The New Land Rover Defender

The New Land Rover Defender

I had the honour of being involved in the very first drive opportunity globally of the all new iconic Land Rover Defender in the deserts of Southern California.

I was there for a month facilitating the North American dealer training off road drives, a night demo drive event at the North American Dealer Meeting and a consumer ride and drive at the 4xFar Festival – a music and Land Rover festival, hosted by Land Rover North America.

Whistler Olympic Park Welcomes Adventurous Travellers

Whistler Olympic Park Welcomes Adventurous Travellers

by Emanuel Sequeira

WHISTLER, BC – New friends. New memories.

That’s what the BC Overland Rally (BCOR) at Whistler Olympic Park is about to Christopher Walker, Overlanding BC certified off-road training instructor.

“We go because it’s simply a ton of fun, with people who are like-minded wanting to have a good time,” says Walker. “Learn some cool stuff, meet new cool people.”

The third BCOR, part of the international Overland Rally Series, shifts to Whistler after outgrowing Sasquatch Mountain Resort in Agassiz. The first year attracted 550 people, the second year jumped to 850. Ray Hyland, owner and organizer of the BCOR, is hoping to attract up to 1,200 people.

“Whistler is a destination on its own. We’re very excited about not only the infrastructure of the Olympic Park, but also all the exciting things to do around Whistler for people who are interested in outdoor activities,” says Hyland. “It gives people an opportunity to not just come to the show to learn, but to use that as an excuse to have a mini holiday.”

Industry influencer Sunny Eaton (@Vagabroads) says along with off-roading, overlanding is about traveling and seeing the world, camping and living differently. To live that lifestyle, the BCOR will feature several seminars and classes. Among them are working remotely, vehicle recovery (a popular recovery class include winching, understanding straps and shackles, etc.) vehicle trail repair, how to choose a quality repair kit, and others. There is even an optional morning yoga session to start each day right.

“There is so much variety of training, seminars to discussions, to the really cool talks in the evenings,” says Walker. “Sample a little bit of everything. Get around and talk to the awesome vendors promoting the interesting stuff they have.”

There is also the nightly campfire and prizes. Each evening a free raffle gives away a huge selection of fun prizes around the campfire, everything from winches, driving lights, roof-top tents, luggage, camping gear, recovery kits, and lots of other cool stuff. Overlanding is an inclusive community, including singles, couples and families. Eaton and her wife Karin Balsley are some of the best known. Having traveled from the U.S. to Panama and back, Eaton says they like to participate in the talks and the campfire gatherings.

“The BC Overland Rally is really oriented to that community,” says Eaton, a Tennessee lawyer, who is an unofficial ambassador for the Overland community. “These events are about spreading the message of overlanding, connecting with people who have similar interests, and educating people who wouldn’t think about doing something as nuts as what we did.

“When you are traveling on the road long-term like we did, other overlanders are all you have,” she continued. “That’s your lifeline. They become your friends and your family. One of the benefits of events like these is we get to reconnect with those people.”

As the event grows in population, so do vendor numbers – from 45 last year to 77 this year.

Bryon Dorr, contributing editor at GearJunkie.com, says the curated vendors are the backbone of the overland rallies.

“They supply amazing knowledge for the many classes and seminars, they provide quality gear for sale and for the raffles, and above all they provide amazing people that are deeply passionate about the overland community,” wrote Dorr in an email.

Vendors also provide a wide range of products for everyone. As much as they are there to sell products, they have more time to chat about the gear and be involved with the community than other overland events, Dorr says.

Walker’s biggest tip to enjoy the BCOR is walk around the campsite and talk to people about what they see. “It’s a young industry right now. Overlanding is exploding,” says Walker. “Education will grow and grow as the whole recreation aspect gets bigger. Take advantage of that opportunity of next to nothing cost.”

Quality instructors play a big part in the success of the rally, says Hyland. They are highly trained, and certified via Cities and Guilds of the United Kingdom, which is recognized in 180 countries.

Overland Rallies is also striving to change the perception of women not being independent adventure drivers and explorers. Overland Rallies has several female instructors, some of whom are among the best in the industry. Through a partnership with the Rebelle Rally, the largest female-only off-road navigation race in North America, women now teach many of the classes, and lead the trail rides. This is something Eaton loves.

“He really gives women a voice at these events,” says Eaton.

Register

Please click here for registration for the BC Overland Rally in Whistler June 27-30 2019.

For more information:

Contact Ray Hyland, BC Overland Rally organizer at bcoverlandrally@gmail.com

History

Established in 2017, the BC Overland Rally in Whistler is the Canadian stop in the Overland Rallies Series, a popular collection of camping festivals where experienced and novice travellers alike gather in a scenic location for three full days of classes, fun, inspiration, seeing new gear and making friends. The other two events are the Northwest Overland Rally in Leavenworth, Wash. and the Rocky Mountain Overland Rally in Gunnison, Colo. The series was launched in 2010.

Colorado 2018

Colorado 2018

This trip came about for several reasons; as a group of colleagues / friends we wanted to spend some time away from the “desk” and enjoy some off road travel together without having to work, as a gathering of old friends & new friends to celebrate an icon of the industry after his passing and as a way of exploring new places.

It’s an honour to spend time with these folks, they are first and foremost friends, but are advocates, supporters, mentors and colleagues as well.

Tuktoyaktuk 2017, Part 3 of 3

Tuktoyaktuk 2017, Part 3 of 3

Dawson City – Home

Includes: Stewart Cassiar Highway, Haida Gwaii & The Inside Passage.

Our journey continues south as we head back towards our homes. However, we are far from done and have two significant components to our journey to still undertake. We really wanted to try and not re-trace our steps home but to return via a completely different route. Part of what I had dreamt of doing was to take a journey on the true Inside Passage again and to go and spend some time exploring Haida Gwaii. Thankfully my travel companions were agreeing, so that’s what we did.

Meanwhile back on the road there was a small matter of a couple of thousand kilometres to drive to get to Prince Rupert, BC – the most northern port in western Canada. Our journey wound it’s way south towards Carrmacks and onto the beautiful northern town of Whitehorse. We spent a little time shopping in Whitehorse and enjoying some of it’s sights, especially being rich in gold rush history. However time ticks, work schedules loom and much more exploring and travelling to do. We quickly continue south and onto the world famous Stewart Cassiar highway. Originally this was a southern extension of the Alaska Highway and then extended into the Cassiar Mining District. Eventually a road was pushed through to Meziadin Junction and given the designation of Highway 37 BC. It is one of British Columbia’s most spectacular and most remote highways and a true pleasure to travel. Majestic rain forest, towering peaks, great mining history, jade, remote lakes, breathtaking wildlife – a true gem in the British Columbia quiver of world class natural sights!

As we head further south we headed into a region I truly love, the Skeena Valley catchments and it’s surroundings. The drive continues with a night at one of my all time favourite provincial parks – Meziadin Junction. This place is run by friends and is immaculate, welcoming and just stunning being on the shores of Meziadin Lake. A great warm and relaxing evening and on towards the coast through the Nisga Lava Fields, a great hike to Kutzameteen Tidal Race before a night in Prince Rupert prior to our overnight ferry to Haida Gwaii. This region always draws me back, and we have some interesting plans for some trail exploration up here which will bring us back soon.

Haida Gwaii has been a bucket list location for a long long time and finally we made it. Arriving in the early morning mist, coffee with friends overlooking Skidegate Sound before heading north to explore. The list of places to see and things to do in Haida Gwaii is long and we had plans to click off quite a few whilst exploring by 4×4 and off the paved road as much as possible. Our travels took throughout the entire island, seeing classic sights such as some of the beach shipwrecks, amazing rain forest, Haida Heritage sights, long beach and dune drives with wild camps interspersed all over. Some of our highlights were a long hike to the Pesuta shipwreck, the Tow Hill hike and view, Rose Spit, a wild beach camp, Rennel Sound 4×4 exploring & camping and Ḵay Llnagaay Heritage Centre. We will be back to explore more and our next point will be to explore Gwaii Haanas via boat and sea kayak.

The last leg was the true Inside Passage aboard the BC Ferries Northern Expedition. This journey travels south from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and is perhaps the most spectacular way of seeing the most breathtaking part of western Canada via the ocean. Our journey onboard is about 16 hours long and takes in around 400km of steaming. This final leg of our journey allowed us to relax and take in the sights, with no pressure of driving. It was amazing to sit up front in the private lounge watching the scenery pass by, to be able to walk on deck and smell the amazing fresh air, feel the sea breeze and to be able to reflect upon our amazing but long adventure. This journey onboard the Northern Expedition is a must do, not cheap but worth every penny. Booking in advance is a absolute necessity.

Lastly a none eventful and fast cruise down through Vancouver Island, a quick family visit in Nanaimo, one last ferry and we were home.

We are thankful of this amazing opportunity, to each other for the support, kindness and advise we provided within our little circle. Without this support a journey like this would have been much harder. We are also grateful for our prior preparation of our old vehicles, they both performed amazingly. We look forward to our next adventures in 2018, and they look to be pretty awesome. Watch this space..

Fun Facts

We kept a journal each day of our journey and this is what we have for a few fun facts over the duration of the adventure.

Vehicles:

1 x 1996 Land Rover Defender 90 300tdi
1 x 1988 Land Rover Range Rover Classic 3.5 V8

Water Travel:

402km (201km x 2) Prince Rupert to Skidegate
523km Prince Rupert to Port Hardy
61km Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay

Total: 986km

Off highway (dirt):

700km Watson Lake to Carmacks & Hyland River
Dempster Highway 1475km (737.5km x 2)
Mackenzie Valley Highway (new road) 274km (137km x 2)
200km Haida Gwaii, guesstimate (Rose Spit alone was almost 50km round trip)

Total: 2649km

Grand Total Travel:

Total driving 8071km
Off highway 2649km
Water 986km

Overall 9057km

Fuel:

Land Rover Defender 90 – 1051.12 litres of diesel