DAY 5: SAWMILL & OLD RHINEBECK AERODROME
Thursday morning was a wet one, and everyone was soaked to the bone by the time we met up with Frank Fredsall at the Sawmill. The Fredsall family has owned this 240-acre piece of land since 1953, long before anyone thought about wheeling it.
After leaving the Sawmill we made a stop at the Beckley Furnace in Canaan, Connecticut. This pig iron furnace dates back to 1847 and continued in operation until 1919. The furnace site became a state park in 1946 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 to recognize and preserve its place in our nation’s history of industrialization and innovation. Trent McGee really knocked it out of the park this year finding hidden gems like this along the backroads of New England during his event prerun.
The furnace was just a warm-up for the next stop: Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Our group of gearheads went nuts over the planes and antique automobiles, ranging from reconstructions of canvas-skinned Wright Brothers planes to the Golden Age of Flight (between WWI and WWII). The museum has an airstrip across the street where airshows are performed on summer weekends. They even give rides in biplanes!
From the aerodrome we restocked on our way to Northeast Offroad Adventures in Ellenville, New York. There we camped for the night.
Chris Paul’s transfer case was starting to get pretty noisy by Day 4, but that didn’t stop him from flogging his H3. Paul knows his vehicle’s limits better than most, thanks to all the seat time he has in the Hummer. He told us that removing the front doors really aids in visibility on the trail, something H3s definitely need help with.
It wouldn’t be an adventure without a little rain. Johnny Wood and Amber Medrano were warm and dry inside their Ram truck. Others with open buggies and no windshield wipers had a much different experience.
Trees! If you are wheeling in New England, trees will be part of the experience. All of the trails run this year were under a thick canopy of trees and vegetation. This provided shade, made it difficult to take photos, and limited where we could go, particularly for the drivers of fullsize vehicles.