It’s been difficult to put “words on paper” to describe this year’s Red River Scramble; the support from the motorcycle touring and adventure community was overwhelming. I set out to offer a venue for motorcyclists to discover the best of eastern Kentucky, and by the sounds of it, attendees did much more exploring than I anticipated. While I spent most of my time pointing folks toward destinations that fit the kind of riding they desired, Saturday afternoon I did enjoy a few hours of gravel and slippery Kentucky clay along the southern portions of the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB). However, this event wasn’t about where I rode, it was about introducing new people to the majestic views and local byways. Looking at the REVER tracks and clicking through photos on Facebook and Instagram, this year’s attendees covered an incredible amount of real-estate in the few hours they were on site.
Over 90 event registrations
Including riders from 6 six states
Riding motorcycles from 11 different brands
Composed of over 35 unique models
Shockingly, the Triumph Scrambler was highly represented (5)…
Closely followed by the Africa Twin (4), while both were eclipsed by (8) KLRs in attendance
- Nada Tunnel
- Sky Bridge
- Natural Bridge
- Grey’s Arch
- Courthouse Rock
- Chimney Top Rock
- Halfmoon Rock
- Black Mountain
- Cottage furnace
- Fitchburg Furnace
- Camp Wildcat
- Woodford Reserve
- Buckhorn Log Cathedral
- Hall’s on the River
- Miguel’s Pizza
- Red River Rock house
- Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway
- …and more I’m sure that I’ve missed
The Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt
Speaking of exploring, I was really impressed by participants in this year’s scavenger hunt. I deliberately chose points of interest that would suit a variety of riding tastes; to my surprise, the top finishers chose to visit a very diverse selection of those destinations. I figured I would see some high-mileage road riders competing against a history buff and maybe an off-road rider. Instead, each of the top finishers spent time riding off-road, hiking, and picked up a few extra points on pavement along the way. In the end, the grand prize winner carried the day with 87 points. Looking over his route, he finished the entirety of the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway in five and a half hours. After which, he parked his bike at the end of Tunnel Ridge Road and hiked five miles round-trip out to Courthouse Rock on the north end of Red River Gorge and still managed to hustle back to camp before 7 PM. The runners-up had similar stories, touring and hiking in Red River Gorge before lunch (Gray’s Arch), and then riding select portions of the DBBB in the afternoon. I do hope that this adventurous spirit catches fire with this year’s attendees so that next year even more folks sign on to try their hand at the scavenger hunt.
Another Thanks to our Sponsors
Per my comments at the Saturday night gathering, we owe a big thanks to this year’s sponsors. If you attended the event, please look up these folks and tell them you appreciate their support; if you won a prize, take photos of that prize and tag them on social media and tell everyone how awesome it is. I’m ecstatic to have the list of sponsors that we did the year, and hope to welcome them back in 2019.
Planning for 2019
Despite turning right around from Red River Scramble and heading out to Pennsylvania for Conserve the Ride the following weekend (more on that soon), I’ve already started planning for next year’s event. I am looking over the calendar for similar motorcycle events taking place in the spring, but as of this moment, I have my eye on the weekend before Memorial Day weekend next year. Winter is so unpredictable in this part of the country, it was unseasonably cold just a few short weeks prior to this year’s “Scramble”, but thanks to Tropical Storm Alberto, I would say it was almost unseasonably warm this year. I personally like “good sleeping weather”, so I’m looking for comfortable camping conditions for those inclined; that and lodging is typically a shade cheaper on the front end of Memorial Day.
I’m also tossing around a few changes for next year. First off, I want to expand the rally to an additional day, making it a Thursday thru Sunday affair. I would also like to have some sort of “dinner” to coincide with the Saturday night gathering and door prize giveaway; like burgers and hotdogs or something to that effect. I unquestionably want to get group photo next year, that way folks can show off their bikes and anyone that skipped out can see what they missed. I’ve debated about having some type of “awards” to give away. Something like “muddiest bike”, “furthest distance traveled”, or the people’s choice award for “best scrambler”; and by “best scrambler”, that doesn’t necessary mean motorcycle model, but perhaps something like best run up Fincastle Road or “most bizarre adventure machine”.
Based on some of the feedback I’ve received, I also plan on upgrading the navigation options for next year. While there were countless options available, I think some folks were still struggling to choose something they felt appropriate for their riding level. Next year I plan on re-baking the GPX files with a clearer “difficulty” label and setting up a “main loop” dual sport route with optional hard sections. I would really like to get a hold of some paper maps; however, it’s surprisingly challenging this day and age to do so affordably. I too appreciate the utility of old-fashioned paper, but more importantly I want the ability to literally point at a map and highlight places that riders will want to ride or potentially avoid.
Red River Scramble Survey
I’m of the mindset that you should continuously improve, so I’m asking for your help to make next year’s rally even better. If you made it to Kentucky this year, please click the link below for the 10-question survey and let me know how things went. If you didn’t make it this year, but plan to attend next year, I still want your input. Again, please click the survey link below; I’ve included N/A as an option for questions specifically related to this year.
Again, I want to thank everyone to made the journey to eastern Kentucky; I hope you enjoyed your stay, and also hope you return often. I also want to thank folks for sharing so many photos of this year’s event. For those that couldn’t make it this year, we look forward to seeing you next spring!