Overland Expo to TBEX: Of hiccups and detours…

So friends, I have at least a dozen posts in draft about the current Overland Expo to TBEX & beyond expedition, but none of them seem to be approaching completion given the pace and hiccups of this trip.

I also have another series of posts filled with advice for cross-country camping trips that was supposed to be completed before we departed. So on the one hand I was obviously unsuccessful in getting those out but I guess the upside is that I’ll have even more experience to share with you given the educational experience this trip has been so far. It has been unlike any other road trip I’ve ever taken, I can tell you that with extreme certainty.

The point being that I have a lot of things I should be finishing up for you but I can’t help but throw in this little update considering the events of this trip and the incredulous mood it has put me in.

Four weeks in…

So today marks the end of four weeks on the road. From a statistical picture our journey looks like this…

Oh my poor, poor Blubaru…

  • Miles: 7,600
  • U.S. States: 20
  • Canadian Provinces: 4
  • Time Zones Changes: 8
  • Days: 28
  • Oil Changes: 2
  • Border Crossings: 8
  • Geocaches: only 29 🙁

Amazing things…

I’ve seen and experienced amazing things that are the reason I do this…

Camping with my boys is always an adventure!

  • The friendships of fellow bloggers at Overland Expo & the beauty of Mormon Lake, Arizona
  • The surprise of Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
  • Feeling at home at Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
  • Reflecting on history and purpose at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Seneca Falls NY
  • Going out of my comfort zone in Toronto & the education of TBEX
  • Enjoying the impression Niagara Falls made upon Fred and George
  • Feeling like a kid again at The Museum of Play in Rochester, NY
  • Awakening the latent geologist in me at Franconia Notch State Park, NH
  • Falling in love with Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Moments of great connection with my little guys everywhere along the way
  • The joy of watching my boys be amazed by these remarkable places and embracing the adventure of travel.
  • Allowing myself the same amazement and education that comes with travel and exploration.

Hop on over to my Overland Expo to TBEX Flickr set for images of the journey so far…

The cost…

Unlike the minor hiccups of previous journeys, this one has been marked by fairly major ones. Nothing life-threatening or trip-ending mind you, but we’ve hit bump after bump after bump that have had extremely high hassle-factors and/or monetary costs.

There simply nothing better than sharing the world with my boys. (And yes, he carries that Atlas just about everywhere.)

  • Tent failure: Had to ship our FD6 back to Big Agnes for significant repairs. That in and of itself is no cheap undertaking… she weighs in excess of 15 pounds. Of course, that means we were without a tent so I not only shelled out for a new one but had to detour to two different REI stores to get all the pieces.
  • Fred’s sandals: Out of the blue Fred’s sandals broke. They’re not terribly old but they were decidedly unrepairable. Cue wild goose chase for correct size and style to meet Fred’s needs.
  • The untimely demise of my iPhone: This is probably an entire blog post in and of itself, particularly since it was a result of my own bad decisions but again, it’s in draft. The result of this mistake required me to detour fairly widely to southern Maine i.e. the nearest Apple store.
  • Food poisoning: Some locals recommended the fried clams at a local dive in New Brunswick. Generally the advice of locals is a great thing to have when you like to get off the beaten path. Did not pay off this time… Have you ever been camping and that sick? Not fun.
  • Tropical Storm Andrea: I think we’ve seen all of two days of sun since leaving Toronto. Besides having heinous timing and reaching the New England coast just and the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea were drenching the area. And even after that has run its course, it seems we’ve hit here at monsoon season?!? As we re-entered the U.S. today, even the border guard laughed at our timing.
  • Cracked windshield: Courtesy of a passing semi as we entered Fundy National Park. Required deductible payment as well as yet-another detour.
  • The icing on the hiccup cake: While detoured for the windshield matter, I opted to get Blubaru her next oil change… I’m efficient that way. Except she carries quite a load as we tool about the country. (As you can see from this month’s header image, she rides unusually low in the rear when we’re fully packed.) The result? New rear ball-joints…

The upside…

I’m not a fan of warranties for smaller items but in the case of my automobiles and electronics, I typically shell out for them. It has paid off tremendously on the trip. They didn’t remove the hassle-factor of course but the savings on the replacement iPhone and Blubaru repair were significant. I will say that the folks of REI, Apple, and Subaru have all been extremely helpful throughout and I would be sorely remiss in not giving them a shout-out for taking the sting out of the unpleasant…

These hiccups have indeed colored this trip quite differently than I would have imagined. The overriding theme seems to be damage control instead of exploration. Admittedly I’m feeling a bit fatigued as I sit here at the Subaru dealer awaiting repairs and facing more tomorrow (the additional repairs to the ball joints forced me to postpone the windshield until morning… resulting in an unexpected hotel stay. Cha-ching!). Hopefully a good night’s sleep will remedy my fatigue though. Thus far I would say it has still been worth it. If much more goes wrong I’m not sure I’ll still feel the same way but let’s just see how it goes shall we?

…And no, I’m not going to add all of this up until I get back because I don’t want to make myself cry in my cornflakes.

And now for your moment of green…

What do you think… if you were in my shoes, would the discovery of this amazing place make it all worthwhile?


  1. Okay, when the border guard laughs at you, then you know its not good.
    fab trip. its neat when a child lights up.

    while my daughter’s current goal is to go to Japan (she is saving like a fiend). Mine is to get a land rover d110 (now that i saw it on OE blog) or a camper and be broke and happy around the US. Okay, well decent money would be nice. 😉

    1. Yeah, that was a reality check. I think he felt a little bad for us. It was a stunning place and well worth the effort to get there though. Fred has his sights set on Japan too. Let me know if you guys get that going on… we could team up! 😀

Comments are closed.