The American Adventurist Appalachian Rendezvous is really just a giant Overland family reunion, because there’s plenty of good food, good people, and excessive amounts of cast iron.
My wife and I left DC late Friday night and set a course for Uwharrie, North Carolina for the 2nd annual Appalachian Rendezvous, hosted by our friends over at American Adventurist. After attending last years event, we knew we couldn’t miss the opportunity to travel down to Uwharrie again, and I just had to sample some more dutch oven cooking.
After spending the night in Greensboro (and stopping at a Waffle House), we rolled into the field at the Uwharrie Off-Road Training Center (UORTC) and got a lucky break. The consistent rain we had been driving trough decided to finally let off (although it seems like the Carolina’s can’t catch a break this year) and we were able to setup our tents without getting soaked.
Once camp was setup, we unloaded our gear (Tony also showed me the most efficient way to unload a motorcycle) and headed out with Mike Morrison from UORTC to participate in the second part of their 4WD-101 course. It consisted of driving through some mildly technical terrain, but the rain had made the Uwharrie clay as slick as snot. Naturally, I thought this would be the perfect time to give my wife some wheel time in the JK.
Before hitting the trail, we had a quick drivers meeting to go over some basic rules and safety tips. Then once we hit the trail I gave my wife a quick run down on how to engage 4WD and the locking differentials, needless to say she was pretty impressed with my knowledge (not).
The group we were traveling with consisted of the usual lot of Wranglers and Land Cruisers, but we were also joined by an Xterra and a WK Grand Cherokee (did I mention it was a diesel?!?). Everyone managed to handle the mud without issue and my wife did an amazing job piloting the JK down the course.
Everything would have been perfect, except Tony managed to find the only ant hill in the entire field and was forced to strip down to his ExOfficio’s. As soon as I saw he was in distress, I did what any good friend and photographer would do, I started taking pictures. Needless to say it was pretty hilarious watching a grown man strip down in the middle of a bean field…
After our trip off road, we got back to camp just in time for the I4WDTA recovery demonstration. Just imagine 2 Unimogs hooked up together with winch lines and kinetic recovery rope. They were demonstrating the use of a kinetic rope as a shock load dampener and had it connected between the winch line and the anchor point. We’d never seen anything like this before, but we took the opportunity to pick Chris’s brain on the subject and we’ll be reporting back to you guys down the line with the details.
After the demonstration the dinner bell was sounded and everyone quickly headed over to the pavilion for the world famous Dutch Oven Cooking Competition that is a staple of American Adventurist events. What occurred over the next hour can only be described as one of the greatest culinary events in the state of North Carolina. Utilizing nothing more than a dutch over, participants made pie, cobbler, stew, soup, stir fry, and even vegetarian haggis. I didn’t try the vegetarian haggis because Tim Bleau put it best, “I still haven’t heard of good haggis.”
The many faces of Steve
The evening ended with a raffle and every registered vehicle received a ticket. Prizes this year included the standard fare of t-shirts and swag, but also included some great gear from Snow Peak and even a Yeti Cooler. I myself won a Streamlight Sidewinder which was perfect because with all the rain I could always use another waterproof flashlight.
Now there is something I would like to disclose. This event took place a week before Overland Expo East, and because sometimes
I just don’t fee like writing I’ve been so overwhelmed with work, I fell behind in getting this post written and posted for all of you to enjoy. Yet, now I’m glad that I wrote this after living through The Great Flood that will now be forever known as Expo East. So let me tell you why.
There are a lot of people that seem to think the people over at American Adventurist are a bunch of right wing conservatives that like to spend their weekends repelling off the sides of buildings with their M4’s. And that’s okay, because those same people are the ones that probably showed up to Expo East without rain gear or even a decent set of boots, with full knowledge that a hurricane was brewing off the coast.
I say all of this this because the best quote I heard while at the Rendezvous was “American Adventurist is about celebrating what makes America Great; freedom, God, and the great outdoors.” My view of the Rendezvous is that it’s everything an overlanding event should be. It’s about getting outside and enjoying our hobby with like minded individuals, and not having to deal with the blatant commercialization that has taken the industry by storm. It’s also an event that blatantly tells you to bring your own food and gear for the entire duration of the trip, you know the stuff that any serious overlander should have.
Every single person I met at the Rendezvous is there for the same reason, and they all share the same mindset. They’re all prepared for whatever get’s thrown their way, and they’re all willing to give the shirt off their own back for a fellow traveler. For this reason alone I’ll always keep coming back for as long as Dave and the rest of the team keep donating their time to throw such a great event.
So why am I glad I wrote this after going to Expo East? I’m glad because the American Adventurist crew is a different breed of traveler that would probably setup camp in a category 5 hurricane with a smile if you asked them to, and they make some pretty damn good food.
This was written by Alex from behind a desk in a hotel room.