The Answer To The Often Asked Question, "Best Roads In Maine?" - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 48 Old 06-16-2011, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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The Answer To The Often Asked Question, "Best Roads In Maine?"

I will not go into a specific list of routes and roads to travel. I feel, that part of your journey is yours to discover. Just as it was for me.

What I would like to do is to provide some guidance to riders venturing into the northern tier New England states; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I will also include some tips for the Canadian Provinces of Québec and New Brunswick.

The first thing that a rider has to understand before entering into this geographical area, (I am referring to ME, NH, and VT), is that, east/west travel is a difficult proposition. This is because of the three mountain ranges that are oriented north to south; one in Vermont, one in New Hampshire, and some stragglers in Maine.

If you study a decent map of each state, you will find most of your "direct" roads have been laid out in a north/south fashion. East to West travel can make you scratch your head at times!

The one road that seems to "leap out" at riders as a route to make their way across these three states is, Route 2. Guess what? Not only do you see this route as a great way to "get there from here", but so do logging trucks, automobiles towing campers, large RVs, a few tractor trailers, and it is the perfect road for large groups of Harleys to lumber along.......

Generally, the speed limit is set to 50mph along this road. In rare places, the speed limit is posted at 55mph. Due to summer traffic, you will be lucky to ever see these numbers! Because of the numerous towns that dot the route, you will be dealing with 25 - 35 mph speed zones as well. If you choose to exceed the posted speed limits, the state police, that patrol the road, will be all too happy to celebrate your achievement by giving you a "performance award".

So, what do you do?

If you are passing through Maine, (maybe on your way to Québec, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia), then use Rt 2 if you need to travel east to west, or vise versa.

If you are headed to Maine to RIDE in the state, then avoid Rt 2.

How do I do that?

To avoid Rt 2, and to REALLY learn where all of the good roads are in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, you will NEED to purchase a DeLorme Gazetteer for each state. If you are just passing through Vermont, and New Hampshire, to get to Maine, then a decent, standard folding map of those two states, (and the addition of a GPS), will be sufficient.

The DeLorme company is located in Yarmouth, Maine. The very first gazetteer that they published was for this state. It is known as the "Maine Bible". DeLorme has gone on to produce similar gazetteers for all of the other US states, along with mapping software and award winning GPS devices.

Here are what the gazetteers look like.


On the back cover of every gazetteer is a silhouette of each state. That image is broken up into "squares", and each square has a number associated with the region in it. The number inside that square is the page number of that portion of the map inside the gazetteer.


For example: The number "16", on the back cover of the Maine gazetteer is the area that includes, Mount Desert Island; where I live.


If you turn to page 16 in the gazetteer, you will find a very detailed topographical map of Mount Desert Island.


Let's say you were headed to Kingfield, Maine. That is map "30" in the gazetteer. If you open the book up to it's page, here is a little of what you would see close up.


Look closely at the photo. The "single dashed" lines are trails. The "double dashed" lines are dirt roads; most likely large enough for ATVs, and maybe a "woods Jeep". Sometimes even larger vehicles, which might include a V-Strom. The "solid parallel" lines are fairly decent dirt roads to ride a V-Strom on. (However, they also may be private, and gated, and no motorcycles allowed.).

In the town of North New Portland, you can see a road named, "Long Falls Dam Road". I have not ridden this road, but I have wanted to. It heads up around the eastern and northern shores of Flagstaff Lake. It eventually comes out on Rt 27 in Eustis, Maine.

Sadly, ALL of the other gazetteers that DeLorme has published, DON'T have the level of detail that the "Maine Bible" does. I am among one of the many voices that would like to see that changed!

Roads like the Stud Mill Road, The Golden Road, The Telos Road, and The American Reality Road, are all private and motorcycles are not allowed to ride on them. Once in awhile, the Pelletier boys open up the Golden Road to motorcycles when a local Harley rally is occurring.

NO motorcycles are allowed in Baxter State Park!

So......ANY road that avoids Rt 2, is a good road to ride in Maine. The roads around the Rangeley, ME area, and Errol, NH are fine. And of course, there are no bad roads in Vermont!

I would like to add some comments about the Canadian Provinces of Québec and New Brunswick; specifically Québec. If you plan to ride in Maine, also plan to ride in Québec. Pick up two road maps:

This one.....


.....and this one.


If I open up the latter one, this is a little bit of what you will see.


EVERY LINE THAT YOU SEE THAT IS NOT COLORED IS A DIRT ROAD!

If I open up the larger map of the whole province of Québec, (the photo only shows a portion of this very, Very, VERY beautiful province!), this is what you will see.


(Damnittochristhell, every time I look at that inset of the Gaspé Peninsula, I want to pack up and go!!!! I have been there 6 times in the last four years. I will be there again this year too!)

Here is a close up of the larger map of the same area of the smaller, Cantons-de-l'Est map. Unfortunately, it is out of focus, but I think you will get the picture. All of the "black lines" are dirt roads.


Maybe the above photographs of Québec will get riders/readers of my threads to understand better why I ride there as often as I do. The same can be said for New Brunswick as well. However, my New Brunswick map is VERY tattered now, and I need to purchase another one. It is not suitable for photographs!

Each season, I end up purchasing two or three maps of Québec and New Brunswick because of all of the folding and unfolding I do with them.

I hope this information helps some of the riders who have sent me PMs over the last several months about, "Where To Ride In Maine?"

Barry

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"

Last edited by Black Lab; 06-16-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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post #2 of 48 Old 06-17-2011, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for the great map info.

Every time i head across rt.2 it is soo painful and its always when you're trying to get somewhere. I usually make the loop up to Rangely and over to Errol. The minute you jump off rt2 everything gets better for sure.

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post #3 of 48 Old 06-17-2011, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunningham View Post
Thanks for the great map info.

Every time i head across rt.2 it is soo painful and its always when you're trying to get somewhere. I usually make the loop up to Rangely and over to Errol. The minute you jump off rt2 everything gets better for sure.
Thank you for the support!

Essentially, this is what I am trying to suggest to people. There are TOO many routes to list and things to see. It is just easier to say, "Stay off of Rt 2 if you can. If you can achieve that, all that you ask will come to you for your own discoveries."

B.L.

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #4 of 48 Old 06-17-2011, 10:43 PM
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Rt. 16

I could ride Rt. 16 in Maine all day.

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post #5 of 48 Old 06-18-2011, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mdouglasswow View Post
I could ride Rt. 16 in Maine all day.
Shhhhhh.

Don't tell anyone else, okay?


(I could ride Rt 153 all day in NH!)

(And, Rt 113 as well.)

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #6 of 48 Old 06-18-2011, 07:44 AM
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Rte 2 across Maine isn't always a bad choice. I've hit it with light traffic through the mountains a few times, definitely hard to predict, but don't think I've ever been on it in the summer. I've been on the stretch through NH much more often since I have a customer there.




-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #7 of 48 Old 06-18-2011, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tmcgee View Post
Rte 2 across Maine isn't always a bad choice. I've hit it with light traffic through the mountains a few times, definitely hard to predict, but don't think I've ever been on it in the summer. I've been on the stretch through NH much more often since I have a customer there.
Your first photograph is very "route 2-ish". The Jefferson, NH section can be nice; particularly in the Fall season.

Your second photograph triggers no memories for me as to where it was taken. There is one section in Vermont that has a hill like that though.

Wouldn't you agree though, if you wanted to experience riding in Maine, the best thing to do would be to, stay off Rt 2. Use roads to the north and south of Rt 2 to make your way across the state. You will then find the "Good Roads", and see the "Good Stuff". And, as you have already mentioned, to plot this out, you need the DeLorme Gazetteer to study.

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #8 of 48 Old 06-18-2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Lab View Post
Wouldn't you agree though, if you wanted to experience riding in Maine, the best thing to do would be to, stay off Rt 2. Use roads to the north and south of Rt 2 to make your way across the state. You will then find the "Good Roads", and see the "Good Stuff". And, as you have already mentioned, to plot this out, you need the DeLorme Gazetteer to study.
No argument on any of this. For me, it's usually during the week and work is involved so Rte 2 is about keeping a schedule and making miles. When I have the time, I go exploring. Your tutorial on the maps is excellent!

The pict that you don't recognize was taken on the same day (headed east) as the other pict (headed west) somewhere between Jefferson and Randolph, NH. I had an hour to kill and liked the light that evening. I have lots of pictures of smaller Maine roads that day -- the gps was set to "most direct route".




-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

This message and images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. http://creativecommons.org
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post #9 of 48 Old 06-18-2011, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tmcgee View Post
I have lots of pictures of smaller Maine roads that day -- the gps was set to "most direct route".
Well then, please don't hesitate to keep posting them!

(Think of them as "bait", and we are trolling......... Never know what you will catch!)


B.L.

2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it, or you can actually do the thing"
James Baldwin "Across Islands and Oceans"
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post #10 of 48 Old 06-24-2011, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for the info. I was planning to wander around a bit this weekend.

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