Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route

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The Mid-Atlantic BDR (MABDR) is the eighth BDR route developed for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel.

MABDR is a scenic ride for dual-sport and adventure motorcycles that uses dirt, gravel and paved roads to wind through remote parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Starting in Damascus Virginia, and ending in Lawrenceville, Tioga County, PA, this 1,080-mile route, primarily uses forest roads and rural country lanes, to lead riders through the Appalachian mountains, majestic forests, bucolic farming landscapes, Amish country, and locations that played pivotal roles in early American history.

The route is presented by American Honda Motor Corp., Inc.  

Cross Country Cycle is the official dealership of the MABDR route.

The MABDR film is available for streaming or download.

MABDR LODGING

Big Cork Vineyards (Rohrersville, MD, MABDR)

4236 Main Street
Rohrersville, MD 21779

Phone: (301)302-8032

Email: info@bigcorkvineyards.com

Website: www.bigcorkvineyards.com

Big Cork Vineyards offers wine for tasting and purchase, the Grab-and-Go Food Market, and lodging.
The 6,600-square-foot, four-bedroom estate on the Big Cork Vineyards property sleeps up to nine people and is just a short walk from the winery. The house is available to rent for the night or for longer stays.

Visit Website »

Country Inn & Suites - Lodging (Abington, VA, MABDR)

940 East Main St.

Abington Va.

Ph. 276-676-2829

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The Inn at Gristmill Square (Warm Springs, VA, MABDR)

The Inn at Gristmill Square

P.O. Box 359 / 118 Old Germantown Road
Warm Springs, Virginia 24484
Ph. 540-839-2231

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Brandywine Recreation Area (Brandywine, WV, MABDR)

Swimming lake, bathrooms, showers, grills, tent sites = $16 (large enough
for 2 tents), hiking trails.

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Mountain View Moto Campground (Elk Park, NC, MABDR)

165 Mountain View Lane (2,192.86 mi)
Elk Park, NC 28622

Ph. (828) 528-2861

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Sunsational Family Campground (Millmont, PA, MABDR)

Sunsational Family Campground sign1120 Hoffman Lane
Millmont, Pa. 17845
570-922-CAMP ( 2267 )

Family owned campground offering $15 a night to BDR riders. Includes pool access

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Star Hotel & Restaurant (Franklin, WV)

210 S Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-3580

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Thorn Spring Park (Franklin, WV, MABDR)

Thorn Spring Park (tent camping, cabins may be available)
42 All Star Dr, Franklin, WV 26807
Phone: (304) 358-7737

Ken Appel Property (Little Orleans, MD, MABDR)

31307 Oldtown Orleans Rd SE
Little Orleans, MD 21766
Ph.(301)723-0213

Hot showers. 100+ acres for camping. Some electric available. One 175 year old rustic log cabin with water/electric etc..

Damascus Old Mill Inn (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

215 West Imboden Street
Damascus, VA 24236
Ph. (276)475-3745

Historic Hotel and Restaurant.

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Crazy Larry’s B&B/Cottage (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Crazy Larry's Bed and Breakfast

209 Douglas Dr. Damascus, Virginia

Ph. (276) 274-3637

Hostel, cottage, and private rooms complete with showers, laundry, breakfast, snacks, and WiFi.

Loafers Glory B&B and Campground (Sugar Grove, WV, MABDR)

One full apartment, two rustic camping cabins with 3-4 beds in each, and unlimited camping. Also, hot showers.

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Laurel Run Cabins (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

One and two bedroom cabins with large decks overlooking the river. All of the cabins have full bathrooms, kitchen, microwave, oven, coffee pot and Wi-fi.

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Dancing Bear Bed and Breakfast (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Family owned Bed and Breakfast in Damascus, Virginia. Located within walking distance of the Appalachian Trail and Virginia Creeper Trail.

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LTD Vacation Rental Cabins (Petersburg, WV, MABDR)

5 cozy cabins with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor hot tubs, satellite TV, and full privacy from each other.

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The Red Lantern Inn - Lodging (Clifton Forge, VA, MABDR)

314 Jefferson St., Clifton Forge, VA 24422

(540)797-5000

A 100 year old building, completely renovated; casual overnight accommodations; 7 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and common areas: living room, full kitchen, glassed-in porch and media room.

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Poe Paddy Campground (Woodward, PA, MABDR)

Located at the junction of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.

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Happy Acres Resort, Restaurant and Lounge (Waterville, PA, MABDR)

3332 Little Pine Creek Road
Waterville, Pa 17776
Ph: 570-753-8000
Fax: 570-75308030

Located in the beautiful Pine Creek Valley, Happy Acres Resort offers lodging with 60 different cabins & rooms, full kitchens and baths, jacuzzi tubs, A/C, heat, gas grills and Direct TV, along with all types of camping.
Our Restaurant and Wildlife Lounge has daily specials, Prime Rib Friday and Saturday, along with Karaoke every Friday night and live music every Saturday night.
Our Happy Store offers Perry’s hand dipped ice cream, gifts and groceries. We are open year round.

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Morris Hill Campground - Lodging (Covington, VA, MABDR)

Exits 10, 14, or 16, I-64 to Lake Moomaw and Gathright Dam, St. Rt. 605, Covington, VA

(540)962-2214 (info only) 1-877-444-6777 (reservations)

Rustic campground, showers, also primitive camping; stocked lake; water sports; bath house, sandy beaches, hiking and in season hunting.

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Douthat State Park Campground - Lodging (Millboro, VA, MABDR)

14239 Douthat State Park Rd., Millboro

(540)862-8100 or 1-800-933-PARK

Cabins, campsites, conference facilities, picnic shelters, stocked lake, boat house, sandy beach, hiking/biking trails.

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Magnuson Hotel - Lodging (Covington, VA, MABDR)

820 E. Madison Ave. Exit 16, I-64, Covington, VA 24426

(540)962-4951

Cable TV, fridge, coffee maker

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Quality Inn - Lodging (Covington, VA, MABDR)

429 W. Main St., Covington, VA 24426

(540) 960-2131

Located 1.5 miles from I-64. Free breakfast, exercise facility, business center, and guest laundry facilities.

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Travelodge - Lodging (Low Moor, VA, MABDR)

123 Westvaco Rd., Exit 21, I-64, Low Moor, VA 24457

(540)929-0977

Adjacent to Penny’s Diner, open 24 hrs. Microwave and fridge, HBO. Near LewisGale Hospital Alleghany.

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Hampton Inn - Lodging (Covington, VA, MABDR)

701 Carlyle St., Covington, VA 24426

(540)962-1200

Free hot breakfast, indoor heated pool, microwave and refrigerator in every room, exercise facility, outdoor patio with fire pit; on site business center.

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Hill Crest Bed and Breakfast (High End) - Lodging (Clifton Forge, VA, MABDR)

110 McCormick Blvd., Clifton Forge, VA 24422

(540)865-0359 or (385)201-4106

100 year old Historic Greek Revival Home nestled on the top of the Alleghany Hills of Virginia. 7 Federal Style guest rooms, 6 private baths. Guests are spoiled and pampered with 3 to 7 Course Silver Service Candlelight breakfast, afternoon tea time, and turn down service in the evening.

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Clarion Inn - Lodging (Harpers Ferry, WV, MABDR)

4328 William L Wilson Fwy

Harpers Ferry, WV

Ph. 844-283-1846

South Branch Inn - Lodging (Moorefield, VA, MABDR)

1500 US Hwy

Moorefield,  VA

Ph. 304-538-2033

Hot Springs Omni Resort - Lodging (Springs, VA, MABDR)

1766 Homestead Dr.

Hot Springs, VA

Ph. 540-839-1766

www.omnihotels.com

Note: the Jefferson Pools are currently closed. Due to reopen in the summer of 2020.

Woods Hole Hostel and Mountain B&B - Lodging (Pearisburg, VA, MABDR)

Wood's Hole

Located on the MADBR Trail at the end of Day 1 and 1/2 mile from the Appalachian Trail.
Woods Hole is an isolated 1880’s Chestnut Log Cabin offering Private Indoor Rooms, Safari Tents, and Bunkhouse.

Woods Hole Hostel and Mountain B&B
3696 Sugar Run Road
Pearisburg, Virginia 24134

Phone: (540) 921-3444

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Dragonfly Inn - Lodging (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Dragonfly Inn sign Dragonfly Inn

125 E Laurel Ave, Damascus, VA 24236

Formerly known as Augusta’s Appalachian Inn.
Each room comes with a private bath, as well as cable television and WiFi.
Breakfast for two is included with each stay and complimentary secure parking.

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Antietam Creek Campsite (Sharpsburg, MD, MABDR)

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park
Sharpsburg, MD 21782

Just south of Sharpsburg, along Antietam Creek which feeds into the much larger and faster Potomac River directly adjacent to the campsite.

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Smoke Hole Caverns Log Cabin Resort (Cabins, VA, MABDR)

Smoke Hole Caverns Log Cabin Resort

8290 N Fork Hwy Cabins, WV 26855‎
Ph. (304)257-4442

Tourist attraction located in the Seneca Rocks/Spruce Knob National Recreational Area. Cozy log cabins and Cavern pool tours.

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Warm Springs Inn (Warm Springs, VA, MABDR)

Warm Springs Inn

A landmark in Bath County since it was built in the late 1800’s, this historical inn was established in the same building as the first courthouse and jail in the county.

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Mountain Lake Lodge (Pembroke, VA, MABDR)

Mountain Lake Lodge

This 3.5 star hotel features an outdoor pool, sauna, restaurant, bar/lounge, and wireless internet access.

Filming location of Dirty Dancing the Movie

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Americas Best Value Inn (Marion, VA, MABDR)

Standard three-star Hotel

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MABDR FOOD

Big Cork Vineyards (MABDR)

4236 Main Street
Rohrersville, MD 21779

Phone: (301)302-8032

Email: info@bigcorkvineyards.com

Website: www.bigcorkvineyards.com

Big Cork Vineyards offers wine for tasting and purchase, the Grab-and-Go Food Market, and lodging.
The 6,600-square-foot, four-bedroom estate on the Big Cork Vineyards property sleeps up to nine people and is just a short walk from the winery. The house is available to rent for the night or for longer stays.

Visit Website »

The Inn at Gristmill Square (Warm Springs, VA, MABDR)

P.O. Box 359 / 118 Old Germantown Road
Warm Springs, Virginia 24484
Ph. 540-839-2231

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Sunoco Gas Station (Laurelton, PA, MABDR)

1415 state route 235
Laurelton PA 17835
Ph.5709221709

Family owned with 3 grades of gas and diesel. Also a small grocery store, made to order deli, and hand dipped ice cream.

The Gateway Restaurant (Riverton, WV)

Briery Gap Rd, Riverton, WV 26814
Ph. (304) 567-2810

Fox’s Pizza Den (Franklin, WV)

756 N Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-2118

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Korner Shop Café (Franklin, WV)

Korner Shop Cafe

200 N Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-2979

Star Hotel & Restaurant (Franklin, WV)

210 S Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph.(304) 358-3580

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Fireside Café (Franklin, WV)

927 N Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-3733

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Rite Aid Pharmacy (Franklin, WV)

Us 220 & 33, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph.(304) 358-7980

Great Value Grocery Store (Franklin, WV)

700 N Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-7662

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Trents Grocery - gas/food (Bland, VA, MABDR)

Cucci’s Pizzeria (Covington, VA, MABDR)

562 E. Madison Ave., Covington, VA 24426

(540)962-3964

Authentic, family-owned, Italian restaurant with a casual dining atmosphere.

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Couch’s Subs & Grocery - Food (Huntingdon, PA, MABDR)

13605 Greenwood Road

Huntingdon, PA   16652

814-667-2016

couchstore1@gmail.com

At Couch’s, we offer a wide array of services to ensure you leave with a full belly and a smile on your face. Come to us for casual dining in, or order takeout to eat as you hike the trails or go fishing in the nearby area. We also stock local produce and groceries. Or, you can opt for some delicious ice cream to enjoy while watching a beautiful sunset. Our signatures include meatloaf, Reuben Stromboli, Italian Hoagies, our own Wing recipes and Pappy John’s Sweet Tea.

Damascus Diner - Food (Damascus, VA, MABDR)

Damascus Diner sign Damascus Diner sign and building

109 S Shady Ave, Damascus, VA 24236

(276) 475-5454

Serves southern breakfast, lunch and dinner

Facebook

Subway (Franklin, WV)

624 N Main St, Franklin, WV 26807
Ph. (304) 358-2002

MABDR FUEL

Sunoco Gas Station (Laurelton, PA, MABDR)

1415 state route 235
Laurelton PA 17835
Ph. 570-922-1709

Family owned with 3 grades of gas and diesel. Also a small grocery store, made to order deli, and hand dipped ice cream.

BP-Gas (Franklin, WV, MABDR)

532 North Main St, Franklin WV 26807

Exxon-Gas (Franklin, WV, MABDR)

27 Mountaineer Dr, Franklin, WV 26807
Phone: (304) 358-222

Trents Grocery - gas/food (Bland, VA, MABDR)

MABDR DISCOVERY POINTS

Big Cork Vineyards (MABDR)

4236 Main Street
Rohrersville, MD 21779

Phone: (301)302-8032

Email: info@bigcorkvineyards.com

Website: www.bigcorkvineyards.com

Big Cork Vineyards offers wine for tasting and purchase, the Grab-and-Go Food Market, and lodging.
The 6,600-square-foot, four-bedroom estate on the Big Cork Vineyards property sleeps up to nine people and is just a short walk from the winery. The house is available to rent for the night or for longer stays.

Visit Website »

Waterfall official start of the MABDR

official start photo opp

View Point of Mount Rodgers National Recreational Area

photo opp

Marion, VA City Center

Lodging, Food, Fuel, General Francis Marion Historical Hotel, Historic Lincoln Theater.

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Hungry Mother State Park

Nebo Mountain Road N

twisty twisty mountain road

First of many Appalachian Hiking trail crossings

Dismal Creek Campground

Mountain Lake Lodge

Filming location of Dirty Dancing the Movie, Four Star accommodations and restaurant, pub, vacation home rentals, small food supplies.

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White Rock Camp Ground

Warm Springs,VA

Home of the Omni Homestead Resort, Public Hot springs, Lodging, food, fuel

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US Navy Sugar Grove Station

Navel moth balled communications center

Seneca Rocks National Recreational Area

Start of the smoke hole canyon.

Camping:

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Smoke Hole Resort and Caves

Food, lodging, local caves, fuel within 10 miles

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Camp Horn Schoolhouse

Motorcycle in front of Horn Camp sign

2175 Horn Camp Rd Rio, WV 26755

Family living museum dating back to original homesteaders in the valley.

C&O Canal Historical Park

Main MABDR route bypass of Harpers Ferry and Antietam National Parks

Founding Fathers & Civil War Cemetery

Shepherdstown, VA

Historical civil war community, lodging, camping food, fuel museums, national parks and monuments

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C&O Canal Camping

Sharpsburg, VA

Revolutionary era township. Home of Civil War Antietam Battle field and many other historical sites, lodging, fuel, food, camping

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Antietam National Park Civil War Museum and Battle Field

Harpers Ferry

Newville, PA

Limited services, food and fuel

Visit Website »

One of PA’s oldest in use rock bridges

Fowlers Hallow Run State Park

camping and outdoor activities

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Big Spring State Park

Greenwood Furnace Campground

camping, lake, showers

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Poe Daddy State Park

Sand Bridge State Park Camping

Ravensburg State Park Camping

Little Pine State Park

Slate Run

Cedar Run Campground

Camping, cabins

Visit Website »

Colton Point State Park

Lawrenceville, NY

Food fuel and lodging. Finish of the MABDR

MABDR PACKING LIST

This packing list serves as an example and is not intended to be a complete list for your backcountry riding needs. Feel free to customize this list to work for you.

Riding
  • Helmet
  • Boots
  • Goggles
  • Gloves (2 sets)
  • Protective gear (pressure suit, Leatt brace, knee braces)
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Balaclava or neck gaitor
  • Water bladder or bottle
  • Hydration pack
  • Ear plugs
Gadgets
  • Map holder / map case
  • GPS unit
  • GPS mount
  • Compass
  • Cell phone
  • Phone charger
  • Plug adapter: auto to BMW plug
  • Camera
  • Spot II
  • Notebook
  • Pencil/pen
Clothing
  • Rain shell
  • Riding socks (2)
  • Zip pants/shorts
  • Short sleeve (base layer shirt)
  • Swim suit
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Riding jersey / long-sleeve (base layer shirt)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Underwear
  • Wool beanie
  • Ball cap
  • Socks
Personal
  • Toiletries
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush & Floss
  • Towel (MSR Pack Towel)
  • Razor
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Pain reliever
  • Allergy meds
  • Wet Wipes
  • Sun Glasses
  • Passport if going into Canada
  • Money (credit cards & cash)
Motorcycle
  • Engine oil
  • Clip-style master link
  • Fuses
  • Chain lube
  • Spare inner-tubes
Camping Gear
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Roll pad
  • Tent
  • Dry bags (2) for tent, sleeping pad & sleeping bag
  • Water storage (Dromedary Bag)
  • Folding hand saw
  • Water filter
  • Eating utensils
  • Lighter / waterproof matches
  • Can opener
  • Pots & pans
  • Coffee brewing device
  • Coffee cup
  • Headlamp (2)
  • Kitchen set & spices
  • Stove
  • Stove fuel bottle
  • Folding camp chair
Books & Maps
Tools & Misc
  • Tool roll / tool set
  • Tire levers
  • Tire patch kit
  • Air pump
  • Tire gauge
  • Quicksteel
  • Leatherman tool
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Large inflation CO2 (for tubeless tires)
  • First Aid kit
  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • Wire
  • LocTite
  • WD-40
  • Tow strap
Food
  • Energy bars
  • Coffee
  • Oatmeal
  • Other ingredients based on meal plan

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions about the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route.

What is the MABDR?

The Mid-Atlantic BDR is a scenic dual-sport adventure on dirt, gravel and paved roads through remote parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Starting in Damascus, VA, and ending in Lawrenceville, Tioga County, PA, this 1,080-mile route primarily uses forest roads and rural country lanes through the Appalachian mountains, majestic forests, bucolic farming landscapes, Amish country, and locations that played pivotal roles in early American history.

What time of year can I do the MABDR?

Most years you should be able to ride starting mid May until the first snow fall in late fall.  The best time of year will be early June and September/October.

How difficult is the route?

The MABDR route is designed to be ridden on adventure and dual-sport motorcycles, as well as driven in 4×4 vehicles. There are no single-track style trails on this route. Generally speaking, this is one of the easier BDR routes, however, there are a lot of tight corners on sleek gravel roads, and you can expect to cover sections of road with deep ruts, loose rocks, and other challenges.  Road conditions change from week to week based on the recent weather.  Depending on time of year and weather, there may be a few small deep water crossings. Flash floods are frequent during summer storms.  Don’t cross flooded washes. Wait until water subsides.

Can you do the route two-up?

This route is perfect to ride two-up if you are skilled in riding off-road two-up.

Can I drive a 4x4 on this route?

Yes the entire route is passable with a SUV or 4×4.  There are no difficult rock climbs or clearance issues for vehicles.  Except if there has been a strong thunderstorm that may wash part of the road away.  Caution should always be used when driving or riding off-road.

What weather concerns should I have?

The Mid-Atlantic region can have strong thunder storms during the summer months.  These storms can contain lightning, hail stones and heavy downpours.

How far between gas stops?

The longest section without gas is 115 miles, which doesn’t seem like much, but you never know when the next gas station will be closed or out of gas.  So carrying extra gas is strongly suggested. Never pass up the opportunity to get gas.

Where do I camp?

There are campgrounds along the route. But fewer in Virginia and West Virginia. You will find more in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Butler Motorcycle Map for the MABDR has a tent icon showing campgrounds on the route and many near the route. The MABDR Butler Map is available at www.touratech-usa.com,  www.butlermaps.com and other fine retailers. Some primitive backcountry camps can be found along the way. Please make sure you camp near the road and respect the property owners’ private lands along the route.

Can I build a camp fire?

In most cases camp fires are allowed, but check with local Ranger Stations to determine if campfires are allowed before you build one. In most cases, campfires are only allowed in fire rings. Be sure to fully extinguish fires so they are DEAD-OUT. Use water to ensure a fire is fully extinguished and the ground is left cool and wet.

Do I have to camp?

The answer is no. The MABDR has some motel opportunities on the route and if you travel off route you will fine more motels in the bigger cities. If you do decide to camp, you will fine official campgrounds on the front of the MABD map with a small tent icon and some primitive backcountry camps can be found along the way. Because of the limited beds available in the small towns along the MABDR, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that riders make reservations ahead of their arrival.

Is there water on the route?

There are a few natural water sources along this route however, depending on time of year, some may not be running. You can find potable water in the towns along the way.  It is suggested that plenty of water is carried for personal and cooking use. Here is a video on water filtration filmed in the Oregon Backcountry: http://youtu.be/vqOFZAoZdTU

Why do I need paper maps when I have GPS tracks?

Always bring a complete set of maps for the area you plan to ride. They have good information about roads, water sources, and are an indispensable resource when the GPS doesn’t work, or is giving questionable advice. Unplanned events can occur and having paper/synthetic maps of the area can be a life saver. National Forest maps are available at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml#U and local Ranger Stations. MABDR Butler Motorcycle Maps are available at www.touratech-usa.com or www.butlermaps.com.

Where can I find the GPS tracks for the MABDR?

The tracks for the route can be downloaded free of charge online at https://ridebdr.com/download-tracks/.

What GPS should I use?

Any GPS unit capable of displaying 15 track logs with a minimum of 500 points each is suitable for use on the MABDR. Garmin models that work best for this application are: Zumo 665/660, Montana, GPSMap 60, 62, 76, 78 and 276. Other GPS manufacturers may have units that will work. Check the technical specs to determine suitability.

What is the ideal bike to use?

Any bike that has a license plate, can run knobby tires, is set-up to carry the gear you plan to bring, and has the fuel range to make the distance between gas stops. Most adventure or dual-sport motorcycles will be suitable for the trip.  Choose the bike that you are the most comfortable riding off-road.

What tires should I use for the MABDR?

DOT approved knobby tires are strongly recommended.

Are there any gates on the route?

There is one gate if you decide to visit McLevy’s cemetery and fort. Please shut the gate when going up to the Fort and then when coming back down.

How long does it take to run the MABDR?

Most people average 150 miles a day on a backcountry motorcycle trip. Plan on doing this route in 7-9 days depending on how fast you want to travel and how early you want to roll out of camp. There is a lot of history to see and places to visit on the MABDR so planning a little extra time is suggested.

How do I get information on current road conditions?

If we are aware of any road closures, we will post re-routes on http://ridebdr.com/MABDR.  There is also a MABDR Group on Facebook that might be helpful to check out before you head out on the route.

Is there cell phone coverage on the route?

Much of this route is remote and out of reach for cell phone towers. There will be long sections with no coverage. Your best bet is to talk or text in the towns or on top of

Can the Route be done North to South?

Yes the route can be done North to South.

What about the Wild Animals?

The Mid Atlantic is a habitat to many large animals like the Black Bear, Deer even Mountain Lions. Safe food practices while camping are an absolute for your safety and the animals safety.  Here is a link to find out more http://www.centerforwildlifeinformation.org/BeBearAware/Hiking_and_Camping/hiking_and_camping.html  Rattlesnakes are also found throughout the route.  You should also take special precaution and safeguard yourself from ticks, which are numerous in the forests of the Mid-Atlantic states.  Make sure to check yourself every night after riding, especially if you’re camping.  Visit this page for more information on tick-safety.  https://www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/index.html

Which BDR is the easiest? Which one would you recommend for a rider that hasn’t done a long trip on dirt before. I have just taken an intro level training course and I ride a 1200GSA??

We get this question all the time. Here are some key things to consider as you put together your plan.

All of the BDR routes include intermediate to advanced terrain. If a person is on a large bike twin-cylinder bike like an R1200GS Adventure or Yamaha Super Tenere, the routes can be very difficult. If a person’s skills are not advanced level, they may consider taking a smaller bike or choosing the easier options when possible. A BDR is something a person should build up to and it shouldn’t be their first overnight trip on their ADV bike.

Although, MA, ID, WA and CO are less difficult than UT and AZ, they all contain difficult sections. Lockhart Basin in UT is the hardest section of all the BDR’s. We suggest looking at the Butler Map and take the optional easier routes to avoid the difficult sections.

Even taking this approach there may be difficult stretches depending on changes in road conditions, weather, construction and the unknown. This is part of what makes it an adventure. Regardless of its description on the map or in the film, no section of a BDR should be underestimated.

Do some shorter overnight trips as practice and ride increasingly difficult terrain to build up your skills and confidence. Also remember that riding with a fully-loaded bike should be practiced prior to tackling a BDR. Lastly, always ride with a group so that you have a team to help overcome any obstacles whether it’s terrain, mechanicals, navigation, medical emergency, etc…

In summary, take baby steps and work up to doing a BDR. Don’t make it your first adventure motorcycle outing on a full-sized twin-cyclinder bike.

What medical supplies should I carry on a BDR trip?

This advice comes from Rob Watt, BDR Director of Development, and Wilderness EMT.

We carry items for wound management, breaks, basic meds and dental.  You can buy a good first aid kit at one of the outdoor stores online or Touratech-USA.  Get one that is an Extended Day Backpacker or 3-4 person kit.

These kits usually have the basics for a motorcycle trip.

They usually don’t have a SAM splint, so pick one of those up along with a couple ace bandages.  One other thing that we do for every multi-day trip, is to gather important information about each rider: allergies, medications, medical issues, emergency contacts, etc.

Then we put that on a master sheet for each person, so if something does happen we have that information handy incase that person can’t speak.  Another good practice is to do a little research of where medical facilities are along your planned route.  Is there a “flight for life” in the area? Where are the hospitals, Medical clinics, etc?

Here is a list of some items that you should have in your medical kit:

  • Bandages: Assorted sizes for small cuts, blisters, etc.
  • 4-inch closure strips or butterfly closures: For closing large wounds. 4-inch strips are more effective than butterfly.
  • 4 inch by 4 inch sterile dressing pads (5 to 10): To apply pressure to a wound and stop bleeding
  • Non-adherent sterile dressing (2 inch by 2 inch): Use these or Second Skin to cover blisters, burns or lacerations.
  • Gauze roll: Holds dressing in place.
  • Small roll of 1-inch adhesive tape: Holds dressings in place.
  • Multi-use tool or knife: Should include knife, scissors. A scalpel and blade are also useful for first aid.
  • Forceps or tweezers: For removing splinters, ticks, and removing debris from wounds.
  • Scissors: Trauma scissors, which have a blunt end to protect the patient, can be used for cutting away clothing from injury, cutting medical tape, etc.
  • Thermometer: Digital is generally more accurate, but batteries do wear out.
  • Malleable splint: Lightweight foam-covered aluminum, such as a SAM splint.
  • Irrigation syringe (35 cc): Used to flush and clean wounds.
  • Suction syringe (65 cc): Used to clear mouth of fluids when giving CPR.
  • Safety pins: Can help remove splinters, fasten arm sling, or make a whole in a plastic bag for improvised wound irrigation.
  • Cotton-tip swabs: For removing  foreign objects from eye, or applying antibiotic ointment.
  • Resealable plastic bags: Many uses, including icing a swollen joint or creating wound irrigation device.
  • ACE, Coban, or other rubberized bandage: Can be used as outer wrap on splints, wound dressings or support for joint injuries. Be careful not to wrap too tightly.
  • Antiseptic towlettes: For cleaning small wounds.
  • Cleansing pads with lidocaine: For cleaning. Includes a topical anesthetic for abrasions, stings, etc.
  • Topical antibiotic ointment: For application to wounds. Simple Vaseline can also be used in dressing a wound.
  • Moleskin: Prevents blisters. Cut and apply a section to your foot as soon as you discover a “hot spot.” Duct tape also works for this purpose.
  • Povidone Iodine USP 10 percent, 1 oz.: For preventing infection. Bottled PVD iodine 10 percent solution should be diluted to a ratio of 1 percent or less for flushing wounds.
  • Aloe vera gel: Found in packets or small bottles for relief of minor burns.
  • Pain relievers, including aspirin and Ibuprofen: Provides relief for minor aches and pains, reduces fever, helps reduce inflammation of sprains and other injuries.
  • Antihistamines: For relief of pollen allergies, or to reduce reaction to bites and stings.
  • Immodium 2 mg capsules or tablets: For relief of diarrhea from intestinal infections.
  • Pepto Bismol or antiacid tablets: For relief from general diarrhea, abdominal upset.
  • After Bite or hydrocortisone cream USP 1 percent: Relieves skin irritation from bites, poison oak, stings, or allergic reactions.
  • Latex or nitrile gloves: Protects against blood-borne diseases and infection.
  • CPR microshield mask: A compact flexible barrier with a one-way valve for rescue breathing, which protects user from blood, vomit or saliva.
  • Oral rehydration salts: Packet of electrolyte salts and glucose for treatment of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or loss of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Space bag/blanket: Lightweight emergency shelter. For treating hypothermia victims.
  • Paper and pencil: For recording medical data such as body temperature, pulse, time and date of symptoms, injuries, medicines administered, etc. Most repackaged kits include accident report forms.
  • Wilderness First Aid booklet: Many prepackaged first aid kits contain one. An excellent pocket guide is the Wilderness Medical Handbook

Rating the Routes by Difficulty

We get a lot of requests to provide difficulty ratings. The difficulty of a route can change from day to day depending on weather, changes in the road conditions and road damage caused by a variety of forces including wind, storms, flooding, snow, logging, forest fires and more. The difficulty experienced by an individual also depends on their off-road skills, level of fitness, bike size and amount of weight carried on the bike. For these reasons we can’t provide a rating system like a ski resort. We can help you a bit by ranking the existing BDR’s from most difficult to least difficult. Here is the list: CA, AZ, UT, CO, WA, NM, ID, MA. So CABDR South is the most difficult especially if you ride the expert sections and Mid Atlantic BDR is the easiest in general terms. Although MABDR is the easiest there are still a few challenging rocky sections and the several water crossings that can get very difficult if the water is high. Also mud can be very challenging if it rains heavily. We hope this helps you in your planning. Be sure to also review the FAQ’s for each route prior to planning your trip.

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