February 27, 2021
Our off road club had been talking about getting together again soon, and some of us wanted to hit an off road park to help with education and practice. We originally wanted to go to AOAA, however due to the cold and Covid, it looked like finding a good spot to camp at was going to be an issue. So we quickly changed course and decided Twin Mountain would be the better spot. It was closer for everyone, so that helped in the decision making process.
I had been to Twin Mountain one time before with another club. You can read about it here: http://sorrtrek.com/twin-mountain-off-road-adventure-off-road We went in January and when we got there, the trails were frozen making it difficult to ride. During that trip, we ended up riding around the obstacle course for a bit and then heading to Flagpole Knob for more trail riding. Knowing that the trails may be difficult depending on the weather, I reached out to John (the owner of Twin Mountain) ahead of time. The weather warmed up the week before our trip, so we all figured that the trails would not be frozen this time around and went forward with our plans.
While the whole club did not attend, we did have a good group going. Everyone besides me decided to head up Friday and camp Friday night in addition to Saturday. I wasn’t able to leave early and wouldn’t have arrived till late, so figured I would head up Saturday morning. Traffic was pretty light and easy, and I made it to camp in good time. There were a couple of areas along the way that still had snow, mainly as I crested over the mountain and started heading into West Virginia. I was a little late due to getting a later start and then stopping at the Sheetz in Moorefield to fill up on gas and grab some snacks.
Once I arrived, I immediately noticed a new edition to the park, which was a pavilion. The squad were nicely packed inside and John was already onsite discussing some of the routes with Jordan. It apparently had snowed the night before, and though everyone had rooftop tents, they were still very happy to have been able to hang out in the pavilion. The pavilion is cut into the side of the mountain and offers some great views of the surrounding mountains. Not too far from the pavilion are a few other camping areas with fire pits and then an obstacle area. The area had a couple of moguls to drive over, a log bridge, a steep hill, and a water pit. Some of the field around this area can also be challenging when muddy as well.
After catching up a bit, it was decided to let Wes give the obstacle area of the park a bit of a run. He still has his new truck with stock tires, so there was some concern that the mud may prove treacherous. Things started out OK, but when I decided to give the main hill a try, we realized it was going to be a soggy day. The main hill leads up to the start of many of the trails. With a solid layer of mud on it, it proved to be quite the challenge. After a couple of attempts, some of the others tried and only two ended up making it to a turn around point on the hill. Which was about half way. With the amount of effort needed to get this far, we decided to make the best of it and practiced some recovery once Jordan got stuck at the top edge. We pulled out multiple traction boards and tried various methods of breaking free. Sadly, to no avail. We did discuss some other methods of recovery in this situation, but since we didn’t need to get any further (he was able to just back down the hill) we decided that we needn’t push further.
We stopped for a quick lunch, and then spent several more hours playing on the obstacle area and exploring more of the park (mostly by foot). It was early in the afternoon and John asked if we wanted to explore some unopened parts of the park. We were discussing this further while some were still driving around on the obstacles. At this point, Leslie was on a portion of the hill and ended up in a precarious position that looked like she was close to tipping over. So everyone mobilized and proceeded to help where possible. It’s great that John teaching rescue and recovery, and so he directed everyone. We ended up using eight traction boards to make sure she was able to straighten up and get to a safe area to exit her predicament. We had lost some time working through this, so exploring other parts of the park were now off the table. So we decided to get set up camp, gather firewood, and get ready for the evening.
After backing the 4Runner up and setting up my sleeping area in the back, I noticed the battery light had come on. So I connected to the computer and noticed that the voltage was lower than normal. Decided to watch this at the time and finished setting up.
Everyone got the fire ready and then set up for dinner. I cooked a good steak on a skewer and served it Brazilian steakhouse style, along with some other snacks that had been packed along. We cracked open drinks, checked some of the pictures and videos we had taken, and got caught up telling stories since the last time everyone had been together. During the night, the rain picked up a bit, making things even more soggy. The pavilion continued to be a great place to hang for sure.
The next morning everyone slowly got up and packed. A couple of folks had to get home at a decent time, so not much activity for the ride home. I tried to add some air to the tires and the compressor was struggling. We had the vehicles running for a bit and I decided to check the voltage again. It was lower this time. I was thinking that maybe some actual movement or further drying out of the alternator would help. As we loaded up and ready to depart, the 4Runner just died. Looks like the battery was now dead and there was some panic as concern for fixing this situation started to mount. John was there and able to provide some insight and assistance. I used my jump kit to jump the 4Runner and we left it connected. John’s house isn’t far from the park, so we limped over to his place and pulled into his garage.
We checked the voltage with a voltmeter and confirmed that the alternator wasn’t recharging the battery. So John called the local parts store and they had a replacement. At this point, Wes offered to stay and help out. I graciously accepted, as he would be able to get me home if we needed to leave the 4Runner for the week. We were able to remove the dead alternator pretty quickly and John and I headed into town. It was a pretty soggy day, somewhat fitting for the situation. We made it to the part store and exchanged alternators. It was great speaking with John about the area and getting some history. For example, we passed Willow Wall, which is an early 19th century home (pre-civil war) that was along the path. It may be haunted and still had some remnants from its plantation days.
We were able to put in the new alternator pretty quickly and after our goodbyes with John, got on the road. We were going to grab lunch, but since there isn’t much in the way of cell service out there, we ended up not making it back to the Sheetz in town. So we pushed onward trying to find a place to eat. There wasn’t much available, but we stopped at Kerr’s Grocery in Wardensville. This was a unique place, as it had a gas station, grocery, hardware, and Napa auto parts store all in one. It even has a spray wash for the car. We grabbed some sandwiches and got back on the road. It was a pretty quiet ride from there on and we both got home with no further issues. Thinking back, I think the alternator was on it’s way out, as the couple of weeks leading up to the trip, there were some odd noises coming from the engine bay that were no longer present.
All in all, it was a great trip. We all had a great time and enjoyed the park and camaraderie from the squad. We are planning on heading out again in September, pending dry weather. John had mentioned that on a nice dry day, you can get through the park in pretty good timing. We enjoyed his hospitality and help through everything and are looking forward to heading out again.
Note: Some photos are provided by fellow YAS members. Also, sorry this is so photo heavy, there were actually going to be more but they didn’t come out correctly.
268 Genny Loop
Moorefield, WV 26836
29126 State Road 55
Wardensville, WV 26851
Last modified: March 8, 2021