Aimee Kennedy has enjoyed recreational vehicles for most of her life, but during the last three years, off-roading has become a passion.

“I’ve lived in Andrew County my entire life, but I feel like my experience in the side-by-side has allowed me to see and experience more than I ever had,” Kennedy said. “There are things out there that I didn’t know existed until riding our side-by-sides throughout the county.”

Those travels go far beyond the boundaries of Andrew County. Kennedy and her family have made trips throughout the Midwest.

“We travel a lot on cruises and things like that, but we went and explored Colorado for six days and I’ll never think of Colorado the same,” Kennedy said.

The Kennedys kept plenty of company on their trip to Colorado. Joining the outdoor festivities were the rest of the AC Gravel Travelers.

“There were 34 of us and 15 different UTVs,” Kennedy said. “We have a huge group that travels with us a lot.”

The outdoor adventures provide Kennedy with both a social outlet and an ability to get carried away by her surroundings. While the rides provide plenty of excitement, it’s her time outside the vehicle that brings her the most joy.

“Taking pictures is absolutely one of my favorite things to do,” Kennedy said. “I love barns, wildlife, different sceneries. It is so, so peaceful. I take tons of pictures, even on our Sunday rides.”

The hobby has become a weekly occurrence for Kennedy and the Gravel Travelers. But not every week ends with a trip to Oklahoma or Colorado. Sometimes the group sticks around Northwest Missouri.

“Last weekend we went from Savannah up to Rulo, Nebraska,” Kennedy said. “We took the gravel roads to Forest City, then Big Lake and finally up to Rulo. We’ll take Sunday trips like that. If the weather is nice and we’re not going to Colorado or Oklahoma, we’ll just take off and leave.”

Kennedy was ahead of the curve when the outdoor boom occurred in 2020. Kennedy believes the COVID-19 pandemic helped people realize the freedom they had to get outdoors and enjoy life.

The Savannah native will continue her travels next week in Oklahoma. While the sand dunes there are one of Kennedy’s go-to places, the top of her bucket list includes a trip to Utah.

“One of the places we would love to go is Moab, Utah,” Kennedy said. “We’d also love to go back to Colorado. We would leave in the mornings and go on six- to eight-hour rides. From the sand to the mountains to the creeks, you can almost go anywhere with a side-by-side.”

Anthony Crane can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @crane_anthony

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.