Have you ever driven from one end of the state to the other?
Like, from north to south or vice versa? It's not what I would describe as an enjoyable task. I can't say I've done it from totally one end to the other, but when I used to live in Portland, my band at the time had a gig in Presque Isle. It was a 5 hour drive, but I couldn't help but think the state expands a couple more hours in each direction.
We drove only about 280 miles that day. But if you want to, there are two roads that literally go from one end of the state to the other. And that kind of drive is nuts. Could you imagine driving from Kittery to Madawaska? It's an all-day affair. But these two roads give you an idea just how deceptively large Maine is, from one end to the other.
One is easy to guess, the other is a little deeper.
Now, there's the obvious elephant in the room when someone poses this question. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that the longest road in Maine is US Route 1. It goes from Kittery, all the way up the coast to Fort Kent. All in, it's nearly 530 miles from start to finish. We've all known from birth, that it's the big north/south road.
But there's another road that's even faster, if you're simply trying to get north, but are avoiding the highway for whatever reason. Maybe a bank heist or sheer boredom. Either way, you can go north to south without the highway or Route 1.
You just need to get familiar with Route 11.
State Route 11 comes into Maine from New Hampshire. In fact, it keeps going all the way through Vermont. But it enters in the Sanford area, and stretches all the way north, also Fort Kent. But it's a more direct route north, so it's a full 125+ miles shorter than US Route 1. Route 1 follows along up the coast, where Route 11 just goes straight up.
I'm not saying either way is faster than a combo of roads that also include Interstate 95. It's almost always going to be faster on the proper highway. But some people just like the adventure. Are you one of them?