Waterville, Maine - Land Rover owners from near and far converged President’s Day weekend for the 2015 Maine Winter Romp.
The event is an informal, non-competitive and non-commercial event that consists of several days of off-roading, combined with social gatherings at local restaurants and drinking establishments.
This year’s event saw a large turnout despite forecasts for single-digit and lower temps, possible blizzard conditions and upwards of three feet of snowpack in the woods. Event organizer and host Bruce Fowler at one point even investigated the purchase of a front-end loader to help clear trails.
Friday night’s first group into the woods reported they covered about 1000 yards over the course of several hours only to turn around and head straight back out. They’d only succeeded in reaching the area where participants typically stop to air down tires and install snow chains.
Friday night there was a large social gathering at the Waterville Grand Hotel. Julie and I missed this by a long shot, arriving after much difficulty to the Fowler residence at 3:30 AM Saturday. A quick peek at the outside thermometer revealed the outside temperature to be negative 26°F. Which could explain the distinct lack of heat in the Range Rover Classic during the last few hours of the drive. Julie and I both had on every article of clothing in our possession by the time we arrived, and we were still cold.
Saturday, most participants ate breakfast at “Big G’s,” where large portions rule the day and sandwiches purchased for later consumption out on the trails are big enough to last several days.
Saturday’s trail riders didn’t fare much better, but some early groups with more capable vehicles were able to bypass any traffic jams and made it through more of the trail network. Of particular note was Robert Courtney’s track-equipped Series Land Rover. However, most groups only made it as far as the first obstacle and were then compelled to turn around. Many were stuck for hours waiting for other stuck vehicles to be extricated, with the last groups leaving the woods as late as 11 PM.
Saturday evening there was a dinner at a local pub, “You Know Who’s.”
Sunday's off-roading consisted of more of the same, with yours truly even taking the opportunity to get stuck in my Rangie. Just to say I’ve had the complete experience. Most people left on Sunday with a slightly larger group than usual waiting until Monday AM in order to dodge the blizzard forecast for northern New England Sunday afternoon.
If you’ve never attended Winter Romp, it’s never too late to start planning for 2016. Find all the information you’ll need on the Winter Romp website and discussion forum.
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