Overlanding in North Carolina
All photos courtesy of Alexander Berger
Bonus round on North Cape Lookout! We knew this trail would be a great feature but we weren't prepared for some of the submissions we would get. Including @smokeu_skippy's photos and stories about his trip there. Are you ready to go yet? 'Cuz we are! Read more about his trip and his overlanding mods in today's blog spot.
This month's features a trail that's not always making the top ten list but should be on your bucket list. Part of what makes this overland experience so unique is that the start of the route isn’t over land at all. A ferry ride from the small mainland town of Davis to South Core Banks, the middle of three barrier islands that make up Cape Lookout National Seashore, gets you to 21 miles of undeveloped, drivable beach ripe for fishing, swimming, and surfing.
Overlanding Spotlight: Alexander Berger, AKA @smokey_skippy
How'd you get into overlanding and off-roading? Oh jeez, let me reach back deep. I "officially" got into off-roading back in highschool when I had this tacoma and was "balling on a budget". It was always just a bunch of friends and a mudhole or something that we could find around school to play around with. After school and once I got a good paying job, I started investing more time into my trucks and discovered "overlanding" through a friend of mine at a truck meet. I was originally brought in with all the cool gadgets and these apocalyptic vehicles that I just thought were so cool. I went on a few expeditions and soon quickly realized I was under equipit. That turned into my current build "Smokey" and has been an absolute blast creating and takes me to places i would have never expected.
Tell us about your most recent trip.
The last big trip we did as a group was to Cape Lookout in NC. We go once a year and it's always a blast. We mainly go down for the fishing, beach, and the stars. 10/10 one of the best places to view the milky way. This past year we were blessed to not only have some great weather and some awesome stars to view, but on the very last night we got to experience bioluminescent algae in the sand and the water. If you thought stars were cool, just wait until you start to see sand glowing under your feet.
Any scary or recovery moments? Recovery, We actually didn't have to many recovery moments on the island. Its relativly simple to drive as long as your not stupid like i am. My truck "Smokey" got stuck on a dune when i was letting another vehicle by. I got high centered in the middle of one of the worst storms we would get the whole trip. We tried everything to free my truck from ropes to digging to even using the winch. News flash for anyone with a winch... If you have the heaviest vehicle and you also get stuck, your winch will only drag the recovery vehicle that's trying to get you out. So yeah, one truck turned into two stuck trucks in the middle of pouring rain and the biggest bugs you have ever seen. We eventually got out with a big rope and a tacoma going wayyyy too fast. but hey, We got free didn't we?
What's the upgrade you are most grateful you got? Waterport. hands down one of my favorite things. Sure you can have a lift and winches and power and air. onboard air is my #2. but having on board water.... Good god that's amazing. I upgraded to the 8 gal from last year. There is nothing better than having drinking water, a shower, cleaning water, a way to cool off on a hot nasty day. The best thing was the shower, when you're out on a beach for days on end, you get nasty quickly, and having that nice cool shower at the end of the day just made everything 10x better.
What advice would you give to anyone who's thinking about getting into overlanding or who has recently started?
My two pieces of advice - 1. find a group, you will have a ton of fun and will learn a lot from someone who may be more seasoned. not to mention having a battle buddy is always a good idea. 2. You do not need to blow the bank on your rig. Go enjoy the outdoors first, figure out what you need and then build around your needs. Having everything on an expedition rig is really nice, but the best thing is spending time with like minded people, so just get out with some friends asap.
What's your dream trip?
Dream trip.... jeeez so many.... I would really like to do the Trans America Trail or even The Pan American. But some dreams have to wait, just don't have the bones for all that yet. next I would like to plan for the Midalantic BDR but i think before that will end of being Hurricane Creek in NC.
What keeps you into overlanding? Overlanding for me is a lot of fun because you really get to see nature in its most pure form. The expedition style build that I created really allows you to go deep into nature without sacrificing comfort. Between the stunning scenery and adventure, you also get to experience every kind of wrench nature could throw at you. Some of the most fun trips have been the hardest because you might need to rough it out in the middle of a storm or even provide bush repairs to get back off the trail. These really do add to the fun of it all and at the end of the day once the craziness settles, you just chill with friends around a fire and talk about all your past crazy adventures.
Until next time!
At Cali Raised LED, we not only want to encourage riders to try something new, (with all the proper precautions of course!) but also to not be too shy when it comes to checking out trails that they may not have thought possible. It's in our very slogan, "Rise Up and Seek Adventure." We really mean it.
Thank you to Lon Bennish for sharing your story with us.
If you haven't figured it out yet, we've been featuring a trail or national park or other must see location each month of the year, and sometimes we are lucky enough to find other off-roaders who have been there. They are kind enough to share their experience and their expertise. Want to be featured? Have a trail you think we should feature? Submit your photos and story to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered!
What Trails do you think we should feature next? Tell us in the comments below!