenters, which was super awesome. But this year it was really a homecoming for us. It was kind of like the origin of a lot of the inspiration for us in our journey. It's cool to be on the other side of the table.
So anything that is crushable, let it be computers or camera and stuff, I want in this center. It's just both sides, and we we did plenty of walking around, getting inspired by others as well. But the Overland Expo is just a good place with a lot of like-minded people who are out there on their own journeys, preparing to be on their own journeys. And it's just a Mecca for adventurers. Yeah, we get inspired, we get to inspire others. It was super great.
So we started off that morning in Saint George in southern Utah, staying with our friends. And we left really early because we wanted to get to the Expo in Flagstaff before the campground totally filled up. We knew it wasn't going to totally fill up because the grounds are huge, but we wanted to get our pick of where we were going to camp. So we wanted to be there a little early. We left right when the sun was rising, and it was beautiful, because right there in southern Utah you have the Kolob Mountains, which are kind of reddish, and they're the mountains that surround Zion and that area. And we had that view, just riding into it in the morning with the
sun making everything look really red and golden. And then we very quickly got into Arizona. And southern Utah is very Arizona-esque, but I still feel like there's a change that happens once you get to Arizona. The desert really flattens out, and the mesas pop up just out of nowhere in this very arid, arid area. The greenery kind of fades away, and it really just encapsulates
the essence of Arizona pretty quickly. You feel like, all right, yes I'm in Arizona now. It's like you're driving across the state flag. It's just a big sun. It fits the bill perfectly. And you just want to be on
a motorcycle. You want to be, it can get hot, but you definitely want to feel like you're a cowboy out there. Because that's the scenery surrounding you, those red rocks, those oranges, it is really beautiful. We got to the Expo, we got checked in, we got a place to camp,
and our dear friend Pete and his wife Lisa who had helped us in Colorado, they were also there. And then they said, "Hey, you should camp next to someone who you're going to be really excited to meet." And they're like, "Here's Amanda!" Amanda Zito - As The Magpie Flies. I've been really excited to meet you for some time now, because we love your YouTube videos. I am so glad I got to
meet you. Amanda, of Where The Magpie Flies... "As" The Magpie Flies! Isn't that awesome? Aranda... I told you this is why people call me the Magpie Lady, and that's okay. All right, here we go. There we go. Look, I have a passenger! Alright. Are you are you ready? Here we go. Drive like a jerk so she thinks I ride nice. As The Magpie Flies, I mean, she's just an incredible YouTuber. She's an incredible
motorcycle rider, she really brings the motorcycle community together. She's done some amazing things, and we were super excited to meet her. And we got to camp right next to her, and she ended up being kind of a staple throughout the weekend for us. Because we were just constantly doing things together, and going to events together. We got out and did the thing! We got out and did the thing! That's
her motto. Yes. And we got to trade information about gear and stuff like that, because she always has some really good insights to some of the best motorcycle gear, especially for cold weather. We'd done a lot of being in warm countries for a very long time, and so this summer we're going to be going to Alaska. We wanted some good feedback of what was good for cold weather. She's from Montana, so you know, it's perfect. Also in the Expo we saw Kingston and Jackson again. They were the film crew that did a cool little documentary for us for the first Overland Expo. You have to check that out. Yeah, you have to see it. We'll link it below. These videos we have are
YouTube worthy, and we love them. And we hope you do too. But... It's only like six minutes. It was like, "Oh my God! This is..." I wish every video could be that quality. They're professionals. We're just mules, but we're good mules. We hope you enjoy this footage. And you started having a couple problems with the motorcycle, I shouldn't say "you," like "we." Well, the bike kept on having problems. And you know, it's the Expo... Just to kind of wrap it up in a big bubble, the Expo is fun and it's great,
but we're very busy. We have to present at the the tent, to present ourselves, we almost sold out of all of our books. So thank each and every one of you who purchased a book. But then we're presenting, and I don't want to shine this in the negative light at all. I'm just saying we were very busy. And then, as I'm riding the bike around back and forth, there was... it felt like first gear was
slipping or something. And what it turned out to be was the chain had just gone from "you should change me soon" to "oh my God, you should have changed me a long time ago." And that's kind of like the indicator. There is not a lot of warning. It's just now-your-chain-is-basically-trashed.
So that's what my bike was doing to me, because it was so loose when I'd hit the accelerator, or the throttle. The chain would have to catch up to itself. And I'd make this "guh-gunk." Did you know it at the time? That that's exactly what was happening? Well... You knew there was something wrong with the chain. Yeah. I actually ran into Kingston, and he's smarter than I, like most of you out there. And so he got on my bike,
and rode up and down, and said, "I don't think it's your final drive, I think it's your chain." And so he's the one who kind of pointed it out. And then after further inspection, and just taking the tire and jamming it, you can hear that "ka-ka," it wasn't the final drive. There's no more like 0.5 second delay of a final drive.
So thank you to Kingston. Thank you for multiple, multiple reasons. But we're just constantly busy. Now I have this over my head looming, what are we going to do next? Which is how I felt at the last Expo. And then in Idaho, and then... The other thing that was kind of looming over us was the fact that we knew that in 10 days we were going to have to be in Virginia for the final Expo - Expo East. That is not a
lot to get across the United States. Well, comfortably. Right? Comfortably. You can. Certainly. But we like to enjoy ourselves and get there rested. Especially with these bike problems that have been popping up throughout the summer. We just were concerned that we might not make it. Every single Expo, we felt like we might not make it. Every Expo I called the person in charge and said, "Hey, I don't know if we're going to make it. I'm so sorry." And then we get there. "Oh, I'm so glad you made it!" And we'd hug, and then we'd take off with smiles, and I'd call her. So we were like, man, we've
done two out of three. This is great. We were able to get here to Arizona, but in 10 days we have to be in Virginia. And already, the bike is having a couple things. Well, this one was a known, just swap out a part issue. But nobody in the area had a chain and sprocket. And so we knew we would have to be leaving on a battered bike. But after we get out of first gear, it wasn't so bad. So after the
Expo, we said our goodbyes. We parted ways with Pete and Lisa, we parted ways with Amanda. I highly suggest anybody out there going and getting out to the Expos because they're such a blast to go to. We left early the next morning to just head east, and see how far we could get.
But along the main highway that runs from Flagstaff eastwards out of Arizona, there was a place that I said, I can't just go by it and not stop there. I have to go and see this place because I've always wanted to go. And that is - the Petrified Forest. But what really surprised me about the Petrified Forest is I thought the highlight of it would be seeing the logs from the dinosaur ages that had been turned to stone, and all the really beautiful stones that are encased in the logs now. But actually, for me the highlight was the drive through. It was this huge long stretch. And so the highway is here, and you kind of pull off the highway and then you're running parallel to it for a little bit. And then
you actually cross the highway, and you go off. It wasn't like this far remote thing, but there was... It had to have been 30 miles or something of this road. Beautiful. And it went through an area called the Painted Desert. And it was just night and day versus the highway, versus this road. And it was just like, who built the road
and wasn't like, "Hey, let's build it two miles east." You know? I don't get it. The highway... it doesn't matter. We'll cut that part out. But it was just a fantastic ride that was semi Bryce Canyon-esque in sections. And then riding at an altitude with an overlook of mesas. All the
colors that were out there were so stunning. There were these mounds that were kind of greenish gray, and then they'd have these black stripes. And then there were red ones, and there were orange ones, and there were completely white ones as well. So I definitely understand where it got the name, the Painted Desert. It was like a Bob Ross painting. It was just insane. Yes. And I didn't
expect it to be so beautiful of a ride through it. Yeah. We did a little bit of a hike down into an area that had some of the logs that had fallen over. And it was very strange to think that millions and millions of years ago this had been a jungle, and it had been completely covered in dinosaurs. Huge dinosaurs everywhere, and huge fern-like trees. That part was a 45-minute ride into the scenery. Unbelievable. It was really really cool. And to think that not only were these
once living things. But now they haven't just become like stone, they've become gorgeous gems. They're just so pretty, there's quartz in them. And yeah, they really are sometimes like crystals. It's like a magical thing, like a dinosaur forest turned to crystals. Some enchantment by some evil witch, I don't know. Only on earth! Only on earth! It was the perfect little detour. And we took a nice little hike down. And it was kind of strenuous, because it's up on this bluff...
By strenuous, by our standards, because we don't hike. We don't like to hike that much. But you could reach out and touch them. And it was just, it was really really cool. It was a feel-good day, it was a very beautiful ride, with very beautiful strange objects. And you know, that's what we like to hunt down. In our next video, we will be booking it across the United States. We come across
hail storms, and more bike issues, and saving graces, and all sorts of crazy adventures. So I hope you stay tuned, and I hope you liked this video. If you did, please give us a big thumbs up, and hit the subscribe button below, and we will be seeing you next time. Thanks everybody. Bye! Peace.