The beauty of Overlanding is the lack of boundaries, definitions or absolutes. It’s not an exclusive club that requires a special handshake, snobby wave or even a particular vehicle for that matter. If you’re exploring the outdoors with your rig (and it’s equipped properly for the trip), you’re accepted – no questions asked. This unique combination of freedom and inclusion has created a community in which comradery is key and the sharing of information, tips and appreciation is paramount.
Along with Expedition Georgia, I recently spent some time with the No Limits Overland crew. This group of Toyota truck enthusiasts banded together to form a club of sorts that would ride together and help each other when in need. For fun, I brought a Nissan Titan 4x4 because that’s the press truck I was driving that week. (Read the review here).
The first rendezvous point was a Home Depot parking lot in Blairsville, GA. All the trucks present varied considerably from each other in age and equipment but this diversity didn’t matter. The common bond was everyone was there to do the same thing and made the most out of what they had. From a first-generation Tacoma regular cab to a 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro, all were from the same tribe.
After a pit stop at Chick-Fil-A, we were en route to the first leg of our excursion. Even though there are plenty of trails, mountains and woods in North Georgia, locating a passable path can be difficult. The hearsay information isn’t always current and there’s no website to confirm current conditions. Sometimes, you just have to wing it.
Even though we spent the first hour chasing a trail that we ultimately couldn’t access, there was still plenty of fun had being a part of the Tacoma convoy. I can’t iterate this enough; it’s about the journey and sometimes the pre-journey more than the destination. It was enjoyable to caravan through the small town with a fleet of heavily-equipped Tacomas. The looks and reactions from the locals were that of awe, amazement and even a bit of confusion. The parade of Toyotas looked more like an Army convoy headed to battle than anything.
The next stop was Bell Mountain, which was previously considered one of the most challenging trails in Georgia. However, the trail and landing at the summit have been paved by the county so it’s become a bit of a tourist attraction today.
Typically, the view is amazing from atop Bell Mountain as you can see for miles but because of raging forest fires in North Carolina and Georgia, the view was deduced to an ominous, smoky haze.
Yearning to get off-pavement, the next destination was Charlie’s Creek, a certainly challenging and amusing trail in its own right. We began our ascension as the sun struggled to break through the thick smoke cover. The trail was full of loose, dry dirt, rocks and other obstacles. Enough to have a little fun with but nothing that would get you in trouble.
Unfortunately, after a couple miles the crew ran into another road block. Presumably, the forest fires had deemed this particular section of mountain unsafe and some of the experts that were with us stated that if this trail was shut down, it was must have been serious.
The final leg of the expedition was Tray Mountain, a popular Overlanding trail. On the way, the group barreled through the mountains on highway roads which provided fantastic rolling shots. As the crew headed up the final trail, the outsider in the Nissan press truck with zero camping gear on-hand was forced to head home. As previously stated, being properly equipped is of vital importance and since the group was planning on setting up camp once the trail was traversed, we had to part ways.