yo͞oˈnēk/adjective being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. "the situation was unique in modern politics"
particularly remarkable, special, or unusual. "a unique opportunity to see the spectacular Bolshoi Ballet"
belonging or connected to (one particular person, group, or place). "a style of architecture that is unique to Portugal"
noun a unique person or thing.
It is a good word for an interesting concept.
Something not quite off-road. Not quite instruction. Not just camping. Or even Overlanding.
But something that takes all of those things and molds them together into one inclusive weekend experience that can only be described by a single word.
This experience, the first annual Wheelers Overland Adventure, runs from May 18-21 at Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Coal Township, PA, and is a complete wheeling, camping, training and overlanding event designed for enthusiasts of all skill levels.
The Overland Adventure weekend was created and organized by a northeast-based off road group Wheelers, LLC., which promotes and organizes safe off-road events and activities for all platforms and skill levels utilizing purpose built, expedition ready vehicles.
Co-founders Mike Kelly and Ryan Revilla, after attending all sorts of wheeling and overlanding get-togethers over the years which helped build their skills and knowledge, said they wanted to take what they’ve learned and incorporate it into an event closer to the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York region.
”The idea for this event came from the participation we have had in different events, many times far from New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” Kelly said. “Every time we were at an event, the atmosphere made us want to share this experience with others. When speaking to more local folks, many express how great these events sound, but how they are too far, or their vehicle is not quite ready, or that they just were not comfortable wheeling such a distance from home.
”So this type of event is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps to open up a new group of local four wheelers to the overlanding lifestyle, and then it helps share information concerning other overland events. Second, vendors from the aftermarket industry and off road instructors are critical to discuss products and help everyone understand the technical aspects of vehicles, equipment, and trail riding.
”To bring an event of this nature to the (PA, NJ, NY) tri-state region has been a goal shared by both myself and Ryan for some time.”
Registration currently is open for the Wheelers Overland Adventure weekend which boasts a full slate of activities for each program day. Participants can choose from a variety of optional instructional classes each morning designed to improve knowledge of such topics as winching and recovery, overland trip planning, first aid, fishing, navigation and photography. For those attending with children, kids activities are available during morning classroom time as well.
Each afternoon is intentionally left open for participants to take guided and non-guided trail rides throughout AOAA, as well as the chance to head out and explore the surrounding Coal Township area and see such landmarks as:
- Shamokin Reservoir
- Mini Graffiti Highway
- Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine
- Weiser State Forest
”The weekend will be set up in a manner allowing the adventurer to choose his or her own routine,” Kelly said. “In the first half of Friday and Saturday a variety of classes will be offered but if you are not looking to attend classes, the trails are open and accessible by all wheeling attendees during park hours.
”AOAA has a variety of beautiful terrain from hard rocks to sloppy mud. Guidance will be provided for those who are looking for some help and several loops will be available varying from terrain capable in any stock four-wheel drive vehicle to ones that have small challenges.
”We can also point you to trails of interest if you are looking to do more technical trails or more intense rock crawling.”
All these different activities were set up on purpose by Kelly and Revilla, including the ability to set up camping tents in the base camp area, as they didn’t just want this event to be just a traditional ‘wheeling’ weekend.
”The major difference would be this is a camping and wheeling event together,” Kelly said. “What makes it unique is that it happens in an off road park that is designated for (off-highway vehicle) use. Furthermore, as it is a base camp format, it becomes something where the aftermarket community as well as some of its vendors can meet the Overland community and vice versa.”
All attendees are invited to bring their own food or snacks for the weekend, but Kelly and Revilla said vendors would also be on site to provide breakfast and dinner. In addition, Quadratec is sponsoring breakfast Saturday from Kozy Nook and there are several great area restaurants within a short drive.
While Jeep vehicles will be well-represented during the weekend, both Kelly and Revilla said other vehicles are also welcome including ATV, full size trucks and dirt bikes - two wheels or four, stock to rock crawler, as AOAAs trails allow everyone the ability to choose the best terrain for their comfort level.
Event participants are not required to camp at AOAA, and can choose to secure day passes and local lodging though the AOAA site.
After breakfast Sunday morning, the event wraps up with a group photo and then breaks camp with, what Kelly and Revilla hope, are plenty of memories and new friends.
”We want people to come away from the weekend having plenty of good times and a memorable experience - with good information from certified instructors and knowledgeable persons about the lifestyle, vehicles, equipment and technical aspects of trail riding and camping,” Kelly said. “The Overland Adventure is just as much as a celebration of our hobby as the vendors and participants who make all of this possible.
"You remember the first time you realized your vehicle drives better off road than on pavement? Or that moment you thought ‘am I really doing this right now' and when can we do it again? Take that and multiply it with the kindness and passion of people you meet in the field who love the same thing.
”That experience is what we hope is shared with everyone at this event.”