The last few years we have had to deal with a lot of mud here in Ohio. When working on the farm or trying to bale hay, mud is not any fun.
However, there are times that mud can be fun...like when you get to play in it.
Being cooped up inside with working and schooling from home was getting to all of us, so we decided to take advantage of the warmer weather and get outside to soak up some much needed Vitamin D.
The first weekend we took 4-wheelers to Wayne National Forrest. Daniel and I have not been to Wayne in about 20 years and things have sure improved. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day.
The weather was perfect. Cool enough for a sweatshirt but not hot enough to make it miserable and dusty. It was the first day Wayne was open due to the COVID-19 shut down, so we were prepared for lots of people. We did get to see people...which was very nice...but it wasn't so crowded that it hindered our riding.
Daniel and the boys have gone on several "boys trips" with the ATV's, but this was the first time I joined in.
I started out nice and clean.
It had rained earlier in the week, so there was a nice skim coating of mud on all the trails. The ruts weren't as bad as we expected, but we didn't come out very clean.
Some people spend a lot of money at a spa for a nice mud bath. I got a natural southern Ohio mud bath for free...plus some much needed fresh air therapy.
And you are not going to see me with my helmet off. Corona hair plus helmet head isn't a pretty picture!
I had a great time...but my back was not very happy after seven hours on the back of that 4-wheeler.
Memorial Day weekend, we headed to West Virginia to ride the Hatfield and McCoy trails.
Again, Daniel and the boys have been to West Virginia several times, but this was my first adventure. A couple of things have to happen for me to go.
First, they have to invite me...sometimes they just don't want mom around.
Second, we can't have any cows ready to calve...except we did have a calf while we were gone, but the neighbors handled it just fine.
Third, they have to be staying in nice accommodations...like not in a yard barn. I am a hotel kind of gal.
We checked off all of the above criteria...and I was desperate to get out of the house and away from this dang computer!!!!
The weather wasn't as cooperative Memorial Day weekend. The first day of riding started with rain. We all had our rain gear, but it made it kind of miserable for the boys on 4-wheelers.
Because my back was a wreck, Daniel was able to borrow a side by side for us that made the adventure much more comfortable. We did get rained on too, but not as wet as the boys.
It rained for a few hours and then the sun came out and warmed things up.
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to the trails. We thought Wayne was muddy, but it was nothing compared to the trails of West Virginia!
We were having problems with machines overheating because of all the mud clogged in the radiators.
On the trails, your resources are limited, so we decided to have Isaac go through a puddle to cool his engine and try to clean off some of the mud.
It didn't work.
And the best part was he had no idea he had mud on his face.
Day two brought better weather and the trails had dried out a little bit.
Isaac's machine was done after day one, so he rode along with someone else for day two. The stress of a broken machine the day before was forgotten and he was all smiles on day two.
He was riding in a machine that is built for the mud, so they did not hesitate when they came upon a mud bog. The deeper the mud bog, the happier they were.
The mud and terrain was very hard on the machines. Of the nine machines in our group, only two of them came out unscathed.
One group decided to go on some black trails (only crazy people do that). Daniel and I decided not to go because we didn't want to break the machine we were borrowing. Walker went with the black trail group and regretted that decision. Thankfully his 4-wheeler made it off the mountain unscathed, but he had to have help getting it down.
While Daniel and I and the "safe" group were waiting at our meet-up point, we got a call from the kids that one of the machines broke down. Walker then got on the phone and told us that someone had broken an axle on a really big hill and DO NOT COME GET US!!!
About seven hours later, with thunder and storm clouds closing in, they abandoned the broken machine and we got the last of our group off the mountain.
We ended up staying an extra day to tear apart another machine to put its axle on the broken machine. It was 24 hours before they were able to get all the broken machines off the mountain.
I don't think anyone will be riding any more black trails.
While we were waiting for everyone that was stuck on the mountain, we ran into a rock truck grave yard.
Those trucks are huge!
One of the reasons we were so excited about this trip, is because these trails were near Gilbert, WV.
Daniel's grandmother, the youngest of twelve, was born and raised in Gilbert, WV.
Sixteen years ago, when Isaac was almost two years old, we took Daniel's grandma back to Gilbert for a family reunion. She took us around her old stomping grounds and showed us the house where she was born.
Isaac and Walker both knew their great grandma. Most of the family that Daniel knew is now gone, so we really wanted to pass on the little bit of history we do know to our kids.
We did a little googling and were able to find the name of the road. Daniel thought he would be able to find the house, but decided to ask some of the locals. The policeman didn't know, but luckily someone at McDonald's knew right where the road was. It's a good thing, because we would have been searching in the opposite direction.
We found the house with no problems. The house has been abandoned for over 20 years and it wasn't in the greatest shape 16 years ago. We fully expected to see a caved in structure. It is all grown up and not in good shape, but it is still standing. The doors have been kicked in, so we cautiously ventured inside (we later found out that there are copperheads around).
It was amazing...and sad.
Daniel's great aunt lived in the house until she moved to a nursing home. All the furniture was still in the house. The bed was still made and there were dishes on the table. If the floor hadn't been falling in, you would have thought someone still lived there. We even found a few family pictures.
We meant to take pictures, but were so wrapped up that we forgot.
We made sure to walk a short way up the hill behind the house.
We wanted to show Isaac and Walker where their great great grandparents are buried.
A couple of neighbors stopped us to tell us where the trail was...they are so used to the atv riders that invade the town each summer. It was nice to talk with those neighbors and tell them we were not lost. We weren't vandals...we were family. Both neighbors we talked to grew up on the road and remember the family.
It was a special time and I am so glad we were able to share family history with our boys.
Two weekends of fresh air and activity were good for the soul. There were a lot of mishaps and frustrations, but a lot of adventures along the way.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.