So I did the ride on 5-16-2015.
Kind of a 2-part review. The first will be on the trails themselves and the second on the event as my 1st time ride there ever!
They do open some trails on Allegheny National Forest that are normally closed to ATV/UTVs. The trails are about 98% nice open and wide trails, more to the like of dirt roads while a few small "technical" parts mix it up. The difficulty on the trail is 1/10, 1 being the easiest possible. The technical stuff can get a 2 as it is slower and rougher going, but just barely a 2.
What is important to remember is that this is not your ordinary poker run trails. And that is a good thing! It is more geared at a slower paced drive through the countryside. Really nice scenery. It is not for the speedy as the 25mph is for safety. The problem is that for those of us that want to open it up some, the trails are just too tempting and you find yourself going way faster than you should be. So please keep that in mind.
But it is something that all should experience at least once. It lets you truly see the reason why we love our state.
And now for the Event.
Well, what can I say. Please remember this was my first time here. It's my general observation that when you hold an event you always treat everyone as if they are there for the first time and in return they will always come back. I won't.
My day had a snag...a dark cloud moment, if you will. So the first 2 checkpoints were vacant...no idea why but oh well, a couple more are ahead. So we get to CP #3 and get to pick cards for the first time, but we get 3 since 1&2 were closed. I hand the guy my purple ticket, smiling...having a good time and all only to hear "this is the wrong ticket! I need the red ticket!" "This is the only ticket I have" I told him. Apparently, the purple were for Sunday and only people with a 2-day pass got one red and 1 purple. My 1 day pass only got red. Hey, I didn't know. I was at the 1 day registration point...what are they doing with the 2nd day tickets at the 1 day registration point? Changed something? I don't know. What I do know is it was NOT my responsibility to make sure I was given the proper ticket. These tickets have poker card values marked and are hole punched...simple. And the red and purple are identical except for color. Which leads me to my next point. It was a screw up. No big deal. Call back on the radio, mark the ticket, punch the holes and when I get to the end they will already know what happened. Just punch the same holes onto a red ticket and voila. That is what I told the man at CP3. Does this not sound straight forward and simple? Apparently not to him. Long story short, he flat out refused to punch the holes, like he would have been arrested! Yeah, he seemed THAT nervous to take this enormous task into his own hands and accept the consequences. So I told him I was not happy and that I would be writing a review on my experience...then it was "let me radio back down again". So again we tried...and again we failed. Strike 2! Finally I gave up and just said fine to his idea of going all the way back to the start(my fuel and time doing what I DID NOT PAY FOR) to exchange my purple ticket for a red one. Still not happy, but hey...what can you do. What is done is done, right? So off we go..."hurrying" as we were told to do...not quite the safest order by a VFD staffer considering all the slow paced families out and about...thanks for making me break the rules, by the way, to fix YOUR screw up.
So in my accepting manner of finally getting things in order and back to enjoying my day, I finally felt relief and joy when the trailer was in sight and my elusive red ticket was no longer a dream...
And that's when it happened. That tipping point. That one little thing that sets you off when you have tried everything to stay calm and follow as you are told. We heard them on the radios. They knew we were coming like lightning through these trails! SO WHY THE HECK DID YOU CLOSE UP AND LEAVE!!! Guess what??? STRIKE 3!!!
I paid $40 to have the EXPERIENCE of this ride, not just to ride. 4.5 hours of driving and burning fuel. If I wanted to just ride,I could have stayed more local for free and spent way less money for fuel.
I just want everyone to understand that I wanted that poker run combo ride! That experience. That is what its all about. And they ruined it all over a color. Yes, a color. That, my friends, is 100% uncalled for. And just bad business. Don't forget, I told them TWICE I was doing a review so this shouldn't come as a surprise. I don't want an apology and I am not going to "bash" the event over the failure on the part of a few. That would not be fair. It is, after all, a fund raiser.
I am glad someone else was there with me to witness this.
So in closing, my bad experience should not be taken as slam or degrading review but rather to hopefully open some eyes up there. Where they should have bent over backwards to help a supporter I feel they turned their backs and I got the middle finger after they had my cash. That is HOW I FELT! No right and wrong there. And with good reason. I was the only one out of what..hundreds...that paid for and didn't even get a chance to win any prizes! But I am not bitter. I just simply will not be back.
I am curious, however, if they will do the right thing? Whether it is 1 cent or 1 million dollars, we all expect to get something for our money. I did not.
I was promised a poker run experience. I paid for a poker run experience. I wanted that poker run experience. Instead I took a very expensive ride, being disappointed all the while. Not much fun riding trails after all this. I spent the day riding the rest of the trails only to try and justify spending the money to come up here. It didn't last that long before heading back and loading up to leave.
This is where I say i want my $40 back...
A Dissatisfied Customer