Ultimate Adventure 2018- Part Two #UA2018
Part 2: New States, New Trails, New England
When we left our merry band of off-roaders and Austin Powers impersonators, they had just left Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park in Warren, New Hampshire. They stopped for the night at the nearby Pine Haven Campground. By the end of Day 3 everyone was hitting their stride. While the mud dried, Ian Johnson shared some of his private whiskey stash with the group around the campfire.
The next day started by breaking down camp and traveling back roads through the White Mountains as we repeatedly weaved our way in and out of New Hampshire and Vermont. Along the way our group passed through Windsor, known as the birthplace of Vermont, where the constitution of Vermont was drafted in 1777 prior to the state joining the Union.
|Day 1||Rocky Mountain Terrain Park; Carthage, Maine|
|Day 2||Wilton to Berlin via Bethel|
|Mount Washington, New Hampshire|
|Day 3||Jericho Mountain State Park|
|Mountain Mud Run|
Day 4: Crazy 8sAfter crossing over the Connecticut River via covered bridges, passing numerous Revolution-era cemeteries, and sailing by sawmills that date back centuries, we met up with members of the Eastern 4Wheelers, the oldest 4x4 club in Connecticut. They have been the curators of a 62-acre parcel of land dubbed Crazy 8s for the past 20 years, developing trails over the rock outcrops and between the trees on the property. Unlike most of the trails we ran in New England, Crazy 8s consisted of large rock slabs instead of smaller, loose boulders. These slabs were still covered in slick mud though, requiring wheel speed to surmount the obstacles. And that was in nice weather!
After we left Crazy 8s the skies opened up and soaked the drivers of the buggies and open-top Jeeps to the bone. Fortunately we’d already planned to stay at a hotel in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that night, so everyone was dry and comfortable.
Day 5: Sawmill & Old Rhinebeck AerodromeThursday morning was a wet one, and everyone was soaked to the bone by the time we met up with Frank Fredsall at the Sawmill. The Fredsall family has owned this 240-acre piece of land since 1953, long before anyone thought about wheeling it.
After leaving the Sawmill we made a stop at the Beckley Furnace in Canaan, Connecticut. This pig iron furnace dates back to 1847 and continued in operation until 1919. The furnace site became a state park in 1946 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 to recognize and preserve its place in our nation’s history of industrialization and innovation. Trent McGee really knocked it out of the park this year finding hidden gems like this along the backroads of New England during his event prerun.
The furnace was just a warm-up for the next stop: Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Our group of gearheads went nuts over the planes and antique automobiles, ranging from reconstructions of canvas-skinned Wright Brothers planes to the Golden Age of Flight (between WWI and WWII). The museum has an airstrip across the street where airshows are performed on summer weekends. They even give rides in biplanes!
From the aerodrome we restocked on our way to Northeast Offroad Adventures in Ellenville, New York. There we camped for the night.
Day 6: Northeast Off-Road Adventures & Millersburg FerryOn Friday we were spoiled. As the group rolled out of our sleeping bags we locked the hubs and aired down the tires and hit the trail without ever touching pavement. You have heard of the farm-to-table movement? Well, this is tent-to-trail!
Jon Mapes led us around the 68 acres at Northeast Off-Road Adventures. The trails are well marked, as Mapes and the rest of the staff at NORA regularly teach classes at the facility on driving techniques, vehicle recovery, and more. We probably could benefit from some of those classes ourselves, as we racked up a rollover, a broken axleshaft, and a damaged radiator at Northeast Off-Road Adventures. Scaling the rock ledges at the park required just the right amount of momentum.
From NORA we worked our way east through New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, through the Pocono Mountains and along the Delaware Water Gap. The group crossed from New Jersey into Pennsylvania on Dingman’s Toll Bridge before finding ourselves at the shore of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Longtime readers of the magazine will recall that Rick Péwé always tried to incorporate ferry rides into the UA. In 2010, he actually wanted to take the Millersburg Ferry from Millersburg to Liverpool, but the water was too low for safe passage. Fortunately that was not the case this year, and we can say without reservation that the ferry ride was worth the wait. The only downside is that we knew our weeklong adventure was closer to an end as the sun dipped below the horizon.
Day 7: Anthracite Outdoor Adventure AreaThe last day of the Ultimate Adventure is often bittersweet. No one wanted the trip to end, but it was difficult to be sullen during our time at Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Park. AOAA consists of 6,500 acres and miles of trails ranging from mild to wild, making it by far the largest park we visited on our trip. What really makes this park unique though is that it is leased by the Northumberland County AOAA Authority using grant money to repurpose former coal land. This unique arrangement is the result of seven years of hard work and coordination between the local wheeling community and county government and serves as a shining example for other groups to follow in their own communities.
The trails at AOAA ain’t too shabby either! Steve Risk gave us a guided tour of Barney Rubble, Thunder Alley, Screaming Jimmy’s Hill, and more. Despite this being the last day on the trail, no one went for broke at AOAA, and we were pleased to end the weeklong event this year with all of the vehicles and participants we’d started with.
We weren’t even back to Selinsgrove for the wrap-up celebration before we started scheming over plans and ideas for Ultimate Adventure 2019. Where will we go? What should we build? Even though this trip is only one week long, the UA finds its way into your soul once you’re exposed to it, and there’s no known cure. Not that we have tried to find one.