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Old 08-10-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
Hulked Up OP
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Wicked Trans-Mass Trail

http://goo.gl/h0IXh

The file is also located at Post 36
Big thanks to Augustfalcon for hosting the file.

I heard about the "Puppy Dog Route" (a route over dirt roads covering the entire state of Vermont from the Mass. border to Canada) a few months ago. It inspired me to see if such a route could be traced through Massachusetts, from the Connecticut border to link up to the Puppy Dog Route, thereby creating a series of dirt roads running from Connecticut to Canada. I wanted to create a through-route for a multi-state dual sport adventure.

Using a Rubel bicycle map and a GPS I set off exploring public, dirt roads, seeing how accurate the maps were and whether they were passable for bigger bikes, like my KLR. I wanted a route that nearly anyone could ride, especially a noobie like myself.

After a lot of trial and error I’ve come up with what I think is a decent route, one I’m dubbing the Trans-Mass Trail. The attached file has two routes: a north and a south leg. The total distance is only about 90 miles for the whole route. I had to create two legs because several of the roads on the north leg are mistakenly listed as closed on the GPS and Mapsource wants to route you around them. For the north leg the gpx file contains my actual tracks so that there won’t be any confusion.

I would encourage people to look over the route and suggest or make changes to it. I would consider my draft a first step. Although I’ve taken it as far as I can, others with a fresh set of eyes or more local knowledge will likely suggest better alternatives to some of the roads I’ve chosen.




A few notes about the route if you would like to explore it:
  • The route starts in Winsted, Connecticut, the closest place I could find that has reliable gasoline and close proximity to dirt roads. Unfortunately I could find no dirt roads that crossed the border in this area. There are several roads that the Rubel map indicates cross the border, such as Norfolk Rd, State Line Hill Rd and Simmon’s Pond Road. In reality each of these roads is either a dead-end or turns into gnarly single track before reaching the Connecticut border. I had no choice but to ride Route 183 into Massachusetts and then hit the dirt.
  • In almost all cases the route is over dirt roads that are public ways and are town-maintained. I did this intentionally so that nearly anyone could do this ride.
  • Three of the roads in the north leg are not maintained in the winter: Old Route 9, (the start of the north leg), Stage Road (both in Cummington) and Hawks Road (Shelburne). These will be rougher than the rest of the route, but still do-able on a big bike. Be especially careful after a recent rain storm as there may be some washout sections. There are easy ride-arounds on paved roads if you don’t feel comfortable tackling these sections. A note that these roads may have signs that say, “Closed.” Don’t let that deter you, each are open to vehicle use, but closed to all traffic in the winter.
  • I’ve ridden every mile of the route personally and believe the GPS files are as accurate as possible, but there may be some errors.
  • Massachusetts has a number of dirt roads, but the challenge is linking them together. It was much easier in the southern part of the state. The south route is about 75% dirt, 25% pavement; the north route is about 65% pavement. Even though it is not truly an “all dirt” route I think most people won’t mind the paved sections. Many are in pretty remote areas and you will be rewarded with great vistas, rural farms, no traffic lights and few other vehicles. It’s a side of Massachusetts not seen on the main roads or in the tour books.
  • Many of the roads that are dirt also have some short sections of pavement to prevent washouts. Be careful as the road can change from pavement to dirt without much warning.
  • If you care about that type of stuff...Bill Cosby has a residence on Bardswell Ferry Road in Shelburne. Immediately after crossing the Deerfield River and going over the railroad tracks, his estate will be the first property on the right.
  • Enduro’s could still have some fun on this route. Many of the roads have single track trails running off of them. There are a lot of other dirt roads in the area that are worth exploring that I didn’t use in the route.
  • The route ends in Greenfield at the same gas station where the Puppy Dog Route into Vermont takes over.

This is typical of what most of the roads on the route look like:




Crossing the Mass Pike, on dirt!

Enjoy.

Hulked Up screwed with this post 05-31-2011 at 08:19 PM Reason: updating link location of file
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:34 AM   #2
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Just downloaded it... will give a look when I get home tonight. I did the PDR in early July...

Thanks for your efforts on this...

Pat in NH
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Old 08-24-2008, 06:12 PM   #3
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Has anyone else done your route yet?? I have looked at it and know it was a lot of work... so again, Thank You!

I am hoping to try it or the Bailey Hazen in VT labor day weekend..

Pat in NH
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Old 08-24-2008, 06:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulked Up
I heard about the ďPuppy Dog RouteĒ (a route over dirt roads covering the entire state of Vermont from the Mass. border to Canada) a few months ago. It inspired me to see if such a route could be traced through Massachusetts, from the Connecticut border to link up to the Puppy Dog Route, thereby creating a series of dirt roads running from Connecticut to Canada. I wanted to create a through-route for a multi-state dual sport adventure.

Using a Rubel bicycle map and a GPS I set off exploring public, dirt roads, seeing how accurate the maps were and whether they were passable for bigger bikes, like my KLR. I wanted a route that nearly anyone could ride, especially a noobie like myself.

After a lot of trial and error Iíve come up with what I think is a decent route, one Iím dubbing the Trans-Mass Trail. The attached file has two routes: a north and a south leg. The total distance is only about 90 miles for the whole route. I had to create two legs because several of the roads on the north leg are mistakenly listed as closed on the GPS and Mapsource wants to route you around them. For the north leg the gpx file contains my actual tracks so that there wonít be any confusion.

I would encourage people to look over the route and suggest or make changes to it. I would consider my draft a first step. Although Iíve taken it as far as I can, others with a fresh set of eyes or more local knowledge will likely suggest better alternatives to some of the roads Iíve chosen.




A few notes about the route if you would like to explore it:
  • The route starts in Winsted, Connecticut, the closest place I could find that has reliable gasoline and close proximity to dirt roads. Unfortunately I could find no dirt roads that crossed the border in this area. There are several roads that the Rubel map indicates cross the border, such as Norfolk Rd, State Line Hill Rd and Simmonís Pond Road. In reality each of these roads is either a dead-end or turns into gnarly single track before reaching the Connecticut border. I had no choice but to ride Route 183 into Massachusetts and then hit the dirt.
  • In almost all cases the route is over dirt roads that are public ways and are town-maintained. I did this intentionally so that nearly anyone could do this ride.
  • Three of the roads in the north leg are not maintained in the winter: Old Route 9, (the start of the north leg), Stage Road (both in Cummington) and Hawks Road (Shelburne). These will be rougher than the rest of the route, but still do-able on a big bike. Be especially careful after a recent rain storm as there may be some washout sections. There are easy ride-arounds on paved roads if you donít feel comfortable tackling these sections. A note that these roads may have signs that say, ďClosed.Ē Donít let that deter you, each are open to vehicle use, but closed to all traffic in the winter.
  • Iíve ridden every mile of the route personally and believe the GPS files are as accurate as possible, but there may be some errors.
  • Massachusetts has a number of dirt roads, but the challenge is linking them together. It was much easier in the southern part of the state. The south route is about 75% dirt, 25% pavement; the north route is about 65% pavement. Even though it is not truly an ďall dirtĒ route I think most people wonít mind the paved sections. Many are in pretty remote areas and you will be rewarded with great vistas, rural farms, no traffic lights and few other vehicles. Itís a side of Massachusetts not seen on the main roads or in the tour books.
  • Many of the roads that are dirt also have some short sections of pavement to prevent washouts. Be careful as the road can change from pavement to dirt without much warning.
  • If you care about that type of stuff...Bill Cosby has a residence on Bardswell Ferry Road in Shelburne. Immediately after crossing the Deerfield River and going over the railroad tracks, his estate will be the first property on the right.
  • Enduroís could still have some fun on this route. Many of the roads have single track trails running off of them. There are a lot of other dirt roads in the area that are worth exploring that I didnít use in the route.
  • The route ends in Greenfield at the same gas station where the Puppy Dog Route into Vermont takes over.

This is typical of what most of the roads on the route look like:




Crossing the Mass Pike, on dirt!

Enjoy.
Looks fun,,, Ya heading up a ride for this??
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter
Looks fun,,, Ya heading up a ride for this??
No...just don't think I'm going to have a free weekend this September and I don't have the off-road skills yet to be leading a group. Someone with a GPS should be able to follow the route without any problems.
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulked Up
Someone with a GPS should be able to follow the route without any problems.
Have GPS will Travel!

Pat in NH
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyNH
Have GPS will Travel!

Pat in NH
Rocky,,,,,,,you steppin up to the plate???
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:04 AM   #8
RockyNH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter
Rocky,,,,,,,you steppin up to the plate???
Being a Noob.. I am not convinced I am qualified to lead much of anything yet.. I am planning to do either this or the Baley-Hazen this Sunday (a long day figuring time to get there and then get home..)

I do have a GPS and hopefully can navigate either route easy enough with all the work others have done..

Pat in NH
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:20 PM   #9
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I was planning a ride out of Otis, MA in September. I'm familiar with alot of the roads listed in the lower third of the route. We were looking at riding up through MA on a more Westerly route to VT but I was just starting my research. My riding buddy has a GPS so maybe I'll get him to load it up. Someday I'll crawl out my cave. Maybe I enjoy being blistfully lost.

Has anyone ridden the Puppy Dog Route here? Almost all dirt? Any nasty stuff? I assume the BMW guys like their roads groomed.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridin Dirty
I was planning a ride out of Otis, MA in September. I'm familiar with alot of the roads listed in the lower third of the route. We were looking at riding up through MA on a more Westerly route to VT but I was just starting my research. My riding buddy has a GPS so maybe I'll get him to load it up. Someday I'll crawl out my cave. Maybe I enjoy being blistfully lost.

Has anyone ridden the Puppy Dog Route here? Almost all dirt? Any nasty stuff? I assume the BMW guys like their roads groomed.
Ridin,

I did the PDR in June... 2 of us each on F650 GS with tourances... I liked thge northern section better ... more dirt and better scenery and a couple slightly more difficult areas (rut's rocky etc) but nothing a noob (and I am!) could not handle.

The southern section was ok... and in its defense, there was likely more dirt than I saw cuz I got off course twice for sure...

Sunday we are heading up to do the Baley-Hazen north of Wells River VT


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Old 08-29-2008, 06:33 AM   #11
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Puppy Dog Route

I've ridden part of the lower section, Greenfield to S. Woodstock, VT. There is actually a fair amount of pavement on the route, about 40% in my estimation. This is my first season on dirt and I only had one pucker moment. For the most part the dirt sections are on town maintained roads and in good condition.

There's a recent Ride Report on a group that did it. Unfortunately one of the members of the party was hurt on the route.

Nothing nasty on the PDR.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulked Up
No...just don't think I'm going to have a free weekend this September and I don't have the off-road skills yet to be leading a group. Someone with a GPS should be able to follow the route without any problems.
First off let me say THANK YOU!!!!!
Second off,you don't need to be Ricky Johnson to lead a Dirt road route.Its not a Hare scrambler!
You mapped it you should be the one not ride'n in the dirt cloud.
I would like too take a early moring start to ride the Puppy Dog down to your route.
I say you pick a date and a time,and call RIDE!!!
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:01 PM   #13
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Thanks. Let me see what my weekends in September might be like. So, you'd like to run it in reverse, from the Vermont border?
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:31 PM   #14
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That looks like a great route. Now I just need to find a fun way to get to it from Boston. Perhaps the wife and I will try it out over thanksgiving break, thanks for posting!
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Old 09-01-2008, 05:32 PM   #15
RockyNH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulked Up
Thanks. Let me see what my weekends in September might be like. So, you'd like to run it in reverse, from the Vermont border?
If there is any interest with some of the guys over east (NH) .. I may try and run teh route next Sunday (the 7th)

Not sure yet what the locals are doing that day yet... but if I flipped a coin this weekend and did the Baley-Hazen.. So I suspect it is time for this.

Pat in NH
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