Unplug this weekend in search of an adventure expo

Column by John Akal
Posted 10/2/19

I’m just going to start this week’s column by telling you to go to www.offgridexpo.com. What’s that? It’s the website for the Off-Grid Expo that’s happening this coming weekend at the …

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Unplug this weekend in search of an adventure expo


I’m just going to start this week’s column by telling you to go to www.offgridexpo.com.

What’s that? It’s the website for the Off-Grid Expo that’s happening this coming weekend at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. That’s a 3-day event running from Friday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 6 that promises to bring the best and most innovative products in the outdoor industry together for one big show.

Yeah, I know. We have a lot of outdoor shows and conventions all promising to bring out various vendors and manufacturers showing off the latest recreational gear and equipment. Everything from skis and snowboards to bicycles and kayaks. But this show is different. Trust me.

OK, so every once in a while I happen to stumble on something coming up that coincidentally catches my attention right when something in my personal life occurs that ties in with the event. This week it happened to be a $600 utility bill. I live in a small three bedroom house with my wife, dog and a couple of birds. It’s been hot for months, I don’t have air conditioning and the furnace sure hasn’t been kicking on. We don’t have any high consumption equipment or lighting running, we switched all the light bulbs to the new LED things that don’t use much power and we aren’t home half the time when we’d have a bunch of lights burning. How on earth can we have a $600 utility bill this month? I don’t now. I just know that I’ll be on the phone arguing with people about it for the next three days.

That kind of bill combined with the water bill and all the other ones we have to face every month has made me wonder, more than once, how in the heck can you live “off the grid?” You know, solar power, water from streams, other ways of downsizing, growing or harvesting your own food or just getting away from the rat race and living or recreating in places that don’t have cable TV, the Internet or $600 power bills!

Well that’s the sort of thing that the Off-Grid Expo addresses. It’s kind of a combination marketplace, educational experience and festival all bundled together that features off-gird self reliance, off-grid activities, off-grid local start-ups plus overland vehicles and RVs. There will be plenty of companies and vendors showing off their outdoor equipment as well as lots of educational workshops plus live bands, food and drinks as well as daily raffles. And yes, this is happening in Golden, they have a beer garden.

Let me break this down a little more. This is an expo about living, camping, hunting, fishing, back country sports and everything associated with getting away from the city or commercial facilities. Places where you can’t just pull in your motor home and hook it up to an electric terminal. The kind of places that cell phone service gets dropped like a hot potato. Their motto is “Gear up to get off the beaten path.”

The off-grid activities they will feature include camping, biking, fishing, hunting, snow sports and adventure travel. The off-grid self reliance will focus on solar energy, batteries, tiny homes, tactical equipment and safety/medical equipment. The off-grid local startups are companies that are working towards just relying on yourself rather than technology, although some of these products are pretty high tech.

And then there’s the overland vehicles and RVs. These aren’t the typical Winnebagos that you see at the campgrounds. They are mostly rugged trucks and campers packed with features that let you go anywhere and stay there for a while. The look sort of like something out of Mad Max.

Tickets for the Off-Grid Expo run $8 per day in advance or $10 at the gate with a three day pass going for $15. Kids under 12 are free. You can order them by going to the website I mentioned at the start of this column. You should also go there to get a preview of what all they are going to have at the Expo. It’s amazing how many companies are participating. It also gives a schedule for the events and most importantly, the educational workshops. Go check it out.

So, am I going to be there? It depends on what the utility company has to say about my $600 bill. Sheesh!

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com


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