This past weekend the DRT Crew hit the road and set a course for Pennsylvania coal country to attend the first annual WheelersLLC Overland Adventure at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. With perfect spring temperatures in the forecast and a lack of any camping trips in recent memory, this was the perfect excuse to load up the Jeep and head north.
“Hang on, who’s WheelersLLC?” I’m sure a lot of people have this question, so I’m going to sum it up based on what I’ve heard. First let’s clear up the name, Ryan and Mike originally wanted to name the company Wheelers, but since everyone and their
jeep club mother already uses the name on Facebook, Instagram, etc. adding the LLC was an easy way for them to stand out from the fray. Now that we’ve cleared that up, WheelersLLC is a partnership formed by Mike and Ryan with the goal of bringing people together for legal and safe off road experiences, this event is their first proof of concept. I’m also sure that just like every other great idea in the overlanding community, it was developed during a night of drinking way too many IPA’s and smoking half a box of cigars. Regardless of how it was started, I’m sure everyone who attended the event will agree with me that we’re glad they got together to put on this event.
So what is the Overland Adventure? Mike and Ryan’s concept of their Overland Adventure event is representative of the ever changing 4WD community, as the lines between “wheeling” and “overlanding” continue to become more and more blurry every day. The Overland Adventure walks that fine line exceptionally well by incorporating facets of both sides of the industry, because at the end of the day let’s be honest, we all just want to drive our trucks off road, setup camp somewhere in the woods, and drink a ton of beer. Short of being a rock bouncer, if you like camping, cool trucks, good people, and free stuff at the raffle, this event checks off all the boxes.
Now I’m going to be completely honest, I was originally skeptical about attending the event due to it being hosted at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. My original impression was that it was going to be another Rausch Creek experience with bros trailering their rock bouncers, with the award going to who can break the most shit on their truck. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Anthracite is a perfect venue for an event of this style, not only did it have dispersed camping available right next to the main office, but there are over 6,500 acres of the park to explore. It’s actually closer to 10,000 acres, but they haven’t had the ability to resurvey the site yet. The trails ranged everywhere from greens (easy) to black (oh shit), featured tons of beautiful scenery, and you could easily spend a week out there exploring the entire area. Having the ability to experience the park alone was well worth the trip.
WheelersLLC took full advantage of this with their guided trail rides hosted by Kyle Buchter at Off-Road Consulting. Kyle did an excellent job of showing everyone around the area and taking groups on his 40 mile Overland loop through the Pennsylvania mountains. We spent 5 hours wandering around the property, all of the trails were marked reasonably well, and we found a ton of places to take some awesome photos. Just to give you an idea of how big this place really is, Tony and I only manged to cover about 20% of the park in 5 hours, and this was moving along at a pretty fast clip on most of the mild trails.
In attendance was the usual cast of characters, Quadratec was the main sponsor and our friends from Main Line Overland were in attendance as well. Some of the Vermont Overland crew even showed up, and the 4XFish did a great job teaching an intro to fishing class. Mixed into the bunch were a variety of Jeep clubs, some Xterrables, and even a strong showing from our own Mid-Atlantic Overland Society.
Overall the event was a big success, there were a few hiccups that every first year event encounters but Mike, Ryan, and their awesome team of volunteers didn’t miss a beat. Throughout the entire weekend, the guys always put the priorities of the attendees first, and consistently bent over backwards in order to make sure everyone was having a great time. I’m looking forward to next year, and can’t wait to watch Mike and Ryan continue to grow the event.