Embers danced through the darkness as another log was thrown onto the fire. Laughter filled the cool air, working in rhythm with the crackling of the warm blaze. The flickering flames lit up the reflective strips on the tents, hidden in the dark pine forest surrounding and engulfing the group. A few of the ADV motorbikes sat in the circle telling silent stories to their riders, of adventures and wonders of days past. Riders playing interpreter for their quiet friends, sharing stories of their journey into the Allegheny.
The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled was loaded down with gear for the four day trek into the Allegheny Wilderness but felt as light and nimble as ever. The Sled thoroughly enjoyed the first day as he kicked up some dust and gravel then scraped a peg on a few twisty paved stretches. The first off road section’s off-camber entrance was like a sucker punch but helped remove the butterflies from the The Sleds tank. He knew then that he was ready for what was to come over the next few days. As the Sled came upon the historic ghost town, he looked intently at the landscape to burn it into his memory. A warm summer breeze carried the scents of nature, and would help remind him of the beautiful scenes along the ride.
The muted stars begin to glimmer as the cloudy sky dissipates into a haze. The riders, deep and profound discussions consuming them, barely notice the dark rustic campsite is becoming slightly more visible. Epic tales of adventure, failures, and lessons are being shared around a bonfire in a scene as old as humanity.
The Kawasaki KLR 650 growled to life, drowning out the babbling brook meandering through the first night's dispersed campsite. The picturesque dirt and gravel tracks of Hickory Creek Wilderness were a perfect morning wake up for the KLR. As he wound through the canopy the morning sun breathed a new life into the forest, the shade and light danced in rhythm with the engine’s howls echoing through the trees. With a piece of Rocky Gap in the crosshairs, he would need to be primed and ready for the impending challenge. The KLR ran free like a wild stallion over the rocky, rutty, root-filled, and banking trails as he climbed and descended the harsh terrain. Finding himself back on the gravel, inspiration and accomplishment drove the KLR through the remaining miles of the day.
The fire kissed sausage hobo dinner is being passed around to all the riders as the stories continue to flow as fast and bubbly as their favorite frosty beverage. Diverse riders and diverse bikes becoming fast friends through shared experiences, solidified through bonfire bonding. The laughter of new friendships lighting up the dark campground as much as the ring of fire and twinkling cosmos above.
The Triumph Tiger 1200 slid around the banked turn and continued to ride the back of the gravel snake as it slithered through the wilderness. The remote thoroughfare carried the Tiger and his new friends through the rolling and winding contours covered with old growth hemlock and the new growth hardwoods. Large boulders spread throughout the trees, oddly and randomly placed, grabbed the attention of the Tiger. A kickstand break was in order which allowed the riders to explore the woodlands on foot. With a different perspective of the normally peaceful dirt road, the motorbikes had taken in the real sound of the Allegheny… conversations of birds, wind flowing through the pines, the trickling water from a nearby stream. A song of the wilderness.
The cool darkness was creeping back into the circle of riders and motorbikes. The once raging fire, having eaten its fill of timber, was reduced to a pit of glowing embers. Stories of the previous days’ adventures dissipated as the bonfire readied for slumber and the nighttime forest crept back towards camp. Taking cue the riders tended to their iron horses one last time before retiring to their tents, to listen to the night that had been unnoticeably surrounding them throughout the evening. The calming sounds of nature acted as a lullaby for our intrepid explorers, dreaming of past conquests and adventures yet to come.
Sunrise. The brisk morning air, the smell of coffee, the savory taste of fried bacon, the sounds of nylon as riders pack their saddlebags... The rumbling engines warm the lifeblood, readying the motorbikes for the final push. The Yamaha Tenere 700 leads the pack, following the ebb and flow of the Clarion River and into the National Natural Landmark of Cook Forest. The thirsty motorbikes quench at a local trading post while the riders replenish their supplies.
Climbing the embankment where once a trestle bridge spanned the gap, the T7’s rear tire digs into the coal dust covered terrain and delivers the rider to the peak. The T7 looks on as each bike successfully maneuvers through the rocky and rutty gauntlet. Continuing forward, the old railroad cuts straight through rocky hills, into picturesque farmlands, and along a creek valley. This abandoned rail line, now used as a trail system, is a rideable piece of history giving the team another bonding moment from their epic journey in the Western Pennsylvania wilderness.
The T7 leads the train of bikes towards the sunset, across the Allegheny River, and ever closer to the end of their journey… or is it the beginning?
Join Appalachian ADV at our three Allegheny events in 2022! Spots are limited for the Guided Tours so grab your tickets soon!
Allegheny Backcountry Adventure Loop Beginner-Intermediate Guided Tour, Presented by Street Track 'n Trail - May 18-22, 2022
Allegheny Backcountry Adventure Loop Intermediate-Expert Guided Tour, Presented by Street Track 'n Trail - August 10-14, 2022
Allegheny Trails ADV Dual Sporting Group Ride - June 2-5, 2022
Kane is the founder of Appalachian ADV – Adventure & Dual Sport Motorbiking LLC, formed as an outlet for creativity in written word, captured visual art, and route development. Two wheels and a motor are his adrenaline junkie delivery system of choice, providing natural highs delivered through dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins that act as the catalysts for his motorbiking experience. His goal is to bring people of diverse backgrounds together to create common bonds through shared adversity on his ADV & “ADV Dual Sporting” routes as well as building confidence by overcoming those joyous hardships. Kane and Appalachian ADV aim to use motorbikes, the beauty and challenges of nature, and a healthy dose of those happy hormones to give people opportunities to enjoy life, unplug, find much needed commonality, and to Have Fun, Take Chances…
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