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Though the weather reports were "iffy" for the whole weekend, we were blessed with a good amount of Sun for most of the event. Many of us did get wet at times but it didn't dampen the spirits of the riders.
This was the first year for the participating PA RAT Packs to try their hands at putting on a RAT RAID. Fortunately, a good foundation was laid by Greg Casey in previous years and newcomer Jim Callahan already "knows the ropes" which all made the promotion of the event much easier.
We had 75 participants which is almost double of the 2002 RAID. Judging by the excellent comments by many, this event will surely grow for next year.
Many riders did branch out this year on their own in small groups to check out the various sites and roads on the area. Our focus is to cut down on large organized groups rides to improve safety and allow more enjoyment by the riders and passengers.
Friday August 1: Friday Route Sheet (Approx. 180 miles)
The route took us to the Westline Inn for lunch. Since there was so much interest in the recent destruction of the Kinzua Bridge (Rail Trestle) by a F1 tornado on July 21, we inserted a short ride to the Bridgeview Cemetery in Mt. Jewett to catch a view of what is left of the bridge.
After lunch and the cemetery, we rode the wonderful Long House Scenic Drive on the southern edge the reservoir. This was followed by a stop at the Jake's Rocks overlook. Unbeknownst to us, there was a little surprise occurring at the overlook. Lonnie proposed to his girlfriend Jen and she accepted. Way to go!
Some folks stopped at the visitor centers for the Kinzua Dam while others continued on.
After a gas stop near Warren, it was time to get serious and ride through the Allegheny Forest and head to the Devil's Highway (Rt. 666). BUT - PennDOT had other plans for us. Just the previous week, the later 1/3rd of the road received a fresh coat of Pennsylvania's finest "tar and chip" oil and gravel topcoat. Rather than risk problems, almost everyone turned around and headed all the way back out to Rt. 62 to head back to St. Marys. No one was upset though as riding the Devil's Highway is great no matter which direction you take!
Friday evening brought a gathering in the lounge with some hors d'oeuvres and a band for light music and some "tire kicking".
Saturday August 2: Saturday Route Sheet (Approx. 250 miles)
The morning started with an excitement for a good ride. Craig Kissell of Kissell's Motorsports in State College had invited us for a lunch stop at the shop. To get there, we went on some great roads that we had not ridden in past years (Rt 144 South from Rt 120 in Renovo). This section of 144 is a great road through the mountains.
We had quite a crowd at Kissell's. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and took advantage of some sales on Triumph clothing and accessories.
The clouds started building as we headed West from State College. By the time we hit Clearfield, a storm was dumping torrents of rain.
Once back at the Towne House, it was time for the evening activities. A the Towne House servered us a great chicken BBQ dinner. Afterward, it was off to the lounge for music and the raffle drawings. We had a huge amount of prizes this year due to the tremendous support of the 3 dealers, 4 RAT Packs and RAT too.
Sunday August 3: Sunday Route Sheet (Approx. 50 miles)
The WARP (Windber Area RAT Pack) put together a nice brunch run to Brookville, PA which made it nice for many as it was along I-80. One last group picture and many happy riders were on their way!
See you next year!