We took the quad out for its true maiden voyage this past Sunday. While we’ve ridden locally and in the back woods a few times, those rides weren’t anything compared to what we just experienced. If memory serves, I bought the ATV with 600 miles. The first few rides added about 15 miles and now it’s got 650 miles on it. That means that we rode 35 miles on Sunday. I don’t know…in my book, that’s kind of a lot. It’s probably not a lot to people around these parts, but for me, it’s a lot.
I get excited at times like these. So excited, in fact, that I completely forget to take the photos I intended to take during the trip. Luckily, I took a breath to relax and snapped a few of the ATV and the truck right after I unloaded things.
We parked up at the top of the Sugarloaf Regional Airport I described in one of my previous posts. It’s a great spot with lots of room and not too many people to watch as I clumsily set up the ramps and drive this very heavy machine down them backwards. I was slightly nervous about that, but I did fine – both driving backwards and then forwards at the end of the day when I had to load it back up.
The ATV fits perfectly in the back of the truck with not an inch to spare. I can even close the tailgate, which is nice. That saves me all the time I would have spent tying it down. Also, I have two sets of ramps. One set that I bought a while back to load things into my trailer and another set that the guy I bought the ATV from gave to me. His set was more heavy duty, so that’s what I use when I load this 850 pound beast. Boy, these new ATVs sure are a far cry from the ones we used to ride back in the 80s. Those were a few hundred pounds. These are 4-wheel drive, have electric fans, dashboards and just about every other amenity you can imagine. No wonder they’re so damn expensive.
This is what it looks like when the Polaris Sportsman 850 is loaded on my Ford F250. Like I said, it’s a tight fit. We took these photos at the end of the day. I would never keep the ATV this dirty.
I used to position wooden blocks to stop the front tires from meeting the front of the pickup bed. I was concerned about the quad’s front bumper hitting and breaking the rear window of the truck. I noticed that the bumper doesn’t even come close to the window naturally, so I removed the blocks and that’s what allowed me to inch the machine forward and to close the tailgate.
By the way, that big box thing on the back is a seat for a passenger as well as a trunk. This is an extremely helpful feature. We’ve used the trunk to our delight. It’s great for camera tripods, backpacks and the like.
Here’s a photo of the parking lot. That mountain range in the background is the Bigelow Preserve. It’s an awesome place for hiking and camping and all that. The Appalachian Trail travels right along the entire peak.
Our original goal was to ride on some trails that were situated on the western side of the mountain range. I picked up a trail map of the region and figured we’d see some nice views of the preserve as well as get some mileage under our belts. We did this and at the beginning, things were wonderful. The trail was more like a smooth dirt road and I liked riding on it a lot, especially because I had a passenger. I was excited to make it to the spot designated as a scenic view of the Bigelow Preserve.
Unfortunately, we encountered some signage that indicated that folks like us who were riding ATVs weren’t welcome on the smooth road any longer and were instructed to shuffle off onto a path that was fairly rocky and not nearly as nice as the road. We turned onto that and made it only about a half mile before I lost interest and turned around and headed back for the airport. I knew of other trails I wanted to explore. We never made it to the lookout point.
After making it back to the truck, we crossed Rt.27 and rode on a trail that ran south and parallel to that until we made it to Carriage Road. This road is the same one I wrote about driving on during the winter. It cuts right through, from Rt.27 to Long Falls Dam Road in the Flagstaff Lake region. It’s a super shortcut and I’m just amazed that we’re allowed to ride on it legally. It’s almost all legal up here and it truly is a great state in which to own an ATV.
At the end of Carriage Road, we made a left onto East Flagstaff Road. We have some friends who were camping up on Bigelow and they parked their car down in one of the parking lots at the base. I wanted to see if we could find their car. We ultimately did and then decided to park the ATV and walk around for a while. The Appalachian Trail cuts right through, so I wanted to walk about ten feet on it, just to say I did.
Here are a few photos of the area. This is the southernmost mountain in the Bigelow Preserve. I took this after climbing a portion of the AT.
And this is a swampy area that was right next to the road.
It’s a beautiful area up there and we enjoyed ourselves. Oh yeah, this is what the Sportsman looks like when it’s parked on the side of a dirt road. I took this photo right after I took the one of the swamp. I can’t get enough of this thing. It’s such a rugged looking beast! It’s like looking in the mirror.
After hanging around for a while, we decided to head back to the truck. We traveled on Carriage Road again and when we got to the bottom, back near the airport, I noticed a sign that claimed there was a scenic view about 2.9 miles up a mountain trail. I didn’t necessarily want to ride the entire 2.9 miles, but once we were on the trail, we just ended up going the entire way. I’ll admit, it was kind of a long ride and the terrain was tough at times, but we made it to the scenic view. I think it was worth the ride.
It’s such a nice area up there. I like the way that we were totally alone. We were deep in the woods, which was so cool. Granted, it was kind of freaky because I wonder what I would do if the ATV didn’t start for some reason, but it did and we made it back fine. Not before I had a photo taken of me getting back on the quad though.
Overall, I’d say we had a good time. The weather was perfect and the ride was fun. I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the state of Maine on this ATV. Lord knows there’s no shortage of trails. Thanks for reading!