Testing the Trans Mass Trail

The remains of hurricane Ida dropped several inches of rain on us overnight. Miraculously, it was a sunny (though a little bit chilly) morning. The high ground I’d parked on had already dried out. It seemed worth unloading my motorcycle after all, getting some work done, and then taking a ride over lunchtime.

I started with lunch at the Old Creamery Co-Op. It’s a great stop for all your earthy crunchy food needs. I had The Orchard panini, which was amazing. Then I followed my Garmin to the red line that marked the Trans Mass Trail, a popular dual-sport motorcycle ride involving a combination of paved and dirt roads, with the emphasis on dirt when possible. I have new tires, after all, and I wanted to test them out in the dirt. An enjoyable ride down Route 143 soon veered me off onto an all but abandoned road, which I couldn’t tell whether it was pavement or dirt.

A river runs through it.

I cut my ride alongside a river short when I saw that the river was actually flowing DOWN the road toward me! If I knew the territory I might have been more adventurous, but I didn’t, so I went back to the main road and rejoined the TMT on the other side of this flood. As promised, it took me down a fun series of dirt and paved back roads. Eventually, the red line on my GPS joined the green line, which marks the North East BDR, as signs pointed toward Peru State Forest. I’d ridden this the last time I was in western Massachusetts, and I was happy to check it out again.

Most of the road was still in great shape thanks to great drainage.

It was as I remembered, an enjoyable ride through the woods. Having ridden it already on my old tires, I could appreciate just how much better the Shinko 804/805s dug into the dirt. This was particularly true on the new loose gravel sections, probably repairs after hurricane Henri. Some sections still had water flowing down them, and even a bit of erosion here and there. But I knew the roadbed was solid enough to feel confident going through it, even a few somewhat deep puddles. As I’d hoped, the new tires simply propelled me through them, rather than the old ones slipping and sliding as they desperately searched for grip they weren’t going to get.

After the state forest, I left the TMT / NE BDR and set a course for “home.” This took me down a few more fun dirt roads I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Only once did the Garmin take me down a road whose bridge no longer existed. No, I didn’t jump it. I’m Smokey Da Van, not Smokey and the Bandit.

I didn’t do this.

It was only a half hour ride back to home base, since I’d taken the long, scenic way out. I’m glad I unloaded the bike and did some exploring. One last romp in my former home of New England. Now I’m starting to think about how to spend the week between my current plans and IMS Outdoors. I’m also wishing the flies would get out of my van, which seem to have infested it from the field I’m parked next to. Oh well — maybe Lister can grab a snack.

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