It was May 15th 2019; we were on I-84 heading south toward Pennsylvania for our third consecutive year sponsoring the Wheeler’s 4×4 Overland Adventure. This event, along with the past 2 events, was held at AOAA (Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area).
Folks, if you haven’t ventured to this park you are missing out! AOAA has around 7000 acres of coal lands that have miles of maintained trails. Dave Porzi runs the park, and all of its operations, while Kyle Butcher from Off-Road Consulting does an amazing job at running a variety of classes that cater to a huge range of individuals that would like to be more involved and in tune with their off road vehicles. All of the classes are held at the park and can be catered to each person’s needs.
I found that the green trails to be amazing to drive on for hours, while the blue trails and the intersections of the blue and green trails were where we found all the fun! Driving through water crossings, steep climbs, sharp turns, major drop offs, and going through “puddles” that were at least 2ft deep was definitely the highlight of my day. Needless to say, armor under your rig is a necessity to tackle those trails. Paint scratches and sliding on rocks is almost a guarantee.
Red and black trails are also available, but I told Ed (my husband) that he can do those on his own time, not while I’m in the vehicle.
Driving these trails was a sensory overload, at least for me. What a great way to be “in the moment” and focused on what’s ahead. Adrenaline is pumping as you try to pick your line while moving along in a convoy of vehicles is, in my opinion, a great way to completely forget about your daily issues and just have fun.
Wheeler’s Overland Adventure is put on by Wheeler’s 4×4, an industry leader in the overland community in New Jersey. It’s a 3 night – 4 day event with a Thursday afternoon arrival and Sunday afternoon departure. The event consists of camping (on site), exploring the park on your own time, and classes throughout the day that folks can attend. Class topics include radio communications, recovery, off-road driving, survival, and more. Later in the evening the festivities take a twist with the beginning of happy hour followed by craft beers around a nice fire with all of your fellow overlanders.
While all of this is going on, Mike Kelly of Wheeler’s 4×4 starts the raffle and swag giveaway. It’s amazing to see the amount of prizes and swag that the participants receive. It’s fair to say that almost everyone walks away with something.
Overall, Wheeler’s Overland Adventure is a fantastic way to spend a long weekend with family and friends outdoors and a great way to fine tune your camping skills. Since you’re not in the middle of the desert where mistakes have more drastic consequences, it’s okay to forget stuff or make mistakes if you’re new to car camping (Overlanding).
We look forward to continuing to support Mike and Wheeler’s in developing and expanding this Overland Adventure. Hopefully we will see you on the 2020 WOA.