Adventure is usually defined as an exciting or extraordinary series of events involving uncertainty and a degree of risk. Of course, that could mean walking around dark allies at 2 in the morning, but for our sport it means more of getting off the beaten track and finding our way ourselves rather than sticking to the humdrum schedule of normal lives.
Maybe that’s why people say I’m not normal, but I take that as a compliment. My sense of adventure is high, and I’m willing to push the envelope to see what can be done as far as technology and travel go. Driving over an unknown mountain range on dirt with only the sun and the moon to guide me, while wrangling a freshly bought beater rig that may break down, only serves to heighten my sense of adventure. Yes, the DED (Dirt Every Day) Tours are awesome, but sometimes I just have to break out of that mold and stick to other people’s schedules, which is also an adventure.
To wit: If you read the June ’11 4xForward you will remember me spouting off about how technology is neither good nor bad but what you make of it. I also mentioned I was traveling to Egypt to take part in a trip reliving the Long Range Desert Group, which fought the Axis powers in WWII. This group scouted around in jeeps modified for the desert and dunes, gathering intelligence and attacking Nazi troops and outposts. Rigged with Browning .50-caliber machine guns and twin Vickers, these troops of the elite unit also helped turn the tide of the war by denying fuel to the enemy that needed it dearly. So what happened to that trip? Simply said, once the modern-day Egyptians and Libyans started shooting at their governments with their own .50-cals, our group as a whole decided that maybe we would wait a year. The LRDG fought for three years, so we could still honor the 70th anniversary next year. Of course, our two restored and modified jeeps we will be using won’t be sporting weapons, as the locals look dimly upon that. However, it’s in the works; sometimes a true adventure needs to be revisited.
The point of all this background is simple. Technology is great until it gets in the way of reality, or vice versa. In less than a week the government of Egypt fell, due in large part to cell phones and social media. It’s as simple as that. The whole country changed because of this technology. My thought was to continue with this dramatic change because that, too, is adventure, putting new technology to work while still paying homage to the old. For this trip I will of course carry pen and paper as backup, and maybe a sketch pad or two. But a fully functional iPad with video uploadable modem segwaetors and a fancy-ass solar recharging station is a must. And of course I’ll have my digital camera, but most importantly I will carry a SPOT Connect. This snazzy unit syncs my smart phone to its global communication satellite from our remote region of the Sand Sea. This allows you, dear reader, to find out where and how our group is going while we are thrashing 70-year-old jeeps across the dunes of North Africa. In WWII a sun compass was the only way to navigate, and radio transceivers were hopelessly inefficient. With our new technology, the adventure is even more of an adventure, as it can be shared on 4wheeloffroad.com. Log in now and see where the SPOT is taking us. I’ll post what I hope will be the first of many updates before I leave at the beginning of April.