One of the things I've really enjoyed in preparing for the TransAmerica Trail (TAT) is all the reading and research that I've done. For some this may be a burden,especially because of the time involved,so I thought I'd put together a thread specifically on how to prepare for the TAT. There are lots of great ride reports out there that contain bits and pieces of helpful information,but wouldn't it be great if you could find all that in one place? I was thinking of trying to gather information on: mapping,riding gear, camping gear,specific TAT bike preparation, electronics,etc.
I'd love to hear form both those who have ridden the TAT as well as those of us who are still preparing for this trip of a life time.
I've been an outdoor enthusiast since the 80's, with climbing,mountaineering,and riding as part of my background. My overall skill set is pretty good, but I'm always interested in learning from others how to do things better-that's one of the reasons I enjoy the ride reports(RR) so much.
I'd like to start the ball rolling with my (still in progress) preparation for mapping out the TAT. As a solo rider, I chose to have redundancy in place which includes Sam's roll charts, converting his maps onto my Delorme/ Bench Mark Atlas',as well as using gps tracks.
My first order was to buy Sam's maps/roll charts
I actually purchased the maps last winter with the intention of riding it this past summer, but finances dictated me putting it off until this Aug 2013. I've got to say this part of the planning process has taken me WAAAAY more time than I thought it would. I fairness to me I am trying to learn and understand BaseCamp (I've got a MAC),learn how to use my Garmin Montana ,and just figure out computer stuff which I struggle with. I'm sure there is probably a quicker and more efficient ways to do what I am going to share,but my gps/computer skills are lacking so I did the best I could do with what I've got
Here are the resources I have chosen to add to Sam's maps
I'm a big fan of the DeLorme Atlas',and even more of Bench Mark Atlas' that only cover out WEST. I strarted with Sam's TN maps and converted them into the atlas with a colored marker (this is a Bench Mark Atlas).
I came up with a system that seem to work well for me. I retraced Sam's maps into the atlas' and where ever he placed a milage marker,I did the same in the atlas,and on the roll charts indicated by a highlighted yellow mark at the appropriate milage marker. I also numbered each state turn by turn on the roll charts with a red pen starting from 1 to? This matched up with each turn on the gps. This was very tedious,but here is what I accomplished. I plan to predominately follow the gps while I ride,but what if the gps dies,or I want to confirm info with the roll chart? By having those corresponding numbers it allows me to roll the roll chart forward at my leisure,(not turn by turn). If my gps says 138 Rt; 156.72,then that means on my roll chart -at the 138th number that I wrote with red pen I take a right,and the overall accumulated milage is 156.72 miles that is shown om my maps as well.
To help on the gps end-I used a RED rectangle to always indicate the mile markers that are on the maps/roll charts.