Speaking of ghost towns, Friendship is one of many abandoned towns in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. It was founded around the 1860s as a cranberry farming town. Cranberry packing finally ended around 1960 or so, and at least some people were still living here into the 1970s. The cranberry bogs are still here.
Coincidentally I visited here about a week after controlled burning by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, so it was much easier to see many of the old building foundations.
This looks interesting: An all-electric off-road motorcycle with fat, fat tires and a retro headlight. The Volcon Grunt will hit 60 mph in 60 seconds and has a range of 100 miles. Added bonus: the Grunt is waterproof (IPX67) and, Volcon says, can be driven underwater.
The Grunt is, like most cycles, rear-wheel drive, but it looks a lot like the two-wheel drive Rokon motorcycle, a gas-powered go-anywhere grunt that has been around for over 50 years. The Rokon Trail-Breaker has eight-inch wide tires and hollow wheels that allow you to float it (sideways) over any stream too deep to ford. The Grunt is also analogous to the Yamaha TW200, a more traditional dual sport motorcycle with a seven-inch tire in the back. The TW200 does not float.
If you want an electric 2×2 motorcycle, the Ubco is your bike, although it tops out at only 30 mph and its tires look positively skinny compared to the other three bikes.
The Grunt will be $5,995, not bad considering the Ubco EV bikes start at $6,499. Wanna stick with gas? The most basic Rokon is $6,975 and a new Yamaha TW200 starts at $4,699.
The Black Run Preserve is 1,300 acre tract of pine barrens in Evesham Township, New Jersey. There is a an active friends group that has developed an extensive network of multi-use and hiking only trails; recently REI has also been involved.
After re-introducing the Super Cub to the U.S., Honda is now releasing the CT125 Hunter Cub, a more off-road ready bike that’s an evolution of their 1960s-1970s era Honda Trail bikes. The Hunter Cub will be released in Japan in June and may (or may not) also come to the U.S.
Some would call the region through which it passes “desolate”; a better word would be “subtle”
A.D. Pierce, Iron in the Pines 1957
By the 1700s, a road, which likely followed a pre-existing Native American trail, ran from Camden, New Jersey, to the port town of Tuckerton on the Atlantic coast. According to local histories, to make their travel to yearly meetings easier, Quakers built a bridge over the Batsto River around 1772. The bridge predictably became known as the Quaker Bridge, and the road that passed over it became Quaker Bridge Road. In the 1800s, horse-drawn stage coaches regularly carried both mail and passengers through the Pine Barrens along this route.
In 1809, Arthur and Elizabeth Thompson opened the Quaker Bridge Hotel, also known as Thompson’s Tavern, just south of the bridge. The tavern remained open until at least 1850. Any remnants of the building vanished many years ago.
The area is now part of Wharton State Forest and Quaker Bridge Road is still a sandy trail through the barrens. On a pleasantly warm November day, there were few other people around: another (non-electric) fat bike, some hikers, a big dog, a couple of motorcycles, one jeep. From Atsion, a former company town and farming community, to the Quaker Bridge is about four miles. With some diversions, my round trip was 15 miles.
The Gold Camp Road runs through the Rocky Mountains south of Pikes Peak in Colorado. For over a hundred years, it has been traveled by tourists, first on passenger trains and later in automobiles. The Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway was built around the turn of the twentieth century to bring gold ore down from the mines around Cripple Creek and Victor. By the 1920s, the railroad was out of business and the route was soon converted into an automobile toll road for tourists.
It remains a popular destination. We rented a couple of KHS mountain bikes from Challenge Unlimited and they drove us in their van up the unpaved and potholed Old Stage Road to St. Peters Dome, roughly halfway between Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs. Our driver dropped us off with a couple water bottles, a photocopy of a hand-drawn map, and a little backpack with a pump and repair kit, in case we got a flat tire. From there, it was all downhill.
The first eight miles or so are closed to automobiles, and we were riding on a Monday after the summer tourist season ended, so we had the gravel road to ourselves. We rode through two tunnels, stopping several times to take in the views. After about an hour and a half, we reached Tunnel #3. In 1988, this tunnel collapsed (which is why cars are no longer allowed), so we had to walk the bikes along a trail that goes over the tunnel. Below Tunnel #3 there was a parking lot, cars, and more hikers and bikers, but it was definitely not crowded. We continued downhill through more tunnels and rock cuts.
Yet another person concludes that the Toyota Tacoma QuadCab pickup truck is the best (new) vehicle for overlanding.
The Tacoma has been the gold standard for people who want a small off road truck for decades and while the “all new” model leaves a little to be desired in terms of keeping up with the new and strong competition as a whole, its missions specific dominance remains unchallenged. The Tacoma is right blend of capability and cost for maximum value to the overland traveler