Area Coordinators

Northwest Overland Area Coordinators are key people in the group that help rally local members for meetups, trips, and other gatherings. The best part about NWOL is the sense of community we have, and that all starts with our Area Coordinators. We also feel it is important that you know who your Area Coordinators are, so here are their faces and their bios, so you get to know us.

Dan Cronin

President, Northwest Overland/Tacoma Area Coordinator

My years of adventure and off-road travel started when I was about 6 years old. I grew up in the Bay Area of California and my dad (as some of you may know, personally) used to take me up to the coastal range and areas around Yosemite Nat’l Park, exploring old forest roads. Eventually, we moved to the Treasure Valley of Idaho. And, for a short time, I was able to see remote places of Idaho and I started to fall in love with the idea of “What’s over that next hill”.

In my 20’s I spent the majority of that time, traveling around the world in the Navy. Europe, North Africa, The Caribbean, The Arctic Circle and most of the Middle East. I really started to make a connection with the old Land Rovers over there and after my service in Operation Desert Storm, I became a civilian again and started restoring Land Rovers as a hobby. That started in 1995.

During the late ’90’s and early 2000’s, I discovered overland adventures as a way to continue my love of travel from my military service. Eventually, becoming a member of The Northwest Overland Society, then eventually taking over the reigns in 2012. Now today, running this amazing organization and interfacing with such great humans, I am fulfilling this dream I once had as a kid, in the mountains of California, to belong to a community of like minded adventurists. I am excited to share my past and future adventures with everyone on this forum and in this community.

 

Benny Benson

South Puget Sound

I’ve been hanging out on NW Overland since 2007 but have been playing off-road since buying my first 4×4 in 1995. I caught the outdoorsy/camping bug when I was a kid and when I had the chance to merge the two together, my wallet has been pretty slim since. I pretty much enjoy anything that gets me outside to include meeting new folks and encouraging them to get their rigs off the pavement for the first time.

I drive a 2017 Dodge Ram Power Wagon.

Bryan Hoult

North Puget Sound

Off road adventures began for me on a motorcycle. I grew up in southeast King County, and at that time, one could link forestry roads and power line access trails from Maple Valley to Stampede Pass and only have to cross a few county roads. I’d spend a majority of my summer Saturdays blasting around the hills on one of my old dirt bikes. During summers in college, I worked in Naknek, Alaska at a cannery. After work we would take advantage of the midnight sun and drag a skiff up to one of the many local lakes or rivers with an old WWII era ¼ ton Dodge and fish for trout.

I was enamored then as I am now with the natural beauty you get to witness only by veering off the beaten path. The intervening years have found me rebuilding or otherwise resurrecting a number of trucks for camping or other excursions – everything from a 1962 Land Rover to a 1999 Suburban. In addition to the areas around Puget Sound, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring east of the cascades and much of southern British Columbia.

I have a boat as well, so I’ve had a chance to explore the islands and some of the inside passage along the BC coast. The biggest thrill for me is to share the outdoor experience with others, and get to see a little bit of the world through the eyes of those I travel with.

I drive a 1988 Range Rover Classic.
HAM Call Sign KD7WPK.

Jake Burley

Treasure Valley

I’ve been car camping most of my life. From the time I was a young kid to now with my own young girls. I’ve also been involved with building and off-roading 4×4’s since before I could drive. For a long time I either spent my weekends building in the garage or up in the mountains four wheeling or camping with the family. About 4 years ago I got turned on to the term “overlanding”. It started with slow days at work and endless YouTube searches. The original Camel Trophy videos started it and from there it snowballed. I was hooked. Overlanding was a combination of everything I loved. Exploring the outdoors, building and prepping a vehicle for adventure and camping with the family.  I was lucky enough to make it to the first NWOL Treasure Valley meeting in April of 2014. Having like minded people around has only fueled my passion for overlanding.

~Jake Burley

Guy Miner

Wenatchee Area

Mis-spent my youth in the Marines, where I was fortunate enough to do some wonderful “overlanding” in the Persian Gulf region as well as other garden spots around the world…

Have enjoyed the outdoor world as a hiker, cross-country skier, backpacker, hunter, fisherman and 4×4 enthusiast for a long time. Started getting more serious about exploring the west by four-wheel drive in the mid 1980’s and have been at it ever since. My wife would be navigating, map in hand, and exclaim “Let’s take this little road!” So we did, and those little roads led to many wonderful adventures, mostly in the Northwest. Travelled the WABDR in 2014. Four hundred miles by Jeep and two hundred miles by motorcycle. What a great route! Looks like I’m doing that same route again, I liked it so much. Admittedly, I prefer trips that take me somewhere I intend to stay for a few days, fishing, camping, enjoying the area. But I also like road trips, especially dusty/muddy road trips!

I’m NOT an accomplished mechanic, but I have a good cell phone and a credit card. Can usually winch and/or dig my way out of places I shouldn’t have driven into. Will do my best to keep people from getting stuck on trips. I prefer the mellow approach to off-pavement travel, why break a truck when I can just slow down? Scenic, interesting routes are my favorites.

Want to find me when I’m not driving the 4×4 or riding something on two wheels? Look for me at a trout stream, fly rod in hand.

Michael Fung

Portland/Vancouver Area Coordinator

As an inner city kid, my enthusiasm for the outdoors did not start until the late 80s when a friend convinced me to buy a fancy mountain bike and ride some trails. Fast single tracks got me addicted to speed, fancy CNC’d parts and mud. Mountain bikes turned to road bikes which led to motorcycles – all of which kept me smiling until work slowly took more and more, then most, of my time.

Humans are not meant to be trapped indoors. As a business consultant specializing in demand generation, marketing and sales, my time was spent indoors or on a plane. That was until I got married and the in-laws introduced me to ATVs and glamping. Speed and the outdoors had me immediately addicted once again. A 42 foot toy hauler is nice but not my style so I searched for alternatives. That search led me right to overlanding! A do-it-all vehicle dripping in hardware that can go anywhere and haul a small trailer full of toys/gear – what is there not to love?! The thrill of going slow is just a bonus and things not breaking as often is nice too. Exploring cool places while experiencing natures beauty, that most people only see in pictures, with a community of good people makes overlanding a core piece of family time.

My current hardware addiction includes a few old mountain & road bikes, odd ball old motorcycles (not running), a couple of ATVs and rigs that are slowly becoming more overland worthy:

2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland (4.7HO V8, 4.5” short arm lift, 32” tires, cargo rack and NO light bars)

2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi Quad Cab (2” lift, 34” tires, 4.56 gears, Detroit TruTrac LSD)

1994 Ford Bronco (351w, SAS, 35” tires, Detroit TruTrac LSD, 4.10 gears). Yes, a Ford Bronco! I have always wanted one and it actually makes a great overlander with a stock 32gal gas tank and sleeps two adults comfortably.

With a toddler and another child on the way, I may need to reconsider my rig choices.

I have only been overlanding for a few years and consider myself a knowledgeable beginner. I am lucky to have a large community of advanced and even expert overlanders to help guide me/us. I like getting people together and making things happen! I always say, “the journey is the destination” and enjoy all types of overlanding and outdoor adventures.

I can be found on NWOL and Twitter: @_ironMichael when I am not out on the trail or working out in the gym.

Jesse Baker

Portland/Vancouver Area Assistant Coordinator

That moment when I arrive to a new destination, shut off the vehicle, look around me and breathe in the fresh, uncontaminated air of nature; that’s what I love most about overlanding. The opportunities we are presented as a result of our unique vehicles is what really draws me to this lifestyle. Beyond the quiet moments with nature, overlanding also gives a network of community that is so fun to be part of. Wether we go out for a few hours or a few days, the stories shared and memories made are always enjoyable.

Growing up in the Bay area, California, I did’t have too many opportunities to just slip out back and explore nature. Even though, some of my strongest childhood memories were of going out, during those opportunities, to explore and be outside. My life now has me working at a desk, as a Quality Assurance Analyst for a software company. I retreat from my urban desk to our little paradise on two acres, in Forest Grove, OR. Adventure is never too far away, living only a short thirty minute drive from Tillamook State Forest, where we have been found setting up camp for an impromptu overnight adventure. The big adventures of exploring all corners of Oregon, long road trips through Montana and exploration through Washington have been recent highlights to our adventures. This is a great community of like-minded people looking to leave that urban sprawl and explore the beauty of nature in ways many would never experience. As my Instagram page is titled, let’s get out and explore nature and take in “Adventure By Volume”

Cole Kelly

Spokane Area Coordinator

Born in Reno, NV, my love of the outdoors started very young with pictures of me as a 3 year old at the summit of Mt. Rose strapped to my dad’s backpack. I was offroading before I could walk, bouncing around in the back of the family Ford Bronco. With a family move to the Bay Area, offroading and mountains were replaced with sports cars and track days, but we would always make time for a couple camping trips to Yosemite or Big Sur every now and then.

When it was time for me to choose a college, I wanted to get as far away from Bay Area living as possible, so I ended up choosing Gonzaga University here in Spokane. With a now obvious excuse for picking up something to get back into offroading, I picked up an ‘88 Toyota FJ62 Landcruiser, attended my first Northwest Overland meeting, and was immediately enamored with the amount of camaraderie the group provided. At my first NW Overland Rally I ended up stranded on one of the trail runs, but Dan and company jumped to my rescue and went above and beyond to help me get back on the road.

Since graduating I have moved to Portland, San Francisco, and have now landed back in Spokane and can’t be more excited! In that time I have added a Yamaha WR250R and a BMW R1150GS to the stable and put quite a few more adventures under my belt.

I have a passion for photography, videography, entrepreneurship, and anything with wheels; my favorite part of NW Overland is being able to share and connect with others with those same passions. With plans for quite a few overlanding/ADV bike trips in the near future, I look forward to growing relationships within NW Overland and continuing to meet even more of you!