Why North America should be on your Overland Tour wish list
Think of overlanding and North America might not be the first place you think of. But the “Lower 48”, Alaska and Canada have plenty to offer in terms of off-the-beaten track adventures, spectacular scenery, unique wildlife, fascinating cultures and more!
Think of overlanding and North America might not be the first place you think of. But the “Lower 48”, Alaska and Canada have plenty to offer in terms of off-the-beaten track adventures, spectacular scenery, unique wildlife, fascinating cultures and more! We chatted to Dave & Nat, the owners and operators of Infinite Adventures, an overland company that specialises in North American overland tours to find out a bit more about overland travel in this part of the world.
Why North America?
We (Dave and Nat) both love travelling and seeing new places. A while ago Dave was working on his PHD (after he was leading trips all over Northern America) when he decided there was more out there and took a job with an overland company to lead trips around the world.
Nat initially wanted to take short career break from her project management job and went backpacking in West Africa. But after she felt the freedom of the road there was no way she wanted to go back to her old job. She applied for a job as a tour leader and driver for a big overland company. That’s how Dave and Nat met: driving overland trucks and both sharing their passion for travelling and leading group tours.
Spending the last few years working and travelling around the world, we realized what North America was missing: Overland Vehicles. Most of the adventure companies in the US are running trips with passenger vans and trailers attached. We thought: Why not build a vehicle that has more space and is more like a “home” for everyone? With bigger windows that roll down and enable perfect wildlife and landscape shots?
We both love being outdoors and spotting animals: North America has some unique landscape to offer combined with the opportunity to see wildlife. We love sharing our passion and travelling with like-minded people.
North America has many beautiful remote places to visit and long distances to cover (especially in Alaska and Canada where there are still many gravel roads). Why not do it more comfortably in a vehicle that has more space and is perfectly equipped for being outdoors and camping in the National Parks? Self-driving usually comes with one-way charges and lot of rental car companies do not allow you to drive on gravel roads – so you would be missing out on some of the most beautiful and more remote places North America still has to offer!
If you love the outdoors and want to explore the landscape and animals of Alaska or concentrate on the beautiful National Parks in the Western US like Yellowstone, Arches National Park, the Monument Valley or hike along the Grand Canyon, we believe going on an overland trip is the best way to do it. You will be right out in the wilderness with our converted school bus being self-sufficient and enjoying evenings around the campfire. We are a small company and are leading most of the trips ourselves. We absolutely love our job and as owners we will be flexible enough to make every trip a unique experience.
What vehicle do you use?
We converted an old school bus into an overland vehicle – we love travelling around in an old-style school bus retrofitted to our needs. We named our bus Akta.
Akta can take a maximum of 16 passengers. She’s equipped with everything we need to make the journey comfortable and enjoyable for everyone, including:
- Individual overhead lockers – for your day pack
- A viewing platform on top for taking 360 degree photos and video
- Large opening untainted windows for the best wildlife views and photos
- Two large tables for playing cards or writing up your journal
- A high quality stereo system for your favourite songs
We also carry all the camping equipment that we need including large 4-person tents only sleeping two, comfortable camp chairs and all of the kitchen equipment we need to cook up great meals on the road. All you need to bring along is your sleeping bag and pad/mat.
You have just finished your 2016 season, what were some of the highlights of your trips this year?
This is such a hard question as I feel all of our trips are so unique and there are so many special moments whether it is an amazing sunrise or a fantastic animal sighting. But I have fond memories of our Yellowstone visit in spring. For one I love this National Park as it has such a unique landscape, amazing colours along with good opportunities to spot wildlife. Our patience was rewarded with seeing a wolf pack leaving their den with some of the puppies. It was from a far distance, but with our spotting scope it was no problem!
Another great memory is from our Canada trip from Anchorage to Calgary this autumn. We had the best weather conditions for going up the very bumpy and steep road up to Salmon Glacier in British Columbia with magnificent views and a great hike in alpine terrain. The day ended with a great black bear sighting just a few minutes before we got to camp along one of the many lakes along the way.
Oh and I should not forget to mention that we say the Northern Lights up in Alaska on our late August trip. This is the second year in a row we got to see them and I feel very special about it. Two of our passengers slept on top of the bus to watch out for the Aurora Borrealis – you can imagine how excited everyone was when we heard them shouting: “Wake up – the Northern Lights are visible!”
Want to find out more?
Las Vegas to Anchorage – 8 weeks (58 days) – next departure northbound in April 2017 or southbound in August 2017. This is the ultimate North America overland tour incorporating a loop around Alaska (including Mt McKinley, Denali National Park and more)
If you don’t have a couple of months free to travel, check out the shorter trips available too:
Calgary to Anchorage – 5 weeks (38 days) – next departure northbound in May 2017 or southbound in August 2017
Las Vegas to Anchorage – 5 weeks (37 days) – next departure northbound in April 2017 or southbound in September 2017
If 5 weeks is still too long, contact us for information about shorter North American overland tour options.