This time CORE was fortunate enough to be invited to the annual B4W/Mid-Atlantic camping outing to Rocky Gap State Park with wheeling in nearby Green Ridge State Forest in Western Maryland. Needless to say we jumped at the chance to wheel in a new location that none of us has ever attended.
” Displayed prominently was a sign that read, “WARNING CROSS AT YOUR OWN RISK”.”
The group for this adventure included:
- Keith Holman, 2001 S-10 Blazer (CORE)
- Jose, Tracy, and baby David Avila, Toyota Land Cruiser (CORE)
- Bob Weaver, 2003 Jeep Rubicon
- Mike Vincenty & Donna Edwards, 1990 Jeep YJ (CORE)
- Preston Stevens and family, Jeep TJ (B4W)
- Tom and Debbie Taylor, Early Ford Bronco (B4W)
- Donnie and family, Jeep TJ (B4W)
Our trip started with Keith meeting us at the Urbana Exxon. We hit the road Friday afternoon around 2:20 PM. Of course we were caught up in a moderate early Friday afternoon rush with traffic heading West on I-70. The trip out was uneventful and 86 miles later, we arrived in Rocky Gap State Park, at around 4 PM. Not too bad. There we entered the campground and met Preston Stevens already on this camp site.
Here we found Preston with his red TJ jacked up and he was assessing the situation with his right front axle u-joint. Seems it started failing on the way up. We set up camp while Keith kindly ran Preston into Cumberland to pick up a new u-joint at the nearest auto parts store. Needless to say, after returning back to camp another trip back out to the auto parts store was required as they gave Preston the wrong part. With Keith “supervising”, Preston had the front axle out, the old u-joint removed, and the new one installed.
With the campsite set, dinner done, we relaxed around the campfire while we watched and waited for a distant rain storm to come our way (remember we had Keith with us on this trip). That night as we turned in for the night, the rain let loose. We fell asleep to the sound of the rain pouring and the thunder cracking.
Saturday morning we awoke to a beautiful day. Perfect for wheeling! Bob and Jose and family arrived after breakfast. We assembled and headed out of the part, onto 144 East for the short, 10 mile (or so) ride to Green Ridge State Forest. Somewhere off of 144 we turned right onto a dirt road that took us into the forest. Here we only needed 2-wheel drive. With Preston leading the way, we made our way across several dirt roads over to the ORV/ATM trail head.
I quickly lost track of the roads and trails we encountered, so I can’t give specifics on each. But I did find that the trails were comparable to those found in GWNF, near the Harrisonburg area. The forest was much more dense and green than that found in GWNF. During the run, we encountered lots of small shallow mud holes. Pockets of small rocks littered the trail along the way. The trail was shared with ATVs and dirt bikes. I could see evidence of many side trails. However they were clearly marked as off limits to ALL motorized vehicles.
Nothing terribly difficult was encountered on this trail, however it did require 4WD. At one point we reached a very long hill climb. This hill climb seemed to last forever. It took us to our eventual lunch spot. The trail was covered with lots of loose small rocks. You could feel your tires slipping and digging into the rough terrain trying to find traction. The climb took about five minutes and brought us to the top of the mountain. Here we stopped for lunch and enjoyed the surrounding scenery in the valley below. You could see for miles!
It was here that someone pointed out that my front track bar was dangling. It had some how lost a bolt held it to the frame. Needless to say, the retaining bolt and various bushings were lost on the trail. Oh well. Get the zip-ties out and strap it to the front diff. Just remember to drive especially cautiously on the way home! Also, remember you can’t wheel without zip-ties.
After lunch we make our way out of the forest and made our way towards a nearby town. Along the way we encountered “Town Creek”. This “creek” was VERY wide. Displayed prominently was a sign that read, “WARNING CROSS AT YOUR OWN RISK”. Great. I wondered what was in store for us. I had heard from Preston that in the past the water level was deep enough to get into the cab of several vehicles. To be safe, I disconnect the fresh air intake hose on my YJ to prevent the possibility of water being sucked into the engine. It turned out that the creek water level was low – a bit over the height of the hubs. Nothing to worry about.
During the next few miles, we crossed this creek two more times. Then we turned, retraced our steps and crossed it again three more time in the opposite direction. Are you keeping count – six times we crossed the creek.
By this time it was getting late into the day, so Preston started heading back to camp. One more side trail was covered before we hit pavement. Soon we were back on 144. We headed back to camp in Rocky Gap.
We each headed back to our campsites for dinner, rest, cleanup, and relaxation. After words, we enjoyed the group company around the campfire as the day came to a close.
Sunday we slept in late. We broke camp, and briefly explored the Rocky Gap Lake area before heading home.
So here was a great weekend with new friends and a new wheeling location that none of us (CORE that is) had visited before. It does not get much better than this. Let’s do it again!
Trail report written Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Bob Weaver, Keith Holman, and Mike Vincenty.