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Packing up for Big Sky Overland Rally (Part one of ???)

Posted by James Viars on

Go West! And I am; next week.

Of all the countries I have lived in or visited, and the states that I have traveled and called home, The West has eluded me. The Continental US has four time zones. I am familiar with three of the four. Eastern is home. Central is less than an hours drive. Pacific has afforded me job opportunities and vacation. But Mountain Time Zone, even the name conjurers a vastness that is difficult to imagine, has only seen my passing via airplane.

Next week however, this will change. I will be able to finally mark on my maps the experience. Since May, I have been planning this adventure to Livingston, Montana in order to attend the Big Sky Overland Rally. The what? In a nut shell, it's a get together of outdoors minded folks whose preferred method of travel is typically done with four-wheel drive vehicles and referred to as “overlanding.” Think of car camping, hiking, and off-roading all mixed into one experience. This is what I will be doing.

So yes, next week I shall fill up my Wrangler, pack the rear full of gear, and begin a 10 day drive that will log at least 5000 miles on my odometer. As many who do this sort of thing know, the Jeep will become my full-time dwelling. Sleeping, eating, travel—all done within the confines of this vehicle.

As the day quickly approaches for me to leave Powell, I do have a range of thoughts. Aside from traveling away from my responsibilities, I am concerned that:

  • I have packed too much
  • Don't have all that I need
  • Will be uncomfortable
  • Jeep problems
  • Not make good time on the road
  • Not see all that I want
  • And worst of all, be disappointed


And on and on and on.... It's an odd thing to be doing something that a lifetime of waiting has occurred only to see it near and be nervous. To stave this off, I only need to remind myself that in the not too distant past, our American Pioneers made these types of trips not for luxury or adventure, but for existence.

Stepping off into the great vastness between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, their covered wagons were so uncomfortable that many would choose to walk. Months of food was stored for the journey. Many had family and friends perish along the way.

And then I remind myself...Hey, I'm only going to be gone for less than two weeks and never be more than a few hours drive from a paved road. So I have put those concerns aside (but do make sure that they are not ignored), and rabidly look ahead to my great adventure!

Mountain Time Zone, here I come!