||Bogged Down: ATVs Slop through Retreat's First Days
From The Crittenden Press. Used with permission.
Paddy's Bluff Retreat opened Saturday to the public. A few dozen bikers and Jeepers took advantage of the off-road attraction near Dycusburg. All gave the new ATV park good reviews.
Developed by John Travis on 650 acres of private property parallel to the Cumberland River, the retreat is part scenic overlook, part camping facility and part mud bog. It's a cross between an RV park and a swamp.
On the highlands, bikers or hikers might pass through a narrow trail high above the swift waters of the Cumberland River. In places it is quite an aesthetic showpiece. In fact, Paddy's Bluff is the site where parts of the movie How the West was Won were filmed many years ago. In the creek bottoms and low lands where backwater has softened the turf and tenderized the creekbanks, there's plenty of challenging holes and hills for the high-endurance ATV enthusiast.
Trails have been bull-dozed through the rough terrain, but some of Saturday's early riders say they prefer to blaze their own. "Itıs going to be tough once we get in here and make some new trails," said Jeremy Whited of Salem, pointing out that he and fellow riders tend to seek virtually impossible paths. Whited broke a front axle Saturday on his rock climber--a machine that looks like a hulked up go-cart with the power of a tank. He and others with similar equipment found entertainment off the beaten path, on bluffs and rocky cliffs that a billy goat would avoid.
"Those things are simply amazing. They're going places that I wouldn't take a log skidder," said Travis, the park's owner and a full-time timber man.
The park will be open every weekend until about October. There are daily use fees and camping is available. A concession stand at the entrance has everything from drinks to burgers and candy. On holiday weekends, Travis hopes to have some type of additional entertainment that will attract overnight campers.
The trails are well suited for almost any type of off-road vehicle. During the opening weekend there was everything from motorcycle riders to non-modified, street-style Jeeps.
Jeremy Walker of Marion took his 1977 souped up CJ7 through some of the toughest mud holes on the place. At one point, the rooster tails of slop and dark water washed through his rig like a tidal wave. Walker and Jeep emerged from the seemingly bottomless pit looking like a light chocolate brownie.
"There's still grit between my teeth," said Walker 30 minutes later as he wiped some of the excess Dycusburg mud off of his arm. The cleanup job was in vain as he was covered from ear to toe with brown ooze.
"Itıs great," he said, the whites of his eyes the only thing still retaining their original color. In contrast, there were a few families there with mom, dad and child on spotless 4-wheelers. They were taking the less-stressful route through the maze of trails.
"We hope to have something for everyone," said Travis. "Once the word gets out, I think we'll be busier."