Beyond just holding an Appalachian motorcycle rally, I wanted to add a little flavor of competition to this year’s event. Considering most of the roads around Red River Gorge are public, it’s going to take a few years and relationships to work up to some sort of “race” or time trial event; however, in the spirit the “touring” there are no shortage of amazing roads and historic landmarks to see throughout the state, which led to an idea… The Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt.
What’s “The Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt”?
Considering the amount of time I spend in Kentucky, I want to share the roads and scenery with all in attendance. To sweeten the deal, I picked some of the best roads and landmarks and funneled them into a Scavenger Hunt hosted by Rever. At this year’s Red River Scramble, attendees will have the option to login to Rever and record their rides and potentially earn points for riding certain roads and visiting certain “points of interest” on Saturday June 2nd. Later that evening at the campground, I’ll hand out prizes to the top three finishers in attendance.
How does this scavenger hunt work?
When you “sign-in” Friday night I’ll provide a list, including GPS coordinates, for all 64 Points Of Interest (POI). At that point, assuming you haven’t already, it would probably be a good idea to download Rever and join the Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt Challenge. Saturday morning at 8 AM Rever will “turn on” the challenge, after which, riders need only to record their ride with Rever, and then start gaining points until the challenge “closes” at 5 PM. During that time attendees are free to ride wherever and however they choose, POIs will show up on the map, or attendees can pick routes ahead of time based on the list provided the night before. Riders don’t even need to stop at the POIs, Rever will record the points once participants pass within the “geo-fence” of the landmark. Once the challenge ends at 5 PM, riders will have until 7 PM to get back to Natural Bridge Campground (MAP), at which point I will begin handing out door prizes and then ultimately challenge prizes for the top three finishers of the scavenger hunt. Winners must be present to win, so please plan accordingly and leave sufficient time to grab dinner and return to the campground.
Why would I want to join this scavenger hunt challenge?
Put simply, all I’m asking you to do is download Rever on your cell phone, and go enjoy the kind of riding you like to do. Rever will do all the leg work, all you need to do is look at the map for POIs that might be along your chosen route, and ride past them; you don’t even need to stop (in most cases). If you string together the most valuable points, you have a shot at winning a prize. Ride your motorcycle, try out Rever, maybe win a prize; it’s that easy.
What are the “Points of Interest”?
Filled with twisty backroads, along with some of the most scenic Appalachian vistas, Kentucky also has a rich history spanning back to the revolutionary war. From Red River Gorge, to the Ohio River, to the tallest point in the state I’ve selected 64 key locations that attendees may choose to visit. Considering this is an adventure rally, I’ve selected points of interest that span from pristine asphalt sweepers, to challenging dirt road trails, to covered bridges, and even bourbon distilleries. The idea being that participants in the Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt have the ability to choose what kind of riding they want to do, and seek out potential destinations on the way. It should also be noted that many of these POIs are on or very near several of the pre-planned routes listed on the “Where To Ride” page.
Won’t street riders be able to collect more points than trail riders?
That would be true if all the points were of equal value, however the points are weighted based on distance and difficulty. Off-road riding is slower, and arguably more difficult in places, so certain POIs are worth more points than others. Also, while there are many points around Red River Gorge, those locations are close to camp and therefore not worth as much as those further away. I have run several scenarios and have gone to great lengths to “level the playing field” between off-roaders, long-distance riders, canyon carvers, history buffs, hikers, and sightseers. The intention is that anyone can win this challenge, regardless of how they define “adventure”.
What are the Rules?
- Register for Red River Scramble
- Check-in Friday night from 7-9 PM at Natural Bridge Campground for the POI list
- Download REVER to your smartphone
- Join the Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt Challenge (HERE)
- Record your ride(s) from 8 AM to 5 PM Saturday, June 2nd
- Attempt to find as many of the landmarks (POIs) as possible during the challenge (Rever will tell you when you gain points)
- Return to Natural Bridge Campground before 7 PM (to be eligible for prizes)
- While riding with others is highly encouraged (especially off-road or hiking), the scavenger hunt is individually scored on Rever and there can only be 3 winners selected. (In the event of a tie, the host reserves the right to choose a method of tie-breaking.)
What are the prizes?
- The 3rd place finisher will win a waterproof duffel bag from VUZ Moto
- The runner-up will receive a set of VUZ Moto waterproof panniers
- The top finisher will take home the grand prize, a SENA SMH10 Bluetooth communicator courtesy of The Dragon Raid and Joe’s Cycle Shop.
Are there any hints or strategies?
Per my previous comments, many of these points are on or nearby the pre-planned routes I’ve put together (the largest selection of routes are on the event Rever Group HERE). Riders that decide to enjoy these routes will have a good time while still gaining points, but to get the most points, folks will want to look closely at the Rever challenge map and adjust course slightly to pick up additional points to win. Folks may also want to consult their maps the night before and look at possible destinations from the list of POIs that might have higher point values. The idea is that anyone can win, regardless of the type of riding they like to do, just do a little “extra” exploring, and you’ll have the chance to pick up a few more points than your fellow adventurers. I also cannot confirm or deny that any photos seen on this post might potentially be POIs…
Additional details of note
- Considering that your cell phone is recording your route, you need to make sure you have a method of keeping your phone charged. A USB port or “power pack” would be a good investment if your phone isn’t known for holding an all-day charge (especially while your GPS is active).
- This is a “Rain or Shine” event, so you’ll also want to make sure your cell phone is sufficiently protected from the elements.
- Cell phone reception in certain parts of Kentucky, especially inside Red River Gorge, can be “spotty” at times. Rever will record your GPS locations, regardless of cell reception, and will upload to the challenge as long as riders return to cellular reception before 7 PM. In the event you’re looking to return to cell reception in remote sections of Kentucky, look for higher ground or the next “town”. Limited Wi-Fi is also available at Miguel’s Pizza and Natural Bridge Campground, among other public places throughout the area. Note: ending or “saving” a ride goes smoother if you end a ride while still connected to the internet; the gas stations in Slade would be a good place to do that before returning to the campground.
- Rever is a free app for your phone, however maps require internet service to load for free members. Pre-planned Routes will load as long as you have access to the internet (cell network or Wi-Fi), and the “blue line” and POIs will stay on the map, even when the map is blank because of limited service. “Premium” Rever members will have access to downloadable maps to maintain visibility of adjacent roads, however it is NOT REQUIRED for challenge participants to pay for Rever premium ($5.00/month). Hint: browse the Rever route map while still connected to the internet so that important sections are saved in your phone’s “cache”, this will make navigating smoother if you pass through cellular dead zones.
- Challenge participants are permitted to use any means of navigation they choose. However, it is critical that participants login to Rever, join the Bluegrass Scavenger Hunt Challenge (Rever Challenge page), and record their ride using Rever to gather points towards the challenge.
- The vast majority of the POIs are easily accessible from the roadway. However, there are a small handful of higher value POIs that are actually on hiking trails inside Daniel Boone National Forest where motor vehicles are prohibited. Do not, under any circumstances, operate a motor vehicle in prohibited areas. I added these locations purely because of the scenic views inside Red River Gorge, and as an additional option for the more outdoorsy attendees. In the event you want to pursue these points, its important that you take your cell phone with you on the hike to record the points. Note: most of these points are 350 yards or less from the parking area.
- Safety and enjoyment are obviously the primary concerns during this event. We want all attendees to have a good time in Kentucky and return as often as possible. Please obey all traffic laws, be courteous of private property, and follow all rules and regulations throughout the National Forest. Also, please take tons of photos of your visit!
- To see the POIs on your Rever map while riding you’ll need to enable “Challenge” points in your map view in the Rever app; see below:
This is obviously the first year for this “Scavenger Hunt” challenge, so please have fun and give it a shot. I’m looking forward to hearing feedback following the challenge about how things went so I can improve both the rally and this challenge next year.