So I woke up early, and LDF wasn't scheduled to get to Knoxville until late morning, so it was more bike prep:
Rick has every tool known to man, and claims not to know how to use them, but I remain skeptical.
The bikes / set-up in a nutshell:
Both 2004 DRZ400s.
The yellow one: Honeybee ~3500 miles. Bought from inmate BobbyC. Acerbis tank, 14/44, E-bay rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, Andy Strapz expedition pannierz, Wolfman tank bag and small duffel tail bag. Heated grips, hardwired GPS, cigarette accessory socket, fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards, disk brake protection, spare throttle and clutch cables zip-tied in place, two rear rim-locks, (none in front... rethinking that one), airbox 3X3, dynojetted, full Yosh exhaust. D606 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.
The blue one: Blueberry ~7500 miles. Bought from inmate Motor 1. Clarke tank, 15/44, Stock rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, and Ranger Panniers, Wolfman tank and tail bags. Heated grips and hardwired GPS. Fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards. One rear rim lock. airbox 3X3. Maybe rejetted (seemed to do better at higher altitude), stock exhaust, unknown if cored. Lowered with #3 Kouba link, and bar risers, dropped forks in front. Gel seat? MT-21 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.
Whew, did I forget anything?
So LDF arrives, and we pick her up from the airport, and stop to visit this Dual Sport emporium for last minute purchases:
And get to meet Gaprunr, who later scores me a new heavy-duty rear tube when I pinch mine changing the rear tires.
And he warns us about the slimey slippery creek crossings in Tennessee and not to even think about riding across or else we'd fall, and that we'd do best to walk each bike across with two people at a time...
Anyway, if you're trying to figure out whether your luggage is tough enough for the TAT, don't bother... make sure it can survive airline baggage handlers:
So besides recovering from spending the night at O'Hare, LDF set about sewing holes in her side bags. While I held a clinic on how to pinch tubes:
And we generally enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on Rick's superfine property:
LDF throwing a leg over Blueberry for the first time:
Rick's GasGas taking a nap: