Maine Adventure Trail - Part 2 - 2012

Most dual sport/adventure riders know about the TAT (Transamerica Trail). The old TAT began in Jellico, TN (new TAT starts in Tellico Plains) and runs roughly 5000 miles west to Port Orford, OR. Having ridden most of the TAT, some of us thought it would be interesting to ride as much as possible on unpaved roads the other way to the eastern edge of the US. One of my riding buddies just loves to pour over topograhical and forest road maps and took on the task of finding us a "northeast passage". In 2010 we rode the lower part from Jellico, TN to Coudersport, PA and then im 2012 we finished up the second half from Coudersport to Van Buren, ME. The pictures that follow were mostly Rick's and are from the second half of the adventure. In some ways I felt this was a better trip than the original TAT. There are some really neat (and some challenging) sections on the TAT in the more mountainous areas but much of it (particularly Oklahoma which seems to go on forever) is flat, straight and well, dull. The MAT attempts to run national and state forest roads along the Appalachian mountains as much as possible, more or less paralleling the Appalachian Hiking Trail. It really is an awesome trip.

MAT 1 - Jellico, TN to Coudersport, PA

MAT 2 - Coudersport, PA to Van Buren, ME

Loaded up the bike in the back yard just to see where everything would fit - lotta stuff

Rick and Jim - Ready to Roll

Bill and Jon preping in Coudersport

Jim and Galen loading

Rick loading

We thought we might have to camp some nights so we were carrying tents and sleeping bags. Turns out that wasn't necessary - we stayed in motels, lodges or B&Bs every night.

Starting mileage

Jim, Galen, George and Jon leaving Coudersport

Doesn't take long to hit dirt. Biker Bill on his KLR

Galen on the Tiger 800 XC

Jon on his DRZ400

George - DR650

Jim (yours truly) on the other DR650

GPS said this was the NY state line

Group Shot (Rick is behind the camera) entering the Empire State

Lunch at an Amish restaurant

Beautiful farming countryside

Lots of back country roads like this

Home for the night

Peace Bill

Uh oh! Not the last gate we'll encounter though...

There was a way around

And this sign was on the north side - honest officer, there wasn't one coming from the other side



Lots of roads in NY were multi-use including ATVs and snowmobiles

Galen and TygerPyg

Biker Bill and the mighty KLR

Smilin' George

Easy Rider Jon

And me

Not bad in summer though

A rest in the shade

Fun roads

New York has some GREAT state forests

That's a CROC!

Love this type of thing

Another NY state forest - seems there was one right after another

There was pavement, of course. But Rick had tried to minimize it

Rest stop

New York refers to many of the roads in their state forests as Truck Trails

A little mud

No problem!

For any of us this time

Even the big girl (800XC) plowed right through

More puddles later

DR650s love this stuff

Unloading at the Herkimer

The essentials

Evenings were usually spent unloading, showering, lubing chains or whatever was needed followed by dinner and drink.

New York has back roads too

And wind turbines

My favorite sign

Some towns allow ATV operation on designated streets. This isn't one of them

This was a nice section

Bill's KLR was really loaded - probably close to 500lbs of bike and gear there

There were many scenic lakes and streams

Rick's first flat of the trip

And it was. This was one of the backtracks - there were several

Like I was sayin'


Which way'd they go?

This was a problem... BIG problem - The sprocket and keeper were nowhere to be found

Galen towed George's DR into the next town

We had to "rough it" there

This was expensive but oh so nice

We took a half day here for maintenance

When George's bike lost the sprocket a lot of energy had to go somewhere. The impact cracked the case just above the shifter

George rode my bike into the next town about 20 miles away and was able to buy replacement parts. I had JB Weld in my tool kit and patched the crack. It held fine for the rest of the trip.

Neat covered bridge

Bill took a soil sample here. Those are his tracks coming down the hill. Fortunately no serious injury other than pride.

DAR marker

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin about

This was a good section

Jon loves to strap on bottles of stuff

Yet another covered bridge. New England has a bunch of 'em

Historical marker


It seriously rained the night we were here

But we didn't need these

Primo old airhead

Unloading for the usual activities

I thought that was an ice cream flavor

Remember what I said about the rain - road washouts! - This was gooey stuff

Seems their idea of unpaved road maintenance is to dump some fresh mud on top and smooth it with a grader - not the best surface for motorcycles

What this? Another covered bridge?

Vermont - yeah they like their maple syrup up here

Nice back roads though

Don't go speeding on those ATVs now

More pressed mud road maintenance

Interesting lunch stop - Vermont folk are an independent lot

Talked with locals who had their own hydroelectric dam and sold their excess power back to the grid

Lots of hardpack roads


There was a bridge out just past here

Had to re-route (again)

Live Free or Die! Maybe we need some of that spirit now?

Rustic lodge

Getting pretty rural out here

The boys talkin bout the day

Breakfast stop - good one!

Some beautiful lakes up here

and lots more hardpack roads

uhhh, and some slow moving "heavy" traffic

Galen and TygrPyg

George and the repaired DR650

Biker Bill - truckin'

Jon boy

and me

Nice road

Descriptive New Hampshire signage

A break

Needed to walk around some

Rick's DR still motoring like a champ

Looks like a trout stream to me

Lotsa bridges

Protected area

Not signed to highway standards - really?

Still great roads though

The end is near (we thought)

Not exactly a WELCOME TO MAINE sign but at least we knew where we were

Yo Billy, got any more room for luggage there?

Neat lunch stop

Guess we dipped back into NH briefly

Thank you very much

Official state line sign

Yet another lunch stop

Jon has cellular service! (pretty rare out in the boonies really)


Maybe we're in Andover?

Nice view

Photo op

Lotsa public lands on this trip

And lots of these little wooden bridges in ME

Being actively logged

Lots of shared use roads up here too

And low wetlands

And good hardpack roads

These roads are snowmobile routes in winter

I'm sure this freezes over and the ice fisherman drive out on the lake

Pretty old church

I didn't notice the No Motorcycles sign at the time. I'm pretty sure we rode on through anyhow

More hardpack

and more pretty lakes


Great place to stay

Oh yeah



Good Advice

They had awesome pie!

Breakfast across the road - she was a memorable waitress

Gettin up here in the north country now


and more road maintenance


Break time

You could move right along on roads like this

Must be West Forks, ME

Bridges and mud - where have I seen this before?

Gotta love those little Slime compressors


Oh Yes, there was lots of this

Some parts were more rugged

Hey Bill, it's OK to go around those big puddles, ya know

Well, some of them anyhow - how come I got to go first?

The great north woods

Not much more than a jeep road here

There were hundreds of these little wooden bridges

Another gas/snack break

Nice bridge

The 800 made a deeper divot here than the smaller bikes

But what we didn't know


that this road was barricaded

Although my GPS didn't think so

So we had to backtrack (again)

George does it correctly

And some of us just muddle through :)

But we found a different route

And arrived at the same location

Like we WOULDN'T yield to logging trucks

Some of the group got across before the train appeared

More pretty water

This was another nice B&B in Millinocket, ME

Lobster, anyone?

and, of course, pie!

Near the end of the AT

Bill and Jon split off here in Millinocket and headed back

and 4 of us (3 DR650s and 1 Triumph Tiger) pressed on


Rick's second flat on this trip

But we fixed it (again) and motored on

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles of little roads like this in ME

They are maintained for recreational use - snowmobiles in the winter

An eagles nest I suppose

Neat stuff

Not too far above the water table here

Beaver hutch


We did stay on the marked trails.

more maintenance

Finally - our northernmost turn around - Van Buren, ME

We rode back down and spent the night in Caribou then headed back home the next day.

But Rick (the routemeister) was not done with us yet. Much of the first two days of the return was unpaved

Still great riding and great scenery

Nice overnight in semi-rustic cabins

This looked interesting...

and was. Galen had the good sense to not tackle this on the big 800. He and I rode around and rejoined the others later

It was here, at the B&B Cash market in Fairlee, VT that the group split once again

Galen and George decided to take a more paved route home. Rick and I continued on his dualsport route

Some of it was pretty rugged, but passable

Some was really pretty

Dang - another one

This APPEARED on the GPS to be a way to bypass the closure

But not too far past the creek it got really steep and slippery. We had to turn back.

Encountered some flooded roads on the way home and had to re-route

And we're back ~ 2,500 miles later

My gear - about 60lbs of stuff

Kinda says it all...