Our Northeast Invasion Continues
Welcome to the second half of 2010 Ultimate Adventure. For those of you unfamiliar with the UA, here's a rundown. Each year we gather up a group of diehard wheeling enthusiast for a weeklong off-road journey unlike any other wheeling trip on the planet. In the group of off-road misfits are readers just like you (a record seven this year), a handful of old cronies to help herd the pack, a few sponsors to keep the lights on, 4WOR staff, and a film crew to document the chaos sure to ensue.
Leading the group for the 10th time was Editor-in-Chief Rick Péwé in his highly custom Jeep, dubbed the CJ-17 for its WWII B-17 bomber influences (look for more info on the CJ-17 in this issue). The rules of the trip include no trailers (must be able to drive at least 1,000 miles both on- and off-road), vehicles and participants must be entirely self-sufficient (food, water, spare U-joints, and engines), and most importantly, No Whining! Those are just a few of the basics. If you think you have what it takes to come along on the adventure, apply for next year's UA at our website, www.4wheeloffroad.com.
With this year's trip kicking off in Keene, New Hampshire, we have steadily made our trek through some of the toughest wheeling the Northeast has to offer. Last month we left off as our medley of off-road patrons was finishing up Day 4 at the Rok-Park OHV Area just outside of Fonda, New York. For this final installment we journey through the last four days of the adventure, which take us through the backwoods of Pennsylvania and into a secret off-road paradise in the Virginia Mountains. To find out more about the Ultimate Adventure and see lasts month's coverage, visit www.4wheeloffroad.com/2010/ultimateadventure.
Day 5: Wednesday, July 7
Ice Cream 4-Wheeling
As we rolled up our sleeping bags and packed our rigs for the trek ahead, we heard the call for the early morning drivers meeting. Making our way up the wooded path from our primitive camp ground digs, the sun radiated through the treetop canopy, a warm reminder of why they were calling this Northeastern heat wave record breaking. Once we arrived at the top of the hill we found our band of veteran UA cronies whipping up a pancake and Spam breakfast for the group. The reason for stopping earlier in the week to load up on containers of Smith Family pure Vermont maple syrup became clear. The rich blend of fancy syrup and golden homemade flapjacks kicked off the morning nicely. With our bellies full and gas tanks nearly empty from yesterday's epic wheeling, we said goodbye to the gracious Rok-Park host (www.rok-freekz.com) and continued our tour of the Northeast.
Cutting our way through the scenic backroads, we dipped and climbed through the heavily wooded forest and valleys. With views of the countryside that seemed to continue for miles, we slowly etched our way out of New York and into the state that many Amish love to call home, Pennsylvania. It wasn't long before we were passing buggies of a more classic nature and adding a touch of color and modern rumble to the very rural and picturesque part of the nation.
By this time in the week the tough trails, long miles, and nonstop pace usually begins to wear on both the rigs and their drivers. Whether it's a worn suspension joint, an out-of-balance driveline, a loose bolt, or a shrinking bladder, a quick jaunt down the highway can bring these seemingly small problems to light fast. So with less than 80 miles of highway driving under our belts, we made a pit stop so a few of the rigs could check out some concerning noises.
As luck would have it, our impromptu pit stop happened between an ice cream shop and a flower nursery. Since no one was really in the market for tulips, we sweet-talked the ice cream shop owner into opening up a little early and serving up a few scoops of his fresh soft serve to the group. Downing our chilly treats before the heat melted them away, we all loaded up again for another long leg of driving.
While the straightest line to your next destination may be the quickest, it usually isn't the most scenic. Shadowing our trip through Pennsylvania was the Susquehanna River. This long and wide flowing body of water crisscrossed us throughout the day and was a refreshing sight, even if we didn't get to dive in.
Along with the river we encountered a series of notable sites. And while a drive past a nuclear powerplant and a turn under the world's largest concrete bridge might not be high on your must-do list, they were interesting ways to break up the blacktop jog.
With daylight drawing to a close, we arrived at our next wheeling and camping spot, Rausch Creek Off-Road Park (www.rc4x4.org). Waiting for us with the floodlights on and dinner packed in the pavilion were Tremont, Pennsylvania, locals and park overseers Bruce Shallis and Lynn Ehrenfeld. After a few brief introductions and setting up our campsites, the group was invited to grab some grub from Paulie's Cookin' catering service. This mouthwatering food selection was a great way to end a long and hot road day and a perfect way to unwind under the starlight-free sky.