Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. It seems like just yesterday that we laid out our plans for 2015, and here we are a year later about to do it all over again. The past twelve months have certainly been some of our favorites, with countless new memories, exciting adventures, and best of all new friends from all over the world. As we prepare to head into 2016, we find ourselves looking back at the accomplishments and experiences of the last year. We hope that these trips have inspired you to have your own adventures, and we look forward to even more journeys with you in the future. From our family to yours, we hope you have a joyous holiday season and a happy new year.
As one of a handful of journalists selected to visit Nepal to report on the country’s state of affairs after the tragic earthquake in April, I discovered a destination very much ready for tourists. After a week long walk into the Khumbu Valley beneath the shadow of Mount Everest, I came home forever changed by my experience. Nepal is a land of unimaginable beauty. I will return. – Christophe Noel Read the story here: Destination Nepal
Wild West in a Sprinter Mojave
After his tour of Sportsmobile West’s facility, Chris Collard and his wife Suzanne headed for Wyoming in a new Sprinter Mojave to explore Teton-Bridger and Yosemite National Parks and the Wild West town of Cody. Look for an article on this adventure in the Spring Issue of Overland Journal.
Itchy feet found Chris Collard in Cambodia with long-time Overland Journal contributor Sam Watson for two weeks of trekking through backcountry rice paddies, fishing villages, and Angkor Wat in a Land Rover Defender.
Scott Brady was up to his usual travel shenanigans this year, and packed in some really incredible trips. This beautiful shot is from his circumnavigation of Iceland.
Alpine Loop, Colorado
Many of you may not know this, but Expedition Portal is on the leading edge of the bicycle industry. Over the last two years, we have had the rare opportunity to test revolutionary mountain bikes months before the buying public, or even the core bicycle media. This summer I took Salsa Cycles’ latest adventure bicycle, the Deadwood, on a three day ride around the famous Alpine Loop in Colorado. It was one of the most scenic escapes of the year. – Christophe Noel Find the story here: Three Days of Deadwood
Chris Collard’s next adventure was in Kenya, where he and Sam Watson visited Tsavo National Park before heading north to Meru to work with Born Free Foundation on a new lion survey and with the Kenya Wildlife Service on anti-poaching patrols.
Hema Map Patrol and completion of the Land Cruisers Direct BJ74
Overland International had the great privilege of partnering with Hema Maps this year to bring new GPX tracks to the Hema Explorer App, and new four-wheel drive stories to our readers. The project not only took us back to trails which hold a special place in our hearts, but gave us the chance to explore areas in which we had never been. This year’s North American push saw deep snow in the San Juan mountains, scorching heat on El Camino Del Diablo, misty forests of the Great Smoky Mountains, towering peaks of the Alpine Loop, stunning vistas of the White Rim trail and the Grand Canyon, the wide open skies of Big Bend, the completion of the Arizona Traverse, and so much more. It was truly an unforgettable twelve months. – Chris Cordes
Lost in an Earthroamer
There is no better way to spend a week than in an Earthroamer while traversing the high backroads of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. In June of this year, as the last of the spring snows receded from the highest routes, we drove the company’s flagship demo truck in a serpentine route around the state crossing the Continental Divide four times in the process. It was an experience for superlatives and set a new benchmark for luxury overlanding. – Christophe Noel
The American Expedition Vehicles Brute Double Cab
Our time with the Brute sadly ended, one of the team’s favorite North American overland vehicles. This shot was taken in northern Arizona
Mostly Dirt Every Day
September found Chris Collard in with the “Mostly Dirt Every Day” crew for a 9-day vintage rig traverse of Idaho and Montana. Don’t miss this awesome North American trek in the Fall Issue of Overland Journal.
White Rim Trail
Utah’s White Rim Trail is not a difficult route, but it can be if you do it in a day––on a bicycle. Although it is only 100 miles in length, I chose to use the White Rim to test Rocky Mountain’s adventure-born bicycle, the Sherpa. Knocking out the first 85 miles in one day may have been ill-advised, but the Sherpa tackled the terrain with aplomb, fairing better than its rider at times. A test of metal and man, it was one of the more arduous outings of 2015. – Christophe Noel
Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari
Chris Collard has been attending the Red Rock 4Wheelers’ Easter Jeep Safari since 1995. For the past decade he spends a few of those days filling commercial photography needs for Jeep and Mopar. Here a just a few of his great shots from this years event.
Toyota Ever Better Expedition
Scott Brady had the rare opportunity to work with the Japanese branch of Toyota and travel the trails of Moab with the Ever Better Expedition.
NORRA Mexican 1000
In May Chris Collard was the team manager and navigator for legendary desert racer Rod Hall. After a full restoration of the Ford Bronco in which Hall won the 1969 NORRA Mexican 1000, they took it back to Baja and landed a second-in-class trophy. Check out the awesome SCORE International video on their race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqqnXTqrT7U
In the days before Overland Expo West, Chris joined Ram Truck for the launch of the 2015 Ram Rebel.
Completion of the long term G-Wagen
The long-term G-Wagen project was finally completed this year and taken on an epic trip with the Adventure Driven crew to the Grand Canyon. It serves as Scott Brady’s daily driver and North American travel vehicle.
It seems that our team can always find an excuse to visit Baja, and 2015 was no exception. Chris Collard spent his fair share of time in the beautiful region, Scott Brady wandered down on the Yamaha Super Tenere, and Christian Pelletier even took his “budget overlander” for some well deserved relaxation.
Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame
Three years ago Chris Collard was nominated by Jeep legend Mark A. Smith to be inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in the Pioneering Journalism category. This year Chris was selected by the review committee to be one of five inductees for 2015. Check out these two awesome videos on his induction.
Chris’ tribute to Mark Smith:
The Utah Traverse
One of my favorite adventures of the year, the Utah Traverse, a long-time project for Sinuhe Xavier. We rode across the state, including Canyonlands and Elephant Hill. – Scott Brady
TRD Pro Arctic Circle
Our creative director, Sinuhe Xavier, put together an expedition to the Arctic for a Toyota short film and the launch of the new TRD Pro. Scott Brady was brought in as an expedition consultant because of his extensive experience in cold weather travel to support the main drivers Andy Bell and Ryan Millen.
Image by: Sinuhe Xavier
And so much more!
We can’t possibly cover all the amazing weekend trips from this past year, as we’re sure this photo-stuffed article is already trying to break your bandwidth. Don’t worry though, you can catch many of them on Expedition Portal’s adventure section.