AOAA – Anthracite Offroad Adventure Area – is a reasonably new Northumberland County-owned offroad facility in Coal Township, PA. The club had a pretty good turn out with about 12 members, 2 dogs, and a few non-members. We had sites that spread throughout the campground.
I arrived on Friday afternoon and set-up my camp with my cousin Jason. When finished, I saw Julio’s rig parked across the campground. I knocked on the door and he told me he “had a few” earlier, so he was taking a nap – oh well catch you later. It wasn’t until I returned from Walmart that I found out his significant other was in there with him. A nap – really?!
We got a campfire going and the rest of the members filtered in throughout the evening until a little after dark. Food was cooked over the fire pit by an improvised grate and turned out pretty good – no one went hungry. Beer flowed and a little shine also. Lights out was about 11pm. Turkey and Rob arrived there a little after 11:30pm and set up camp.
Saturday morning broke to a cold, but clear start. Turkey had the coffee made and Julio made breakfast sandwiches for some (we need to talk) and the rest of us ate what we brought or purchased a sandwich from the snack bar. The group got to the check-in area at about 9:15am and had a driver’s meeting a little after that. We decided to stay in one big group and do some of the East Reserve trails that were blacks.
We took East Anthracite Road, the main road that goes east-west, to almost the outside eastern edge of the park. This road was mostly dry with some occasional mud puddles and holes. We worked our way onto black trail #51 (aka Lower Anthracite). I think we used a green #50 to get over to it’s start. Julio’s friend Ana had a rude awakening when we first went on a chosen “trail”. This definitely was not what she called a “trail” and what she thought we would be riding on. However, she was a trooper and rode along all day. She got out and watched in amazement at many spots as everyone beat and banged in the rocks. This trail wasn’t too hard, and everyone got thru it OK. It has a small rock step right after you enter it that gave most of us a little trouble but was otherwise a nice warm up. After you pass this it’s just a steady uphill through the rocks. I did however, bend my tie rod after the first ledge and it kept snagging on the antisway bar bracket. This made it very hard to turn right after turning all the way left. I warped it out at the end of the trail with a large limb and it didn’t bother me too much after that.
We crossed the road and then went up black trail #53 (aka Bee Line). The beginning of Bee Line interesting in that you can choose multiple lines in the beginning because the trail is very wide in some spots. The complexity varies according to you chosen line. It was fun watching everyone choose what they wanted to do and pull alongside of each other then go a different direction. Bee Line is a long looping trail. Eventually it turns back in to one narrow trail that gets rather hard.
We then connected over to blue trail #49 (aka Barney Rubble) by maybe using green trail #46. I would assume this trail gets its name from the type of trail it is. It is made up of large boulders/rubble about maybe 24” or larger across. They are close together and don’t move around a lot. The trial meandered upwards through many tight tree openings. I know it pushed my mirror in at least once, and I think this is where Dan lost his mirror.
Upon exiting, we went over to black trail #38 (M and M Extension) as these are very close. Somewhere along this trail is when the trails got tougher and the damage started. M was tough just getting into it from the direction we came from. Some of us took a little “service road” and had to make a hard left to get on the trail. Others saw us and realized there was an entrance that came straight into the trail which was a lot easier. This trail starts off with many large obstacles as soon as you are on it. I takes concentration to find your line which is often obscured. You feel a sense of relief when you finally get to the end of it. We then continued to M Extension by crossing the road. M Extension trail has obstacles that are even larger than the M trail, and gets tight against some trees. It was very time consuming to get to the end. Upon completion, everyone kind of hung out at the top waiting for everyone else. We decide it was time to return to camp.
We spent some time trying to get the group back together as a few were still on the lower section (Burnzy), and a few skipped the trail.
We worked some green trails getting to our final trail which was #39. It looked fine on the map. There were a few different map versions of the map and mine indicated it was a black trail. We’ll just call it a blue/black trail. The group started down it. The hill felt like it was 45 degrees angle for at least 100 feet. We spaced out to give a cushion between each other. While sitting halfway down the hill, we heard on the radio that Bill broke a control arm. Those of us on the trail went to the end (as there was NO backing up the hill) and waited along the power lines. While we waited, we heard Bill’s driveshaft had separated due to the ratchet strap coming loose. A trail repair was made and every drove back to camp under their own power.
The camp fire was built, dinner was started, and spirits flowed to include shine and Fireball. It would seem they flowed into TJ a little too much. Josh needed house keeping services in his camper from what I heard. David showed up after dinner ready to wheel the next day.
Sunday morning broke colder than the previous morning. Turkey had the much-appreciated coffee going as we rolled out of our tents. Julio even blessed me with fresh scrambled eggs. Most of us decided not to wheel and just call it a day as many had to make the trek home to work on Monday. Turkey, Rob , Jason, and I left together. We went to Centralia (15 minutes away) to check it out and drive thru the abandoned town. Almost everything is gone now, only 4-wheeler ply the streets.
The remaining wheelers decided to go to the west side of the park. I don’t know the details, but it looks like they pick some nice challenging trails. I didn’t hear any equipment breaking or damage reports either.
- Frank – bent tie rod
- Dan – mirror broke, A-pillar smashed
- Burnzy – fender flair torn off
- Bill – rear control arm broke, rear driveshaft separated
- Josh – foreign substance on trailer floor
- Everyone – more wheel scrapes than normal from what I saw
A few others had fender flair issues, scratched rims and bead locks, and also some good roof and side scrapes.