Does MABDR stand for Mid-Atlantic Backroad Discovery Route or MAGICAL ADVENTURE Backroad Discovery Route? For us, it now means the later.
Yes, I do. Yes, we do.
And just like that, we wrote our own fairytale. At a scenic overlook on section 7 of the Mid-Atlantic BDR, Clay asked me to be his wife. Unfortunately, it was the ONE overlook I did NOT have the 360-camera rolling, the one scenic stop he didn’t turn on his helmet camera, and the one stop that was in the sweltering 90-degree sun. But in full ADV gear, helmet and all, Clay reached into his pocket, pulled out the most adorable wooden box, and got down on his knee and through our Cardos, asked me to marry him. I shook my head yes (because I was speechless), we took off our helmets, and I said “of course” from a tear-filled face. Or perhaps it was sweat? Either way, it was the most amazing moment of my life. We subsequently turned on the cameras, propped up the iPhone and attempted to capture some footage from the perfect “us” moment. I couldn’t have imagined a more suitable engagement – Clay and I doing what we love, in a place that felt like we were the only people in the world. And in the warmest sunshine, which I love!
When I was young, the highlight of my summer was going with my father to the Winston Cup races in Pennsylvania. We’d spend a week doing countless father-daughter activities, including riding ATVs (maybe that’s where my love of motos really begun). It was one of my favorite places in the world. I would never have thought I’d get engaged in Pennsylvania, but thinking about how special it always was to me, added to the beauty of this moment. Clayton Edward Snyder, I do now, and I do always.
Without further delay, on to the riding details of our MABDR trip…
The journey to Southern PA to meet-up with the BDR after work on a Friday and on a holiday weekend seemed endless. We made our way across this island and through NYC’s rush hour traffic on the hottest day of the year so far. We couldn’t wait to get away from the raging humidity of the NY heat, and the pumped-up, holiday crowds. After 200+ miles, we took refuge 50 miles from the BDR in a small town called Lewisburg, PA. Our small, historic hotel was perfect, and possibly haunted! The GoPro turned on in the middle of the night and recorded 4 separate “Time Lapse” videos - odd as we keep it in 360 mode ALL OF THE TIME and were asleep! This is no joke - 4 files with time stamps while we slept. Our first stay in a haunted hotel!
In the morning, we made an amazing pit stop at D.C Coffee & Tea. Not only did they have an amazing selection of seasonal lattes (yes, I had the Coconut Cream Pie latte) but the drinks come with inspirational quotes, almost as beautiful as the kind patrons we met. Everyone wanted to talk to us, find out about our journey, and wish us the best. Coming from New York, this warm vibe was a welcomed way to begin our off-road adventure. We were even blessed to chat with an young rider-to-be , Bethany and her father. Hopefully we inspired her to ride a motorcycle someday -and isn’t that one of the intrinsic benefits of riding – sharing the mission of the BDR with others and inspiring them to take to two-wheels? They were all so polite and very interested in what we were doing.
Day 1 riding section 7 and into part of 8 was incredible! We were able to cruise at a comfortable speed, without any freak-outs due to difficulty level, yet it was challenging enough navigating some large gravel on curved descents. The fern covered pine forests to the butterfly-filled meadows with plenty of mountainous scenic overlooks made for beautiful ride. The engagement was more than the “cherry-on-top” of this magical day. And we felt so blessed to end the day at an absolutely perfect camping destination – the private property of fellow-rider, TJ Wise. He so generously opens his property to BDR riders to camp on during their trip. This is much more than a freshly mowed camping spot – he has set it up with a picnic table, fire ring, PLENTY of firewood, a box with camping essentials like comfy chairs, MABDR maps and info, matches, Citronella candles, bug spray, and anything else one might need to have a comfortable camping experience. And the best part – it’s literally on the river. To be able to watch the sunset with a bottle of champagne over the Susquehanna River couldn’t have been more of a fairytale for us – and of course, due to the holiday, we were even able to see fireworks as it got dark. Needless to say, there were much bigger fireworks in our hearts. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more magical day in my life.
In the morning, we rode the remainder of 8 and into section 9. We took it very slow as it was the second day of a very hot weekend, and I was in a peaceful bliss from the day before. We made a much needed stop for lunch – that turned into an ice cream stop in Cedar Run. We met a few other MABDR riders. Clay was able to share the Africa Twin love as two other riders were on those beasts. After a detour at Colton State Park, we fueled up to begin our journey eastbound. We made it to Williamsport and found our hotel that was in a historic City Hall building. This place was the perfect destination after two days in the woods. It was IMMACULATE, had every creature comfort one might need from an ice machine to a drink machine with unsweetened iced tea (that’s almost unheard of). Everything one could possibly need was at our fingertips including utensils for our to-go blondie dessert. We enjoyed one of the longest showers ever in the non-enclosed rainhead shower. And there was adequate space in the room for all our gear. We didn’t even mind there was no window – it allowed us to get an extra-solid nights sleep. In the morning, we were fortunate enough to run into the owner of this amazing place. Sandy, took close to an hour to give us a tour of the unoccupied rooms – all which have a different historic theme. She explained much of the city’s history through this museum-like tour of this unique hotel. Needless to say, we’ve already booked a return trip to enjoy the town’s Victoria Christmas festival. This hotel’s crisp, inviting atmosphere, it's character, it's beauty and it's accessibility made this an absolutely perfect experience after a magical experience on the MABDR.
Monday, July 4th we made the long trip back to the east end of Long Island. Although we hit holiday traffic, we were thankful for the generous shoulders on highway 80 that we’re pretty much debris-free. We made it home with time to relax in a hot tub that’s never felt better on our aching bodies.
We’ve been so very blessed to have so many incredible experiences on this trip.
Most importantly, it was the absolute best way to celebrate making a lifetime commitment to each other. And whether you’re a friend or a member of the BDR community (or perhaps both) we’d like to thank you for supporting us, and following along with us on this continued journey.