My name is Darin Frye. I am a father of three, one of whom is my son Damon. When Damon was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with severe autism. He is now 14 years old and requires around the clock care. He has always loved to be in the great outdoors, and I have made sure he has had every opportunity to do so.
I am also an avid ATV fan. I received my first dirt bike back in the 70’s at the age of 5. I was hooked the first day. I learned quickly, thanks to my father. I grew up in an “outdoors” household and every spring, summer, and fall we were either camping, riding dirt bikes, or boating. ATVing has been a passion of mine ever since.
When Damon (we call him DJ) was 3 1/2, I started riding him in front of me on my quad around the yard. He loved it so much that we started riding several times per week in the back yard. This went on for a few years before I started taking him to other places to ride. As he grew, I made special quads to ride him on the back to keep him safe.
It’s 11 years later and DJ is now 14 years old, 6 feet tall, and 275 pounds. He still loves to ride more than anything in the world. We travel the country finding new places to ride. This has become a major part of our family. We put on anywhere from 1700 to 2200 miles per season on the quad. It also provides good therapy for him and helps with his communication barriers.
I have had to make many alterations and modifications on the ATV to support his weight and to keep him safe while riding on the back. We have gone to great lengths to provide him fond memories of his childhood years. He does not speak, but we all know how much he enjoys it. We are part of a couple of local off road clubs, and they have welcomed him with open arms.
Lodging preparations must be made ahead of time for these trips. DJ will not tent camp; he does not like small enclosed spaces. We search for a cabin wherever we go then modify it for his safety. Much forethought must go into these trips to ensure his safety and to provide a good time for him.
We have an amazing friendship with a family near us and we go riding together all the time. We have been on many trips with Fronk, Zach, Tracey and Brook. DJ and Zach have become like “Fronks and beans ”. Zach is Fronk’s 9 year old son who DJ has really taken a liking to. The Fronk family has been a true blessing to share our adventures with.
“Pops” is another part of DJ’s riding life is. He is also a dear friend of ours and both DJ and I have grown very close to him. We ride with Pops a lot.
Some of our routine places to ride ainclude Ride Royal Blue in Tennessee, Allegany National Forest, Majestic Trails, Mines and Meadows, Southern Ohio, West Virginia, and many more.
We continue to travel the country in hopes of finding new places to ride and keep this wonderful hobby going. So many people along the way have bent over backwards to make sure all goes well with DJ on our road trips. A local place called “atvskool” has really been great with my special needs for DJ.
A very special thanks to Greg, Zach, and Pops. DJ will sometimes even shout out, “Ridin’ with Pops!” Or, “Ridin’ with Fronk!” It makes you want to cry…
To learn more about our non profit PWD Off Road, please visit ours site here.