Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Wilderness with New Eyes.


 Our rides for the trip, left a 2008 Yamaha Vector that I rode, middle Kevin's 2011 Yamaha Apex, and right Andy's 2010 FX Nytro.
Photo courtesy of *Kevin Robichaud.

I've just had one of the best times of my life, recently returning from an amazing snowmobile tour of north western Maine. This trip came together pretty quickly, so it's going to be a summed up in a different post from each day including a few informational bits, photos and GPS tracks.

Before crackin' on, a brief run-down of my personal snow machine history. Growing up as a kid who never really had exposure to motor sports, but friends who did, I always have had a special yearning and appreciation for motorcycles and snowmobiles. I'm not sure I'll ever own a moto, but a snow-moto is definitely in my future. Since my first snowmobile adventure with a friend Stevie Jalbert, who had a spare machine way back in ninety three or ninety four, I have always wanted to get behind the handlebars of a snowmobile. We rode for hours one night all over mountain bike trails and power lines we had been riding on for years back in my home town of Lewiston. Over the decade plus since then, I have been out riding a little bit and always have a blast. I've spent a fair amount of time getting towed behind a snowmobile on a dog sled heading into the Allagash wilderness too, and a couple of years ago, I did a longer trip into the Allagash, riding a mere 150 miles over a few days, but mostly it has been tooling around on lakes while hanging out with friends ice fishing.

Enter the year 2012, I'll reach the ripe young age of 40 in a few weeks. Call it a mid-life crisis to seek some adventure with just a bit more thrill factor than riding a bicycle, driving a car, or even the ride-on lawn mower. While I was planning out a trip, I had a grand scheme to hire a rental snowmobile in Millinocket and ride solo up through Baxter State Park to the Matagamon store where I would meet a guide who would take me into the Allagash from there. At the brink of me making reservations, I got a message from a friend, Kevin, who told me he wanted in on the trip and that if I hadn't made a reservation for a machine, he could likely come through with something for me to ride. Quite generous of Kevin to arrange this and it worked out perfectly. I mostly rode the 08' Vector in the photo above. Joining us was Kevin's riding bud, Andy. I had a feeling I would be up for a big learning lesson riding with these guys and it was. We no sooner left the driveway of Pittston Farm when the trail went wide, fast and flat. I hit 70 MPH in seconds as I watched Andy in front just peel away from me at a much higher rate of speed. I thought to myself, ok, here we go, this is how it's done! The thrill factor was instant and I would go on to have a perma-smile for the next four days.


Our first ride mission on Saturday was to go visit the B-52 crash site in Greenville. This ended up being an excellent training mission for me. Trail riding like this was totally new to me, aside from the riding, you have to deal with on coming sleds, large groups out riding, waiting in line for fuel with 25 other machines and so on. It could sound chaotic, but actually was quite a smooth flowing wave. I learned quickly the proper hand signals and trail etiquette while approaching others as well as holding your line and being courteous. It's not that much different than riding bicycles with others, just a bit more powerful.

The B-52 site was pretty neat to see. There is a lot of info about the crash on line. I found one interesting article here.

Our GPS Track from Saturday's round trip ride from Pittston Farm to the B-52 crash site. How about that calorie burn count eh?



One little memory from this ride besides the hundreds of others, ok two memories...We were coming down off the trail the crosses Moosehead lake near Mt. Kineo, it was just after dusk, with only a slight touch of ambient light. We had covered some amazing terrain that I had dreamt about over the last couple of months. As we came down off the trail, I looked off to my right to see one of the huge impressive ice flows that form on Kineo's rock face. It was a quick but amazing shot you can only imagine as I don't have a photo. Then we crossed Moosehead lake and hit Route 66, one of the Rockwood club trails that leads you back up toward Pittston Farm and ITS 89. I must have stood up while riding the machine for 15 miles, at least that is how it felt. The trail had been pounded all day and it was rough. I was so damn sore that night when we got back, but what a rush it was riding out on the trails.

A few more pics from Saturday. Day two write up is forthcoming.

 Debris in the trees near the B-52 site.

Large main fuselage sections of the plane.

Another fuselage section with memorial plaque.

Greenville local club trail sign near the B-52 site.

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