One of my favorite things about overlanding is exploring the incredible and varied landscapes of the American West. I love the moment we turn off the pavement onto a dirt road. We roll down the windows, feel the air, small the scents, and wonder what we'll discover ahead. Sometimes driving on a dirt road is smooth and easy driving, but often dirt roads are slow going. Sometimes it's 10-15mph. Sometimes it's 5mph. Sometimes it's crawling rock over rock over rock. It can be slow going. I've spent entire days driving just a few miles over rough terrain. And when the terrain is slow, it's important to pay attention and make intentional decisions. Ease into that ditch, put a wheel on that rock, and avoid the 100-foot drop-off.
Over the years, Val and I have developed a shorthand method of communicating these obstacles which has become a familiar language scattered among our other conversations. "Bump". "Dip". "Rock passenger". "Going up on my front. Going down. Clear." It's very helpful. Two sets of eyes are better than one. While whomever is driving attempts to be vigilant, it's easy to miss a bump or a dip scattered among a section with dozens of obstacles at any moment. Its easy to be lulled into a lazy sense of safety, driving an easy stretch of road only to be surprised by a large rock or a deep rut that suddenly appears out of nowhere. And when I'm driving, it's often worse because I'm often impatient, trying to drive too quickly and rushing along.
While our truck and suspension are designed to handle this type of terrain, driving into a deep dip at 25 mph is still going to have an impact on a rig that weighs a few tons. And on a section of road with many of these obstacles, it can start to get pretty crazy inside our truck - bumping and swaying and moving all over the place. And that's when I say my mantra "slowing it down. slowing. it. down." as I slow down the truck and slow down myself. After all, there's normally no rush to get further down the road. We'll get there when we get there. It's just that I'm excited to get there. I'm rushing myself.
This doesn't only happen to me while driving. How often have I been sitting at camp while planning the next trip in my head? Or hiking down a trail, trying to get to the end faster while rushing past the scenery? But what's the rush? I'm rushing myself. But I don't need to. The joy of overlanding and adventure travel is found in the moments along the way. And so this month's Storied Sticker is "slowing it down", a reminder to be present with and enjoy the moments along the way.
See you out there,