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Old 06-27-2009, 05:09 PM   #31
wind_man
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Sir,

I watched the video of the NV section in your signature and noticed the dates on some of the pictures. Were you there in mid September of 08? We must have been following your tracks the whole way as we never saw a single person partaking on the TAT the WHOLE way untill we got to Port Orford.

GREAT video BTW, the helmet cam is brilliant.

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Originally Posted by DockingPilot
I'm re living it. Funny how I reconize each and every photo location and it brings back pleasant memories. Thanks fellas ! Keep it coming.
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Old 06-27-2009, 05:17 PM   #32
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Yes we were ! The weather was stunning too.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:25 AM   #33
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Day 11: Telluride, CO to Moab, UT

There are definitely pros and cons of camping, as opposed to staying in a hotel room. Cost issues aside, camping I certainly more "adventurous," and it also gives you the freedom to ride however long you want, to wherever you want, as you can camp virtually anywhere on the western half of the TAT. While I certainly mean no disrespect to those who have done otherwise, I think you are missing out on some of the experiences of the TAT if you never camp in the wilderness.

That said, camping also has its disadvantages, and one of the biggest of those is time. It takes over an hour (more like 90 minutes, and that's not at a leisurely pace) every morning from the time you get up until you're ready to leave; packing tents and gear, cooking breakfast, and cleaning occupy the majority of that time. As such, on the occasional night where we did stay in a motel, we were able to get rolling at least an hour earlier than we would if we camped.

This morning, we rode out of Telluride at 7:30 AM, under cheerful blue skies. Fred at Arrowhead had 3 tires waiting for us (Owen had already switched his rear in Trinidad), so we needed to get into UT before it was too late to pick those up. At this point, we had completed the rugged Rocky Mountain passes, and ride started out with some nice dual-track on the smaller peaks at the periphery of the Rockies. The route gradually started to flatten out and speed up, and we spent several hours in the late morning cruising on some fast (and fantastic) forest service roads in western Colorado. There was not a lot worth taking pictures of out there, but the riding was magnificient. At one point around noon, I saw a shape lurking in the bushes off the side of the road, and then a mounain lion or cougar leapt into the woods as I rode by. Out of the forest service roads we rode through some farmland near the Utah border, our first real civilization since Telluride. From here, we proceeded into Utah.

Flying westward ito Monticello, we were greeted by quite interesting geography. The flat scrublands extended seemingly forevere in every direction, with the occasional mountain jutting out of the flats, looking as though it had been dropped there accidentally.


We stop in Monticello for a quick fuel and food break, treating ourselves to some mexican fast food at the gas station. We then rode back into the desert, to climb up and over La Sal, and down into Moab on the other side.

On one of the roads to La Sal, you began to grasp the surprise vastness when one comes across a canyon, while traveling the southwest. As a depression, the canyon is not visible until you are practically on top of it, when it spreads out below you as though it just appeared. I can't imaging what it must have been like to the first settlers who came across the grand canyon, as they probably had no idea it was there until they were within a mile of its rim.

Climbing La Sal was a great ride (aside from a stupid passing manuver around a truck we came across). Somehere about halfway up we took the wrong trail (I blame Owen's GPS routes! ), and ended up in a field full of free range cattle.

As an aside, I was taken completely by surprise by the amount of cattle we came across over the course of this trip. The entire american west is seemingly a huge free-range cattle playground. Owen and I got into a routine when riding in the cattle where we would both honk our horns constantly, sending the cattle into a frantic (well, as frantic as fat lazy cattle can be) rush to do, well, something. Of course, given their intelligence, the cattle would often go to one side of the road, and then randomly run acorss the road to the other side, or they'd just run right in front of you in the same direction that you were trying to go. I can't count the number of times that we did this and were almost killed by a cow trying to broadside our motorcycle, or the number of miles we rode behind a frantic cow while honking and yelling "get the fuck out of the way, you stupid bovine!" Classic.

We followed a cow path across the field, and then bushwhacked through some woods to get back on the road we were supposed to be on. On interecting the road, we had to drop down a little ridge to get back on track:


We sone came around the mountain, and were greeted by the spectacle that is Utah, the Utah we expected to see.

(Try as I might, the pictures just don't do the place justice. Moab, for refernce, is down in the canyon between the near peaks and the ones in the distance)

We rode down into Moab, leaving behind up the mountain which separated the red rocks from the rest of the world:


We made it into Moab by 4:00, picked up our tires (and met Fred of Arrowhead fame, what a character!), and set up camp on the north side of town by 5:00. With some time to spare, we walked across the street to the grocery store, stocked up on supplies for the expected increasingly distant civilization in Utah and Nevada, and cooked up a gourmet dinner of fish, chicken, potatoes, and aspargras. After dinner, we set about changing tires, and finished swapping all three by headlamp around 11:30 PM. Exhausted, we took quick showers and passed out, eager to see what Utah would have in store for us in the coming days.

Flipping through my journal, I am reminded that at this point we had blown up two of our three platypus water bags. I had started out the trip carring a 2L Camelbak, a 4L MSR drom bag, and a 2L platypus bag (8L); Owen was carrying 3L in his Camelbak, and 2 2L platypus bags (7L). This may seem like a lot of water, but when you drink 4L in a day on the warmer days, and then need to use water to cook dinner and breakfast, wash dishes, and refill Camelbaks the next morning, you go through water quickly. Out west, since we did the majority of our overnight stays camping in the backcountry, our only opportunities to refill on water were when we stopped for fuel, which only happened once a day (if not less). We were somewhat concerned about having enough water for the Utah and Nevada deserts ahead.

Day 12: Moab, UT to somewhere, UT

After sleeping in a bit (8:00) after being up late changing tires, we awoke and prepared to leave. We changed Owen's oil again (we had changed the oil in both bikes in Trinidad); as I was riding a KLR I was not concerned. The scenery leaving Moab is nothing short of breathtaking, and we only saw the things along our route, which was a small portion of what the area has to offer. After a quick stint on the pavement out of town, we climbed up onto the face of one of the canyon walls around the town, for a fantastic if not somewhat scary ride:


We rode the Gemini Bridges trail, and then stopped for a break to check out the workings of an old windmill (we are engineers, after all):


Other area scenery:








From here we headed up to old highway 50, which ran parallel to the current interstate. Not content to ride pavement, we rode on a water pipeline easement, which provided some opportunity to amuse ourselves:



We made a quick stop in Green River, and sat under the hot sun to make some calls home and eat a typical lunch of beef jerkey, powerbars, and nuts. We got all sorts of lost coming out of Green River, riding down a road that turned into a desert and eventually wedged us between a fence and some train tracks. After unsuccessfully trying to get the bikes across the tracks, we backtracked along the side of the interstate, and blasted across at the first opening in the fence.

On a side note, as we were riding along the side of the highway, as we came over one of the sandy hills lining the road, we saw a person lying on the highway side of the fence, taking a nap (I hope!) in a small pile of belongings. I've seen my share of homeless folks in cities on the east coast, but how this fellow had gotten to this point was completely beyond me. Hopefully he made it out alive...

After getting back on trac, we rode through an abandoned uranium mine (complete with great warning signs), and to Devil's Canyon. We were on the highway again for a short period of time, and accidentally missed the "exit" (aka hole in the fence) for the trail; no matter, we're on dual sports! We just blasted down and across the somewhat wooded, 100-foot-wide median, rode back the opposite way on the interstate, and blasted across the median again. I think that the few cars traveling on the highway at the time were rather confused.

Devil's Canyon:


We accidentally came out the wrong side of the canyon, and by the time we realized out mistake there was quite a large chasm between us and the correct trail on the opposite rim. We made a quick detour on the interstate, no more than a mile or two, and got back off at the next exit, where we entered a massive OHV area. After a quick stop at Swasey cabin, we rode through Wolf Canyon; Wolf Canyon is the location of the second optional "dual sport bypass" (the first being Hancock pass); we found the riding in the canyon to be more more reasonable that that on the ascent to Hancock. In fact, it was in this canyon that Owen gave me the new nickname of "KLR commander" (Jay and Silent Bob reference here), after I made it through with only a few dabs on my antiquated monstrosity of a motorcycle.

The classic TAT Wolf Canyon photo (beneath I70):


More Utah Brilliance:






The OHV area had a huge network of trails and some great (albeit sandy) riding; I'd love to come back here someday with a trailer full of smaller bikes and/or quads, and slightly more refined accomodations, and spend a week bombing around.

As the sun started to get low in the sky, we just pulled off the side of the trail and set up camp, had some dinner, and fell asleep in the Utah backcountry, probably miles from the nearest person.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:37 AM   #34
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"As an aside, I was taken completely by surprise by the amount of cattle we came across over the course of this trip. The entire american west is seemingly a huge free-range cattle playground. Owen and I got into a routine when riding in the cattle where we would both honk our horns constantly, sending the cattle into a frantic (well, as frantic as fat lazy cattle can be) rush to do, well, something. Of course, given their intelligence, the cattle would often go to one side of the road, and then randomly run across the road to the other side, or they'd just run right in front of you in the same direction that you were trying to go. I can't count the number of times that we did this and were almost killed by a cow trying to broadside our motorcycle, or the number of miles we rode behind a frantic cow while honking and yelling "get the fuck out of the way, you stupid bovine!" Classic."

Let me offer a suggestion to the cattle problem. This is not a slam against you guys, just a thought that may help us all.

Get as far to one side of the road as possible and move slowly through the cattle . The cattle will probably move to the other side and out of your way without getting overly excited.
If you get a single or two out in front running down the road if you will stop and take the pressure off of them they will probably turn off the road,then you can proceed.
When we travel through open range country we are visitors IMO we need to be as polite and unobtrusive as possible. I am sure the Rancher would not like it to see some of us hooping and hollering and running his cattle down the road!

Now carry on and thanks for the story. It is a great read!
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:20 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdon
Let me offer a suggestion to the cattle problem. This is not a slam against you guys, just a thought that may help us all...
Pay attention Owen. You could've used this advice Sunday when you spooked that horse drawn wagon in NC. I slowed down and idled by the pissed driver in first gear after he regained control of his horses. Great RR guys. Keep it flowing.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #36
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Great ride report plus the pictures are stunningly beautiful.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:31 PM   #37
wind_man
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By this point we had to go easy on the water since we had ridden at least half the previous day and would have to go a little under a hundred miles to reach a gas station. This was difficult to say the least since the trail was very sandy and frustrating since we were basically riding in a river bed. As Kyle stated, this would be a blast on a quad, but I was frustrated at times.

We came to a big sandy river bed at Mulligan Wash. (Maybe South Salt Wash?)

Pano of the above image at the same location


One last shot


Then the crazy random volcanic rocks…

These tunnels were pretty cool. I ended up hitting reserve here, one of only two times in the trip. It took me about 230 miles to hit reserve which is a pretty good range considering the conditions and terrain even for 5.5 gallons of fuel roughly.


We stopped for lunch at a Subway in Salina, Subway never tasted so good! Then we got lost IN town, and had to get directions out. That is one think I hate about Garmin US Topo, all the maps seem to be about 10-15 years old. This would be a huge problem in OR.
We then passed through Fishlake national forest of which I remember nothing! Kyle says there were lots of dead trees, I can’t remember anything, I guess we will have to do it again
In and out of Fishlake we passed through the town of Kanosh and after that we crossed the interstate. This next stretch of road was amazing. At some point I realized that we had been riding for a while and could not remember when I had last seen something man made. Now, we all may become numb to this at some point on the TAT, but we did not see anything man made, I believe, from the interstate to the NV boarder which is over 100 miles. That means no fence, no windmill, no water troughs, no homes or relics of buildings, nothing. (Obviously the road was made by man, but you get the idea.)
That really made me think about how big this country is, how miniscule we are, and how this land was probably worked by many people in the past but we just didn’t see the products of their labor. Thus, at the same time I was amazed by how vast the land was, but at the same time I knew many had been there before me. It was a very strange juxtaposition of feelings.
Also, how can people do this trip alone? Imagine if you had a catastrophic failure in the middle of this road, which I measure to be about 16 miles from the nearest paved road. I could not imagine walking 16 miles in MX boots with almost no water just to get to a paved road on the UT NV boarder… Terrifying.
Below is my attempt to take pictures at speed on the very remote road.



We ended up in some state line gas station/motel/sketchy place but the attendant was nice. We had a great dinner of canned beans, salsa, cheese (possibly years old), and maybe some tortillas? Either way, we cooked in the room with the door open and people continued to look at us funny. I still wonder how their taxes work.

The next day would begin the love/hate relationship with Nevada which would include some of the best and most frustrating riding on the TAT and our only real mechanical problem of the trip.



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Old 07-02-2009, 05:32 AM   #38
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really enjoying the report, I will be on the TAT next year, keep it coming.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:24 AM   #39
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Nice report!... keep going!

What type of temps did you run across? Did you bring mesh and Regular gear for the temp changes? Trying to plan my packing as light as possible. I will be on a pig of a 950adv.

We are looking at starting in trinidad on the 5th of Sept. Just trying to judge what to bring.

thanks,
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:16 AM   #40
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Beau-

We saw a fairly wide range of temps in different areas, but it was mild for the most part, I believe primarily due to being fairly late in the year.

For gear we both were wearing a full upper body "suit" (I had a SixSixOne pressure suit, for example), and then we had jackets over those (Owen had a Darien, I had a Cortech jacket). The jackets were pretty standard cold-weather gear, with some zipper vents, no mesh, somewhat waterproof. I left the liner for mine at home and instead brought several layers/thicknesses of wicking synthetic stuff. On the coldest days (mornings at altitude and in the desert), I wore a long sleeve under armor, half-zip long sleeve, the pressure suit, medium weight fleece, and my jacket. On our legs we had Klim pants (not vented summer ones, but they were not super-warm either), and I had thermals under them when it was cold. Owen wore kneepads, I didn't and paid the price multiple times.

On some of the eastern trail, such as Tennessee and Mississippi, I remember being pretty hot, hot enough that I was wearing only my pressure suit over a t-shirt (I hate not having the abrasion resistance of a jacket, but you have to be comfortable enough to ride). One night in Colorado (at 9k feet or so) it dropped below freezing at night and I slept in 3 layers inside a 35 degree sleeping bag and was still chilly. For the most part, in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon we were quite comfortable in both the armor and the jackets, wearing varying layers under those. We had insulated winter gloves, which definitely got a LOT of use. A balaclava makes a HUGE difference in comfort level when it's cold out, I wouldn't ride out there without one.

For what it's worth I'm a pretty lean guy and I think I tend to be colder than most.

Given the time of the year you'll be going, I'd plan on wearing a jacket over your armor, and bring a couple layers to wear underneath. If you're camping, it's also important to have enough clothing to sleep in safetly tucked away in a dry bag in your luggage. In the desert or the mountains, in the middle of September, it can get pretty chilly at night, we had at least a handful of nights that were near the limit of my 35 degree sleepng bag wearing long sleeves.

Oh, and bring a good winter hat! Works wonders preparing breakfast in the morning.

Sorry for the length, hopefully this helps some people!
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaulauber
Nice report!... keep going!

What type of temps did you run across? Did you bring mesh and Regular gear for the temp changes? Trying to plan my packing as light as possible. I will be on a pig of a 950adv.

We are looking at starting in trinidad on the 5th of Sept. Just trying to judge what to bring.

thanks,
beau
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:38 AM   #41
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Thanks for the detailed post. It really helped. Pretty much going to leave the mesh gear at home. And bring my heated gloves and vest

Keep the report going!
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:32 AM   #42
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Great reporting .... keep going!
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:24 PM   #43
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What a bloody good report,
I'm enjoying just reading about your fun!
Good luck
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:41 PM   #44
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Day 14: Border, NV to Ely, NV, 189 miles.

Rolled out the the world's cheapest hotel around 8:45, after a nice hot breakfast and thorough clothes and body cleaning. Out of border we rode around on "trails" that really equated to riding in fields of scrub brush. Some of the trails were so faint, we'd have to stop and roll or walk around to track them down, and then 100 feet later we'd be off in the fields again before we knew it. The desert of Nevada is full of these short little bushes, which are so stiff it's like their made of metal; they relentlessly attack skidplates, outstretched boots, suspension components, and anything else within their reach, and you are constantly smelling their flowers and their burning branches on hot engine parts.

After some of the faint trails, we pick up some better trails into some mountains; however, while they may have been more visible, they were also more difficult, and the sand was relentless. After quite a few crashes and tip-overs, we made it through, and took a break for lunch.

Faint NV trails (can you see it?):


Lunch Break:


It is hard to take a bad picture in Nevada:


Agricultural Decay:


One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip (Mt. Grafton and others)


We rode down into Preston, NV for food, gas, and water. For the rest of the day, we rode great quality dirt, including one of the best dirt roads I have ever been on it my entire life. I don't know where it was, but I'd know it if I rode it again, and it was fantastic. We camped up on a hillside with some great views, although I didn't get to enjoy them as I rode around for over an hour trying to find my lost license plate (and never found it).


Day 15: Ely, NV to Battle Mountain, NV, 225 miles

Woke up around 7:30 local time and set out. We rode more great dual track in the morning, and went into Eureka for gas, groceries and lunch, treating ourselves to a hot meal at a local diner. While getting gas we ran into a middle-aged fellow who was doing a lot of traveling on his Harley, probably somewhat of an adventure rider at heart; he said he had started riding motorcycles only recently, and I got the feeling he was making up for lost time and loving every minute of it. We had quite a bit of difficulty getting out of Eureka, as many of the roads around the old mine were closed of blocked off.

Owen, riding... somewhere.


Gorgeous Nevada, near the pony express trail:


Shortly after this, I took a real hard crash in a silt bed. This would be our first, but not last, experience with silt.

We rode into Battle Mountain, where we stopped for fuel and beer. We rode out of town into the setting sun, looking for a place to camp. However, with fenced-off ranch land all around, we didn't have much luck, not wanting to trespass onto someone's property in a location that they seemed to be using. The whole time I was riding as slowly as I could, listening to the beer rattle around in my tail bag, hoping not to break the bottles on the next bump, while Owen rode out and back to try to scout out a camp location. We eventually found a spot that wasn't visible from the road, rode up, and set up camp. I realized in the dark that my radiator fan was no longer working, along with the constant problem of the starter button, which had not changed.

Campsite in the morning light:
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:22 AM   #45
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I'm enjoying every part of this RR !
Great stuff !
Cheers to you, guys
/thierry
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