Dave Whiteman is THE MAN! On Friday (August 21) Dave climbed on his BMW R1200 GS and rode over to meet up with me near Windber, PA. What an awesome meeting and ride he gave me in PA. Check the chicken strips on my tires in the adjacent picture. I can personally tell you that keeping up with Dave on those twisting-turning-rolling-up and down the mountain Pennsylvania backroads is both a challenge and a hoot.
We met up, at Dave's suggestion, at the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site (http://www.nps.gov/alpo/index.htm) not far from Windber. That was a cool suggestion and well worth seeing. Want to see what happens when you put a challenge in front of people? The Allegheny Portage Railroad is a pretty good example. Inspired me with what we face in our role as advocates and enthusiasts. We CAN make this better!
After the sidebar at the APR NHS, Dave led the way through a maze of roads that I couldn't decide if I wanted to just stop and take pictures or keep on riding. It is easy to see why all the clamor people make about adventure sport riding in PA. A perfect day and perfect riding was just what I needed and just what I got.
Dave stopped for lunch at a little place he has frequented in a little town which I recall as Huntingdon, PA. Coolest little town with the best Rueben sandwich I have ever had. I think the trick was Dave ordered it with pastrami instead of corned beef and I just followed suit ala, the locals know best. Dave, if you read this, remind me of the name of the place so I can tell people.
The discussion we had over lunch was pretty incredible too. You see, Dave Whiteman is the current Director of PaTRA (Pennsylvania Trail Riders Association, http://www.patrailriders.org/). He is very involved, been at it a long time, and has ridden off-highway all over the country. He has a broad perspective and is energetic. As avid an off-highway motorcycle rider as he is on-highway, he shared some of his frustration at having less than 30 miles of single track trail in PA when there is so much more opportunity... if only the state would be willing to work with them and manage that way. Later in the afternoon, Dave took me by a trailhead for single-track in the Bald Eagle State Forest to show me what he meant.
Dave also gave me some perspective for BRC improvement, that matched up with what I had heard from folks in previous meetings... it boils down to the "BlueWho?" question again. Bill Kaeppner had shared some similar input a few days earlier, as have others I have met with. Bill and Dave, having the perspective they do, they get it. But other folks might not. In all honesty, we have some work to do in that department. This tour is only the start. At the same time, Dave had some good suggestions and some high praise for our work as well.
The afternoon's ride was equally as glorious as the morning and I have to admit, that while I looked forward to my next destination, I regretted turning toward Hershey while Dave turned toward home in State College. It was a great day of riding with a great guy and strong advocate for OHV recreation. Pennsylvania folks are lucky to have him advocating for them. As always, BRC members are top-shelf and Dave among them. I am glad to have finally met him and that I can now call him my friend. Thanks Dave! It was one of the best days of riding I have had, and we got some work done to boot.
A shout out is in order here too: Early on, I had called on Dick Lepley, former BRC Board Member and current Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Off Highway Vehicle Assoc. (PAOHV, http://www.paohv.org), to let him know I was going to be coming through Pennsylvania. Dick is a leader among leaders and I was disappointed that my path wasn't going to be near where he is. Regardless, Dick helped me coordinate meetings and I can't thank him enough for that. Although Dave Whiteman is a longtime member and supporter of BRC, I had never met him personally. It was Dick who did the personal introductions between Dave and I. Dick Lepley also put me in contact with Rob Gorczyk in NE PA whom I will be meeting up with soon... stay tuned.