Event season started with a great success during our time in San Juan Capistrano! Nerves were elevated as the team began their 1,030-mile trek south, but excitement was higher. A portion of the team set off in Tails and Immersion set to rendezvous with another coworker who drove Stingray down earlier. The rest of the team enjoyed a few days in the office before flying down the morning of Adventure Van Expo – San Juan Capistrano.
If you haven’t seen Tails, take a moment to familiarize your senses with this bright orange, head turning Sprinter 144. Our smaller but just as fierce follow up to Launch Pad has been a quietly kept secret we’ve been eagerly waiting to showcase. Tails was built with avid cyclists in mind, whether they’re mobbing down single track deep in the woods of British Columbia, trekking upwards on petrified sand dunes of Moab, embracing joyous torture that is cyclocross, and everything in-between.
Before we could get things going at AVE – SJC we had to make a pit stop at Docent Brewing. Brian, a co-founder and “idea man” of Docent Brewing, just so happens to own an Outside Van! Naturally we wanted to support a local brewery while also bringing together more van owners. We’re so grateful to Brian and the Docent Brewing team for helping us roll into their spot with five Outside Vans, each highlighting different phases of Outside Van’s history. The slider and rear doors of Muléke, Tails, Stingray, Immersion, and Command Post were opened for public tours and questions. Our team spent a nonstop afternoon chatting with the public, handing out stickers, talking about dream builds, and soaking up some much-needed Vitamin D. Those who knew the event was happening and many who were pleasantly surprised to see us asked great questions, snapped photos, and began mentally designing their own vans. (Insider tip, if you’re visiting Docent Brewing, don’t skip feasting on their Docent Bowl or Korean Ruben.) As the afternoon dipped into early evening, we had to make our exit. With stomachs satiated we grabbed a few 6-packs to go, a well-deserved treat to eventually end our long day, and share with fellow vendors after load in.
Cruising in a caravan of Outside Vans, we made our way from the brewery to the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Center. Fashionably late, we were one of the last vendors to take their slot. All worth it to spend time with the Orange County community! As plans often go, we had to adjust on the fly from an original site layout we envisioned. Working quickly, flags were assembled, vans were tidied, a propane camp stove was turned on, and most importantly, Grand Trunk hammocks and stands were positioned. We were ready to go for a fun, weekend at the Adventure Van Expo San Juan Capistrano.
If you haven’t slept at an event venue in a van before, it’s an experience! Imagine a giant sleepover with your friends, new acquaintances, and brands you admire, all locked in the same field. As headlamps and flashlights clicked on, we hopped around booths hanging out with new friends and some old.
Saturday and Sunday were a blur of people, vans, vendors, sun, Liquid Death, Honey Mama’s, long conversations, short interactions, and more. It’s always a rewarding feeling when we look back and collectively recall how busy our booth was all weekend. We never felt a down moment and had so many positive interactions.
We’re on the road again as this post goes live. We can only imagine the memories to recount from our road to Overland Expo West. Stay tuned and we’ll see you on the outside!