(Editor’s note: During the month of April, the Journal presents a series of stories about vintage rallies and vintage racing. Today, Chuck Coolidge shares a story about his participation in the 2020 Copperstate Overland adventure. If you have a story about your participation in a vintage rally or race that you’d like to share, please email us at [email protected].)
Through a tough year of cancelled plans, postponements, and absolute uncertainty, the sixth annual Copperstate Overland drove forward.
The Copperstate Overland is the premier vintage only (1979 or older) on-road/off-road driving adventure. It’s a fully supported, first class, off-road expedition, custom-built and supported each year for the participants by a non-profit group of volunteers called The Men’s Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum, the same group that for many years has started the Copperstate 1000 vintage sports car rally. Their efforts off-pavement are supported by Rigid Industries, Front Runner Outfitters, Yeti, and Haggerty.
The upside of a global pandemic and shelter in place was having the time to expedite a build I have always wanted to complete. I was lucky enough to purchase a rust-free 1975 Ford Bronco in 2019. As many vintage vehicles do, there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed. Since Ford revealed it was bringing the Bronco back to the lineup, I was determined to get the old horse back up and trail ready.
The vehicle hobby world has seen a significant rise in off-roading in recent years, using vintage 4×4 vehicles and the word “Overland” gets thrown around often, with lots of different perspectives. To me, the overland experience is about exploration, taking the road less traveled, and sometimes making up your own roads.
One of the best parts about attending the Copperstate Overland is catching up with old friends, experiencing new amazing areas you have never seen before, and a cold drink in the Yeti after a long day.
As expected, before hitting the dirt, all participants were tested and kept in our group bubble for the four days on the road. The protocol, precautions, and safety measures that were put into place worked perfectly as no one was infected.
The Copperstate Overland road to Moab began at the Gateway Canyons of Colorado. We started among the ponderosa pines and proceeded through birches and aspens down to the high desert of Utah.
We explored all that Moab has to offer, including Arches National Park, Fins and Things and, yes, even the infamous Hells Revenge.
While fulfilling my dream of building an off-road, overland-ready Generation-1 Bronco I always wanted was accomplished, there is always next year. The off-road and overland hobby is quickly turning into a lifestyle for those who are willing to explore new landscapes, public lands, and roads forgotten.