MUD & KNOBBLIES
Matt, Liz & Rusty's Overland Inspiration
//ADVENTURERS INSPIRED - MUD & KNOBBLIES
MATT FOX :
Name: Matt Fox (hubb user name: Fantastic Mister Fox)
LIZ FOX :
Name: Liz Fox (hubb username: Fantastic Mrs Fox)
MATT & LIZ :
Motorcycling in Canada
GENERAL INTRO :
Countries Travelled :
Matt : Western Europe, The Balkans, Morocco, Canada and Western USA.
Liz : USA, Canada, Spain and UK.
What inspired you to travel the way you do?
Matt : It was a natural evolution with my motorcycling journey, I’ve always had wanderlust the more I rode motorcycles the more the wanderlust and the motorcycle seemed to go hand in hand. I did my first CBT (Compulsory Basic Training or Certificate of competence for learner motorcyclists allows you to ride a 125cc machine) about the time Long Way Round came out and although initially cynical (as I am even more so now) about the whole idea as light entertainment it helped light a fuse that led me to discover more down to earth motorcycle adventurers and the HUBB.
Liz : The Long Way Down and Round TV series (mud and knobblies)
Reading Lois Pryce’s books – Lois on the Loose & Red Tape and White Knuckles (mud and knobblies)
Getting a dog (campervan)
How did/do you plan your journey(s)?
By deciding on where I wanted to go and looking at maps.
MATT & LIZ :
The little family unit!
Current Overland Vehicle / Mode of Travel :
Well it’s still Roxy the CCM SR40 I took around the western side of North America 4 years ago however she is currently shying away under a tarpaulin awaiting a bit of TLC.
We recently invested Maia a Nissan Homy Camper Bus to enable us to travel with our naughty boy “Rusty”
Previous Overland Vehicle(s) / Mode of Travel :
Matt : My Morocco Trip I did on a Harley Davidson MT350 (ex-military motorcycle) and my trip to the Balkans was done on a retro styled Kawasaki W6550
Liz : Lola my CCM SR40 – she is still in the garage.
Why did you pick your current overland vehicle to travel in?
To accommodate our dog!
MATT & LIZ :
Their 20year old Nissan Homy Campervan called Maia and Rusty the Dog!
What’s the worst thing about your vehicle set up?
Our van Maia has too many seats, currently it seats up to 8 however we rarely travel with that many people so over this winter we will hopefully re model the inside favouring space over seating capacity.
What would you change / add on to your vehicle if you could?
On our trip to the USA and Canada I learnt two things about mods and overland motorcycle travel, firstly less (luggage) is always more… and really the most important mod is the one we didn’t do suspension.
Have you broken down on your trip or had an accident? If so, how did you resolve the situation?
Matt : I have had small breakdowns but nothing serious. I’ll leave Liz to explain her injuries.
Liz : Yes. In 2014 whilst travelling in the US I damaged most of ligaments in my left foot and sprained my ankle whilst bouncing out of a toilet block in a RV park in Red Lodge, Montana (I was excited about riding the Beartooth Pass that day and had too much of a spring in my step).
The RV park owner kindly drove myself and Matt to the nearest medical centre and there was told needed to stop riding for around 6 weeks. Now the problem was that we only had a week till we needed to be in Sacramento, California for a music festival – Aftershock (Matt got tickets for my Birthday) and we had planned through the HUBB forum to have some parts delivered someone’s house and borrow their garage space for a day or two. We just had to figure out how on earth we could get ourselves and the bikes to California (Matt didn’t have a driving licence and I could drive an automatic van as injured my left foot but it was far from ideal). On speaking to the RV park owners about our situation they put us in contact with someone called Trooper who rode motorcycles. It transpired that Trooper had a friend’s trailer he needed to pick up in California so he decided was an excuse for a road trip so he enlisted a friend (Lyle) to come with and the plan was to rent a trailer load the bikes on and set off to California all together with us covering the petrol and accommodation costs on the way there and the friend whose trailer was coming back covered it on the way back.
We also updated Fran and Eric that there may be a delay (the guys who kindly allowed us to have parts delivered to their house and borrow their garage). They offered to put us up for a while till I healed up and could resume travelling when I was a little better they even let me borrow one of their cars during our stay (an automatic) so I could get around, we stayed there for 4/5 weeks, did some work on our bikes, managed to get to Aftershock with Matt pushing me around in the sweltering heat in a wheelchair and went to the Horizons Unlimited meet with them in Mariposa (they rode and I drove).
We pretty much resolved the situation by simply talking to people and commenced our travels once I had healed up.
How do you navigate? GPS / Sat Nav / Phone Apps Other?
Matt : I plan on Paper maps and navigate on GPS. It’s labour intensive at times but makes a much better riding experience (in my opinion)
Liz : GPS/Sat Nav – I tend to avoid paper maps (leave that to Matt if travelling with him)
MATT & LIZ :
Roxy the CCM SR40 at a campsite in Canada
What is your sleeping set up and why have you chosen this system? :
Matt : Well I have a solo hammock, a tent for two (or trips with no trees) or we sleep in the Van when we take the Van. When tent or hammock camping the best investment I made was an Exped Downmat.
Liz : Campervan: need to set up the bed (folds into seats in the day and when driving). We need to use thick mattress topper as not very comfortable and have double sleeping bag. Rusty, if travelling with us has his dog bed on most of the remaining floor space but usually finds his way onto our bed at some point!
Tent: Exped downmat and sleeping bag
Can you offer any advice to help travellers ensure they get a great nights sleep?
Matt : Exped Downmat when camping say no more...
Liz : Yup, when in a tent I swear by my Exped downmat is more comfortable than my own bed at home! Well worth every penny.
TRAVEL PETS :
Tell us about what pet(s) you travel with!?
Dog, Staffie cross, Rusty, 4 years old!
What’s it like travelling with your pet?
Fur lots of fur everywhere!
There are limitations as to where we can go when travelling so are constantly checking if places are dog friendly (which they are for the most part and if not one of us will stay with the dog or we won’t go)
We haven’t travelled very much with our dog but when we have he has managed to wrap the locals around his paws – he loves meeting new people.
TRAVEL GEAR :
What are the most useful items whilst travelling?
Matt : GPS (Garmin Montana however if was buying now I’d just use a smart phone)
Liz : Phone
Buff neck warmer thing
Do you have any luxury / unusual items you take with you travelling?
Liz : Some basic makeup, perfume and a pot of nail varnish – sometimes nice to pamper myself a little when on the road.
MATT & LIZ :
Rusty watching the world go by.
GENERAL TRAVEL :
Describe a time you felt nervous / uncomfortable / scared when travelling?
Liz : Riding just past the border crossing on the Top of the World Highway – someone scared me about it a little when was in Dawson City and said the conditions were horrendous. I whimpered most of the way on reflection it was definitely not as bad as I was told!
What do you miss about a regular not-on-the-road lifestyle?
Matt : If I was richer I think I’d live on the road permanent alas I have to make money so working towards a travel more work less lifestyle as I any downsides to living on the road are vastly out-numbered by the upsides.
Which country / area would you love to revisit and why?
Matt : Couldn’t pin it down to one spot but there are many areas I wish I could spend longer. If I had to narrow it down British Columbia I could spend for ever there and there would always be something exciting to do.
Liz : Canada – the wow factor never gets old!
Do you record your journey? If so, what advice can you offer others who are looking to do the same?
Matt : As I said above I fell out of love with our website when my travel partner decided she was no longer enjoying our travels so I never finished it. The best advice I can give is only document in a way that complements travel. Do not travel for the sake of blogging, vlogging, instagram do the documenting for the sake of travel
Liz : Don’t spend too much time on just enjoy the travelling.
What’s it like to return from such an epic adventure to the “normal” world? Any advice for readers?
Matt : I found that just going back to what I did before ate me up inside. I think I needed a proper change it just took me 3 years after returning to realise it.
MATT & LIZ :
Dawson City, 2am and still light!
WRAPPING UP :
Worst piece of advice you have been given about your travels?
Anything on the internet where someone tells you “the only thing you should get is …”
What is your next step travel wise?
Matt : At the moment I am currently remodelling my life to in a couple of year work 8 months of the year and travel 4 and then I will look for travel in short one or two month experiences
One piece of advice you would offer to wannabe travellers :
Matt : I think if you want to do something enough you will find way, making excuses for not doing something is almost our way of saying, I’d like to do that but not that much.
It’s a cliché but trust your instincts.
Liz : It's amazing how much stuff you take and end up not using. Packing far in advance and keep reviewing what you are taking if in doubt don’t take it!
Their 20year old Nissan Homy Campervan prepped for boarding!
Getting their Campervan ready for travel.
A big thank you goes out to both Matt and Liz from the whole team at EXP52 for participating in this interview! We hope you enjoyed reading through their travel tales and worldly advice!