Instructor Spotlight: Lory Perfect

Photo By: Lory Perfect

Lory Perfect teaches some of Overland Expo West’s most popular classes, so we are thrilled to have her join us in Virginia to share her expertise on all things Baja with our East Coast overlanders.  

Photo by Lory Perfect

Lory says she has been an avid off-roader her entire life and loves to be outside in nature. She grew up off-roading between the mid-west and the Mojave Desert, but Baja has become her ultimate favorite place to explore. She started riding motorcycles at age seven and grew up riding around with her dad, Mr. Perfect, in his Manx-style dune buggy. Her family owned and built lots of Volkswagens over the years and got into off-road racing when they moved to California.  

Lory was naturally the person organizing group skiing trips and camping adventures and taking her friends to watch off-road races in Baja, Mexico. In 2002, she was approached by a travel company to start leading group adventure trips in southern California and Baja California, and five years later, she founded Perfect Adventures, her own adventure tour company. 

Photo by Lory Perfect

With 38 years of Mexico travel experience under her belt, Lory brings a wealth of knowledge to Overland Expo’s education program. Her sessions at Overland Expo West are always packed and receive rave reviews (both during the event and long after when attendees return from their own trips to Baja and rave about how spot-on Lory’s advice was). During Overland Expo East, Lory will be teaching: 

“Exploring Baja Mexico: Know Before You Go” on October 6 at 9 am 

“Into the Heart of Baja to Sierra San Francisco” on October 7 at 4 pm 

“Baja Mexico: Gulf to Pacific in a Day” on October 8 at 1 pm 

To learn more about Lory, continue reading below.  

Photo by Lory Perfect

Tell us about your rigs: 

Baja Betty is my 2002 Toyota 4Runner 4WD with an iKamper mini rooftop tent named Rocky. This gen3 4Runner can utilize my custom-built auxiliary battery setup to run a refrigerator. Baja Betty is my primary overlanding vehicle when exploring or leading group adventure trips in Baja California, Mexico.  

I also drive a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek with an iKamper mini rooftop tent and the same custom-built auxiliary battery setup to run a refrigerator. This is my solo overlanding rig when traveling around to expos in the United States. This Subi has beefy, new all-terrain tires on it and gets great gas mileage on those longer adventures. 

Photo by Lory Perfect

I currently have access to a travel partner’s 5th gen, 2014 Toyota 4Runner with all the same setup. This cool overlanding rig, named Jenny, is currently in the process of getting some upgrades to get ready for a challenging adventure south. Perhaps Jenny will make an appearance in the DIY area at Flagstaff in 2024? We will be driving this 4Runner from California to Panama and back starting in January 2024! Stay tuned… 

What is your all-time favorite campsite? 

So far, my all-time favorite campsite would be certain locations near Bahía Concepción in Baja Sur, Mexico. Another favorite is high-elevation camping in the San Pedro Mártir National Park in Baja California. My ultimate FAVs are some other carefully scouted-out locations with no crowds in Baja Sur.  

What’s your go-to overlanding meal? 

Photo by Lory Perfect

I love to make a one-pot buffalo stew with lots of veggies and potatoes. It can feed four people in camp or offer great leftovers to heat up the next day.  

READ MORE: A Newcomer’s Guide to Overland Expo – East Edition 2023

Best silver-lining story?  

Honestly, I haven’t had anything go terribly wrong while out exploring or overlanding. I always have a backup to the backup in mind since I live off-grid a lot.  

One thing that comes to mind happened in November 2022. I was leading a group overlanding trip in Baja, and we scoped out a place on the playa/beach to camp and paid for one night of camping. We went to grab a bite to eat nearby before setting up camp. We returned to our lovely beach area to find big RV’s and trailers from up north that had moved in all around and blocked the beach views. It was a mess, and we all got a weird vibe. I got our money back from the office, and we went to another location. This turned out to be the better option, with no people and no noise, at a totally private beach location. As a trip leader, I always have backup options in mind if the first location doesn’t work out. It’s best to have a flexible mindset when traveling in Baja. Our mantra is, “We operate on a FIRM policy of Flexibility, subject to change at a moment’s notice.” 

Photo by Lory Perfect

What is an area of overland travel that you think you have nailed?  

I am very good at doing location research and planning trip routes. I know how to read maps, read the terrain, and do not have to rely on electronics or GPS; plus, I have a good sense of direction. Talking with locals is always key to a successful overlanding trip as well.   

I’ve been told I’m good at packing a vehicle where it’s important to create order out of chaos. We all need to access our gear easily, and I no longer overpack.  

And what is an area of overland travel that you feel you could use some improvement in?  

I am improving my skills in complex vehicle recovery and cooking. After leading a group of vehicles, herding people, intense driving, flying a drone, shooting photos, and talking on the radio. I’m tired by the time we get to camp. The last thing I want to do is cook. For that reason, I really enjoy our chef-prepared meals on our trips.   

You can catch Lory’s great classes and plenty more at Overland Expo East, October 6-8 in Arrington, Virginia.

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