Overland Diary

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Before heading off on our big adventure from San Francisco to Buenos Aires, we decided it would be best to test our equipment first and travel through our most favorite landscape of all - the red rocks of Arizona. From day 1, we discovered one important detail overlooked when traveling with a Ural - everything you do will take twice as long as expected!

Though we were constantly pushed for time, we had an amazing ride, saw incredibly vast open scenery and modified our packing list for the real deal.

After a quick visit with Katie's parents in southern California, we headed on HWY 60 towards Alamo lake AZ. The five hour ride turned into an all day AND night experience. In typical Gianmarco and Katie fashion, the sun set when we were still 50 miles short of our destination. After an hour of working our way through the maze of sandy ATV tracks on the east end of the dry lake bed, we decided it was time to call it a night… or rather Patty (our Ural Patrol) decided she was done. We were 6 inches deep in soft sand. We set up camp, cooked our steaks, and fell asleep to the sound of what seemed to be donkeys making babies. 

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The next morning we dug our way out and headed towards Prescott to see Katie's grandma and hit up the local Ural dealership, Scooter and Auto Source, for some repair questions. Though we were only 2 days into our trip, we had 2 sets of spark plugs turn black and one air filter clog. Even with our roadside repairs, Patty sounded like a dying sheep and needed some expert advice. Hours later, she came back to life and we treated Grandma to her first Ural ride. Patty never go more attention then when we pulled up to breakfast in downtown with the three of us piled in. 

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Flagstaff was the next stop, or what was supposed to be the next passing point. However, the weather had a different plan. After Patty's first photo shoot at Broken Arrow trail in Sedona AZ, by the time we made it to Flagstaff, our windshield had a 2 inch layer of snow and our frozen fingertips quickly thumbed through our maps as we defrosted in the local grocery store. We deciding it was too risky to continue, caved in and booked a hotel room. 

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The next morning, after thawing off all the ice still on Patty, we headed towards Tuweep campground on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Turning left on Mt. Trumbull Loop and 55 miles of nicely graded roads later, we find ourself in the most rural yet organized campground we've been to. It is not easy to find a spot that you can peer over a 2000 ft drop without a cable blocking your way or a sweaty tourist bumping you to the side to take a selfie. The fire pits looked untouched and the 6 or so spots are nicely separated so that you aren't listening in to your neighbors conversations as you cook dinner. The true jewel of the site though is the 360 degree view of the sunset that lights up the red rocky canyon 10 minutes down the road.  On our way out the next morning, we run into the volunteer ranger living on site. And just like that, we find ourself in possession of a very detailed map of the Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument (that for some reason I can not find anywhere online) and decide to traverse west as we slowly but surely made our way home. 

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