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 11-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #1
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
K.Ray's TransAmerican Trail Journal

In the coming months/years a friend and myself have decided to attempt the TransAmerican Trail in sections. We would love nothing more than to attempt the entire thing all at once, but time and money simply won't allow.


Zach and I are fortunate enough to live 1.5 hours from the TAT starting point in TN. I currently have a virtually stock CRF250L and he rides a slightly modified DRZ400S. With only my backpacking, mountain biking and dirt biking skills to help me along, we've scheduled Leg #1 for November 16, 2013.

Credits to Zach Bowman for all of the decent photography and/or video editing you see in the thread. The shitty ones are from your's truly.



Kray screwed with this post 11-20-2013 at 09:47 AM
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
2013-Nov-16 | Test Run

A few things we learned today: gear is important, roll-charts are very handy, stock fuel tanks are little, backpacks hurt, squirrels can lose their tails, and - the big one - 5000 miles is going to be a very long journey.

This is the type of adventure you remember for the rest of your life. Today was both eye opening and fantastic.

I met Zach at a local Panera in West Knoxville around 8:00AM. The ride over was quite chilly but I was filled with excitement - I was going to ride the first leg of a 5000 mile journey! As I pulled in the parking lot my bike's exhaust note echoed off the building and smeared the early morning bliss. I coasted into the same spot as Zach, noticing he had made some last minute modifications to his DRZ. I was instantly certain that these additions would come in handy. He had added a top bag to his rear rack and it was filled with things like first aid. As I walked inside, I couldn't help but turn around and stare at the bikes.


Our route was loosely planned and we were ready to put some miles on the odometers. We brought the bikes to life and tore down Kingston Pike towards Lenoir City. We would only tackle 40 miles of the TAT but had 200 miles of round-trip riding ahead of before sundown.

Halfway to Tellico Plains it was clearly evident that I'd brought the wrong clothing. It was cold. I could no longer feel my hands. We decided to pull over, gas up, and warm up in Lenoir City. My favorite thing to do is use the bike's exhaust as a heater for my gloves/hands. That lasted a solid 2 minutes. As we continued our way down to Tellico Plains, we passed over Tellico Dam. It was something out of a zombie movie in the early morning diffused light. Had there not been so much traffic I would have stopped to grab a photo.


More cold. And it started to drizzle a bit. Ugh.

We finally make it to Tellico Plains. I motion to Zach to pull over into the Hardees. I was beyond cold at this point and needed to grab something warm. A huge smile was still plastered to my face never-the-less. We went inside and regrouped - we were about to start the TransAmerican Trail.


Witt road is easy to miss. This is the starting point of a 5000 mile journey from the east to the west and you'd never know it by passing by. We stood there reflecting on how monumental this moment was. Oh, and we were warming our hands. Several people passed us in caged vehicles, giving that kind of look that I imagine little punk skater kids often get. I immediately felt like a rebel - all the better.


We started down the road not knowing what to expect. It abruptly went from asphalt to dirt. We went faster. After winding our way down the forest road for a bit we came to the first fork in the "road." I immediately realized the value in roll-charts. I pulled my phone out to check the GPS. It was just as clueless as I was. We made an educated guess to go left. It worked out.


Everyone had warned us about the creek crossings on Witt road, mentioning they were one of the most difficult obstacles between the Atlantic Ocean and Colorado. Without pausing, we rolled up on the first creek. Zach didn't bother to stop and blasted right through it. I could only assume he was heeding the "momentum is your friend" advice. He made it across without drama, or so I thought. I followed at a more turtle pace and we continued on. After the second water crossing we stopped to shed some layers. I noticed my co-rider was awfully drenched. It turned out he'd mistaken his DRZ for a submarine and forded the first creek with a bit too much vigor. He was soaked from head to toe. I couldn't help but laugh.


We continued on, gaining confidence after every turn. This was fun.

Eventually we made our way to the end of the forest road. We were both slightly let down that we were back on tarmac. As I struggled to remember which way to go, wildlife happened...


This poor little guy darted out in front of me (yes, it's on video). I would venture to guess the squirrel and I both had cartoon sized eyes. I knew Zach was right behind me so avoided evasive action. My brain immediately did the math based on years of riding experience and put the plan into motion without me ever realizing what was going on.

....I didn't feel a thud. Did he live?

Zach later reported the little guy ran off without a tail. Neat trick.


This doesn't look right. I pull over and check the GPS. "Are we supposed to be this close to North Carolina?" I'd taken a very wrong turn somewhere, but, as luck would have it, we could grab this next turn and head back in the exact direction we needed to be going. As I stood there gearing back up a group of Harley guys rode by. They gave a huge wave as if to say, "Hey, you're crazy too!"

This would prove to be the only time we got lost on this test run. Even still, I know we're definitely going to need roll-charts. We wasted a lot of valuable time stopping at each intersection and researching our where-abouts.


The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We passed through beautiful countryside and seemingly traveled back in time. Growing up in TN I often take this area for granted, but something about this place reset me. The air seemed a bit thicker here. I half expected to see prohibition around each bend.


It was still barely morning as we stopped at the Spring Creek crossing to take in our surroundings. The bikes were dirty but running strong, I was no longer cold, and Zach had dried off - for the most part. Things were going all too well. As I flicked my key back to the on position I noticed I was running low on fuel. By this point I had run down the mental list of gear that I needed to acquire more than a few times. It was a long and expensive list and extra fuel capacity was near the top. I had one blinking bar left on the digital dash, which meant I had approximately 20 miles to find fuel or I would be walking.


We eventually intersected with highway 411 and I sprinted up to a local fuel station. After eating a sandwich and crunching some numbers I calculated that the CRF had done a cool 68mpg on that first stretch. I'll take it.



We continued on. The remainder of our day was spent on tarmac. It wasn't nearly as dual-sport oriented as we'd hoped but fun none-the-less. We stopped just outside of Calhoun at the end of Leg #1 to grab some photos of the bikes next to the Hiwassee.

Ignoring the smell of the local paper plant, we came to the conclusion that we were in desperate need of better gear before going any further on the TAT. We caught highway 11 and headed north towards home.

To be continued...

Kray screwed with this post 11-20-2013 at 10:40 AM
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
reserved #2
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
reserved #3
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #5
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
reserved #4
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:25 AM   #6
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
reserved #5
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
reserved #6
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
LBSTROM
Adventurer
 
LBSTROM's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Northeast Oklahoma
Oddometer: 20
Looking foward to reading more about your adventure.

How far are you planning on going on the first leg?
__________________
When its all said and done, there is a lot more said than done.
LBSTROM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBSTROM View Post
Looking foward to reading more about your adventure.

How far are you planning on going on the first leg?

Sam just sent me the TN maps today. We had planned on only riding Saturday. After crunching some numbers it looks like we'll get about 40 miles of the TAT down. Being that it's such short notice we didn't have time to really work on the logistics so we'll be riding the bikes round trip. This should be a very long 6-9 hour day in 50-60F sunny weather!

This will also be a shakedown run for us and the bikes. We have done lots of research and read through many other journals, but you just can't know until you're really out there. I have years of off-road riding and backcountry camping experience, but my mate on the DRZ does not. Opposite to this, his bike is quite a bit faster and more capable than my little CRF is. Neither of us really have any touring gear. We can nitpick all day long or just get out there and ride. Should prove to be an interesting first leg!
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 07:13 PM   #10
easygojoe
Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Beautiful Southern Oregon
Oddometer: 26
Looking forward to it!

I found this journal from Thumper Talk Kray. I will definitely be following. In my opinion you won't have any trouble at all keeping up with the bigger DRZ. My buddy has one and I have a 250l; no problems at all keeping up. It's a little quicker off the line, but other than that no worries. And heck, you won't be drag racing him.

Have fun.
__________________
I would never have taken up painting if women did not have breasts--Pierre Renoir
easygojoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2013, 06:25 AM   #11
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
Quote:
Originally Posted by easygojoe View Post
I found this journal from Thumper Talk Kray. I will definitely be following. In my opinion you won't have any trouble at all keeping up with the bigger DRZ. My buddy has one and I have a 250l; no problems at all keeping up. It's a little quicker off the line, but other than that no worries. And heck, you won't be drag racing him.

Have fun.
Thanks for the sub! I can't wait to get this thing started. We've been riding together for a month now (he just got his bike), and he's certainly more capable when it comes to power. I've ridden the bike a few times. It reminds me of my old 2-stroke dirt bikes - that kind of power. That being said, this is his first year riding offroad so I'm usually still out front, but he's always right on my tail.
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #12
Mtn Man
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Mtn Man's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: East Tennessee
Oddometer: 210
Enjoy!

Well, my buddy and I did the same thing about two years ago now and have made it from Knoxville to just outside Moab. It is a great trip and you will enjoy the chance to see things most road riders never get to experience. If you ever have questions or want to know about what you can expect along the way drop me a pm and maybe we can hook up in town for a beer or something. Also, planning is very important as you get to the places where just riding home is not a good option.

__________________
Can't win a horse race yelling whoa!!
DR 650
GS Adventure
DRZ 400
Harley Road Glide
Mtn Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2013, 07:12 AM   #13
Kray OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Kray's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Knoxville, TN
Oddometer: 693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
Well, my buddy and I did the same thing about two years ago now and have made it from Knoxville to just outside Moab. It is a great trip and you will enjoy the chance to see things most road riders never get to experience. If you ever have questions or want to know about what you can expect along the way drop me a pm and maybe we can hook up in town for a beer or something. Also, planning is very important as you get to the places where just riding home is not a good option.

Really appreciate the wisdom. We may all have to go out for a bite to eat soon just to share stories.

This first leg should be a good shake-down run. We are hesitant to start collecting gear as we don't know what we really require. To make matters worse, not many companies are offering products for the CRF yet so the build up will be slow and methodical.

We are currently hoping to pickup a motorcycle trailer to make the logistics of distant legs of the trip more efficient. Your thoughts (or anyone's thoughts) are always welcome!

Kray screwed with this post 11-14-2013 at 07:18 AM
Kray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
Mtn Man
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Mtn Man's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: East Tennessee
Oddometer: 210
That is exactly what we did. We even used a third person once we reached Arkansas, he became or camp hook up and our way home at the end of our leg. It sounds like a bad job but it really is a pretty good gig. You drive three or four hours, unload your bike from the truck then have the day to explore. Once you get in the western states that is a great way to go! Riding out of Trinidad or Silverton while have the camp set and ready was really nice.

I hear you on the gear part. We have or should I say I have, changed gear three time in doing this trip. Just remember less is better. We really don't need much but we sometimes pack thinking of the what if.

Let me know anytime you guys would like to visit. I work in downtown Knoxville and live west.
__________________
Can't win a horse race yelling whoa!!
DR 650
GS Adventure
DRZ 400
Harley Road Glide
Mtn Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2013, 07:48 AM   #15
Mtn Man
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Mtn Man's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: East Tennessee
Oddometer: 210
By the way, the first day with roll charts will be a test of your team work. I would strongly suggest having a pair of Sena communication devices ... Or something similar. This one tool is now a MUST for us on our trip. I am the one who fought the tech piece but now I am the biggest supporter.
__________________
Can't win a horse race yelling whoa!!
DR 650
GS Adventure
DRZ 400
Harley Road Glide
Mtn Man 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 07:46 PM.


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