There’s no shame in admitting that I’m a city guy. Don’t get me wrong – I love the fresh air, scenic views and quiet that being in the country provides. But, I’m not the sit in a fishing boat all day, chopping wood or overnight tent dweller type. I’m also not a big fan of the more adventurous country experiences – riding motor bikes, four wheelers or splashing through mud in trucks that are big enough to have their own zip codes.
So you can imagine the look on my face when I discovered I’d be spending an entire weekend in the country, riding four wheelers in the mud.
My brother decided that he wanted to spend his bachelor weekend at Brimstone Recreation in the small town of Huntsville, Tennessee. According to the 2010 census – the population here is a mind blowing 1,248 people. Needless to say Brimstone and its visitors are what keep this tiny town afloat.
Here you’ll find over 19 000 acres of serene country surroundings – including water, mountains and over 300 miles worth of trails for ATV enthusiasts. The area has breathtaking views of the Appalachian mountains and plenty of high points worthy of more than one “Kodak Moment” between rides or hikes.
The last time I hopped on a four wheeler I was about 25 years old and I rode around a flat piece of property in southern Missouri with nothing more than a clothesline and a small garden as obstacles. That wasn’t exactly proper training for the daunting experience I’d be faced with almost 10 years later here at Brimstone.
Helmet secured – I hopped on and headed out for several hours with three of the guys from our group. Bringing up the rear – I slowly gained some confidence and started feeling slightly more comfortable zooming through the mostly muddy paths that swirled us around the mountains and wilderness. Enough confidence to take a shot at riding through an obstacle course of sorts – although I’m sure to the experienced rider, I looked like a 5 year old with training wheels.
My personal experience took a turn when my 4 wheeler tipped over and I was thrown across the ground. While following the guys we went around a sizable puddle of mud and as the other three guys cleanly cruised around it, I wasn’t so fortunate. Apparently, the weight of my ATV was too much for the dirt ledge and it flipped. Thankfully, it didn’t turn all the way over and thankfully I was smart enough to have a helmet on. As I brought up on my radio show in Saint Louis recently, without that helmet, there’s no telling what may have happened. And it happened so fast! While the flashback in my head made it seem like minutes – it was more like one full second. I cringe thinking about what could have happened if I had chosen not to put on that helmet.
After cleaning up and shaking off the shock – we headed back to camp. The camp was really very impressive. The cabins were small but made incredible use of the allotted space. The decor was fitting – a stuffed deer looking over the kitchen. We had two of these cabins that could each easily fit four people. Of course, you’ll have to fight for the main bed. But there’s an area above – think of bunk beds on steroids – for at least two people and a fold out couch for a fourth bed. When you add in a fridge, television and complete kitchen and bathroom – it’s really not roughing it all. Let’s just say the city guy approved.
While it’s obviously not something that I would do every weekend – I can absolutely see why people love this place. Although, as a first time visitor it’s a bit overwhelming. The roads getting to your destination within the complex are not for the weak minded. God help you if you’re driving around here in the pouring rain or fog. If there’s ever a time you’ll use the phrase “don’t look down” this may be it. But, once you’re settled in – it’s a wonderful place and you’ll wish you had a little more time to explore and soak up country living.
I have to think a true ATV fan would totally drool at first glance of the map showing all of all the trails available. For a small country business – they are pretty high-tech, too. You’ll get a wristband with an electronic ID embedded to identify you for current and future visits.
Sign in seems to be a breeze as well – with Ipad stations available as you walk in. You can event rent four wheelers if you don’t have one of your own. The staff was incredibly kind and helpful.
Brimstone Retreats is located at 2860 Baker Highway in Huntsville, TN.