The new season of Expedition Overland, their Central America exploration, hits on July 8th. They've released two new videos ahead of the official premier: A full trailer as well as a Vehicle Build Video.
The teaser shows what we've come to expect from XO: A great group exploring and finding adventure, this time in Central America. This season will cover 10 Countries and 10,000 miles and we'll be ready to check it out on July 8th!
The Vehicle Build video begins with thier partnership with Toyota USA and goes over the various modifications made to the all new 2015 Trail Premium 4Runners, as well as the 2013 Tacoma. The three vehicles are very well prepared to tackle anything and everything along the journey.
We'll be doing a Hangout on Air next Wednesday the 8th, so look for it on our YouTube Channel as we all watch the premier of Expedition Overland: Central America.
Photos provided by James Hart
In 2011, James Hart and Lauren Neel took off from San Francisco and headed south of the border seeking adventure in their 1st generation 4Runner. TCT Magazine interviewed them about their fantastic journey. This is the 2nd of a 2-part series. See the January 2015 issue for Part 1.
What were your most dangerous moments?
While in Colombia, we read about a tough mountainous track. This mud road, the width of a large truck, is carved out of the side of a jungle-covered mountain. Adorned by waterfalls and rivers, the road is frequented by rain and fog. Everyone told us to avoid this route, so it was obvious we had to check it out. The steep and winding road was slick with mud and the edge was a 700-foot sheer drop with no guardrails.
Adding to the challenge, it is a primary logging route for illegal wood harvesting. Expect to encounter a huge semi-truck barreling down the mountain loaded to the brim with illegal timber. Might-makes-right on this mountain and since there is not enough room for two trucks, it becomes a scramble to find some way to allow the bigger truck to pass. At times we were reversing down a slippery mud mountain road hugging the cliff edge. Occasionally we could see below a truck shattered into a pieces with cargo flung across the jungle canopy.
It was during one of these maneuvers we experienced the most dangerous time of our entire trip. We were coming around a bend when we saw a huge truck barreling down on us. It was approaching quickly and we did not have time to back-up or hunt for a new spot. I quickly jerked us over to the side of the road, yelling for Lauren to stick her head out the window and tell me how much room I had. She said she could not see any road! In this instant the truck passed within 2-inches of hitting our front bumper. It actually clipped my side-mirror as it roared past, not slowing even a bit. Had that truck been any closer, there is no doubt we would have been knocked off that cliff. I would love to drive that road again…it was epic.
We also traveled on the infamous Bolivian Death Road, where we spotted many memorial crosses. Traffic is lessened since a new highway was recently built. Despite lack of traffic, it was still pretty sketchy with the fog so thick, I could not see past the hood.
Did the 4Runner cause you any moments of panic?
While in the beautiful San Guillermo National Park in Argentina, we made it across a deep river crossing, but the truck stalled on the other side. Water got in the airbox. Fearing hydrolock, I removed the intake, filter, and MAF and let everything dry out. After about 30 minutes, I reinstalled everything and it started right up. Have we mentioned we love this truck? It never lets us down. We camped out in the park for a few days, never seeing another soul. Park rangers informed us the park only gets about 7 visitors per month!
In a remote park along the ridge of the Andes called Paque Lauca, Chile, we saw alpaca, flamingos, and hot springs while we bounced along because we lost a shock mount bolt somewhere on this trail. It was a week before we found a replacement.
Another incident was while driving on the beach in Brazil. We got stuck in the sand and the tide was coming up. We could see where it breaks on the sandbar. Ended up cutting to the left and mashing it, the sandbar broke way and I fell down that berm. Eventually we made it above the tide line.
How many other overland adventurers have you come across?
We have met many fellow adventurers from around the world: Germany, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Australia, Holland, Argentina, Mexico, United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil, and others. The Pan-American Highway has popular campsites everyone goes to and it is easy to spot other overland vehicles on the road. Meeting up with other folks who share similar interests, mindsets, and lifestyle is always a welcome social engagement. It can be difficult to explain to someone back home the intricacies and quirks of extended living inside of a small truck, or the nuances of how to deal with an officer looking for a bribe, but fellow overland folk can relate.
From a cultural awareness standpoint, have your interactions with the various people you’ve met along the way been beneficial?
In America we are constantly blasted by the media, friends, and family that anywhere south of the border is a dangerous, desolate, wasteland—full of wild criminals wanting to kidnap, torture, and execute us. We were a bit apprehensive at first. My research from dozens of other overland travelers assured us we were going to be fine. Yet, we were still scared. How could the mindset in the U.S. be so inaccurate about a place that is right next door?
We crossed the border fully expecting chaos and mayhem. What we found was a polite guard who assisted us and happily welcomed us to his country. Within the first week in Mexico, we had made new friends, visited beautiful places, and eaten delicious foods. We found the people to be so warm, friendly, and giving. We saw no signs of the malicious violence we believed pervaded the entire country. This continued on and on. Danger and violence is out there; however, we have found that if you do not seek trouble, you’ll be okay. Perhaps it is a bit of hippy philosophy, but we found that people are mostly good. Sure, we encountered some who made us wary, but for the most part, the people have been great.
As far as cultural awareness, before this trip I couldn’t spot Ecuador on a map. Now I know the entire history of Ecuador, the current situation involving development of their rainforest, regional dialects and accents, geography, and the best place to get a cocktail in Quito.
What destinations are next?
We are considering an East Coast trip to Canada, then Alaska, and back to California—thus completing the entire Pan-American Highway. After that, make some more money and start planning the next big trip. Australia, South East Asia, Africa? Who knows? It’s a big world out there and we plan to drive the whole damn thing!
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Heather is the newest member of the Toyota Cruisers & Trucks team as our Digital Editor.
I left my 9-5 job in 2014 and since then I've been lucky enough to travel the country hitting off road events with my husband, Brian and dog Otis. We have several off road vehicles, but my pride and joy is my '08 GX470. We love spending time with our off road family and camping along the way. Hope to see you at one of these great events!
We're excited to announce major changes to the staff here at Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine.
In an effort to continue to bring you the best Toyota, off road, 4x4, and outdoor news and information - we've just named Beau Johnston as our Editor in Chief. Krista will continue to serve as our Outdoor Life Editor while all of our Overland coverage will be handled by our crack-team of managing editors and contributors.
The weather was....not perfect, yet the Toyota Cruisers & Trucks crew managed to capture amazing coverage of Overland Expo West 2015!
Despite rain, snow, wind, and mud...plenty of mud, we met friends new and old, shared stories around propane campfires, socilized during happy hours, attended classes, and had one heck of a time gathering amazing Overland information for our readers.
In late 2014 Angie & I made the decision to build a 2015 CrewMax Tundra as the flagship truck for Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine. This would be our sixth Toyota vehicle and the plan is to keep her for many years to come.
The TCT Explorer is being unveiled at the 2015 Overland Expo West event in Mormon Lake, AZ.
Daniel is currently attending his 13th TLCA Cruise Moab event, but first as our Land Cruiser editor. He's been sending a steady stream of photos to the TCT Crew Desk, so check them out below!
More Cruise Moab coming from Toyota Cruisers & Trucks, Subscribe Free!
You’ve seen the 2016 Tacoma, but what about the international Toyota Truck – the Hilux?
The Hilux has been an icon in the international Toyota community for over 45 years with its humble beginnings as the short wheelbase RN10. It’s been driven to volcanos, to the arctic circle, and is a workhorse for hundreds of thousands of users around the globe.
Toyota USA released a new series of videos for their #4runner #keepitwild series. Photographers and athletes sit around a campfire telling stories of adventure. Watch all the videos (even the commercial) below.
Tell us in the comments...where will your #toyota adventure take you?
Bringing your Toyota rig to Overland Expo next month? Join the Toyota Cruisers & Trucks crew in the Camp TCT area! It'll be great to kick back, relax, and share stories of our adventures. Our designated camping area will be well marked and all vehicles are welcome :)
Please signup using this very short form so we know how many people & rigs to expect. We have to give our numbers to the Overland Expo Camping coordinator before the event, so please sign up before May 1st.
Direct link to the form: http://goo.gl/forms/xSrMBoc6FJ