Hi everyone, I'm Dean, And I'm going to ride the TAT. I decided to do it sometime over the winter, and now I'm just a few short days away from taking off. I'm pretty excited for sure. I'm leaving Monday, June 30th, although I may slip away Sunday the 29th, cause I just don't want to wait anymore. Just a bit about me: I'm 53, in decent shape although packing a few extra pounds, and still posses most of my faculties. I recently retired from my day job, but stay busy maintaining a few rental houses, my own place, and volunteering my time with the Port Angeles Lions Club. I like to hike and play outdoors, garden, tinker and fix things, read, and recently began brewing beer. I'm quite happy and enjoy my busy life with my dear wife and all my critters. I'm a lucky guy. Been riding off and on since my early teens, mostly trails when I was young, then a bunch of street riding as a young adult. I even had a Honda 3-wheeler for a while. Then, after quite a few years without a bike at all, I got a used DR350 about 14 years ago and got into Dual Sport Touring. A few years, miles, and rides later I added the 650 to my garage. I've been on ADVrider for several years, but post infrequently, mostly spending time in the DR specific threads, Ride Reports, and more time than I should in the basement. No doubt this RR will up my post count significantly. Over the last decade or so I've done many weekend, week long, and multi week trips on a few bikes. The Sasquatch, Black Dog, RawHyde Rally, Dirty Face, Hoh Rainforest Ride, Olympic Loop, and more... plus a few solo trips. I've had a blast and met loads of great people. But I wanted to do something on my own, and allow enough time to travel at my own pace, and mostly, I wanted to see America! It's a big country, and I've seen very little of it outside the Pac NW. So when I first read about the TAT, I just knew I would have to do it. The wife was not real excited about it at first but has accepted it and is, as always, supportive. She rides a little bit on her own DR200, but is not interested in such a long ride, even if we could arrange for care for the animals. Also she would, um, let's say require more comforts at more frequent intervals than may be available on this trip. So she's staying home, and having recently registered at ADVrider as Deanwife, will be joining in on the conversation as I go. So, I'll be on my trusty Suzuki DR650, customized to my liking of course, and have allowed 8 weeks or so for the trip to and from. Port Angeles is almost as far West as you can go in the CONUS, and the start of the TAT is in Tennessee. So, just getting to the beginning is going to be half the adventure. Oh, for anyone who doesn't know, The TAT is the Trans America Trail, a 4,000 plus mile trek across the country on almost entirely non-paved roads (my favorite kind!). It is meant to be ridden East to West, from Tellico Plains, TN to Port Orford, OR, and that's the way I'm going to do it. For the Eastbound trip, I plan on visiting a few old friends along the way, and getting off pavement a little, but not too much. I'll be using the official TAT GPS tracks, purchased from Sam at the TAT website. Since I'm going to have to go across much of the US just to get to the TAT start, I figure I might as well go all the way to the East Coast somewhere. I've never been so it will all be new to me. I don't really know where I'll end up. I will stop to see friends in Idaho, Iowa, and Chicago, but in between, and East of that my route remains to be seen. I hope to spend 3 weeks or so getting to the TAT start, then 5 weeks or so on the trail, plus a day or two more to get home. Over the next few days before I leave I'll be posting more about my bike and gear, and plan on continuing this Ride Report as I go. I'll be taking an iPad with a separate bluetooth keyboard, and a card reader so I can dump photos from my P&S camera. I have activated data service on the iPad for July and August, and of course I'll take advantage of WIFI wherever I can find it. I have a SPOT GPS tracker, and have set up a Spotwalla page here: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=a42953a3bdf61d4d0 This shows my location in (sort of) real time. The primary benefit of the SPOT is it's ability to transmit a help message should I need it, without any cellular service available. I've signed up for the assistancelist.com here: a pretty damn cool idea. If I do need help, anyone (who has signed up) within 100 miles will get the message. This way, people in my vicinity will get the msg rather than just my wife many hundreds or thousands of miles away. Also, those folks are all ADVriders who will likely know the area and have awesome, mud-covered adventure bikes with which to come rescue me. Of course I hope to never use that particular feature. The other great feature of the SPOT is, of course, the tracking feature, which will show my route as a series of "bread crumb" points, at 10 minute intervals. Oh, and to weigh in on another much debated topic: I have the SPOT strapped to my camelbak. For this trip I will be on a budget of about $40 per day, including fuel. I plan on camping and cooking my own meals much of the time, although I will be making use of another awesome community on ADVrider: the tentspace list, which hopefully will allow me to stay with other motorcyclists and make them part of my adventure. I also just signed up for the brand-new MotoStays, a tentspace like website for connecting travelers and hosts. Hey, have I mentioned that ADVrider.com is the worlds best motorcycle forum? No? Well, it is. If anyone has any comments or questions along the way, please chime in and I'll do my best to answer. Next post: more on my bike and gear.