I’ve Been Everywhere, Man: The History of the TransAmerica Trail
The TransAmerica Trail is a living, breathing passage born from one man’s passion for traveling down the path less taken and appreciating the sights this country has to offer that few have seen. It is the road for true adventurers who want to experience things in their own way and understand that a certain beauty is found in the mud and dirt that covers you at the end of a tough day of discovery.
Let’s take a trip where we catch a glimpse of the man whose life’s work made this journey possible and where we will traverse terrain that few others will ever have the opportunity to encounter.
Meet the man
In 1984, Sam Correro hopped on his dual-sport motorcycle with no intent other than to make his way across his home state, Mississippi, while taking a route that typically veered away from major roads. He soon realized that he was in uncharted territory. The idea of the TransAmerica Trail, also known as the TAT, was born.
As he rode to his destination, Correro began to track his progress, mapping it out for others who would come after him. Once there, Correro decided there were other states he’d like to check out from a non-traditional vantage point, so on he went to find a route through the next state. And so on. And so on. And so on.
When it was all said and done, Correro had mapped out a path that stretched from Tennessee to Oregon, totaling over 4,500 miles. Though this took him 12 years, as he completed it in his spare time, the Trail hadn’t yet reached its end.
Currently, Correro’s goal is to complete a trail that makes a complete loop around the country. He has already added over 500 miles to the original by creating three spurs that make up the different routes available to riders. He has mapped it out extensively for others who want to take a journey across America that highlights the country’s beauty while presenting riders with a challenge.
Hitting the trail
The TransAmerica Trail is unique for many reasons. It will take riders across this beautiful nation on a route, but it’s not for everyone. If you are expecting to just cruise, then the TAT is not for you.
Instead, Correro offers a sort of “advisory” to those thinking about embarking on the journey. First of all, the TAT is meant for either a dual-sport motorcycle or a 4x4 like a Jeep Wrangler.
Correro also lets potential Trail trekkers know that they should be prepared to experience a ride that promises to be physical where they could encounter terrain that includes mud, snow, gravel, dirt, rocks, or water at any given turn.
Correro created a comprehensive website containing his recommendations for back roading cross country. Visitors to the site can not only view routes, they can also purchase their own maps and get information about the benefits of GPS tracks if they are tech savvy.
There are so many incredible features surrounding the TAT and Correro’s work that it’s almost difficult to find a starting point. Some “Wow factor” takeaways are:
- Correro’s route does not go on to private property without the express written permission of the property’s owner. This prevents areas from being gated and locked to the public, and it also keeps riders from trouble with trespassing ordinances.
- Correro includes information about suggested places to stay, eat, and attractions to take in each day of the riders’ recommended 200 mile-per day-journey.
- Correro makes himself readily available to riders if they have questions. He is also happy to make calls on riders’ behalf if there are problems on the route he has mapped out. Fallen tree blocking your way? Call Correro, and he will call the proper authorities to help you out.
- Correro is constantly updating the site, his maps, and GPS tracks for changes that need to be made to the route, ensuring riders have the most accurate information possible.
Correro himself lives on a property that touches a part of the Trail. He invites riders to stop in, visit, do a load of laundry, or borrow his grill. That sort of hospitality is almost unheard of, but Correro is not the only person in the country who shares his sentiment.
Correro has somehow managed to amass a list of others who seem to share the same love for the TAT and its riders as he does. He freely offers riders their names, addresses, and phone numbers, letting them know of their eagerness to help out, accommodate temporarily, or just visit with those who happen to be riding by.
In return for their hospitality, all Correro and those willing to be a part of the unique journey ask are riders to show those people the same respect given to them.
In truth, Correro created more than a trail; he has created an experience for riders the world over that will allow them to enjoy the adventure and beauty America has to offer in a way that cannot be duplicated.
It is almost awe-inspiring to learn how the TransAmerica Trail came to be, and it is equally amazing to catch a glimpse into the life of the man responsible for its creation. Sam Correro’s dedication to doing things his own way and his love of adventuring across this great country are what continue to make trekking down this trail possible.
As long as Correro continues to update and modify his original route based on the changes to the country’s landscape, the TransAmerica Trail will remain a living, breathing passage to adventure down the path less taken, a truly “happy trail.”