Few Know About The Trans-America Trail That Passes Through The County
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The first I ever heard of the Trans-America Trail and its connection to Yalobusha County was almost a decade ago when I encountered motorcycle riders at the Tillatoba truck stop. They were riding dual sport motorcycles designed to travel on both paved roads and unpaved terrain – kind of like a jazzed up dirt bike. The bikes were equipped with saddle bags and were loaded for the adventure.
There were several more encounters and each time the rider were grungy, most of them would camp along the trail. They probably only stopped at a hotel every few days to wash clothes and get a shower.
An internet search shows that the official website, transamtrail.com, is geared toward the sale of maps and GPS coordinates for riders intending to traverse the trail or portions of it.
I remembered from talking to one of the riders years earlier that his bike was fitted with a small box with a map on his handlebars. As he traveled, he would use his thumb to scroll the map described as a roll chart. I also remember that his bike tires looked slick and he would probably need replacements at some point.
The next time the Trans-America Trail appeared on my radar came when Daryl Burney said one of the bikers had broken his leg. The motorcycles are heavy and it probably takes a skilled rider to navigate some of the tough spots along the way that make the trail attractive for off-roaders. Burney stored the motorcycle at his house for a few days until someone picked it up for the rider.
The next time the trail came up on my radar was last fall when Patsy Schroyer stopped in the office to relay details of her family’s encounter with a crew who were traversing the trail in electric trucks in what would become the first electric off-road vehicles to cross the United States on the Trans-American Trail.
Patsy and her family were riding ATVs on County Road 555 and encountered a MotorTrend crew who had partnered with Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, to tackle the trail in a pair of 2022 Rivian R1Ts pickups.
Details off the trip are recorded on MotorTrend’s website, including the encounter with Patsy and Chris Schroyer.
“After explaining our Trans-American Trail Journey, the locals stood in disbelief,” the article stated.
The encounter also startled the MotorTrend crews as they first encountered the family on four-wheelers with hunting rifles.
“The trail is completely washed out just up ahead. A big storm dropped 17 inches in one day,” Patsy Schroyer told the crew. “Y’all are not gonna get through unless you have a chain saw,” the article states.
“Up until that moment, the 2022 Rivian R1Ts passed each obstacle effortlessly thanks to their Jeep-like approach, breakover and departure angles. But the 5-foot-deep sinkhole caused by the recent storm indeed prevented us from going forward,” the MotorTrend report continues.
The crew plugged in an electric chain saw into an outlet on the Rivian truck and cut a tree allowing them to divert around the washed-out spot.
“Our new friends happened by to see how we were doing, and they helped us cut the timber,” the article continued about the encounter. Also noted was the warning from Patsy about big rattlesnakes in the area, apparently making one of the city boys a little uneasy.
Now like you are probably wondering, I was a little baffled on how they charged those trucks along the trail. The article stated that during hard off-road driving through rural America for 43 days, they didn’t run out of power once. That trip started in eastern West Virginia and ended on the west coast in Oregon, winding through remote parts of our country. In the southern stretch the trial dips into Georgia before running east in northern Alabama, southern Tennessee and northern Mississippi. It crosses the Mississippi River at the Helena bridge, winds through rural portions of Arkansas including the Ozarks and into northern Oklahoma where it continues east into New Mexico. At that point there are several variants as you can head south or north in a loop that connects to the final section in western Idaho that crosses Oregon and ends at the Pacific Ocean.
The map on the official website isn’t detailed enough to be able to tell exactly how the trail routes through Yalobusha County. Maybe someone will spring for a $30 map and ride the Yalobusha portion of the trail and give us a report.
Back to providing juice for those electric trucks, there is mention of a stop in Utah at a charger at Dairy Queen, and a few other spots in the MotorTrend article. Google “Motor Trend Trans America Trail” if you would like to read more. The entire trip is covered in multiple articles on the website.