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By: Tyler Hopper

“Floating an ATV Down the River”

1982 Honda ATC 185s 3-Wheeler
1982 Honda ATC 185s 3-Wheeler

Imagine, you’re peering across your handlebars at dirt and rocks as you go barreling down the trail on your new ATV.  In the distance behind you is myself, on a 1982 Honda ATC 185s.  Although I ride the slowest machine on the trail, my 3-wheeler is one of the most fun to ride.

It was a hot summer day in Putneyville, Pennsylvania. The creek that runs along side of the trail was high, and my friends and I wanted to go see if our beloved campsite was flooded.

We headed past the farm and down the dead-end road, crossing the horse fence and onto the trail we went, looking for adventure.  Up and down the hilly terrain on my not-so-powerful three-wheeler I was like “The Little Engine That Could.” Making it go up the hill and around the turns was overwhelming. It was that feeling you get when you’ve been away from home on a long vacation. You walk into the door and bend down and kiss the floor. The feeling is peaceful, serene.

As I was leading the way down the path, our ATVs became roman chariots, carrying the warriors to battle the elements of thick brush, twists, turns, and hills. We were forced to find an alternate route because crossing the stream on ATVs was like crossing the Grand Canyon barefoot. Heading north along the stream towards the creek we found that the water was very deep. The alternate route had been flooded as well. Being the brave one that I am, I started the red giant and drove full throttle into the water. I made it fifteen feet and the 3-wheeler just died. I jumped off and pulled the rope to start it. My machine truly proved its worth. I then noticed the 3-wheeler floating in the water, and I yelled to my friends, “Hey, it floats, cool! I bet no one would do this on a new four-wheeler.” I made it to my destination on the bank just out of the water and headed toward the trail. My friends, at the same time, found a different route because they didn’t want to get wet attempting to cross the same way I did.

Warning: ATV does not condone riding without a helmet.  Please wear a helmet and protective riding gear at all times while onboard any ATV/UTV.

After a few minutes of riding, we made it to the campsite. It was indeed flooded, but luckily with only 2 feet of water. The campsite was covered with a nice flat area of water the size of 2 basketball courts put together with long ends touching. This made an excellent playing field for my 3-wheeler and me. With my friends sitting on their ATVs watching me make a fool of myself, they laughed and dared me to go farther into deeper water. Not one to take a dare lightly, I excitedly proceeded into the deeper water. Going from the shallowest part of the water there was a gradual change for about 20 feet, then there was a deep spot which was only 3-feet wide followed by a shallow spot 3-feet wide, leading to the raging current of high water. My friends dared me to ride through the deep spot onto the shallow spot. Reluctant at first, I tried it. Doing so submerged the headlight completely. The water splashed away from the front tire like that of the Log Jammer at Kennywood amusement park.  Riding around in the water for hours I decided to end my fun, because my friends were growing tired. They couldn’t have as much fun on their newer ATVs as I was having.

When riding an ATV it is important to remember to always wear a safety helmet.  Also, when purchasing an ATV, remember, just because it’s faded, dirty, and weathered, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. New ATVs may be faster, but I wouldn’t recommend riding through water on an ATV that costs more than one week’s paycheck. When you peer across the handlebars of your newer ATV and the dirt and rocks become a blur, remember, you can have fun on an ATV no matter its age.

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