Heading east from Brewer on Route 9, the infamous Airline Road, will soon put you in the rolling hills of northern Hancock County, the start of the blueberry barrens, as well as some very remote lakes and ponds that have a plethora of dirt roads. Running along the esker that is known as the Whalesback in Aurora will also put you face to face with some of the tallest wind towers ever erected in Maine.

At this point, we veer off of the wide paved way onto the wider dirt roads expanded to accommodate the erection of dozens of wind towers along Weaver Ridge, Little Bull Hill, and Shoppee Hill — among others — surrounding Spectacle Pond. Apparently expansive clear cuts are okay for these energy projects.

The network of loose gravel roads providing access to the dozens of giant towers spread across miles of landscape are nicely graded. With wide, sweeping turns built to handle the 100+ foot long wind blades, the terrain invites exploiting the off-road capabilities of Ford’s very popular F-150 Raptor—now available with new 37-inch tire package.

The Raptor has a well-founded reputation for bounding across deserts, sand dunes, and wide-open spaces with its credible long-travel Fox-shocks suspension soaking up rocks, stumps and whatever other detritus is in the way. The numbered and named roads in Osborn, Aurora, Eastbrook and Township 16 don’t provide much challenge for the Raptor’s chassis, as the 37-inch BF Goodrich T/A KO2’s (two inches taller than the previous available tires) propel the 3-ton pickup with grace and surety around every bend.

Exercising the throttle — and the 450-horsepower High Output EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine (with a prodigious 510-pound/feet of torque) — resulted in lurid powerslides as the bellowing exhaust, several mode choices available, rises and falls with each step into the “fun zone.” Incredibly, ride compliance remains a forte, as the Raptor’s ability to soak up all types of road (and off-road) imperfections remains the differentiator for this vehicle over its rivals. Other machines are better at narrow trails, but no other mass-production 4X4 truck oriented for off-roading travels as comfortably as the Raptor.

The expansion of these old woods roads allows ATV travel as well, plus it has increased access to the numerous ponds, streams, and outpost locations for sportsmen. Long stretches of the roads are smoother than the semi-paved streets in much of Ellsworth.

Several new driveways, many gated, hide upscale retreats — the kind of get-away destination that a Raptor makes easy to access. Ground clearance is over 12-inches — perfect for mud season or deep snow. A new limited slip front differential joins a similar device out back to increase grip when you need it. The engineers also modified the Raptor’s frame so it can still accept the larger 37-inch full-size spare mounted underneath.

The Ford’s GPS navigation doesn’t recognize these roads, but cellphone mapping plus the ever-ready Maine Atlas & Gazetteer helps compliment limited labeling. Road #500 leaves the 73-00-000 road and brings me out in Eastbrook at Molasses Pond, where the big Ford once again demonstrates that it is more than a one-trick pony. Some road hum is evident with the larger, big-lug tires, yet it never annoys, while the truck’s handling and ride acumen will make you wish that all pickups rode this smoothly. Big, serrated running boards — some of the best in the biz — improve ingress and egress.

With its 36-gallon fuel tank, the Raptor has almost 600-miles of driving range, so no range anxiety exists for off-roading. EPA ratings for the truck and its 10-speed automatic transmission are 15/16-mpg. In over 700 miles of use, we averaged over 17-mpg despite exercising the twin-turbo motor.

Pricing begins at $70,370 for the base Raptor, while the new “37” edition adds a cool $10,000 to that sticker. The pending Raptor R, with a purported 700-horsepower racing-inspired V8 engine, is expected to easily crest this pricing threshold.

Standard gear includes selectable drive modes, terrain management controls, pre-collision and automatic emergency braking, auto-mode shift-on-the-fly 4X4, power rear window, trailer sway control, performance exhaust, five-link rear suspension, Fox Live-Valve shocks, plus a host of interior enhancements including suede and leather heated and cooled seats, fold-away shifter-work-surface, plus oversize touchscreen with navigation.

The Raptor is easy to live with. Although more than six inches wider than a regular F-150, the Raptor drives easily, is comfortable on the road, and it makes off-roading a relaxing adventure. With more and more folks looking to find their own restive places “out there”, the Raptor is very well-suited to make sure that you get there and get back — if you want to.

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles for more than 20 years.