Overlanding in a Passenger Vehicle

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danl

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271
San Diego, CA, USA
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Dan
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Little
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Has anyone purposefully (and maybe admittedly stupidly) overlanded to places they shouldn't in a passenger vehicle with street tires and no mods? Two decades plus ago I made it a habit, but only because I had nothing else but a 98 Ford Taurus, a handheld CB radio, and an overwhelming need to get out of town. It was amazing where that would take me, and even more amazing that I managed to get out unscathed, although there were some close calls. Disclaimer: Don't try this at home. It ain't smart. I'm older now and know better. Anyway, who's done it?

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Specter

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Literally all over the world. I travel extensively for work, and have done so for the last two decades. If I have time in the location I’m working in, I try to find a modified vehicle with which to explore. If I can’t, I get a ‘normal’ rental and push it to its limits. I’ve left tracks from the sands of Jordan to the jungles of Brazil. I’ve done it both purposely and stupidly. Over the last two decades I’ve gotten several life-threatening infectious diseases being in places unprepared (malaria, cryptosporidium, campo bacterium and MRSA to name a few), multiple injuries and in more than a few extremely uncomfortable situations with the locals. With all that said, I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’ve been able to build a great career out of those experiences. My advice to anyone who is considering ‘exploring’ overseas is 1) know the environment and local intel, and 2) always identify and have a local contact to call prior to going in to the field.
 
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Road

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When I was a kid in Europe, as a family we did it all the time, crossing borders with a big-assed canvas tent on the roof of a Chevy station wagon with wood-grained sides, camping all over the place in remote forests, stream-side gravel sites, farmer's fields, the banks of the Seine, etc. It's a large part of why I do what I do now, on the road wandering for 80-90% of the year. The more remote, the better.

I've traveled and camped all over North America without family ever since I was old enough to drive (fifty years now), in a VW bug (dirt logging roads way up into Siskiyou with logging trucks lumbering down the other way forcing us into ditches), a volkswagen van, foreign and domestic station wagons, '69 Chevy Carryall, '67 Chevy pickup, a 2 door Mercedes for years (studded snow tires all the way around and would go anywhere in winter - I was often ahead of the plow trucks on back roads and highways in Maine), a Toyota Corolla winter-beater, several rwd vans, and lord knows what else.

All of my vehicles have had street tires and none were ever modified for 'off-road,' including the van I drive now, though nowadays I tow a trailer and canoe:

vtjungle_8976-800.jpg
 

CSG

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Pretty much all my adventuring in the old days (60's and 70's) was in whatever car I owned at the moment. I had a '63 VW, a '66 MG, a '67 Cougar, and a '73 Mazda before I finally got a small pick-up. I just tried to be smart and drive within the vehicle's limits.
 

danl

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA, USA
First Name
Dan
Last Name
Little
Member #

19761

Ham Callsign
K2UDL
Literally all over the world. I travel extensively for work, and have done so for the last two decades. If I have time in the location I’m working in, I try to find a modified vehicle with which to explore. If I can’t, I get a ‘normal’ rental and push it to its limits. I’ve left tracks from the sands of Jordan to the jungles of Brazil. I’ve done it both purposely and stupidly. Over the last two decades I’ve gotten several life-threatening infectious diseases being in places unprepared (malaria, cryptosporidium, campo bacterium and MRSA to name a few), multiple injuries and in more than a few extremely uncomfortable situations with the locals. With all that said, I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’ve been able to build a great career out of those experiences. My advice to anyone who is considering ‘exploring’ overseas is 1) know the environment and local intel, and 2) always identify and have a local contact to call prior to going in to the field.
Awesome. Except the injuries and diseases.
 

Specter

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All part of the experience. Although my wife is definitely tired of getting those type of calls from me. Lol.
 
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oldmopars

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I spent 14 years in the Air Force, we had a saying: What is the difference between a 4x4 and a rental car?-- There are some places you just can't take a 4x4. :laughing:

I used to take my rental cars off road all the time. There was an area near Charleston AFB that guys took their 4x4 trucks. I took my rental Ford car back in there quite a bit to explore. I have done a lot of off road miles in rental cars. I've damaged a few also, but had fun.
Now, would I take MY car out there, NO WAY, that would ruin it.
Oh, don't buy rental cars :tonguewink:
 

danl

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271
San Diego, CA, USA
First Name
Dan
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Little
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19761

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K2UDL
Pretty much all my adventuring in the old days (60's and 70's) was in whatever car I owned at the moment. I had a '63 VW, a '66 MG, a '67 Cougar, and a '73 Mazda before I finally got a small pick-up. I just tried to be smart and drive within the vehicle's limits.
Seems like that's the way it was in the old days!
 

danl

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Member

Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA, USA
First Name
Dan
Last Name
Little
Member #

19761

Ham Callsign
K2UDL
I spent 14 years in the Air Force, we had a saying: What is the difference between a 4x4 and a rental car?-- There are some places you just can't take a 4x4. :laughing:

I used to take my rental cars off road all the time. There was an area near Charleston AFB that guys took their 4x4 trucks. I took my rental Ford car back in there quite a bit to explore. I have done a lot of off road miles in rental cars. I've damaged a few also, but had fun.
Now, would I take MY car out there, NO WAY, that would ruin it.
Oh, don't buy rental cars :tonguewink:
Never thought of using a rental car, just my old beat up Ford, VW, Chevy, etc. I hope you bought insurance!
 

CSG

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Idaho
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In Maui, back in '84, I rented a car and there were rules about not taking it on Makena Rd which wasn't developed in those days. I did it anyway with no ill consequences save for being yelled at by the car rental guy when I returned the car a few days later. "That's Makena dust, dude!" "Nuh uh", said I. :blush:
 
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danl

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA, USA
First Name
Dan
Last Name
Little
Member #

19761

Ham Callsign
K2UDL
In Maui, back in '84, I rented a car and there were rules about not taking it on Makena Rd which wasn't developed in those days. I did it anyway with no ill consequences save for being yelled at by the car rental guy when I returned the car a few days later. "That's Makena dust, dude!" "Nuh uh", said I. :blush:
Sounds like using a rental car is a common theme!
 

AnywhereInTX

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I took my GF's front wheel drive, street tired Ford Escape up through the passes in Big Bear (This was the weekend before I brought my truck back from Texas). She didn't mind...but there were parts that we definitely shouldn't have gone. Sometimes a little momentum is all your need. :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:

Also done some impromptu dirt road rally stages in rental cars. Only one blown tire.
 
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danl

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA, USA
First Name
Dan
Last Name
Little
Member #

19761

Ham Callsign
K2UDL
I took my GF's front wheel drive, street tired Ford Escape up through the passes in Big Bear (This was the weekend before I brought my truck back from Texas). She didn't mind...but there were parts that we definitely shouldn't have gone. Sometimes a little momentum is all your need. :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:

Also done some impromptu dirt road rally stages in rental cars. Only one blown tire.
Momentum at the proper speed can overcome a lot of a vehicle's limitations, as long as you don't get hung up. Seems the rental car thing is actually a thing!