Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Heading South

DAY 17 Adam's Xtreme Off Road Adventure

It was pretty much at the halfway point of our adventure when it was time to leave Colorado. Sadly Maggie May was left sitting in the garage in Del Norte. Still perplexed why she stopped running. 

We spent four days in Del Norte, working on Maggie May. Okay, so we did some wheeling too.

The next stop was the Grand Canyon, but before we hit the National Park we had to cross Wolf Creek Pass, a high mountain pass on the Continental Divide in Colorado. 

This was around the time of the Arctic Blast that blew thru the United States so the peak was close to a white out. 

I was excited to finally be heading to the warmer Southwest. It also meant for some awesome wheeling ahead. Along the route to Arizona was Mesa Verde National Park, the first stop on the second part of our adventure.

When we reached our destination in the park we decided it was too cold and too late to be setting up our tent. We unloaded a few things in the Jeep to make more room. We  spent the night on the Mattress Firm mattress in the back of the Rubicon. I would give the mattress five stars for comfort for sure. It also really helped to have our own personal heater with Jersey. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Gateway to the West

DAY 12 Adam's Xtreme Off Road Adventure

I woke up to the sounds of the Tennessee River. It was so refreshing to be able to breath in all the peace and serenity in the mornings. It was so good for my soul.

I met up that morning with Sam at the Outpost for a good ole' home cooked breakfast. Then sat down to talk with Sam about the Trans America Trail. 

As I were getting ready to head back on the TAT. Sam offered
to take the lead on the Mississippi part of the trail. He shared some tips about the maps before we headed out. 

I was able to ride shotgun with Sam as we wheeled the dirt roads of Mississippi. The terrain was not what I expected. I was looking to be driving through swampland. The Northern part of the state is mostly pine tree forests.  

Later that afternoon we were able to meet up with another one of our YouTube Fans, Trish. She had been following me on YouTube for quite awhile and was thrilled to meet me. It's always surreal when people are excited to meet me.

I was her inspiration to work on her Jeep and do her own mods. When I hear that I inspire others it motivates me to keep pushing forward. There have been times during my whole Jeep adventure I feel like giving it all up. It's been hard not to have someone to share it with. But those times when my fans reach out to me it gives me the courage to push through.   

After sharing Jeep stories it was time to get back on the road to get back up to St. Louis to pick up the Land Rover left earlier that week. Then it was on to Colorado. I was so excited to finally make it West. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Meeting the Founder of the TAT

DAY 11 Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure

Meeting Sam Corerro the founder of the Trans America Trail was on the to do list.  The first half of the adventure was on the East Coast part of the TAT. I drove old forest roads and through national parks. It was so peaceful to be the only ones on the road.

Back in the 80's Sam was looking for a route which avoided lots of traffic and was scenic. The trails started with 100 miles in Mississippi and has grown to thousands of miles across the United States. The trial continues to grow as Sam is mapping new routes.  I arrived at Sam's house around dinner time, but first a pit stop at an interesting little stop called The Outpost. There were little shops and a great spot to eat. 

I made a big discovery too! I spotted bigfoot. I am pretty sure he was following me.   

After dinner it was time to spend a couple of hours chatting with Sam then made plans for breakfast in the morning. I headed to Pickwick State Park that evening to camp along the Tennessee River. 

I also discovered I didn't need the noise of a fan to fall asleep at night. It was so calming to listen to the sound of mother nature each night as I fell asleep.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Weird Noise in the Woods

Day 9 Adam's Xtreme Off Road Adventure

Heading out from Henry and Lisa's that morning to hit the the Trans America Trail I was filled with excitement. 

The Trans America Trail was created by Sam Correro back in the early 80's. He spent years mapping out public back roads and forest roads. Back then all the roads were gravel. Since some have become paved roads.

The TAT portion of the adventure had begun. I had the paper maps as well as the roll charts. The TAT was originally for off road motorcycle enthusiasts, but had since added other vehicles. 

The estimated time to run the whole TAT was about three weeks, however as I started on the trail we realized it could take way more than three weeks. I decided to do small parts of the trail in each state as I was eager to get west of the Mississippi.

There were some beautiful sights along the way in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. I took many stops just to take it all in.

It was time to air down our Nexen Tires and were able to leave them at that same PSI even while on the paved roads. Those tires are amazing. Nexen tire review coming soon.

The first night we camped in the Cherokee National Forest. By the time we reached our location it was dark so I set up the in a pull off just off the road. Once all tucked in for the night and I began to doze off, when I heard loud screeching noise. It scared the heck out of me as I didn't recognize the noise. 

It could of been an owl, but  as I thought to myself about the sound I knew it wasn't an owl. Then there was a light shining on the tent. It could of been a car but I didn't hear a car. I spent the next hour or so just quietly listening before I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I figured the sound must have been big foot with a flashlight. There seem to be no other solution. So it was back again on the Trans America Trail.

Monday, December 2, 2019

To the TAT

DAY 8 Adam's Xtreme Off Road Adventure

Setting up and tearing down camp had been become second nature. It had only been a week, but a system was set like a well oiled machine. 

It was time to head to the  starting point on the Trans America Trail. Henry & Lisa's home in Virginia. Their home-away-from-home was just off the Trans America Trail. 

Henry is a YouTube Fan of mine. A super supportive fan for years. He invited me to kick off the trip at his home. I was excited to meet him as we had been online friends for a while.

Henry's hunting lodge is in the mountains of Virginia and has a lot of logging roads on his land. I plan on getting back up there to wheel with him this spring.

He and his wife Lisa gave us a walking tour of their property which was nice because I needed some exercise after being cooped up in the Jeep driving for the past week.

After the walk through their property and the story of the Big Foot spotting on their land, we sat down to a good old BBQ of hamburgers and hot dogs. 

That evening was so cool to just sit and chat like in the good old days sharing Jeep stories and getting to know each other. By the end of the night it felt like we were hanging out with long time friends. 


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Roof Top Tent Rally

DAY 7 Adam's Xtreme Off Road Adventure

I woke up this morning excited for a day of relaxing at the campsite and hanging out at the Roof Top Tent Rally. Even though I picked a campsite way off in the back corner it filled up quickly. 

There were lots of other dogs arriving and it was a chore to keep Jersey calm. She is a rescue dog, freed her from the shelter and her four foot by four foot home of two years. And her life before that was abusive. She has a lot of issues around other animals, a defensive instinct for her. Eventually, as the day grew on she got better with the other animals around.

Later that afternoon, I snuck off to go visit my inspiration Dan Grec, The Road Chose Me. WOW! Seeing his Wrangler close up was the coolest thing ever. This is the Jeep he lived in for three years overlanding around the continent of Africa. 

Again  I was able to pick his brain for all the great overlanding tips he learned while in Africa. You could spend a whole week talking with Dan and continually learn new things. He has so much knowledge about overlanding and what works and what doesn't. He also has such a positive outlook about it all it inspires me to do more!   

I was even able to hang out inside his Jeep to get an up close and personal look at where he lived for three years. It was surreal to be actually sitting in his Jeep. He is the expert on living simply which is a goal of mine. 

Living simple has been a goal of mine for around five years now. Seeing and hearing how Dan did it inspired me to simplify even more. I am realizing life is about the experiences and not the stuff.  

His book The Road Chose Me is on Amazon. He should be coming out with his book about Africa soon. I spent the rest of the day walking around meeting other overlanders. Then in the evening we warmed up by a huge bonfire and listened to Dan tell the crowd stories about Africa. It was an amazing day and tomorrow it was back on the road to the Trans American Trail. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Another Vendor Tour

If you look closely you can see the cows
DAY 6 Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure

I woke up to the sounds of mooing this morning. It was sure better than the sounds of bears. We had spent the night in a cow pasture. And it was also in the path of a local bear.

I packed up camp and headed into town to Blue Ridge Overland Gear. 

The shop is located in Bedford a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. They provide several jobs in this community to help support small town USA. 

I found this company years ago and have been using their products in my Jeep. I have several molle bags as well as their seat back panel. Check it out here in this blog post.   

Blue Ridge Overland Gear specializes in Molle and canvas bags which are all hand sewn right in the shop by local townsfolk. 

I got a tour of the small town "factory"  Blue Ridge Overland Gear Tour  After the tour and great conversation with Matt, the owner of the company, we headed to James River Park for the Roof Top Tent Rally.

I found a spot way off in the corner and began setting up our campsite. 
Then got to work on dinner. 

Using the fork to flip the chicken just wasn't working so we started using our new L.T. Wright Knife. During my adventure I learning a knife can have so many uses while you are overlanding. 

As the chicken was getting juicy on the grill, I made quick work of the peppers and onions with our new camp kitchen knifes from L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives. Then started frying them up. 
It was nice to have the time to spend making a yummy dinner. 

I made Chicken Quesadilla's for dinner that night. I used the left over chicken to have chicken salad sandwiches the next day for lunch. I was looking forward to a relaxing night by the campfire. Then checking out the Roof Top Tent Rally the next morning.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Meeting My Inspiration

Day 5 Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure

This was the day I finally understood the meaning of let the adventure lead you, and it sure doesn't lead you wrong...when you let go. I woke up and gave the guys at Blue Ridge Overland Gear a call. They are located in Bedford, Virginia a few hours from my home in Maryland, so I made a full circle.

During our tour of the knife shop, L.T. Wright put us in touch with the guys from Blue Ridge. They were practically down the street, and on our path to the Trans America Trail. 

We set up a tour of their small town shop for the next day. The best part was yet to come. Matt ,the owner of the company, invited us to a dinner with some overlanders that evening. To my surprise Dan Grec, The Road Chose Me, was attending. I was thrilled to finally meet Dan. 

The dinner was amazing, I'm afraid I hogged all the time with Dan. I had interviewed him while I was a host on the Jeep Talk Show and followed his journey across Africa. He inspired me to do my own adventure and to be able to hear about his adventure first hand was amazing.
His stories are inspiring. You can catch his first adventure in North America in his book The Road Chose Me.  

During dinner that night, we were invited to attend the Roof Top Tent Rally happening at St. James State Park in Virginia that weekend. Another great surprise! 

With winds howling and temperatures dropping Matt with Blue Ridge Overland found us a really awesome campsite in the Blue Ridge Mountains away from civilization. The only thing we needed to worry about was the local bear and several cows. 

I quickly set up camp in the whistling wind and went to sleep with smiles on our faces. Not only did we have a one on one conversation with Dan, he was going to be at the Roof Top Tent Rally as well! 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Let the Adventure Lead You

Day 4 Adams Xtreme Off Road Adventure

Once again we woke up in chilly temperatures, but were able to lounge for a bit since it wasn't a rush day. We decided we wanted to tour Salt Fork State Park since we were there. They had some interesting points of interest we wanted to see. 

The first stop was the Kennedy Stone House which was built in the 1800's by Benjamin Kennedy. What a perfect location for a home!   

Then it was off too Hosack's Cave Falls a 60 foot high sandstone cliff with a rocky overhang and a roomy rock shelter. I wasn't too impressed as the whole park reminded me of state parks in Maryland. 

I was very eager and impatient to get out west! I wanted to see the red rocks, cactus, mountains and all those cool scenes I hadn't seen for 35 years. 

We reached L.T. Wright Knives just before lunch. I was very surprised at how big the knife shop was. I was honestly expecting a small shed in the back of someone's house. 

However, this shop was way more than I ever imagined. L.T. Wright also had several craftsmen working for him. Take a peak at our live interview with L.T. Wright and the tour video of the knife shop. They make excellent handcrafted state of the art knives. 

While on the tour L.T. share with us about the company who designed the bag for the camp knives and hooked us up for a tour of their facility in Virginia the next day. 

This is were I really began to understand what it means to let the adventure lead you. Not only were we getting the opportunity to tour Blue Ridge Overland Gear (video coming soon), we were going to have dinner with my overland inspiration Dan Grec. 

[Jeep Tips] Updated - Top 5 Recovery Gear

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