AOAA for a couple of days

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Twist
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Re: AOAA for a couple of days

Post by Twist » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:52 am

Bucho wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:44 pm
Thanks for the report Twist.

Did you find any signs or anything for single track or "dirtbike only" trails?

I'd go to check it out. Its always fun to go someplace new.
We did. We talked to one of the guys that run the Authority and he gave us a the low-down on where to ride and what they were working on improving for dual sport trails. If you look at the map on this PDF link, this is the East side of AOAA. All the dashed lines are described as single track/dual sport type trails. I say "described as" because while a lot of them are, some bits of them look a lot like the smaller quad trails.

http://www.aoaatrails.com/data/uploads/ ... il-Map.pdf

On day two, we went off down the main haul road and took a left on the haul road that goes straight up on the map toward the end where we hooked onto the red dashed trails on the map. This is a really nice combination of terrain: nice shady forest single track, mud puddles, rocks, and some more technical/tight rocks and roots traverses. There were a couple of times where a downed tree or an impassable water/mud hole required some trail blazing through the woods and that was interesting too. The Authority guy told us to not be bashful about riding anywhere in there that we thought might be interesting and that some of the trails are so new that they're not marked and may be even hard to find. If it looked like a bike had been that way once or twice, go for it was his advice. This whole area of red-dashed lines was pretty flat and rolling around mostly in the woods. We rambled around in this area for nearly 3 hours and never rode the same ground twice. When we worked our way back out to the trailhead, we felt like we really hadn't explored it all. We passed a lot of trails branching off all over that area, some marked, some not. We all felt like this was a great place to ride and could easily spend a full day in there.

Referring back to the East map, the area below the main haul road goes up onto the mountain so there's more rocky hill climbs and trails up there but once you get up on top, there trails are pretty good. Tuesday morning before my friends arrived, I played around riding a few loops up there and came away thinking it was a worthy place to ride if you can deal with the long rocky climbs to get up there.

Now, looking at the West map:

http://www.aoaatrails.com/data/uploads/ ... il-Map.pdf

On Tuesday we tried to get back to the back of the area on the main trail (101). We got about 2/3rds of the way back and got tired of getting beat up on rocks and worked our way back out. On Wednesday we used some tips from the Authority guy to find more bike friendly places. Looking at the left side of that map leaving the trail head, we jumped on trail 100. It was a steep rocky path down for about a 1/4 mile and then turned in to some interesting two track/road. The spur on the 100 trail that juts off at the time that looks like a dead end is a power line where we rode down the hill into the ravine on the right and back out on the other side of the poles. That was a fun ride with some steep hill climbs and drops and back up at the top, we kept heading deeper on 101 (the route we took on Tuesday) until we got to trail 110. It describes 110 as a full sized ATV trail but dang it got pretty narrow. It was a fun challenge to take that all the way back to where it intercepted 101 again and back out. There was some pretty tight rocky switch backs on 110 that felt more of a challenge than anywhere else we'd been but it was all fun and we made it through without busting anything. We got back on 101 for a bit and then took 105 which went up on the ridge with some nice views on the way back to the trail head.

After the first day we'd felt like like we got beat up by the rocks and surrendered after a couple of hours. After day two, we all felt like we'd definitely come back up here again to explore those areas more. Now that we've got a sense of the place where the rock gardens live we can pick and choose how much of that we want to ride. There's also a couple of what I'd call play areas with some terrain, jumps, etc where you could fool around for a bit before continuing on the trails.

More trail pics:

Image

Image

We were the first people of show up on Wednesday and asked them if we could base out of their pavilion off the parking lot. They weren't expecting many people mid-week and told us we were welcome.

Image

Empty parking lot but for us:
Image

We spent some time talking to the guys in the office who were very friendly. They are really well funded and constantly maintaining and improving the trails and creating new trails. It's obvious that the main use of the place is quad/ORV vehicles but said that they would be focusing on more options for dual sport riding. If you google around for trail maps, most of the links are older and don't have the dashed red tracks that are on the PDF links I posted above. I think we all agreed that their rating system (easy to extreme) was based on quad use and felt like there were a few times we had all we could handle on a "green" track (rocks). There is a huge ravine on the West side with trails on both sides of it but they're currently working on dual sport trails to wind down into the bottom of it and back out again. That could be pretty challenging and fun as well when it opens.

Being there mid-week after a big holiday weekend, we figured we'd have the place all to ourselves and we weren't wrong. On Wednesday there was a couple of other bikes and about 6 quads in the entire 6500 acres - we didn't see anyone all day. There's some elevation there so it was about 10 degrees cooler than the temps back in Maryland. We all left feeling like the place exceeded expectations for variety of riding areas and options and will likely come back again.
Last edited by Twist on Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2018 WR250R (for the single tracks)
2016 R1200GS (for the epic adventures)
2016 1290 R (for the inner hooligan)

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Re: AOAA for a couple of days

Post by Twist » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:01 am

Boom Boom wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:35 am
Love the picture.....we need much more of this and far less time being glued to a phone.
One of the modern trials clubs has talked about moving their event to AOAA so I assume they must have some good rock gardens.
Definitely. My friend's son came away with a huge grin feeling like he'd rode more challenging terrain than ever and did great. That kid hasn't ridden in a few years but did everything we did and had good enough judgement to know when stop and ask for some help getting around an obstacle or through a tough rocky slope.

I think if you like riding slow over some rocks, roots, and tight areas, you'll find all you want in there. We did some of that when we were working our way around something impassable like a quad swallowing mud pit or some rocks that looked too gnarly to attempt.

I also have to say that every time I'm out on the WR250R, I'm more and more impressed with what it'll handle making me look like a better rider than I am. There were some places where my thought was "just keep moving or you're going down" and the bike would grunt through it hauling my corpulence over some pretty gnarly steep stuff.
2018 WR250R (for the single tracks)
2016 R1200GS (for the epic adventures)
2016 1290 R (for the inner hooligan)

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Bucho
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Re: AOAA for a couple of days

Post by Bucho » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:41 pm

Twist wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:52 am

All the dashed lines are described as single track/dual sport type trails. I say "described as" because while a lot of them are, some bits of them look a lot like the smaller quad trails.

they would be focusing on more options for dual sport riding.
You keep using the term “dual sport”, is this interchangeable with dirtbike or single track?
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Bucho
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Re: AOAA for a couple of days

Post by Bucho » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:12 pm

Looks pretty promising Twist. I know Lightyear (other new guy) was also interested in going out there to ride.
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Re: AOAA for a couple of days

Post by Twist » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:25 am

Bucho wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:41 pm
Twist wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:52 am

All the dashed lines are described as single track/dual sport type trails. I say "described as" because while a lot of them are, some bits of them look a lot like the smaller quad trails.

they would be focusing on more options for dual sport riding.
You keep using the term “dual sport”, is this interchangeable with dirtbike or single track?
I didn't get the impression at all that they were going to focus creating dirt bike only trails. That's not to say that there isn't narrow trails as shown by the red-dashed lines on the trail maps but there aren't any restrictions that I'm aware of on who can use them - other than the difficulty of getting through some of them on anything other than a bike. They did say they are working on creating more of that kind of narrow trails in various parts of the place.

From where I live in Annapolis, both AOAA and Bald Mountain are about 3 hours away. For a ride on plated, street legal bikes I could see riding more at Bald Eagle/Seven Mountains. It's got a bunch of dirt bike only trails that are a lot of fun to ride; there are places to stay that are very near the Sand Mountain Rd Trailhead; and where I'd stay is near to a number of options for food.

For a ride with the kids or with pals that have bikes that aren't street legal, AOAA is great once you get a sense of the terrain in various parts of the 6,500 acres of land they have to ride on. It got a crap-ton of rain in the couple of days before we got there and it was almost no factor. They have camping there but it's just a big grassy field with a small pavilion - no shade and I'd hardly call it a bucolic setting for a camp. We stayed in a hotel in Selinsgrove PA which was about 40 minutes drive to AOAA. There's no chain type hotel any closer than that but there are a couple of B&Bs around Shamokin which is more like 10 minutes away - not really a good option if you're traveling with a group hauling trailers, etc.

I'm going to say that if you went there and explored randomly around without fore knowledge of the better places to ride, you could come away less than excited with where you rode - kinda like we did on the first day we were there. It didn't stink but we definitely got tired of getting beat up in the rocks. The second day, there was a guy there that gave us some good advice on where to focus our riding based on our style (more woodsy trail riding, less steep rock gardens) and we came away pretty pleased with the day of riding. I'd go back there to ride more of that - and, there are places there where my novice daughter can develop some skills without getting overwhelmed.

The other place I really want to get back to is the Allegheny Mountains based out of Marienville. Also fine for unplated bikes and a pretty large trail system there. It's about 5 hours from Annapolis. I say fine for unplated but that would eliminate the option to duck out of the woods into towns like Ridgeway which is on the other side of the recreation area and a good lunch/gas stop there.

And one of these days, I'm going to get down into Hatfield-McCoy and figure out what that's all about. That's 7 hours from home - a pretty big hurdle for getting away especially with the kids for just a day or two.
2018 WR250R (for the single tracks)
2016 R1200GS (for the epic adventures)
2016 1290 R (for the inner hooligan)

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