Team name: Hold My Beer (HMB) Overland
Participants: Josh, Dan, Drew, Chris. The four of us make up HMB Overland. Our name comes from the idea that everyone complains that there isn't a great east coast overland route but our response was, "Hold my beer!"
2018 Road trip details: We'll be driving along the Appalachian Byway. It's an East Coast overland route Josh created. It follows the Appalachian Trail all the way from Georgia to Maine taking as many dirt roads and off road trails as possible. We'll be stopping as often as we can to hike a few trails and to swim in some waterfalls.
Can't leave home without:
Josh: "I can't leave home without an analog wrist watch."
Dan: "I can't leave home without my biolite!"
Drew: "I can't leave home without wet wipes."
Chris: "I can't leave home without my boots."
Favorite tune to listen to on the open road:
Josh: "Africa by Toto or Let my Baby Ride by R. L. Burnside."
Dan: "Buddy by Willie Nelson. It's a wonderful song. Listen to it!"
Drew: "Country Roads by John Denver."
Chris: "Disparate Youth by Santigold."
Signature/go-to camp food:
Josh: "I've got to have a steak cooked on the grill over an open fire."
Dan: "Yeah Man! Wood fire grilled meats."
Drew: "Cheese balls"
Chris: "Beef Jerky"
"Best known for"/"claim to fame"/"trip role":
Josh: "That's a toss up between being the official Map Nerd and doing things that my 4runner ought not do such as driving through what is now known as Lake Loveland."
Dan: "My off road claim to fame is nearly hydrolocking the engine of my lifted Subaru. It's a good thing I'm a mechanic."
Drew: "I'd say I'm best known for conquering the Reddish Knob."
Chris: "My role on the trip will be to do all of the photography/videography."
A perfect trip would include these three items:
Josh: "Family, great food, and some form of water - a river, a lake, or an ocean."
Dan: "Um... Number one on my list is not having rocks thrown at me while I poop. I'm looking at you, Drew! Then, campfire fellowship and road snacks."
Drew: "Guns, ATVs, and my Jeep"
Chris: "My Land Rover, Fire, and Scenic Views."
Recreate their trip
If you would like to recreate HMB Overland’s Appalachian Byway road trip, we’ve got good news! You can go to Appalachianbyway.com and download .GPX files of the entire trip from Georgia to Maine. You can save the files to your phone, tablet, or GPS and follow the unbroken line that shows all of the dirt roads, jeep trails, and scenic mountain passes we took along the way. The great thing about these maps is that the .GPX files will work even when you do not have a cell phone signal.
However, you may be thinking, “I want to explore one of those National Forests, but I don’t want to stick to areas close to the Appalachian Trail. I want to explore more of the surrounding area on my own.” That’s great! I personally would rather make my own way, too. So here’s what I did to create the Appalachian Byway.
First, you should look for Motor Vehicle Use Maps of the State or National Forest you are planning to explore. For example, a PDF version of the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest can be downloaded for free on the USDA National Forest website. Each page has a detailed map of one section of the forest with a Legend that shows which trails and roads are open to different types of vehicles. It also shows which roads are only open seasonally and lists the date they open and close to the public.
Next, you should definitely purchase paper maps. I have found that National Geographic and Purple Lizard maps are often more accurate than the (sometimes) out of date Motor Vehicle Use Maps. They also clearly show when you are on public or private land. After you have looked at the paper maps, you may want to use Google Satellite Maps or even Google Earth to get an idea for how challenging and remote some of the trails are. You can also go to YouTube and search for specific roads or even phases such as “off road in George Washington National Forest”. People post tons of videos to YouTube and you can get a first person view of the road, how challenging/muddy it may be, and whether or not you have the ground clearance to make it over certain sections.
Finally, and most importantly, you are going to want to have some idea of where the campsites are in that area. If you like to stay at official, pay campsites which have bathrooms and sometimes even showers, you can easily look them up. But if you want to find your own primitive campsites, you can either try to spot them on Google Maps or you can call the local ranger station. They will let you know if there are places to camp along specific roads. We have learned that it can be a good idea to make reservations at a pay campsite even if you are planning to find your own primitive site. If you can’t find one, or if someone is already at the one you were planning to use, the reservations at a pay site act as a great backup plan. Yes, you lose the money if you do not go there, but we see it as insurance.
Good Luck and Have Fun! - HMB Overland