Hocking Hills Friends of the Park Poker Run - MY REVIEW

Saturday May 16th was the Hocking Hills Friends of the Park Annual Poker Run. This was my first attendance of the fundraising event for Southern Ohio State Parks which travels through Hocking, Vinton, and Ross counties.

The scenery was absolutely beautiful as the route winds through at least 6 of Southern Ohio's State Parks. The run's organizers reported there were 207 riders for the event which was a record over previous years' participation. Riders dodged weather most of the day, something the volunteers could not control. There were, however, several items many participants felt the organizers may attempt to improve for future rides.

First, there was issues with the directions and maps. The written directions were difficult to follow even for seasoned riders of Southern Ohio. All riders stayed upbeat even though groups of 50+ bikers would turn the wrong way while waving arms as they looped back to attempt to stop others from making the same wrong turn. Possibly spotters, or markers of some kind could be added to help mark the route.

Second, while most of the route was beautiful State Routes, it also traveled down County Road 1 in Vinton county. This is NOT a biker friendly road. There is gravel everywhere and many sections were even covered with mud. While I would love to get lost on this road while riding alone or with a small group of bikes, taking 200+ bikes on it, may not be a wise idea. Many riders were complaining of spitting out grit and dust when coming off the road.

Third, some stops only had 1 volunteer drawing and recording cards. When traveling in groups of 50+ bikes, the wait times at each stop was easily 30 minutes or more to draw their cards.

And last, food was minimal. Doughnuts were available in the morning for $1.00 a piece. My thoughts were the volunteers may have sold more breakfast items if they had a donation basket rather than pricing each doughnut. After riding for close to 6 hours, a chicken dinner awaited. However, dinners were limited to your choice of 2 sides along with 2 small pieces of chicken or 1 average size per person. One family was actually asking if they could purchase more food as their children were still hungry. Bikers EAT!

My comments are not meant to discourage nor complain, but to help organizers with feedback from out on the road. I would certainly encourage fellow bikers in future participation of the event, but I also would remind riders to pack the Tom Tom for verification of directions, and to add a few munchies to your saddle bags.

With all that said, I had a nice afternoon and enjoyed riding with fellow bike enthusiast in one of the most beautiful areas of Ohio, the Hocking Hills.


JOE TODD said...

Will be checking out Vinton County Road #1 Thanks for the post

cybersleeper said...

I agree totally Belinda, I was starving at the end of our ride and looking forward to more food, after all, I am 6'3" 260 lbs. and I get hungry after a long ride like that. I was lucky however when it came to directions. I hooked up with a guy that had pre-programed his GPS with alternate routes that avoided the gravel roads. I would definitely agree that road markers should have been used and more volunteers at each check point would have been a plus. Over all, I enjoyed myself and the riders were a great group to hang out with, looking forward to next year.