x2 on what was said above about leaving. but if you gotta go, you gotta go. Barry, who will be leading this whole shindig is pretty good about supplying directions of how to get back when we're out on the property.
And I'm pretty sure at this point, the bbq lunch is falling through. In planning everything, the cost seemed too high. So now the day of wheeling doesnt cost anything but gas money.
If it's not too late, I would like to get in on this trail ride. It is great to have another place to wheel in Pa. I have been to RC a couple of times and it is awesome, but I have never been to Paragon, AOAA seems to be the new Paragon.
Have to replace front u-joint and stub shaft this week, but shouldn't be a problem.(parts should be here Wednesday)
I live in Philly, but I'll be visiting family Friday night. On Saturday, I'm leaving from the Reading area around 7:00 AM. My route to the trailhead takes me straight up Rt. 61. Anyone along my way that wants to meet up is fine with me. I plan to be up at the park early. If anyone is super nervous about finding this place based on the GPS coordinates, just shoot me a PM and i'll set you up with my phone number.
Once you are close to this place, you can't miss it. It's right off the road and theres a big clearing.
And to the guy that said this place is the new Paragon, yes it is, but its going to get even better.
so the variety pack of jeeps will be missing an XJ??
Damn....Well although that sucks, i'm kinda glad at the same time, i think in total there will be about 10 rigs. 1 less is never a bad thing when it comes to getting through trails...
Had fun this afternoon guys. Hope everyone made it home ok. Thanks for putting this together. Sorry I was a couple minutes late getting there. Also it was rather disappointing that there wasn't really anything for the non-locked guys to do, but still it was good to get out. Looked like everyone else was having fun wheeling though!
Ok, I'm posting again because there are some things that really aren't sitting well with me and I need to get them off my chest.
First of all, let me start by saying that I'm no newcomer to wheeling, and I'm no newcomer to guided trail rides. I've done multiple guided rides at Paragon, Rausch, and at AOAA, as well as wheeled a couple of private locations.
It is my understanding, and my experience, that in a guided ride the guide's primary job is to make sure eveyone in the group is having a good time. In my experience the way these things typically work is that the guide will have a general idea of spots/trails they would like to hit during the day, but after the ride begins the guide will alter the plans somewhat based on the needs of the group.
The problem I have with today's ride is that I drove quite a ways to get there and back, and I don't feel like I was allowed to do anything more than drive an access road and splash in some puddles. Granted, I missed the morning session because I was 2 minutes late and was given the incorrect radio frequency to call you guys, but in the afternoon the first "trail" or whatever you want to call it, the loop around and coming down the ditch, I was told that I should not attempt it because I didn't have lockers. That's fine. I spoke with the guide (sorry, I didn't get his name) and asked if there was something I could do, and basically didn't get an answer. Granted, this obstacle took a while for you guys to clear (I still feel like I could've done the first part and just come down the hill like the Fords did, but I digress). So after watching you guys wheel for a few hours, we moved on to the rock garden, where again I was told "no, don't go in there" and sat and watched you guys wheel again. I again spoke with the guide and informed him that I was unhappy and had driven for 2 1/2 hours to get there and would like to do *something* that actually required 4WD. The response I got was that he didn't know what to tell me. Immediately after this, the guide left us, and I did get a few brief minutes of fun on that small trail immediately after we left the rock garden.
So anyway, I don't know what else to say. I still kind of feel like it was a waste of time for me to be there today, and I feel like the guide went out of his way to make me feel like I didn't belong there. I still think AOAA is an amazing property and wish them the best, but todays ride has really left a sour taste in my mouth.
Wow, well i don't know what changed between 7:05 and 8:24, but since I put this together, I feel it is sort of my duty to clear the air here. And in some respects, I can understand where you are coming from. I think it sucks that you drove in from so far and were let down. For that, I can only hope another run in the future makes it up to you.
First off, keep in mind that the cost of wheeling today was $0. Yes, it cost the gas to get there and back, but at the end of the day the land access was free.
Second, I still feel terrible about having missed you in the morning. That was poor planning on both of our parts. Note to self (and to you) - get cell phone numbers ahead of time. I had a couple guys PM me for my cell phone yesterday. And it worked out well. This is something that can be easily avoided int he future.
Now, to address the biggest concern of mine, and that is that you didn't have a good time...there was a lot going on here. Barry was going to be our guide today originally. And he has led me around this land plenty of times. He knows what he's doing. Unfortunately, Barry has been pouring all of his free time into this park and today he had a company picnic with his wife that he really couldn't miss. So, he gave us Aaron as our guide. Aaron did an awesome job. And yes, Aaron led us on the East property in the morning. He was the dude in the bronco.
Once we met up with Barry's buddy, whose name escapes me as well, the guiding kind of changed a bit. He was very emphatic that no one with lockers should attempt certain areas. Now, we all know how this is (or should know). People say you need a locker, but what they really mean is that it is suggested. We all know our rigs and we all know the capabilities of them. Jason, I have wheeled with you before, and I said to you then what I say to you now, and that is that you are welcome to wheel with me anytime. That's because everything I did that day, you were doing great at. You know your rig, you know what you can do. It's just like up at Rausch when they say for black trails that lockers are required. Yeah, ok. I wheeled up there plenty of times without any lockers. Even as it is, I only have 1 up front.
Anyway, I'm getting away from my point, and my point is that this guy was new to you, new to us. He doesn't know that any of us have any experience doing anything. So as a safe bet, he was telling people (mostly the stock guys toward the back with street tires...and hey, there's nothing wrong with that, its always fun to wheel a stock vehicle too) they needed lockers, the trail is going to get gnarly. Now, if you were watching the whole time, you saw what we were doing. At that point, its on you to attempt it or not. Walk the trail, pick your line, go for it. Not to mention the fact you had at least four good people there to spot you that I can vouch for, and there were guys scouting lines for the jeep jamboree that'll be there in 2 weeks, who I can assume are very capable as well. I hate to hear a complaint like this when the solution was ever so simple. I sure as heck know that if I drove all the way from Baltimore, I would be trying out as much stuff as I could. Heck, with a rig that is open/open, theres a lot less likelihood of breakage.
Addressing the trail road/hard stuff...this place is still pretty raw. We are going for rides up there before it is open to the public. I take that as a privilege. Sure, we could show up and wheel illegally all over that property, but its nice to know when we go on a ride like this we can meet up with some of the locals, get an inside look on whats going on with the park, and maybe make some new friends that'll invite us up for more rides in the future. Anyway, the property is raw. Right now, theres pretty much trail roads and rock gardens. There's some hill climbs and some trenches, but theres not a ton of intermediate trails carved out yet. This is all part of the long-term plan. And let me tell you, theres more now than there were the first time I was up there. First time I was up there, it was all trail roads. And I still had a great time.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand you being disappointed, but at the same time you need to keep the big picture in perspective.
(And in total, I drove from Philly which is a 2 hr 38 minute ride. Baltimore is 2 hrs 53 mins according to google maps)