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TNF Clean Up & Trail Maintenance Day

Gump Jeeps and Alabama Overland are teaming up for a trail maintenance day in the Talladega National Forest (TNF) on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Maintenance activities will take place along National Forest Road 600-1 between Alabama Highway 158 and Alabama Highway 77, with maintenance extending to National Forest Road 600-2 if time and volunteer numbers will allow.

Crews will be picking up litter, performing drainage maintenance, light vegetation/brush removal, and installing trail signage. Tentative plans are to also have a National Forest Service law enforcement office on-hand for a question and answer session regarding permissible activities within the boundaries of the TNF.

More details will be posted here in the coming weeks, including links to a liability release waiver (required by the National Forest Service.) Register by clicking the link below. We hope to see you there!

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Afternoon Adventure By:Freddy Taul

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an adventure has to be an epic trip to a remote place when, in reality, it can be twenty minutes from your house at a local park.

Less than nine miles from my house sits Chickasabogue Park, “an 1100 acre outdoor recreation area and wildlife refuge.” My family and I have come to love this park for its proximity to our house and kid-friendly atmosphere. The seventeen miles of trails traverse mostly gentle terrain providing an excellent training ground for my little explorers. It’s also a quick escape to the outdoors when I need it.

Flowing through the middle of the park is Chickasaw Creek. This winding water way is an excellent venue for kayakers and canoeists alike. Growing up I attended a summer camp where kayaking and canoeing were regular activities, which served to stir up an affection for these waterborne adventures. This past May my gracious wife bought me a kayak after years of wanting to own one. I was now able to take to the water and explore the vast water ways around us here on the Gulf Coast.

Earlier this week I took my kayak down to Chickasaw Creek to do some exploring. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all summer, but it just hadn’t happened yet. Upon launching into the creek I paddled east. None of my previous times on the creek had taken me very far due to naturally impatient little ones aboard. It wasn’t long before I was in uncharted waters (to me at least). To my surprise there were several people out enjoying the water and the slightly less miserable weather we’ve had this week. It’s an occasion to celebrate when the humidity drops below ninety percent around here.

As I paddled along I came across one of the oxbow lakes adjacent to the creek, so I decided to scout around. The lake takes you north from the creek before curving back west. At its widest point, it is no more than fifty meters across, and a couple hundred meters in length. When you reach the end of the oxbox you’re confronted by a narrow, tree-covered channel that appears to lead to another world. I lingered a moment deciding if I wanted to set out into the unknown. Lured in by the prime prospect of adventure, I paddled forward. A pair of Golden Orb spiders stood at the entrance of the channel as if to guard it from the outside world. They didn’t seem too concerned with my curiosity.

The murky waters and heavy foliage created the ideal setting for my exploration. Having no idea what I might encounter in the channel, including the possibility of alligators, sparked a true sense of adventure. Where there’s little risk, there’s little adventure.As I journeyed further down the channel the trees closed in upon me. At times it was easier to grab hold of their branches and pull myself forward. I began to wonder just how far they would grant me passage. Navigating these tight quarters had me wishing for a slightly smaller vessel as a 14.5′ kayak isn’t the ideal length for such a place. Thankfully, there were only a few tight turns to maneuver. At one point a dead thorn bush made an effort to thwart my journey, but a swift whack of my paddle sent the branches into the water and out of my way. That still didn’t stop a few thorns from catching the back of my neck or burying into my fingers, which I would have to dig out later.

Shortly after my thorny encounter, I reached my turn around point. That is not to say I could not have gone further, but it would have required me to dismount the kayak and drag it over some low branches. I assessed the risk at hand and decided it would be best to return with a friend before making the attempt. The afternoon was pressing on so avoiding a tricky situation in the channel alone was the wise thing to do. I backed up past the thorn bush, turned the boat around, and made my way back to the oxbow lake, then to the boat launch.

A good adventure is good for the soul. They leave us feeling satisfied and fulfilled. I began by saying adventures don’t have to be far off journeys. A short journey to a local park can satisfy us all the same. It might seem crazy to some, but I know this resonates with others. We all need adventure in our lives, so get out there and find some. It’s closer than you think.

Click HERE for more information about Chickasabogue Park.

Click HERE for information about Native Kayaks.

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Converting a Utility Trailer into a Budget Teardrop Camper : Part One

What do you do when you have a utility trailer and an ARB Awning just sitting around?  Well you build a teardrop trailer around them or at least that’s what Alabama Overland’s Andy Jones decided to do.

After selling his M101a2, Andy decided that he wanted a Teardrop style camper. Using a 5×8 Big Tex utility trailer as his base, Andy began his ultimate budget camper build. Not wanting anything extreme, just something to tackle forest service roads, back-country dirt roads and perhaps the occasional Auburn tailgate.

Follow along as we watch an ordinary utility trailer transform into one heck of a weekend warrior.

The first step was to perform a spring over axle lift kit to make room for larger tires.

The first step was to perform a spring over axle lift kit to make room for larger tires.

Using 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, Andy began to frame and establish the basic shape of his camper.

Using 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood, Andy began to frame and establish the basic shape of his camper.

Knowing that he wanted something large enough to be able to load in larger gear, a quick trip to eBay and with a few clicks this bad boy was on it's way.

Knowing that he wanted something large enough to be able to load in larger gear, a quick trip to eBay and with a few clicks this bad boy was on it’s way.

After getting the door framed in he was able to finish skinning the sides, roof and rear with plywood.

After getting the door framed in he was able to finish skinning the sides, roof and rear with plywood.

Next came installing the side windows...

Next came installing the side windows…

Followed by the roof vent.

Followed by the roof vent.

Make sure that you stay tuned for Part II when we cover how Andy decided to protect his new camper from the elements.

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Overland Bound How To: Off-Road Trail Tire Repair

WARNING: This video contains gratuitous images of a tire being drilled to demonstrate Off-Road Trail Tire Repair!

Tire damage sustained while overlanding isn’t a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’. No matter where you are or when the puncture happens, being prepared to make an off-road trail tire repair is key to ensuring your overland trek is successful and safe.

We spent an afternoon in the Overland Bound HQ garage reviewing the tools and techniques for creating a field repair that will ensure you make it back to civilization safely! We chose the ARB Speedy Repair Kit for OB #0000 to demo this off-road fix. The ARB kit contains all the tools needed and comes in a compact, easy to store case. You can learn more about the kit HERE.

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