At the beginning of 2022, social media started buzzing with the idea of Yamaha gearheads from across the country meeting up for a group ride. With the majority of the group being east coast based, it was without question to have the inaugural ride at the historic and profound Hatfield McCoy Trail system. Home to hundreds of miles of some of the best riding available, it was decided that the Southern West Virginia trail system be the destination for the group to collaborate.
This has been one of the first all Yamaha based rides to be organized via social media and would be considered to some an “invasion.” It was then dubbed that the ride be called none other than the “Yamaha Invades WV” ride. Riders from multiple states set their coordinates to Bluefield, Wv and began to travel at the end of April. Many traveled hundreds of miles across multiple state lines to enjoy and gather amongst each other as a group for the first time. Local trail enthusiast and Yamaha fanatic Daniel Simmons aka “Tarheel Trailblazer” who acted as host and guide to the event, set up camp at the Blue and Gold cabins to welcome the riders in. Riders began to trickle in as early as Thursday to get in as much riding as the could, but the two-day event did not formally start until the following Friday. We were able to make it down early Thursday evening just in time to catch some of the guys coming off the trails. Everyone had worked up an appetite from the days travels so a few of us traveled down to the local restaurant called “The Railyard” to enjoy some quality food and drinks. After parting ways, we all settled in for the night as tomorrow was ride day.
Friday morning started off as an overcast morning with temperatures just right for the ride. The group of all Yamaha machines, primarily composed of Yamaha Wolverine RMAX1000’s began to assemble early in the morning for the first time at the Blue and Gold cabins. Seeing a group of roughly 30 all Yamaha machines was definitely a sight to see. The group members greeted one another and exchanged looks at each other’s machines before gathering for a pre ride riders meeting. Host Daniel Simmons started the morning off with an opening greeting and laid down some basic safety/ground rules for the event. We then promptly fired up our machines, fell into the preassigned formations, and set off to tackle the trails for the day. Dry conditions from earlier in the week made for some pretty dusty trails, but that did not stop the three groups from traveling to the midday lunch destinations. Each of the three groups would ride to a separate destination each day. As the ride progressed, we navigated through the winding, twisting, elevation changes of the Appalachian Mountains only taking brief rest stops along with way until we arrived in the town of Mullens, Wv. The group recharged with some quality food at the Rebel SmokeHouse for lunch. Once lunch wrapped up, we refueled the machines and we were off again. After a few more hours of hitting the trails we finally found ourselves back in the town of Bluefield by early evening. The first day had gone off without a hitch.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. We started the day off in similar fashion with the members aligning in their respective groups before the days pre ride meeting. The weather however did decide to bring some much-needed rain to the trails. The weather forecasts were calling for some moderately heavy rain for the majority of the morning and afternoon.
With the addition of some rain gear, we set off for the days ride. The trails were definitely on the slick side, but the all Yamaha group of machines handled them well getting us to our lunch destination at the Weathered Ground Brewery in the town of Ghent, Wv. The picturesque grounds of the Brewery made it look like the entrance of a western ranch. After sampling some of the great food available, it was time to continue our ride for the day. As the weather began to break, it made for near perfect trail conditions for the remaining ride home. We crawled our way through some great technical trails that really showcased the capability of the Yamaha machines. Day two logged more miles for us, but we forgot to log our trail in the Adventure Pro at the beginning of the day so the total mileage was unknown for the ride.
After arriving back in Bluefield, the entire group met up once again at the Blue and Gold cabins for a dinner and prize give away event. Aside from the riding itself, this was an event highlight for almost everyone. The event sponsors provided some really great giveaway items and almost everyone went home with something in hand. Some of these items ranged from Yamaha accessories to much needed wash kits for post event cleanings. It was a great time to really interact with the whole group again and get to know one another. As such, all good things must come to an end. As night began to fall, most loaded up the dirt covered machines on the trailer for the drive back home the next day. Events like this are what makes this hobby so special. With thousands of miles collaboratively traveled, we all met in one place to share the thing that we love doing the most. The smiles, stories, and experience make it all worthwhile. Plans for an even better 2023 are already in the works with April 27th through the 31st being the target dates for the event. We hope to see even more of you there next year. We can’t thank our following event sponsors enough; Eagle ATV and SXS rentals, Betner Communications, Blue and Gold cabins, Yamaha, Lifetime Trailmaps. A big thank you also to Daniel Simmons for the behind the scenes leg work of hosting/guiding the event. We look forward to seeing you all again next year and hopefully seeing some new faces as well.