I headed out this past Saturday morning for 3 nights with the intention of riding up to camp near Baxter State Park, then somewhere in the Whites, then onto Grand Isle in Lake Champlain, then heading home Tuesday. You know - a nice Memorial Day weekend (+1 day!) solo ride to drop off the grid for a bit. Well, plans are for changin', right? Here's my bike loaded and ready to go. You can probably see here how I had to distort the laws of physics to close those saddlebags. 2006 Sportster XL1200R. I love her, but she has problems. More on that later... Also, don't tell the Harley guys I use a tank bag. I'm so uncool. Day one I headed up the superslab from Boston to Maine, then hopped off the highway and headed vaguely north. Stopped at a Tim Horton's for a quick bite - my first TH experience! Like Dunkin Donuts, but friendlier. Makes sense I suppose. The further north I went, the fewer people I saw. There were lots of quaint and beautiful little towns. Here's a dam in Anson, ME: It was mostly good weather, though it got gradually mistier and foggier as I went. I never really got rained on, but by the time I was in no-man's land, I was pretty wet. There are really some amazingly empty roads up there, but surprisingly straight given the landscape. Route 26, 16, 43, 11, some others. On one 20ish mile stretch of route 11 between Milo and Millinocket, I think I saw 2 cars, 1 house, and several turn offs for logging roads. It's remarkable to me how integral to this area logging is, and obviously has been for a long time. Seems like they'd run out of trees Unfortunately, it was so foggy I couldn't see much scenery, except some neat man-made sites. Here's a weird bridge a little southwest of Millinocket that I didn't really understand. A footbridge, but with an oddly ominous warning sign above it. The planks were not level, and had gaps in between them: Does something mechanical use the grooves in the boards? This footbridge was in between the vehicle and rail bridges that span the same river. Overall it was a great ride, and definitely a land worth seeing. I plan to go back someday in clearer weather. I camped in between Millinocket and Ambijejus Lake at a place called the Big Moose Inn. The people were friendly, the campsite area (separate from the Inn and cabin area) was empty and thankfully quiet. Except holy shit the skeeters are vicious this year. Swarms of them, fighting each other for chance to suck some of my sweet blood. Eat Deet you bastards. I think this picture shows my flash bouncing off the little monsters: Also, getting to the quieter campsites meant fishtailing my way up a deceptively steep gravel road. Not my comfort zone. I took pictures but they don't do it justice so I won't waste the bandwidth. One more thing I was excited about on this trip was to try out a couple of new pieces of camping gear. Just a quick word on those. REI Half Dome 2 (not the 2 Plus, which is just slightly bigger). It's a great tent, held up well through both nights of rain - and the second night was pretty heavy thunderstorms. My only complaint is that the rainfly needs to be guyed out on the ends to keep it off the tent walls. In rain, condensation forms on the inside of the tent otherwise. This would be fine, except they don't give you enough stakes to do that, and I didn't think about it until I woke up with wet tips of my (thankfully synthetic) sleeping bag. If you want a nice large solo tent or cozy 2-man, it's a fine tent - just make sure you have some extra stakes. The other new gear was a Big Agnes insulated inflatable sleeping pad. Awesome. Lightweight, comfy, compact. Anyway, a pizza and a few beers at the Loose Moose sounded perfect. Now originally when I planned this trip, I had hopes of beginning day 2 by taking the Golden Road north out of Millinocket for 70 or 80 miles of one of the most remote roads in New England. Unfortunately, after some looking around online and asking friends it seemed like a) it was an off-limits private logging road and 2) my Sportster would not likely fare well with the bone-crunching, tire-destroying road or its psychopathically unsympathetic truckers. So I abandoned that idea. But at the bar over pizza and beer, I asked a couple locals about Golden Road. I got the impression that no one would really care or even notice if you were on it unless it was a weekday when the trucks were running. Except maybe if there's a sheriff up there, which no one thought would be too likely. Not sure how that encounter would end. Probably just with a stern 'get the hell out of here'. Of course, the vicious terrain still kept me scared. But with the right bike, could be a fun ride. On my way up I did ride the first 10 miles or so of Golden Road from Millinocket up to Millinocket Lake where I camped, and it was paved but not well maintained. From there I think it gets worse quickly. Day 1. Success. 367 miles.