ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-10-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
Solo TAT on F650

So.... living in Key West, you can ride all year, but you're on a 2 by 5 mile island. If you want to see something different you have to really take a long ride.
After going from Key West to Glacier N.P., Montana in summer '06, then Alaska/Yukon/NWT in '07, the Trans America Trail was next for '08..

Dempster Highway Sept. '07


Months of planning, reading ride reports, and loading the trail maps into the GPS and I'm ready to go.
August 20th is the scheduled departure date, and here comes tropical storm Fay.
After riding out the 60 mph gusts and heavy rains here on my boat, the storm moved north and I rode 4 hours up to my parents' house in Palm Beach.
Next morning I wake up and check the weather channel and see this:

She was stationary, parked right in my way. I could sit and wait who knows how long for it to move off, or just zip up, hold on and ride through.
So off I went, against mom n dad's advice, of course, straight in to it.
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2008, 09:49 PM   #2
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
If you've ever ridden through a tropical storm on an interstate you know it's a bit of a challenge.
This is a storm that dumped 27" of rain in some areas in 2 days, so believe me it was raining HARD. Leaning in to a steady wind of about 40 mph with gusts of more than 50 or maybe 60.... I swear my front tire left the road several times.
My hands and other parts of my body were clenched tight and I was getting soaked despite my Rally2Pro, Sidi rain boots, goretex gloves...that much wind-driven rain is gonna find its way in.
I made it as far as Gainesville, Fl and just had to stop.
I hung my gear to dry as much as possible and fell asleep to the weather channel.
Next morning the storm hadn't moved very much and I was still in the middle of it. Another 3 or 4 hours of misery and somewhere near Atlanta it finally stopped raining and blowing..
After that, the rest of this trip would surely be easy....or so it seemed, the sun was shining, and soon I was drying in the wind and feeling good.
I set my sights on Memphis TN, where I would mount fresh TKC80s and start the trail in west Miss.
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2008, 10:16 PM   #3
TJ Willy
ADV, this, I crave.
 
TJ Willy's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Wichita Falls, Tx
Oddometer: 345
Ok... I am in on this.
__________________
Phil
2009 Solo TAT Ride Report
01 F650 Dakar | '99 Triumph Trophy 1200
SmugMug Goodness Coupon Code (GZnn7vYHaHJjg)
TJ Willy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 02:06 AM   #4
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
I'd like to say, before I get too far into my ride report, how helpful this site is.
I was able to read ride reports and gain crucial knowledge about planning for and what to expect on the trip.
the experience of other riders, and their willingness to give advice, share their stories and experiences made my ride possible.
I had originally planned to use only the roll charts and maps and not use a GPS.
But, after some research i realized this might be difficult. I bought a Garmin 276c (expensive, I know) and preloaded the trail in using Bobcat on my Macbook.
This took several nights of work, but in hindsight, I could not imagine trying to navigate the trail using the rollcharts. having to constantly roll down after every few turns and reading while riding would have been difficult and annoying.
I'm sure many have done it this way, but to me, being able to follow a highlighted route, simply glancing down to see where i was going was the way to go.
If you miss a turn (and you will) you know right away, and rerouting was very easy. Just follow the line and enjoy the scenery. Of course, I had the charts and maps in case i needed them, and would reference them occasionally at night to see what was upcoming or mileage or whatever,
The Touratech gps mount worked very well, once I locked it in, I didn't have to worry, it wasn't going anywhere and absorbed the bumps well.
So...thanks to all who helped with advice about everything from tools to camping gear to taking bypasses...
ADVrider rocks!!
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 06:56 AM   #5
GB
Mod Squad
 
GB's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 55,854


__________________
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 10:07 AM   #6
Nichelob
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Nichelob's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: On one small patch of rubber
Oddometer: 166
__________________
http://www.nichelob.com
Nichelob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 11:08 AM   #7
Brent4ADV
Enjoying empty roads...
 
Brent4ADV's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: B'ham, AL
Oddometer: 1,006
Damn that is an tough start to a TAT. I hope you have better luck with your 650 than a member of our group. But I'm definitely in.
__________________
01 KTM LC4-E
02 KTM 520 EXC
My TAT Ride '08
Brent4ADV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 12:04 PM   #8
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
At Last, Dirt!!!

Well I arrived at Performance Plus in Memphis just before lunchtime on a saturday. They were very busy but the guys there were great, and got to my tires as soon as they could.
Meanwhile I looked around the showroom, they had a couple of F800s (not the GS) and a couple of used dualies to check out.
Marvin told me they had been a KTM dealer until just recently when someone bought them out and took all the bikes. That would've been cool, I can look at KTMs all day.
So I ended up talking with a couple of local riders to kill the time. One older guy (older than me, anyway) reminded me of my cousins who are from Knoxville. He was a sportbike rider and had some great stories, and there's nothing like listening to a real southern good ol' boy tell a story.
Another guy, a really friendly older black man with a nice Suzuki v-twin (I forget what they're called) told me of a friend of a friend who recently was riding side by side with another rider, was bumped, went off the road into a sign pole and "cut 'im da half in two.......cut 'im da haaalf in two"
Yikes! that image would enter my mind throughout my trip, and I would slow down, get my mind back on the trail or road.
It's very easy, especially riding solo, to let your mind wander and not concentrate, which can be very dangerous.
I hadn't read the story of Clayton (Ozy) before the trip, I just came across it last night. I was so moved, as anyone who reads it is, and realize just how quickly things can go wrong, especially off-road.
I think every rider should read that thread. Could be any one of us, any time.
Enough about that, just wear the gear all the time.
I'm getting to the dirt part, honest. At this rate, this might be the longest ride report ever.
It'll go much faster from here, I promise
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 01:09 PM   #9
TJ Willy
ADV, this, I crave.
 
TJ Willy's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Wichita Falls, Tx
Oddometer: 345
Momma always said I never had an imagination... guess it was true.

Me needs pics!!!

__________________
Phil
2009 Solo TAT Ride Report
01 F650 Dakar | '99 Triumph Trophy 1200
SmugMug Goodness Coupon Code (GZnn7vYHaHJjg)
TJ Willy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 03:20 PM   #10
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
I had planned on riding south from Memphis to start the trail in western Miss.
while waiting for my bike I met a guy named Jim on a big KTM. He told me that there had been a lot of rain recently and that the section in east Ark. down in the delta was really muddy and really difficult, almost impassible.
Hmmm. doesnt sound like a good way to start the trail. He said it took him and his friends a couple of hours to get just a few miles.
No thanks.
With his help we checked the map and found a spot where it should be high enough ground and drier.
So, once my tires were on I strapped on the bags and headed west, crossed the Mississippi toward where the trail crossed the highway.
It was late in the day, but I was on the trail. After all the months of preparation and anticipation I was on the Trans American Trail.
I had gone probably 1/2 mile when I missed my first turn. WTF?
I soon realized there was an auto zoom on the gps which took a little getting used to, and I could have switched it off, but I soon had the hang of it.
I stopped to air down the tires and was just cheesing the biggest smile.
What a kook i am!
The first section was through a forest kind of area, good gravel/dirt roads through a heavily wooded area with occasional roadside campsites.
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 03:27 PM   #11
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
The author (Me) in Arkansas
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 03:49 PM   #12
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
My Pelicans that mount on the Caribou racks were "stolen" after my Alaska trip, along with my tent, sleeping bag, Thor boots, surfboards, all the stock parts for the bike....Storage Mart incident I'm legally bound not to discuss.
I was reimbursed but haven't replaced the pelicans.
I went with two duffel style dry bags instead. One by Cabellas and one OverBoard. Both were excellent. not a drop of water inside, and very easy to get at your stuff. Different sizes available.

__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 04:12 PM   #13
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
First day not much riding on the trail.
I did have my first close call though. the forest turned more into pastures with the roads getting muddier.
I came around a corner and saw a mud puddle covering most of the road.
I could have and should have slowed and gone around the deep part.
Nope. mister motocross gets on the throttle and heads for dead center, what's a little mud?
Well, under the innocent looking pool was a very deep rut, and I very nearly ate shit...literally, those pastures are full of manure. I could smell it as my foot went down to save me. So glad nobody was there to see that.
Lesson learned, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Stay tuned.
It was late, hot, I was hungry. And full of mud with a very bovine smell to it.
I stopped in a small town, gassed up, and hit the KFC buffet.
"Sorry about the mud"
"That's alright, darlin"
the dried mud/manure was crumbling off me with every step.
the nice woman followed behind me with a broom and dustpan.
Across the street was a motel. America's Best Value Inn or something.
Hot shower, air conditioning and a soft bed was irresistable.
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 05:00 PM   #14
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
I didn't keep track of my daily mileage or anything like that. That's not me.
I had a basic idea of where i was going, but no real schedule.
I had the route in the gps, and some places where I would need to leave the trail for gas. I rode until I was tired and I would stop. If there was a place to camp and I felt like camping I would. Most of the time I got rooms.
I would reset the trip odometer when I refueled so I would know how far I'd gone on a tank, and that was basically it.
If I was tired in the morning I would sleep late. Sometimes I would be up very early. However I felt at the time.
Second day, stopped here for a sausage,egg n cheese biscuit and some o.j.
Most of the little stores like this have a section with various tools, oil, hardware,etc.
That biscuit was so good. I don't know if it's just because you're on a kind of adventure or what, but sometimes something like this is better than the best fine dining restaurant.

__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2008, 05:24 PM   #15
DolphinJohn OP
Not Fragile
 
DolphinJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Nature Coast, Florida
Oddometer: 3,916
Arkansas

More pics from Arkansas.
Getting better and better.

slight camera issue: the little lens cover door was sticking a little.
From reading other ride reports, I knew that water crossings could be very slick, even if they looked easy. I approached every one like it was ice, creeping carefully with my feet down, ready to steady myself.
Thanks to other riders, I stayed dry.



I wouldn't be so lucky in the mountains.
__________________
_________________________________

My Ride Reports
DolphinJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014