Every so often I take a few minutes to think back about the experiences I’ve had and the extraordinary people I’ve met while “overlanding”, for the most part I try to remember everyone’s name and the impact they’ve had on myself. The Mid-Atlantic overlanding community has exploded over the last 4-5 years with various shops building to overland platforms (Mainline, Forge Specialities), events such as Expo East, MAOF & the Vermont Overland Rally, all the while producing industry personalities such as Peter Vollers, and the guys from Mountain State Overland. Here at Dirt Road Trip, we hope our advice is good and some of you gain some inspiration from our trips, trucks and the gear we review.
So about a year ago, I was trying to find some information on Canaan Loop and the various trails around central West Virginia. After a couple days of cruising various sites and looking at maps, it dawned on me that I should swing over to 4x4icon.com and check out Paul Provencher’s posts of that area. Most of you reading this have probably never heard of Paul, but for some, they’ll likely be reminded of a guy who was highly dedicated to his jeep, his boys and getting out on the trails in a single month, or weekend, than many do in an entire year. Personally, I had never met Paul in-person and only conversed with him a handful of times via email and on the phone. Over the last several years I would randomly visit his site to read his trip reports or pick up some maintenance tips & tricks.
As I ventured around his site it was great to revisit stories I had read 8 or 9 years prior and catch glimpses of folks that were previously in the mid-Atlantic “wheeling” circles. As you will see, Paul was meticulous about his site with posts chronologically tracked over a 10 year period and with details that would rival an Overland Journal story. But the posts stopped in early 2011 and I was curious to understand why and where was Paul? It crossed my mind that maybe his Jeep Wrangler which he stuffed full with his kids, his gear, and himself had been giving him trouble and he simply moved on to other adventures in life. And I could only have hoped that was the case.
After only a few minutes, I learned that Paul had been diagnosed with ALS in early 2011 and passed away in late 2013. Paul was a magnificent photographer, adventure junkie and was devoted to showing his boys the true meaning of exploration, be it 15 minutes or 5 hours from his home. I truly believe, if Paul were here today, he’d probably be a contributor to OJ, OutdoorX4 or maybe a member of #teamDRT—he was that good at his craft.
I’m sharing this post to emphasize the need to “adventure on” and make the most of the days ahead as they are not promised to us all. Make a point in 2017 to get out, push your limits and experience the world that you can’t see from the pavement under your wheels. And when you do, we hope to hear about your travels and experiences!
**All photos for this post were sourced from 4x4icon.com**