Waterville, Pa., Aug. 26–28—Several years ago, a motorcyclist named Cathy Palazzolo had an idea that she brought to Nancy Duthie, general manager of Tramontin Harley-Davidson in Hope, New Jersey. Her concept was to gather together a group of women for a weekend motorcycle camping trip, and Nancy agreed that the dealership would sponsor the newly-minted Skylands Womyn Riders. Shortly thereafter, I became an active member. Motorcycles combined with camping? What could be better?
Over the next six months or so, our core group of a half-dozen experienced female riders went on several weekend scouting expeditions to check out a few campgrounds, ride some scenic routes, and finalize details. Our first official Camp N Ride event, open to all female riders, was held in August 2015. The weekend was a rousing success, so we scheduled another for 2016.
This time, we chose a location that was closer to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania which features some of the best motorcycle touring roads in the state. We’d rented a lodge at Happy Acres Resort in Waterville, Pennsylvania, for the last weekend in August. Along with our primary sponsor Tramontin H-D, we garnered the support of several other generous sponsors, allowing us to keep the registration cost low and hand out some great gifts. For $158, we provided a guided tour on each of the three days, three meals, and plenty of awesome product giveaways just for signing up.
Early Friday afternoon, we met at Tramontin H-D, where the staff surprised us with enough gift cards and other nice goodies to go into each of the gift bags we would hand out later. After reuniting with several women that rode with us last year, and a short meet ‘n’ greet with some members of the Road Diamonds of New Jersey riding group as well as a few independent riders who joined us, it was kickstands up as we departed for the camping resort. Some 160-some miles later, after a few detours due to rush-hour traffic, we arrived at Happy Acres where our newly-renovated and nicely-appointed cabin awaited.
We were quite fortunate with the perfect weather conditions throughout the weekend. Daytime temperatures were in the high 80s with nary a rain cloud in site, and the evenings cooled down just enough for two restful nights’ sleep. After settling in, we walked across the road to the Happy Acres Restaurant and Wildlife Lounge where we enjoyed a hearty dinner before retiring for the night.
Saturday morning, we fortified ourselves with breakfast, again at the Happy Acres Restaurant, and headed north and then west for a full day of touring. Our first stop was in the quaint town of Wellsboro, followed by a short but lovely ride to Leonard Harrison State Park, which offers one of the most spectacular overlooks of Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon.
The next leg of our adventure took us on wooded, windy roads through a series of state forests, game lands and wilderness areas which most of us had never ridden before. In the mid-afternoon, we stopped for lunch at the historic Pat Reeder’s Tavern about halfway between Hyner and Haneysville where we were greeted warmly. What a friendly place! Bikers, hunters and fisherman, along with other locals, all seem to meld nicely.
Another short ride brought us back to Happy Acres, where some of us decided to cool off with a refreshing dip in the Olympic-sized inground pool, just a quick walk from our cabin. Then it was off to dinner at Happy Acres Restaurant again, where we hung out for a while to enjoy the live music in the bar. Back at the cabin, we drew tickets for the giveaways… everyone brought at least one nice gift home at the end of the weekend. And a roaring fire was the perfect end to the day.
The ride back to New Jersey on Sunday morning took us along the famed Pennsylvania SR-6, through rural towns and farmlands. Lunch was at Chris’ Western Beef on SR-6 in Meshoppen, a fun barbecue spot with inexpensive and delicious food. And then it was time for each of us to make our way home.
Thanks to Janice Rogers, our road captain for the weekend, whose route planning was outstanding, as was her ride leadership. And many thanks to our wonderful sponsors, including Tramontin Harley-Davidson, Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Kuryakyn, Rider Insurance, Lakeland Bank, Anti Monkey Butt, and Nano Film, who donated products and funds which made it possible to keep our costs down and purchase gifts and necessary supplies.
Planning is already underway for our 2017 Camp N Ride, scheduled for August 25–27. Keep an eye on swrcampnride.blogspot.com and Facebook.com/SkylandsWomynRiders for more information as plans are finalized, and to register for the event.