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The Maine Adventure Trail

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Most dualsporters know about the TransAmerica Trail running from eastern TN to the Pacific coast. MSTA member Rick Giddish painstakingly laid out a mostly unpaved easterly adventure stretching from the eastern end of the TAT in Tennessee to the northernmost tip of Maine. He he called it the MAT or Maine Adventure Trial. In 2011 and 2012 a few MSTA'rs (Galen Diehl, Bill Hammomd, George Goad, Jon Durhring and, of course, Rick and I) rode the MAT in 2 parts.

A picture blog of MAT2 is here: http://www.jimrandall.net/MAT2/mat2.htm
There were LOTS of pictures. I culled a bunch, really. Even so there's probably more than most people want to view, except possibly those who went. Enjoy as much as you can stand



Thanks very much for your travelogue!  Nice pictures.

I get the distict impression that a R1200GS rider would find the route no more difficult than Galin on his 800. Do you concur?

That would certainly make the trip to STAR 2016 different... Now to find someone to team up with...


I wish I'd grown up riding trails and, correspondingly, achieved a higher level of expertise and comfort on loose surfaces. My comfort level for travel leans more towards little paved roads, but my soul aches for this stuff. After thousands of miles of dirt roads in 2014 through Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories, as well as dual sporting in my home area in Tennessee and MSTA events around the country, I should be getting more comfortable with this. But as much as I WANT to do this stuff, I still get a little white knuckled thinking about it. Maybe it's just my age and the thought of busting my behind when I'm out by myself 100 miles from anywhere that has a name. I still want to do it though.

I might try to incorporate some of this route into my trip to STAR in Vermont this summer before proceeding northward through the eastern Canadian provinces. I want to go to Radisson, Quebec and Goose Bay, Labrador among other places, and they are near the ends of long unpaved roads. In the late 90s, there was still a stretch of about 280 miles northward from Matagami, QE with no services, and it may still be that way. Can you say spare gas tank?

As was noted in some of the pictures, sometimes the better part of valor is to turn around and go a different way.

It would have been ridable by a strong rider on a big bike with aggressive tires.

Tires are important for this kind of thing.  The typical 50/50 tires that come on "adventure" bikes are not up to the task on loose surfaces,  particularly on a heavy machine.  That's really the catch 22 - tires that work well on pavement suck off pavement and vice-versa so it's always a compromise.

On my DR650, which I consider my adventure bike,  I run a full DOT knobbie on the front and a less aggressive DS tire on the rear. I do this because,  as DS bikes go, the 650 is heavy (360lbs) and tends to push the front end in loose stuff. A loose rear wheel is fun, a loose front wheel not so much.

Yea I would love to think I too could ride these roads on my Tenere'. Truth is at 69 and a 600 lb adventure bike it's not a good idea.
Jim's point about tires is so true. Except the Tenere' came with 80/20 tires which only hint of an off road ride. I've been running Continental TKC-70's which are listed as 60/40 which to me sound a lot more off road worthy. But I run them because I love how they hold and handle on the paved curvy roads. Also on my local gravel roads they work fine too.
At STAR in Colorado last time we rode some actual dirt and it was fine. However I must say that conditions were very good. Nothing deep, loose or wet so I was fine. No guarantee that the next road will be as good. I just don't bounce as well as I used to.
Last May I attended a Tenere' rally in PA where I rode with a few guys on roads that were less than ideal. I found out that when a 600 lb Tenere' wants to lay down in the mud I can't stop it.
I'll enjoy your DS adventures from behind my computer screen.
Thanks for posting them.


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