The Notier Notes
Our Sunday Scoop
This is what we've been waiting all year for... No, actually, we've been waiting two years for it - the Overland Expo.
For Tim and I, the Overland Expo has been our inspiration for traveling by motorcycle since the very beginning. When Tim first attended as an audience member in 2017, he was starry-eyed and bursting with excitement for what our potential future could hold. He met some of the moto-travel greats - Sam Manicom, Lisa and Simon Thomas, Ted Simon, and so many more... And he began to wonder, "What if I could do this too? What if I could also travel the world by motorcycle and one day stand up on a stage to inspire others with my stories?"
Well, I can't even believe I'm able to say this now, but our dreams just came true. And then plus some as well!
You might recall that last week we had a major breakdown while heading out to Colorado. We didn't even make it over the Mississippi River bridge to Iowa before the bike just cut out mid-ride, and wouldn't start again. But after being saved by our dear friend Pete West who drove through the night to pick us up with his truck and trailer, things have been looking up for us. And we're beginning to once again believe that we are the luckiest people on earth.
Now with a functioning motorcycle, we pulled up to the Expo in Loveland, Colorado early with Pete, and set up camp in a grassy corner to prepare what would be our home for the next four days. Since everything at the Expo had to be virtual last year, people have been waiting a long time for its return, and we could feel the excitement in the air as people talked to one another in line while purchasing their tickets. And our jaws dropped as we realized that every single person who had a weekend pass or specialty ticket was given an Overland Journal magazine free with their entry ticket - the very same issue that we had an article featured in!
Once camp was set up, Tim walked around the venue grounds, and was getting stopped by random people who would say, "Hey, you're the guy in the magazine!" What perfect timing for that article to come out, and we couldn't have asked for better promotion!
Thursday was just a day to get things set up and settled in, because Friday was when the real work began. That's because this time we were no longer just audience members who could walk around and mingle, but we were now presenters with a full schedule. Plus, every moment that we weren't presenting, or teaching a class, or being a panel member on a roundtable, was spent selling books at our book booth. And even though it was non-stop, it was incredibly fun meeting new people, sharing stories, and reconnecting with old friends. And... we nearly sold out of books!
Sadly, because many of the British "motorcycle travel greats" could not come this year, we were placed front and center as the only representatives of international motorcycle travel on the ticket. This put the spotlight directly on us in a huge way, and even though we had really big shoes to fill, it was such an honor to be given the chance to do so.
There was another new thing this year since there are normally only two Expos per summer - Overland Expo West in Arizona, and Overland Expo East in Virginia. But this time they've added a third one - Mountain West in Colorado! This was the first one of the season, and everyone was excited for this new location.
The venue was wonderful, the grounds were accommodating, and since every ticket was sold out, the turn-out was fantastic. The event went incredibly well, and we had the time of our lives. Our roundtables were filled with laughter, our presentations flowed flawlessly, and even though I was skeptical at first that anyone would show up for our 2up packing demonstrations, they did! Some people even took notes!
The Overland Expo is not just about motorcycle-related travel, but it includes 4x4 vehicles as well (but not RVs). In fact, the four-wheelers make up the bulk of the Expo, though I do completely believe that motorcycles steal the show. There's just something a bit more rugged and crazy and "putting yourself out there" about motorcycle travel that people seem to respect and be drawn to. They may not want to do it themselves, because they understand that it's a risk, and a challenge, and there's nothing easy about it. But at the same time, people realize that it's all those challenges that make the experience worth it.
Over the course of the weekend, we got to meet lots of people who were interested in our journeys, but we also got to inspire a few who had never heard of us, or had never had any interest in motorcycle travel before. And for Tim and I, that's our favorite part - inspiring others, and I'm not talking about getting people to follow us or be interested in us... it's all about inspiring others to find whatever it is that brings them joy in life, and to motivate them to go out there and do it.
The entire Expo was unbelievable, but something particularly special happened on Saturday night at the Moto Party. This is an event for motorcyclists that includes a dinner and raffle, but before the raffle got started, our friend Azure, the Overland Expo Events Coordinator, got up at the front with the microphone and asked, "How many of you here experienced a motorcycle break down?" At this moment, Tim got out the GoPro camera, and my heart began to pound, because I knew what was about to happen.
Azure went on to talk about the break down that Tim and I had over the Mississippi River, and she told the audience about how she received a call from Tim saying that there was a good chance we wouldn't be able to make it out to Colorado. And therefore we wouldn't be in attendance at the Expo.
But then she told the story of how Pete West saved the day, and Pete, who was sitting right beside me, started getting all teary-eyed. As she called him up to the front to receive his Spirit of Overlanding Award (along with some comp tickets to next year's event and a bunch of great prizes), the crowd hollered "You're a super hero!" Pete got up there and made a lovely speech about how any one of us would've done the same. And although I'm not so sure how true that is, I do believe that there is something special about the overlanding community. Tim and I discover time and time again that when things go wrong, there's always someone out there with a friendly smile and a helping hand.
Speaking of miracle workers giving us a helping hand, we cannot thank everyone enough for all the gallons of gas we have received. So thank you to Karen Hochman, Don A. Riedel, Duane Northrop, William Peterson, Robyn, Travis and Chantil (who are undertaking their own incredible travels, find them at viajarmoto), and as if they weren't already on our list of guardian angels, Pete and Lisa West. Also, we send out a huge thank you to everyone else who has supported us anonymously, and who has purchased our books... we couldn't be doing what we love to do without you all!
And those gallons of gas have been put to good use so far - because directly after the Expo we headed off with a film crew from LA to do a short docu shoot on us, part of the series Why We Roam. Plus, we'll be heading out to Idaho in the next week... but more on all that in the next blog post.
Until then, stay safe, and thank you everyone!
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