Howdy Offroad Passport!
My name's Matt, and I'm from Phoenix. I've lived in the valley for most of my 27 years, and have been exploring the state more and more over the last few years. I've owned a ton of vehicles, but have done most of my overlanding on various choppers. My girlfriend has been uninterested in going more than a dozen or so miles on the bikes because the lack of comfort outweighs the fun of the trip for her so I decided to start saving my coin for a van. The more I thought about it, the more I realized a 4x4 with a sleeping platform and camp stove would be better for us. I recently had a pedestrian walk out in front of me while he was high as a kite, resulting in a totaled Harley and an insurance check. After scouring craigslist and being let down by the flaky sellers and misleading ads I stumbled across a Land Rover Discovery II that took me back to my childhood, passing the Land Rover dealer near my house and dreaming of owning a Discovery some day. Fast forward a few days, and I was heading home in a very well cared for Discovery.
Alright, enough words. Here's a few shots of my overlanding rigs
Jeep XJ - No multi-day travels, but spent lots of Saturdays doing trails around Table Mesa area
My 1st chopper - Started as a 70s Yamaha XS650. Cut the rear half of the frame off and added a pre-made rigid frame. Rebuilt/replaced everything aside from the engine. This photo was near Gooseberry Springs.
After riding so many miles on vintage motorcycles, a modern Rover should be a cake walk for me... Here I am diagnosing a no-start, after a gas stop. Turned out to be a short.
The XS650 eventually blew up and my mom was about to upgrade to a new car so she gave me a smoking deal on her lightly used Hyundai Tucson which my girlfriend and I actually did a fair amount of exploration in. More than one person said "Wow, how'd you get that thing back here?" after arriving at our camp sites.
The Tucson eventually got sold because it just wasn't very fun to drive and didn't quite suite our needs. A few months later I decided I needed a another motorcycle and picked up an '09 Harley Sportster. After 3 years of minimal progress on my 3 projects, I couldn't resist the itch to ride any longer. The day I bought it, I loaded up my 35L backpack and rode to Los Angeles by way of San Diego. This shot was in Gila Bend, about 5 hours after leaving the dealership.
I spent the last couple of years putting as many miles on the Sporty as I could, while slowly working on my project bikes and lusting after 4x4 vans.
On the Mogollon Rim:
Stopping for a break on the Apache Trail:
On my way to the top of Aztec Peak:
Stray Horse Campground, along Highway 666.
I borrowed my dads '66 Chevy with period-correct camper for a trip to Bisbee for a chopper show my buddy organizes since my girlfriend wanted to go and the bike wasn't big enough to haul both of us and our camping gear. The bike came down on a trailer. While heading to Bisbee we heard about a campout that a friend of a friend was hosting on his property, which butts up agains the border fence. Just above the left side of my handlebars you can see the fence in the background. One of our friends even had someone with an accent ask him to "give me a hand with this" while he was using the "facilities" real early in the morning! He quietly zipped his pants and got back in his tent.
And the last big trip I did on the Sportster before it was totaled was all the way up to Couer d'Alene, Idaho. This picture actually means quite a bit to me. I snapped this from the porch of my grandfathers home and it's the culmination of years of hard work. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to ride a chopper from Arizona to visit my family in Idaho. This pic is in Boise, but I made it all the way to Couer d'Alene a couple days later.
So now that the past is out of the way... Here's the future! My champagne 2001 Discovery II. I've got the stock wheels as well, which will be going back on next week after I get my 265/75s mounted this weekend. The future-missus and I went up to Prescott this weekend and came home via the White Spars. This shot was taken along the dry Hasayampa, near Wilhoit.
I live in downtown Phoenix, and plan on spending as much time as possible out on the desert over the winter. May as well take advantage of the great weather while it lasts, and save the cooler parts of the state for later. Anyone doing easy to moderate trails, count me in!