The Wailin’ Wayne Weekend
Southeast Ohio adventure at its finest
When some riders think of Ohio, straight and flat farm roads come to mind. But the rolling countryside in the southeast part of the state makes Ohio adventure riding heaven. And blessedly, not an over-crowded one. Between paved adventures like The Triple Nickel (Rte. 555), gravel forest service and farm roads, and a first-class off-highway vehicle program in the local forests, Ohio has a lot to offer.
The seeds of the The Wailin’ Wayne Weekend (WWW) were planted some years ago, when event host Chad Warner followed Ewan and Charlie on The Long Way Round. Chad immediately bought a GS Adventure, turned his Harley into a dust collector and the rest is history. Not knowing any better but having ridden motocross as a kid, he took on Ohio’s Monday Creek ATV/OHM Trail System, which features 75 miles of fantastic dual-sport riding in the Wayne National Forest.
Despite dire warnings from friends and forest rangers alike, Chad rode through on his big GSA and arrived at the far end of the forest with just a few bravery dings to prove that he’d done it.
In the ensuing months, adventure events like March Moto Madness and groups like the GS Giants convinced Chad that he just had to invite his new friends to enjoy what he had found in Ohio. With a little egging on by friend Stephen Gregory, the idea became reality. When the September event date arrived, Chad actually loaded his bike with everything necessary to be the host… beer, hamburgers, hot-dogs, tent and camping gear… and the kitchen sink. The GS Giants didn’t even tease him too bad on Facebook when he posted a pic of his bike loaded to the sky. From all accounts, Chad did an excellent job on the first Annual Wailin’ Wayne Weekend.
Monday Creek is north of Nelsonville, OH within a 2-hour ride from major cities like Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. While the WWW was based at an ATV-centric commercial campground, the area is chock full of excellent adventure camping in the forest and rural countryside.
A little known secret is that many OHV trails designed for 4-wheel ATVs are perfect for the big GS, assuming good riding skills and the right tires. Most trails are maintained to a 48” width, and since most of the work is done by Bobcat-style loaders, the terrain is mostly passible. Chad and Stephen said these trails would be a bit more challenging if there were a hard rain, and muddy slopes are always a really good time to do a riding skills reality check.
Chad led a dozen or more riders through the forest on several rides. Stephen documented everything with his excellent photography skills. Some chose to “wail” (or is that whale?) through the tough stuff, with obstacles including rocks, slopes, roots, ruts and more than a little mud. Others who rode into the event chose to ride the scenic route along beautiful paved and unpaved local roads. Everyone in attendance wore huge smiles at the end of the day, and a new group of friends formed. They’re all looking forward to 2015 when they can ride the event again.
This is what adventure riding is all about. A big shout out of thanks goes to Chad Warner, as well as that “do it!” voice coming from his left shoulder, Stephen Gregory. Come join in the fun at WWW.
Article By Ian Schmeisser