Not every vehicle that attends the SEMA Show was built to be simply a show car. Gary and Monika Wescott attracted much attention to their custom truck, which is equipped to handle just about anything life could throw at them on the road. For over 40 years now, Gary has committed his life to traveling around the world. To do this, he had to make sure his vehicle could stand up to the extreme elements as well as carry all his necessities. This inspired Gary to make upgrades to his vehicles throughout the many years of travel. Today, Gary and Monika Wescott trek across the world in a Ford F-550 with a customized camper shell on the back. It has all the amenities and comforts of home minus the square footage.
The Turtle Expedition truck at SEMA
Gary and Monika Wescott's Ford F-550 with a custom camper shell at the 2011 SEMA Show
K&N had a chance to ask Gary some questions about SEMA and his adventures:
What was the process of getting the truck ready for SEMA?
Continuous maintenance and preparations at our shop, like taking all the tires off and cleaning the back side, design and modifications for two show cards, 12-hour drive to Las Vegas, $10 in the car wash followed by two days of waxing, Armor All, and nitpicking detail. This year, Chuck Swartz marked us a VIPs, so we got to move in a day early in a reserved spot we have used for several years. The funny thing is, everyone always wants to know where we have been and where we are going, but at SEMA, the truck has to look like it has never been off the road. With 130,000 miles on it now, that gets increasingly difficult.
Have you received any awards or had any magazines feature The Turtle Expedition truck?
We were recently inducted as Fellows into the Royal Geographical Society, and we have been nominated for induction into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. I write for Four Wheeler, Trailer Life, MotorHome, Truckin', Truck Trend, Diesel Power, 8-Lug HD Trucks, Power Stroke Registry, Overland Journal and Turbo Diesel Registry, so travel and tech features are ongoing. The next issue of Four Wheeler will have the history of all The Turtle Expedition trucks. Overland Journal is planning a series called "Living Legends", which we will be part of.
2011 SEMA Show featured The Turtle Expedition Ford F-550 outside of the Central Hall
How long have you been involved with The Turtle Expedition?
39 years - 40 in 2012
Why did you use K&N products in your vehicle?
Our extended adventures are measured in years, not weeks. The life of our engine and truck in general are the most important aspect of our day-to-day life on the road after our health. We cannot carry 10 air filters, so being able to wash our K&Ns and reuse them is a huge saving of space. Back in the early 80's when we first met Ken Johnson and later John Shelton, we were impressed by the quality of the K&N Filters. K&N has been an important sponsor for over 20 years.
What has been your experience with K&N?
Not much to experience except their ongoing product support and the confidence that we are using the best air filters available. We recall having lunch and taking a tour of the plant with Ken Johnson back before K&N really started to grow.
This SEMA featured Turtle Expedition truck can go just about anywhere.
What does the vehicle do when it's not traveling?
Aside from ongoing modifications in preparation for The Trans-Eurasian Odyssey, driving from Lisbon, Portugal to Shanghai, China through 26 countries and following the legendary Silk Road, The Turtle V is used for tech stories and travel/adventure features for the various magazines I write for.
How long have you been going to SEMA?
Chuck Swartz and I figured out that it has been about 24 years.
What are your goals for the coming year?
Finish final preparations on The Turtle V. Place The Turtle IV in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, NV. Pack up all our belongings in our garage. Drive east to ship the truck to Europe and the start of The Trans-Eurasian Odyssey.
For further updates on Gary and Monika's Turtle Expedition and The Trans-Eurasian Odyssey, visit their website: http://turtleexpedition.com. Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.