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Overlanding The Allegheny National Forest

Overlanding The Allegheny National Forest

In spite of our best efforts, our winter projects rolled right up to the beginning of spring.  Normally this is okay, but the tail end of our winter was more spring-like than some of the first weekends of the actual spring.

Due to the ugly weather (and some other things), we have had a heck of a time getting out to enjoy the fruit of those winter project efforts. Something that needed rectifying and pronto!

So, we set our sights on 5/20/17 and decided this would be a trip with Klondike. Initially, we tried to put a rookie trail ride together.  When scheduling became an issue for people to tag along, we changed it up and decided to visit the Allegheny National Forest for some solo overlanding fun. 😛

The Allegheny National Forest covers just over half a million acres in Northwest Pennsylvania. While the area is wild and beautiful, it also lies in a rich oil and gas region. In addition to the O&G production, logging is also present which means, over time, the area has become full of roads and trails now under the control of the US Forestry Service.

It didn’t take us long after entering the region to find one of these roads and start exploring…

 

We quickly realized that the area was far too large to cover in one weekend so we set our sights on the north-central area (south of the Kinzua Dam, along the river and Kinzua creek/bay). Our plan at this time was to come back for another area in the future (more on why we may not later).

This new strategy meant hitting some pavement again to work toward that target area, but we needed to stretch our legs. So before the cruise there we made a quick stop for a super short hike at the Tidioute Overlook.

 

It was a pretty neat spot that had a nice view of Courson Island on one side and of Tidioute City at the other. The nicer thing by far, was the leg stretch!

 

Before long, we were back in the woods and on dirt. All of the roads were pretty well maintained. Often so much so that it was easy to find yourself gawking and moving a touch too quickly. A situation soon to be reprimanded for by the rogue holes that were sparse but prevalent.

 

After a long run on Hook Run Road (FS-160) we ended up stopping at Jakes Rocks. Here, we took in another short hike and a few overlooks.

 

The Allegheny River was not the only sight to see on this little hike. There are many outcroppings of large rocks that host interesting vegetation and critters.

This tree is proof that where there is a will, there is a way…

 

On our way back out I got caught partially in the moment and on a mission at the same time. This little bee was fun to watch hopping from flower to flower faster than I could ever muster a camera focus. This was the closest I got.

 

After a bunch more dirt road exploring we decided to set our sights on finding a campsite. Dispersed camping is allowed in many places throughout the forest and you can spot areas that are set up for it.

Knowing where you can and cannot be, however, is another matter and proved to be rather difficult. We have always had good luck with National Geographic maps and, while we consult several other sources, they have proven to be very reliable and our “go to” for navigation. Unfortunately, we found a very high level of inconsistencies with all of our navigation sources. We used Gaia Maps, Maplets, Google Maps, NatGeo Maps, The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM), and the Jeep’s GPS/Map (which is actually quite good). Sadly, we had a hard time finding consistency among any of them on what roads we were able to be on and, as soon as we thought we had it figured out, we came across a closed gate or sign stating otherwise.

Eventually, we did find a nice secluded spot to set up camp and we were at least fairly certain we were allowed to be there.

 

This site proved to be pretty amazing really. It was about a mile down a dead end, two-track dirt road and from the time we turned on it until the time we left the following morning, there was not another human soul to be heard or seen. We did have a few visits from a noisy turkey and a nosey raccoon that tested our trash bin.

We all slept pretty amazing but broke camp fairly quickly after breakfast to beat out weather we thought was headed our way.

Once rolling again, we got some cellular reception and learned that weather was still out a few hours so we made a few stops before heading home. The first was an overlook of the Kinzua Point and Complanter Bridge.

 

Just a short jaunt down the road was the Kinzua Dam.

 

The walkway at the dam had several flowering bushes and trees all along it and, since I am still working out all the features of my new camera, I decided to snap a few shots.

 

Then on the way out we spotted something that supports my theory that Pennsylvania is thirty years behind the rest of the country…. Kegan didn’t even know what this was. 😛 This said, I don’t remember ever needing to put $0.50 in one or there being QR-codes on them. 😉

 

This was the first real run with the trailer and Klondike pulling it. For the most part, everything went absolutely great. I did have an issue with the rubber skirt I added to the fenders to fully cover the tires that needs worked out but I think it will be a pretty easy fix. Klondike, on the other hand, was both amazing and horrible… She performed much better than expected in every way except fuel economy which is the entire reason we have this rig! I hate to admit it, but we saw tank averages as low as 10.8 MPG. This is a major bummer and will likely impact our uses for her in the future.

As for the Allegheny National Forest, the date restrictions and limited availability of >50” wide vehicles, along with the uneasy feeling of knowing if you are legally where you should be will likely prevent us from spending much time there in the future.

If ATVs, dirtbikes, or side-by-sides are your thing, this is a really neat place you should check out. Even mountain bikers have more resources available than “highway legal vehicles”. There is always hiking, but from what we could tell these trails are largely multi use or more designed for multi-day backpacking.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this, if so tell us and leave a comment!

Shawnee State (Ohio) Forestry Roads

Shawnee State (Ohio) Forestry Roads

If you are looking for a little backcountry getaway, Ohio’s Shawnee State Forest may be just the right destination. Especially if you are looking for more of a drive than a hike. With the recent cold snap and projects on pause, this is just what we were looking for.

The forest itself is nearly 64,000 acres and is nestled between the Scioto and Adams counties. Nicknamed “The Little Smokies of Ohio” there are some similarities, but I personally think this is stretching it a bit. The Shawnee Forest is the largest state forest in Ohio but is far from an untouched resource. We were a bit saddened to see all of the logging that is present. Throughout our visit, evidence of past and current logging is evident.

The Shawnee is also one of the only state lands to have open forestry roads. These roads are very well maintained. There would be no problem exploring this area in any vehicle. To this point, exploration by car is likely the way most will utilize the area. An exception to this would be if you had horses. Bridle trails are plentiful and from what we could tell well maintained. A massive place for improvement would be in hiking trails. While the forest does have over 60 miles of hiking trails, they are not well suited for day use, but rather for backpackers looking to backcountry camp on multi-day hikes.

Our visit would begin on the north side of the forest and meander along the forestry roads in an serpentine fashion. We would be following a modified version of the “Panoramic Scenic Drive “. Our hopes were that we would catch the highlights of this loop but also get into the more remote areas. We used Maplets to navigate the park. The map below is the path we took.

 

Once in the forest, it didn’t take us long to realize a fall revisit is absolutely necessary. While many of the views were just a bit too masked for pictures, it was easy to see the through the trees in person to wonderful views of the valleys below the high spots.

 

About a third of the way into our loop we passed the Copperhead Fire Tower. We learned that this 1924 built structure was the first fire watch tower in Ohio and still stands strong. It is open for the public and, even though it was pretty cold and very windy, we decided to make the 60 foot climb to the top.

 

 

In a quest for pictures, I was the only one to make the full climb with Alana and Kegan stopping after about 40 feet for either being cold and/or being bothered by the wind.

I can’t wait for a fall sunset/sunrise revisit here.

 

As we headed back toward Klondike (and her heated seats and steering wheel). I grabbed this shot of the road we were on. As you can see, even the gravel/dirt roads are in excellent shape. There really is no reason any car couldn’t handle this journey.

 

Just around the corner from the spot above was a large overlook that was begging for a photo-op in spite of the fact we had yet to fully warm from the fire tower climb. I was hoping for a family picture here, but Alana and Kegan were not getting out so it’s another shot of Klondike in the landscape. As you can see the running lights are still on, this is because the Jeep is running with the heat on max!

 

Back on the road for some time, we were soon transitioning to the southern half of the forest that is split by SR-125. About half way along this transition is a small loop for access to Wolfden Run Lake. It’s not much of a drive at all, but is a gem of a location for fishing, day camp, or picnic. In our case…. It was another photo-op with just Klondike. I will take the blame on this one though as I backed here up to the water’s edge and it was a bit muddy to get out. (In truth, I asked if they wanted out before backing there and the mud was more of an excuse to stay in 😉 .)

 

While we enjoyed the drive through the southern part of the forest, there were not many special spots for pictures. This was largely due to the dark and chilly weather along with our unwillingness to get out and walk a bit. Normally, weather doesn’t deter us too much but we knew before we even set out on this trip we were not feeling like much more than a drive.

Another note on this area is that there is still a fair amount of visible damage present from the 2009 fires that charred approximately 2800 acres. As if this were not sad enough, it’s made even worse by the knowledge that the cause was ruled arson but remains unsolved.

As we headed out of the area we crossed a small bridge that had a stream running over a solid slab of rock. The reds in the stone and green of the moss was honestly pretty amazing in this otherwise very brown environment.

 

It might sound weird, but this little spot made our day. Alana rolled down the window and we just listened to the water for a few minutes. I’m pretty sure she even took some phone video.

 

It’s always interesting what you can find and enjoy when you just slow down and open your eyes. These little trips help ground us and realize the world and life is much more special than just working and paying bills. Take a break from the “hustle and bustle”…. Explore! You might find more than you expect.

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this. If so, please leave a comment.

 

Nine overland trips every Jeeper should do!

Nine overland trips every Jeeper should do!

Mrs. SSS and I have another cross-country trip planned next year to see our son who is stationed in Washington. Our trek will take us through many places we still have on our bucket list, and as such, we are planning an overlanding adventure to make the most of the trip. (This is actually the whole reason we purchased Klondike.) A recent article from Sean Holman of Four Wheeler Magazine came in perfect time for us and our planning. I have found the information and links so helpful, I wanted to share….

Hopefully it will inspire your next adventure!


 

 

Sean P. Holman
Content Director, Four Wheeler Network

 

In the spirit of escaping the daily grind, we polled the staff for some of their favorite overland trips that are right here in the good ol’ U.S.A. While this is just a handful of the awesome adventures that await you in the American backcountry, these are some of our most well loved excursions filled with adventure, history, and scenery. Any of these trips can be done with a well-equipped stock, or minimally modified rig. So in no particular order, here is our list of domestic excursions every wheeler should consider.

Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a series of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina featuring miles of OHV routes along the Atlantic Ocean, giving wheelers a unique opportunity to wheel right on the coast. One of the more popular areas is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (www.nps.gov/caha), which is home to lighthouses, Civil War history, and protected sea life. Most of the OHV routes can easily be traversed in a stock 4×4 with proper tire pressure, although some routes are seasonal. Plan to visit the remote town of Carova Beach and/or have your rig ferried to the incredible South Core Banks.
Info: North Carolina’s Outer Banks
www.outer-banks.com

awesome Adventures outer Banks North Carolina Photo 39472315

Death Valley, California
Death Valley National Park has the distinction of being the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America and encompasses more than 5,200 square miles of desolate terrain. Off-highway trails abound, and any explorer with the right resources can easily discover vast amounts of geologic and human history. Because of Death Valley’s size and desolate nature, you can go days between human contact in the backcountry and the hostile environment is a study in extremes. The terrain can be challenging, but a stock SUV can access the majority of trails with proper equipment and a skilled driver.
Info: Death Valley National Park
www.nps.gov/deva/

awesome Adventures death Valley California Photo 39472318

Moab, Utah
Moab is often considered the sport of wheeling’s Mecca in the United States. With incredible scenery unmatched by just about anywhere else on earth and trails of all lengths and difficulties that crisscross the terrain, anyone can find enjoyment in Moab. For those looking to extend their journey to Moab, try arriving via the dirt trails of the San Rafael Swell or Mexican Hat.
Info: City of Moab
www.discovermoab.com

awesome Adventures moab Utah Photo 39472321

Black Bear Pass, Colorado
Proving that Colorado is home to some of the most spectacular trails in the United States, Black Bear Road starts from U.S. Highway 550 between the towns of Ouray and Silverton and ends up in Telluride, Colorado. Reaching a maximum elevation of 12,840 feet, vehicles on Black Bear Road navigate tight switchbacks, loose terrain, and falling rock, but those who make the trip are rewarded with views of Ingram and Bridal Veil Falls and an unmatched perspective of Telluride. The local trail system includes other famous routes, such as Imogene Pass, Ophir Pass, Bullion King Lake, and Red Mountain Pass.
Info: Mile High Jeep Club
www.mhjc.com

awesome Adventures black Bear Pass Colorado Photo 39472324

Mojave Road, California
One of the original routes through the Mojave Desert to the California Coast, the Mojave Road is located mostly within the Mojave National Preserve. This trail is a step back in time with rich history that follows the path of Native Americans and early settlers of California. The 138-mile route starts on the banks of the Colorado River, crossing several mountain ranges, and terrain types before culminating near Barstow, California. While the trail isn’t technically difficult, it is does cross deep sand, sharp rocks, and desolate areas, giving travelers a glimpse of what it must have been like for settlers during the turn of the century. The Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier is a must-have resource for anyone who plans on traversing the historic route and is available from the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association (www.mdhcs.org).
Info: Mojave National Preserve
www.nps.gov/moja

awesome Adventures mojave Trail California Photo 39472327

Morrison Jeep Trail, Wyoming
The Morrison Jeep Trail, located northwest of Cody, Wyoming, and southwest of Billings, Montana, is known for its 27 tight switchbacks that make up the ascent from the Clarks Fork River to the top of Bear Tooth Plateau. This trail is another example of stunning scenery that can be accessed behind the wheel of a capable 4×4. After paralleling the Clarks Fork River, wheelers start the 2,000-foot climb, before being granted admittance to the stunning high country of Wyoming and Montana. Any number of trails in the area can extend your backcountry stay indefinitely.
Info: Magic City 4-Wheelers
www.mc4w.com

awesome Adventures morrison Jeep Trail Wyoming Photo 39472330

Border to Border
Back in 2010, Four Wheeler contributor Chris Collard successfully navigated from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, almost entirely on dirt. Even with the population explosion in the West, we were amazed that the ability to drive the entire height of the Western U.S. was still possible. Collard did have to make some adjustments to the formula, such as hitting pavement on East-West routes to bypass land closures, as well as adding in a few side trips, extending the run from about 1,300 miles to more than 2,700 miles. With the ability to complete this epic off-road journey fading fast, this is one you’ll want to attempt sooner than later.
Info: Four Wheeler
www.fourwheeler.com

awesome Adventures jeep Jk Wheeling Photo 39472333

Rubicon Trail, California
Long considered one of the best wheeling trails in the world (hey, there are even Jeeps named after it), the legendary Rubicon Trail is known for amazing scenery and challenging obstacles. From tight boulder fields to granite slabs with unbridled vistas, the Rubicon is often rearranged by winter weather, making no two trips exactly the same. No one who has ever traversed the Rubicon will argue that The Rubicon Trail should be atop every wheeler’s “To Do” list.
Info: Friends of the Rubicon
www.rubiconfriends.com;
Rubicon Trail Foundation
www.rubicontrail.org

awesome Adventures rubicon Trail California Photo 39472336

Lewis and Clark Trail, North Dakota
Four Wheeler contributors Manrico Delcore and Mary Beth Debicki negotiated the Lewis and Clark Trail in 2005, as did Senior Editor Brubaker and Tech Editor Holman. From the trail we experienced immense views of the North Dakota badlands and sat at an overlook of the Missouri River once use by Lewis and Clark themselves. If you like to combine history with your adventure, this is a great trail to explore.
Info: Four Wheeler
www.fourwheeler.com

awesome Adventures lewis And Clark Trail North Dakota Photo 39472339

Source
2016’s Top Off Road Trails & Parks in America?

2016’s Top Off Road Trails & Parks in America?

PartCatalog just released their 2016 “Top Off Road Trails” in America list (or at least in 38 states in America). Additionally, they announced the highest rated trails/parks based on all of the submissions they received. It’s important to note that this list is for all venues of off-roading. Why is this detail important? Well, some parks or trails are better for certain types of vehicles. For example, Windrock OHV Park in TN earned second place but is far from a top pick in our opinion for full-sized rigs. I do see where side-by-sides and ATVs would strongly agree with this award though.

Even though we already spoiled this a bit, their top rated trails/parks for 2016 are:

SMORR [MO]

SMOOR [MO]

Windrock [TN]

MOAB [UT]

As for the remainder of the list, I personally don’t agree with many of the rankings, but to be honest, this is pretty trivial when compared to the other issues I have with it. First, and the biggest, some of these places are private property and you need special permission to use them. Others are closed, and have been for some time. Some places, that happen to go by different names, appear in multiple rankings under both. Lastly, and when compared to the prior is fairly minor, but it’s a mistake to not separate parks or trails that only allow certain vehicle types. Some are only for ATVs and/or dirt bikes and at least one is only for full-sized rigs. But, much like our latest presidential election, the people have spoken and this is what the greater good had to say. Still, I think more vetting should have been done prior to publishing.

Having said all of that, it is still pretty awesome to have a list this encompassing. Even if in the end, it is only used to kick-start one’s own research.

Thanks to PartCatalog for putting the list together…


Click on the state abbreviations below to jump to your state or scroll through the whole list…. I took the time to add links to destinations where I could. Just click the park/trail name to go to that site!

[AL]   [AR]   [AZ]   [CA]   [CO]   [FL]   [GA]   [IL]   [IN]   [KS]   [LA]   [MA]    [ME]    [MD]   [MI]    [MN]    [MS]   [MO]   [NE]   [NV]   [NH]   [NJ]   [NM]   [NY]   [NC]   [OH]   [OK]   [OR]   [PA]   [SC]   [SD]   [TN]   [TX]   [UT]   [VA]   [WA]   [WV]   [WI]


Alabama 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Stony Lonesome – Bremen, AL
#2 Hawk Pride Mountain – Tuscumbia, AL
#3 Choccolocco Mountain – Jacksonville, AL
#4 Gray Rock – Gardendale, AL
#5 Top Trails – Talladega, AL

Arkansas 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Hot Springs ORV – Hot Springs, AR
#2 Mack’s Pines – Dover, AR
#3 Hillarosa – Blevins, AR
#4 Wolf Pen Gap – Mena, AR
#5 Mulberry Mountain – Ozark, AR

Arizona 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Carter’s Offroad – Bryant, AZ
#2 Byrd’s Adventure Center – Ozark, AZ
#3 Lake Havasu – Lake Havasu City, AZ
#4 Broken Arrow – Sedona, AZ
#5 President’s Choice – Parker, AZ

California 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Rubicon – Georgetown, CA
#2 Ocotillo Wells – Borrego Springs, CA
#3 Johnson Valley – Johnson Valley, CA
#4 Glamis Sand Dunes – El Centro, CA
#5 Big Bear (John Bull) – Big Bear City, CA

Colorado 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Black Bear Pass – Telluride, CO
#2 Imogene Pass – Ouray, CO
#3 Ouray – Ouray, CO
#4 Taylor Park – Tincup, CO
#5 Alpine Loop – Telluride, CO

Florida 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Ocala National Forest – Silver Springs, FL
#2 Florida Cracker Ranch – Bunnell, FL
#3 Hog Waller – Palatka, FL
#4 Hardrock – Ocala, FL
#5 Iron Horse Mud Ranch – Perry, FL

Georgia 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Durhamtown – Union Point, GA
#2 Highland Park – Cedartown, GA
#3 Possum Creek – Ray City, GA
#4 Fat Daddy’s – Blairsville, GA
#5 Moccasin Creek – Blackshear, GA

Illinois 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 The Cliffs Insane Terrain – Marseilles, IL
#2 Two Rivers Jeep Club – Pittsfield, IL
#3 Little Egypt – Marion, IL
#4 Fox Valley Off Road – Ottawa, IL
#5 South Fork – Taylorville, IL

Indiana 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Badlands – Attica, IN
#2 Haspin Acres – Laurel, IN
#3 Redbird – Linton, IN
#4 Interlake – Lynnville, IN
#5 Lawrence County Recreational Park – Springville, IN

Kansas 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Kansas Rocks – Mapleton, KS
#2 Tuttle Creek ORV – Randolph, KS
#3 Central Kansas Off Road – Florence, KS
#4 Kansas Badlands – South Haven, KS
#5 Syracuse Sand Dunes – Syracuse, KS

Kentucky 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Black Mountain – Harlan, KY
#2 Dirty Turtle – Bedford, KY
#3 Wildcat Offroad Park – London, KY
#4 Rush Offroad – Rush, KY
#5 Turkey Bay – Golden Pond, KY

Louisiana 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Muddy Bottoms – Sarepta, LA
#2 Catahoula Recreation Area – Sicily Island, LA
#3 Tower Trax – Fluker, LA
#4 South Toledo – Anacoco, LA
#5 Cooterville – Delhi, LA

Massachusetts 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Gremlin Graveyard – Sturbridge, MA
#2 Old Florida Road – Adams, MA
#3 Cape Cod National Seashore – Wellfleet, MA
#4 Pittsfield State Forest – Pittsfield, MA
#5 Nauset Beach – East Orleans, MA

Maine 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Rocky Mountain Terrain Park – Carthage, ME
#2 Wicked Hills – South China, ME
#3 Maine Jeep Jamboree – Bethel, ME
#4 Aroostook – Presque Isle, ME
#5 Down East Sunrise – Ellsworth, ME

Maryland 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Assateague Island Beach – Berlin, MD
#2 Budds Creek – Mechanicsville, MD
#3 Backbone – Oakland, MD
#4 Savage River – Grantsville, MD
#5 Piney Mountain – Friendsville, MD

Michigan 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Bundy Hill – Jerome, MI
#2 Rocks & Valleys – Harrison, MI
#3 Silver Lake – Mears, MI
#4 Turtle Ridge – Drummond Island, MI
#5 Washita Offroad Park – Farmington, MI

Minnesota 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Iron Range OHV Area – Gilbert, MN
#2 Snake Creek – Kellogg, MN
#3 Spider Lake – Pine River, MN
#4 Appleton OHV Park – Appleton, MN
#5 Moose Walk – Finland, MN

Mississippi 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Mudslangers – Woodland, MS
#2 Muddy Joe’s – Kiln, MS
#3 Red Creek Offroad – Perkinston, MS
#4 Barnyard Mudboggers – Fulton, MS
#5 Burdens Creek – Mount Olive, MS

Missouri 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 SMORR – Seymour, MO
#2 Flat Nasty – Jadwin, MO
#3 Moonlight Racing – Sullivan, MO
#4 Rush Springs – Pineville, MO
#5 Bricks – Poplar Bluff, MO

Nebraska 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Off Road Ranch – Norfolk, NE
#2 Dismal River Trail – Halsey, NE
#3 White Sands Raceway – Ashland, NE
#4 Fiddler Creek MX – Homer, NE

Nevada 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Rock Bottom – Logandale, NV
#2 Tie Rod Canyon – Las Vegas, NV
#3 Hunter Lake Trail – Reno, NV
#4 Bronco Falls – Logandale, NV
#5 Ryan’s Trail – Nelson, NV

New Hampshire 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Field & Forest – Harrisville, NH
#2 Little Monadnock Family Trails – Troy, NH
#3 Ride the Wilds – Coos County, NH
#4 Carnage Hill – Richmond, NH
#5 Classic 6 Roads – New Hampshire, NH

New Jersey 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Pine Barrens – Hammonton, NJ
#2 Wharton State Forest – Hammonton, NJ
#3 Island Beach State Park – Seaside Park, NJ
#4 Atco MX – Atco, NJ
#5 Butterfly Bogs – Jackson, NJ

New Mexico 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Chokecherry Canyon – Farmington, NM
#2 Las Cruces – Las Cruces, NM
#3 Chama – Chama, NM
#4 Gordy’s Hill – Socorro, NM
#5 Red River Offroad – Red River, NM

New York 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Tall Pines – Andover, NY
#2 Tar Hollow – Hancock, NY
#3 Demon Run Trails – Cath, NY
#4 Whispering Pines Hideaway – Lyons, NY
#5 Lewis County (Tug Hill) – Lowville, NY

North Carolina 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Uwharrie National Forest – Uwharrie, NC
#2 Tellico – Murphy, NC
#3 Brown Mountain – Morganton, NC
#4 Dirt City USA – Polkton, NC
#5 Brushy Mountain – Taylorsville, NC

Ohio 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Southington Offroad Park – Garrettsville, OH
#2 Wellsville – Wellsville, OH
#3 Yankee Lake – Brookfield, OH
#4 Phoenix Offroad Park – Wintersville, OH
#5 Powerline Park – St Clairsville, OH

Oklahoma 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Disney (Hogan’s) – Disney, OK
#2 Arbuckle – Mill Creek, OK
#3 Clayton (Green Acres) – Clayton, OK
#4 Little Sahara – Waynoka, OK
#5 Sundog Trails – Lexington, OK

Oregon 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Oregon Dunes – Reedsport, OR
#2 Blue Ridge Trails – Coos Bay, OR
#3 Christmas Valley Sand Dunes – Christmas Valley, OR
#4 Santiam Pass – Mckenzie Bridge, OR
#5 Firebreak Five – Tillamook, OR

Pennsylvania 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Rausch Creek – Tremont, PA
#2 Anthracite Adv Area – Coal Township, PA
#3 Majestic Trails – Smethport, PA
#4 Rock Run Recreation – Patton, PA
#5 New Lost Trails (Ride Lost Trails) – Dunmore, PA

South Carolina 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Carolina Adventure World – Winnsboro, SC
#2 Gulches Offroad Park – Waterloo, SC
#3 Battery Park – Nesmith, SC
#4 Pine Grove – Westminster, SC
#5 Sand Hill – Chesterfield, SC

South Dakota 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Black Hills – Custer, SD
#2 Talsma’s Trail – Avon, SD
#3 Oahe Downstream – Fort Pierre, SD
#4 Baja ORV – Interior, SD
#5 Revheim Bay – Mobridge, SD

Tennessee 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Windrock – Oliver Springs, TN
#2 Ride Royal Blue – Pioneer, TN
#3 Brimstone – Huntsville, TN
#4 Adventure Offroad Park – Pittsburg, TN
#5 Golden Mountain – Sparta, TN

Texas 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Hidden Falls Adv Park – Marble Falls, TX
#2 Wolf Caves – Mason, TX
#3 Barnwell Mountain – Gilmer, TX
#4 Katemcy Rocks – Mason, TX
#5 Bridgeport OHV – Bridgeport, TX

Utah 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Moab – Moab, UT
#2 Sand Hollow – Hurricane, UT
#3 Hell’s Revenge – Grand County, UT
#4 Paiute Trails – Maryville, UT
#5 Behind the Rocks – Moab, UT

Virginia – 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Big Dogs – Gore, VA
#2 George Wash Natl Forest – Hollins, VA
#3 Red Cloud – Woodbridge, VA
#4 Spearhead Trails – Norton, VA
#5 Potts Mountain – Covington, VA

Washington – 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Moses Lake Mud Flats and Sand Dunes – Grant, WA
#2 Walker Valley – Mt Vernon, WA
#3 Evans Creek ORV – Carbonado, WA
#4 Beverly Dunes – Royal City, WA
#5 Juniper Dunes – Pasco, WA

West Virginia – 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Hatfield McCoys – Lyburn, WV
#2 Chaos Offroad Park – Capon Bridge, WV
#3 Burning Rock – Tams, WV
#4 King Knob – Philippi, WV
#5 Bear Wallow – Logan, WV

Wisconsin – 2016 Top Off Road Trails
#1 Black River State Forest – Jackson County, WI
#2 Cheese County Trails – Monroe, WI
#3 Eagle River – Eagle River, WI
#4 Florence County – Florence, WI
#5 Apple Valley – New Auburn, WI


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Rausch Creek October 15th, 2016 “Fall Season Closer Run”

Rausch Creek October 15th, 2016 “Fall Season Closer Run”

Every year we tend to wrap up our heavy off-roading season in mid to late fall so that we have time to clean and protect our rigs before winter (and its salted roads). This year there were only three rigs that were able to make it, but the small group size helped us keep a fast paced day with lots of trail coverage.

We began our day on CV Trail to Walk in the Park. Then, we took the hill out and grabbed Yellow Jacket on our way to play over on 8 for just a bit. With trail 8 being so short, it wasn’t long at all before we were done and decided to head over to Death Trap.

Since Death Trap lets out into Rock Creek, we had no choice but to bounce our way across it before hitting 13A out. We were planning to take 20 back up towards the East property, but as we nosed in I saw several Jeeps pointing opposite directions and none of them were moving. So, we decided to back out and take 12-A to 12-C the same direction. While they are much easier trails they are still kinda fun. I will say the logging that has been done in this area of the park still will leave you confused on where to go at times. There was some thought of grabbing Crawl Daddy, but it too had several rigs jammed up on it so we kept rolling.

Our eventual destination was the black hill climbs on the far east side of the property by Jotters Way. Here we played on Stair Step and went up/down a few of the hills before calling it a day.

It was a great time and, while the group ended up being very small, it enabled us to keep a really good pace and cover lots of challenging yet fun trails.

So with all of that said, how about some teaser pictures? …and check back for some video soon. Our son Kegan took a fair amount but I haven’t gone through it yet to know how much is usable.

 

…and to wrap up how about the video 🙂 😀 🙂
 

Pic Share – (Sept 17th, 2016) Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

Pic Share – (Sept 17th, 2016) Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

Our day, which we knew would be long, started pretty early. We were up and ready by 5am. By 5:15 we had met up with our neighbor and her girls (Sheridan Girls) and were on the road. We started in some pretty heavy rain, but this soon ended as we made our way south. Before you knew it, there were some pretty “epic” (see what I did there Sheridan Girls ) views of the full moon through the receding clouds.

Soon the sun had started to peak over the hills. Since we were running a bit ahead of schedule, it was time to transition the trip into “SSS” mode and hit some backroads! It was here we found this neat old barn with some recently harvested tobacco hanging to dry.

Just when we thought we had missed the show, we crested a hill to a pretty amazing sky and paused for a little photo.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at the meeting spot and people started to showing up!

With everyone gathered, we headed over to the trail-head at Pumpkin Hollow Road to begin the Tour. This is where some members of the Ohio River Four Wheelers who would be joining us for most of the day and helping around some temporary reroutes.

There weren’t too many opportunities for pictures up until our lunch spot…

From here, we picked up the pace to one of our favorite spots on the DBBB….Old Fincastle Road. This is where we had the opportunity to get pictures of everyone who joined us for the day. 🙂

We really love this shot! Jeeping is very much a family sport/hobby for us. As we wrapped up this little spot, it is awesome to see all of the families and kids making their way back to their rigs.

After Old Fincastle Road, most of the group from Ohio River Four Wheelers departed us and continued on their own. Soon, a pit stop was needed and it was here that most of our southern friends from the Jeeps and Wrenches crew also decided to call it a day.

A few of us continued on to see Chimney Rock and The Nada Tunnel before calling it a day. The sun would set on our way home from this pretty awesome day!

We enjoy bringing people together through jeeping and exploration. This ride had members of the Ohio River Four Wheelers, Jeeps and Wrenches out of Tennessee, and a Kentucky Wayalife member. This is one of the very reasons I wanted to start this community! It’s great to see people step outside of their normal groups and leave with new friends through our efforts.

Thanks to everyone who joined and spent the day with us!

Windrock Offroad Park, Labor Day Weekend ’16

Windrock Offroad Park, Labor Day Weekend ’16

Alana and I had the opportunity to join a couple of friends at Windrock Offroad Park in Oliver Springs, Tennessee over the weekend.

Our wheeling weekend started on Saturday, but our friends John Jay and Joe Miller started the previous evening. Sadly, Joe broke an axle shaft U-Joint and it ended his weekend early. 🙁

With others dropping out of the trip and Joe out, it was down to just John and us for Saturday.

A Badge of Honor trail (16) was long and for the most part, pretty boring. This was really the only obstacle on it.

Unfortunately, there are two ways to this point and the side John took as an approach left limited options. Getting up this would pull off his muffler and damage the rear driveshaft. 😳

We took a different line up with Alana at the wheel while I spotted. This line offered much better tire placement.

Other than a backup for a little bump, it was a walk. 😛

With John’s driveshaft dented and starting to twist, he made the smart call and decided to head for home. This left us all day Sunday to head home and explore along the way. 😎

We decided to make the trip avoiding all interstates. When we passed a sign for McCloud Mountain’s Skywalk, we decided to stop for brunch.

McCloud Mountain is a 1300 acre gated community. You either need to visit the restaurant or stay at the lodge to gain access. Our $20 brunch was well worth it. :mrgreen:

After eating we headed to the skywalk that is just down the road. We pretty much had the place to ourselves for almost an hour.

As we headed into the Jellico area, we caught a glimpse of the highway we were avoiding. I must say…. our way is much better! 😉

Gotta’ love these “roads” 😀

Back on pavement for a bit… we soon stopped at Levi Jackson State Park. The place was hopping! We ended up just stopping by the millstone library to stretch our legs.

With another run on the back-country roads, we decided our next leg stretch would be a good one with a hike to visit the Natural Bridge Arch in Slade, KY. This place was hopping, too! So pictures were hard to take without getting someone’s head in it. The bottom line is we had to point the camera up a fair amount.

With daylight running low we were still almost two hours from home. Still, we stopped to take in the sunset which was amazing!

From here we made the home stretch, but still no interstate.

….and this is how you turn a 5 hour drive into 14 LOL! 😆

Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway

We have had a bunch going on lately and I decided that, whether it was the most responsible thing to do or not, we needed a break from life. So, while Jay was in Milwaukee for work, I got Dirty all packed up and ready for a trip for some much needed Jeep time.

The destination would be to do some exploring around the Daniel Boone National Forest. Most of which would be done by checking out the recently opened Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB). The DBBB is a roughly 100 mile loop around the region. It’s comprised of a mix of pavement, gravel/dirt road, and unmaintained primitive roads. The latter is really more like being on a trail.

The DBBB was put together and is managed by the Fiends of Boone (FOB). FOB is an umbrella group to all of the groups and individuals who wish to use and support the county and public roads for responsible and sustainable multi-use recreation. We are sure that opening the DBBB was a huge undertaking and we applaud the efforts they have put forth.

To the best of our knowledge, there isn’t a printed map of the route. There is, however, a downloadable map that enables a GPS capable mobile device to plot yourself on the map and “bread-crumb” your way along the route. It can be found HERE. It is important to note, we experienced several points of confusions while on the route. In some cases, we spent a fair amount of time running down the wrong path only to find our “Blue Dot” on the map had left the path. This wasn’t that big of a deal for us in Dirty, but if we had gotten the forecasted rain or were in any lesser built rig, it could’ve been a very different story. We plan to advise and help the DBBB and FOB with improvements to the map and signage.

It is encouraged that visitors start at the Slade, KY “Interchange Staging Area” and work counterclockwise around the path. Since we were coming from the north it was easier for us to drop in at the northern most point off of Hawkins Branch Road (713) but we did proceed in the suggested counterclockwise direction.

When we made this initial turn it felt as though we were on someone’s driveway. In truth, I think we actually started out that way, but the driveway feeling pretty quickly ended and we were moving deep into the woods. This section was fairly tight in some places and KY pin-striping (scratches) will happen.

Creek and stream crossings are prevalent along the route. While a few are actually marked on the map as “Deep”, we got the feeling that many spots could carry a fair amount of water during and after rain.

As I mentioned, the route is a mix of trail, gravel, and pavement, but even when you are on blacktop, the views are amazing!

One of the issues we encountered with the map and/or route caused a 3 mile trail detour down to a very secluded lake/pond. This was a dead end, so we had to head back out the way we came and consult Google Maps to get ourselves back on track.

The middle portion of the route has a fair amount of pavement pounding. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find this small rocky section on one of the smaller roads. We could see where this would be visually intimidating to a green off-roader, but there is plenty of traction and ways to avoid the big rocks with a decent line choice. We do feel that this section may tax a small 4×4 like a Cherokee or Renegade, but any Wrangler type shouldn’t have an issue.

Part of the DBBB route takes you through the Daniel Boone National Forest’s and along the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway. This stretch offers lots of points of interest and this is why I posted this under the “Weekend Warrior” section. While we made this trip in a day, it was a long one, and we still didn’t explore everything we really wanted to.

One of these points of interest is Chimney Rock. It’s just a short ¼ mile hike (After driving 5 miles down a gravel road) to get to it. The views are absolutely amazing!

Another diversion from the DBBB route and point of interest was the Nada Tunnel. This is a hand cut 900’ tunnel through a massive rock. It was intended for a logging railroad in the early 1900s, but now you can drive though it!

Here we are staged before the entrance as we waited for another car to pass through from the other direction.

Our return to the DBBB route started as a gravel road, then a gravel/dirt path, then what honestly seemed more like a 4-wheeler track with several mud holes (in spite of the lack of rain). While most of the holes had a good solid base and were easy to drive through a couple were vastly deeper than any of the marked “Deep” water crossings. We are fairly certain a small 4×4 would struggle and likely not make it through this section unassisted. This is definitely the area that gave the route a “moderately difficult” rating.

Luckily, it is easily avoidable and it would be nice to see an alternate route added for those making this trip in a smaller (less equipped) rig.

All-in-all, it was a great day and we truly enjoyed ourselves. So much so that you will likely see us host a ride to this area in the future.

 


 

For more information on the DBBB visit their Facebook page HERE

 

 

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Video Share)

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Video Share)

Well, here it is…. I hope you enjoy. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of the music, but it was free and has no royalties so the video will not be restricted. It also worked well with the timing.

I will reiterate that it is VERY tough to spot, wheel, and capture video. Especially when you are the only one interested in doing the camera work…. Since I really prefer stills over video I worked some in. Tell me what you think of that. I have thick skin so be honest please.

Just in case you missed it… the picture share post is HERE

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Pic Share)

Stillwell Stompers 2016 June Jamboree (Pic Share)

Alana, Kegan, and I had a pretty good day yesterday wheeling Lil Punkin’ at the Stillwell Stompers’ June Jamboree. We met up with our friend Chris and talked him into bumping up a group to wheel with us. Then, due to the number in the group, we got bumped up as well. We ended up running with some Samurais/Buggies and were definitely the smallest in the bunch. But, we held our own up until the rear locker acted up again! (Have I mentioned how much I dislike the Eaton E-locker?) Still, we didn’t give up and worked with what we had. It all made for an awesome day!

The pictures I got are just a sample of what the club and property have to offer. In our opinion, this is the best wheeling in Ohio and the people are great, too!

…and with that said, here are just a few of the pictures. I also got some video, but will need to do some editing so you will have to wait just a bit for that 😛