The Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (MABDR): For those who don’t know, the MABDR is the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route. BDR is a non-profit that creates off-highway routes focused on motorcycles (more details here: www.ridebdr.com). I came across those folks as I rode my motorcycle around but after a little bit of research found out that most of their trails were doable by 4x4.
Even though my plan was to hit Alaska up north and the MABDR route would take me south, an opportunity to cross over 1,000 miles and 5 states (NY, PA, MD, WV, VA) was not easy to pass. Especially since most of it would be off-road.
After a little bit of convincing with the wifey, off we were!
The MABDR starts off in the border of NY/PA in Lawrenceville, PA. The first 5 sections (the route is divided in 9) are in PA and that’s mostly hard packed gravel/forest roads. Even though fairly easy, those were fun sections which you can really feel the truck gliding through the gravel and get an even better feeling of the rear-end when it slipped off on the gravel corners. Of note, there are 2 ‘expert’ sections in PA which were a lot of fun. Tight trails, with rocks and ruts which required some cautions navigation. I changed to 4L because I didn’t see any reason ‘not to’. I was not trying to impress anyone and running in 4L provides a lot more control. If you want, I’m sure those sections could be done on 4H, but you have 4L in your truck, so used it! Here are some pics and videos of the trail:
The most fun sections for me were Sections 3 and 2 which took place in the George Washington National Forest in VA/WV. After a night of heavy rain with plenty of wind, the road was blocked by many trees and we had a couple of creeks crossing ahead of us. Add to that the twisty mountains and dirty roads of VA/WV (the mountains state) and you got a handful.
During one of those sections we came across a huge tree blocking the road; I was not carrying a chain saw and only had a small hatchet… time to put the brain together. I noticed there was a ramp built at one side of the tree – later I discovered it was built by a Canadian solo motorcycle rider as I spoke to some other riders going the opposite direction – and given one ramp was already there it would be easier to just build another one (the plan was to use the MaxxTraxx to better distribute the vehicle weight over the branches). After about 30-40 minutes of chopping and gathering wood, I hear the rumble of an engine coming from the other side, and a Jeep Wrangler YJ comes over. An older gentleman steps out and says “Seems like you have a little bit of a tree problem, huh? (chuckles lightly)”, then he sees my wife who is carrying the hatchet around and goes “And I have a bigger axe for her as well! Hahaha”.
Enough to say he went back to his Jeep and pulled a chain saw and 5 minutes later we were back on the trail!