NW Overland Rally: Wherever I May Roam…

NW Overland Rally: Wherever I May Roam…

Story and photos by Jason R. Sakurai

A phenomenon to many Americans is a Canadian right of passage called overlanding, and it’s becoming big business in the States. Adventure travel specialists, once previously more generic 4WD shops, can now be found throughout the Pacific Northwest, California, the Rockies, and along the east coast from Maine all the way down to the Carolinas. Fueled by the growth in outdoor recreation and camping, adventure travel is seen as an evolution of both activities, where the emphasis is on preparedness and extended stays in the wild.

Although there are a pair of Overland Expo events that are massive de facto vendor shows with an impressive number of vehicles in the surrounding areas, we ventured to the North West Overland Rally (NWOR), held June 28 – July 1, 2018, in the beautiful Cascades, two hours east of Seattle. A much more family-friendly event, the NWOR is not surprisingly organized by Ray Hyland, an affable Canadian who has achieved a unique balance between the commercial aspects of such a gathering, and the camaraderie of an oversized overland expedition.

A great example of bringing this community together are the Friday and Saturday night campfires, a kumbaya moment when participants gather for the opportunity to win valuable prizes from all the vendors at the event.

As great as it is to be a winner, the entire group is happy for those fortunate to have their numbers selected, and it only adds to the widespread feeling of sharing.

Diversity in the makes and models of vehicles used in adventure travel are as varied as the owners themselves. In general, the overland group is better educated and more affluent than the norm, but they range in age from seasoned veteran overlanders in their 60s, to Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and even Gen Zers in their early 20s. While ubiquitous Jeep Wranglers are preferred, so are Toyota and Lexus vehicles good platforms on which to build. Take a look at the cross-section of rigs we saw at the NWOR, and see if you don’t agree that overlanding is as much about imagination and vision as it is where you expect your vehicle to take you.

Categories: Features, Off-Road Plus