Doin da TAT... Yessss!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AirborneAndy, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    503
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    Wherever I May Roam
    Alrighty then! I've been on the road for a while now... on a journey to find myself, or maybe just my keys :lol3. Did Route 66 from California, continued on to Maine for a coast to coast, then down the east side to Florida to visit my long lost brother :norton.

    And now, the ride I've really been looking forward to.... the TAT. I've struggled to stay on the pavement many times thinking that I will get all the dirt I want real soon. Well, the time has come :D. I'm in northern Florida headed for Sam's to pick up my maps and roll charts. Then up near Nashville to drop off most of my gear, swap my bald street tires for some new knobbies, and pick up my dirt gear I had shipped from home. I expect to be on the TAT by this weekend. If anyone is heading that way and wanting some company, PM me and maybe we can hook up along the way. I will be camping and traveling light. So, let the adventure begin :nod.

    Edit - for those who didn't know, TAT stands for the Tran-America Trail. It's a series of dirt and gravel roads and trails leading from Tennessee to the Oregon coast.
    #1
  2. Cornbread82

    Cornbread82 Sir Crash A Lot!

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Georgia
    Have fun Andy, wish that I could go with ya!
    #2
  3. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    There's always the next trip... I've got an itch for some Latin American cuisine :lol3
    #3
  4. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Ok, I’m in Trinidad Colorado taking the day off from riding - that sounds weird :D. So, Im going to update this thread with some pics n commentary :lol3. Here’s what happened so far…

    I met up with Sam at his place in Mississippi to pick up my roll charts and maps. I had also wanted to ship most of my gear back home as I didn’t want to carry much during the TAT ride. And, he offered to ship my stuff for me and even invited me to stay the night - really a nice guy. But, I headed off for Murfreesboro Tennessee to stay with friends and prepare for take-off J. Had my off-road riding gear and some new dirt tires sent there too. Went to a local dealer ( Sloan’s ) to get tires installed and get a new riding shirt with the armor built in (lost my last one when the Paramedics cut it off of me after bad crash in MX). Anyway, the guys there at Sloan's were great - If you forgot something, it’s a good place to get it and they are only about 20 miles off the TAT around mile 300.

    I had read previous reports that many of the dirt and gravel roads in Tennessee had been paved. So, I skipped the first 300 miles, to save wear-n-tear on my new knobbies, and jumped on the TAT just south of Murfreesboro which right about in the middle of the state. I found my bike much more fun without a bunch of extra weight on it.

    Anyways… here are some pics n thoughts on the ride so far…
    #4
  5. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    I’m new to the whole roll-chart navigation thing. And it was actually nice to get comfortable with it as I rode thru Tennessee on mostly paved roads. Although I still have tenancies to get lost in the cities where there are more roads than out in the country. Mental fatigue is also an issue and I forget to roll the chart forward or can’t remember if I already did. Got to get that brain in shape if I ever wanna do the Dakar. :lol3 And, I figure this is good training :D.
    #5
  6. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
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    Wherever I May Roam
    Here are some pics... not sure about all the locations but I'm old so cut me some slack :rofl

    Tennessee
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    Mississippi
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    Arkansas
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    Oklahoma
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    New Mexico
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    #6
  7. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
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    Amazing how many kinds of dirt there are. And how differently they react to water. I rode over dirt that looked dry but felt very slippery. And, I rode over mud that looked like a tar pit but was had as a rock. I almost feel like an expert on the subject... Dirt and the science of Mudology

    Here's a video of me at work :lol3:

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    #7
  8. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

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    Feb 20, 2005
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    1,283
    Location:
    Baja is good
    Good work, Andy. I'm glad things are going so well. :clap
    #8
  9. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

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    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    99
    :clap
    #9
  10. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

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    May 8, 2006
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    30,851
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    :thumb

    btw....How many miles are on that DR now? :ear
    #10
  11. KrAzyOSUcOwBoY

    KrAzyOSUcOwBoY kRaZy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    145
    Location:
    SW Okla
    The last 80 miles into Trinidad is just a tiny taste of what is to come. We did the TAT NM & Colorado 2 weeks ago and it is spectacular. Don't skip the Stagecoach route (11 miles) between Sargents & Lake City. We've also done Utah (twice), it's my favorite, but it will be HOT when you get there. I still need to ride from Baker, Nevada to Oregon to complete the TAT, not in the planning stage yet but on the list. I am told that it's spectacular as well. Be safe, carry plenty of water, watch your fuel and have fun. 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    #11
  12. mote298

    mote298 n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    Some where between heaven and hell
    Keep them coming! I just got back from the TAT a week ago. 4 of us rode from Boise City, OK to Twin Lakes, CO using most of the TAT trail in that area. It was an awesome ride for us, just wish I had the time off of work to do the whole trail from TN to OR. But for now I'll just have to read the reports of the folks who are doing the parts that I hope to do someday. My favorite part so far was the ride through New Mexico, it's just I love the wide open ranges out west. I've spent the past 20 years riding all over the Southeastern USA and it was a nice change of scenery out there. It was hot out there, but it was not near as bad as it gets here in NC with high temps and high humidty. It was easier to breath out there at 10,000' asl than it is here right now.
    Keep it on two wheels and have a great trip!

    O' this is one of my pics of Oklahoma near Boise City two weeks ago. I've got about 500 pics of our trip, but I've got to learn how you all are putting your larger photos on here.

    Attached Files:

    #12
  13. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Ok.... got finished with my planned section for the day a bit early and stopped in at the Salida CO library to finish the updates I started on yesterday... I've got so many pics and videos it hard to keep up. But, I have started using public libraries for free WIFI... its way more comfortable than going to a store or restaurant. I'll try and update through New Mexico which has been one of my favorites as well... at least so far. But Colorado is pretty spectacular... got a few really good shots.
    #13
  14. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Thanks guys.... And the DR has 30k on the ODO now... but they're easy miles :rofl.
    #14
  15. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Animals on the TAT are a real hazard. And, don’t trust them to do anything logical like move off the road to the right when the are standing on the right side of the road - they will often chose to move off the road on the opposite side and cross right in front of you.

    I have seen so many deer during this ride. And yesterday I nearly hit one - missed it by a foot or less. It did just what I described above. I didn’t see it down in a ditch on the right side of the road. And, when I got too close, it got scared and decided that the left side of the road would by much safer. :huh On the way through New Mexico I saw an incredible number of antelope. They were everywhere along the trail - I literally saw hundreds of them within a couple hours.

    Cows are plentiful all along the TAT too. Here’s a short cattle dodging video… for your entertainment pleasure. :lol3
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2UAAKP5_jac?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>
    #15
  16. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Went thru a little bit of mud and water in Arkansas. But I had made up my mind that I was not going around anything - I would go thru whatever the TAT took me thru :lift. RIGHT! When I first started hitting muddy spots I didn&#8217;t have too much trouble other than turning on my video cam - If I go down in the mud, I&#8217;m getting it on video :rofl

    Here's one that looked worse than it was:
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7htTdQZF3mw?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    This one was worse than it looks in this pic. The road completely disappeared under water&#8230; And, I knew there was a creek just beyond the treeline which no doubt would be uncrossable on a motorcycle. I wisely swallowed my pride and decided to go around. It was actually kinda fun lookin at the map to find a way around the obstacle.
    [​IMG]

    And this is what I found on the other side:

    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GOF4R_EOZCI?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>
    #16
  17. rockjohn

    rockjohn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    VA
    :lurk
    #17
  18. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Colorado was a very interesting ride. Numerous mountain passes with amazing scenic vistas. Also, met a few other riders on the trail as I was nearing the border - they were on a 500 or 1000 mile ride put on by a group of fire fighters. Anyways here are some images I captured along the way.

    At first Colorado looked much like the many miles I had previously traveled...
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    But that changed quickly when I started up the mountain passes.

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    Here's a vid taken on the way up Cinnamon Pass
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/c4AjvL0thQ4?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    Here's a vid from from the top of California Pass
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/pehsZ5HN3Nw?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>


    Unfortunately, I filled up my memory card before I got to Corkscrew Pass which was one of my favorites. You don't see it from these particular videos but there are sections that are very steep and rocky. I wouldn't suggest taking a large adventure bike thru there unless you have experience riding a heavy bike in technical stuff - we're not talking graded gravel roads here.
    #18
  19. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    503
    Location:
    Wherever I May Roam
    Utah started out looking a little bland...

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    But that changed quickly as I descended into the desert.
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    Spent the night near Moab and started the next day with a short visit to the Arches National Park. It was interesting but the real excitement started when I got back on the TAT. Started off with a spectacular ride out of the Moab area. Here's a short video of the ride out of Moab.

    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/MMSgJ19wC3I?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    That was followed by an interesting diversion when I got off course and ended up in some serious mud. But would a Mud Scientist like me get stuck? :rofl
    [​IMG]

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    Yes! :lol3 But did I drop the bike? :wink:
    [​IMG]

    Yes I did! It fell over when I was taking pictures of it stuck in the mud. I think it was embarrassed :lol3
    [​IMG]

    After getting my bike unstuck, I still had to get out of the muddy situation I had ridden into. My first attempted to escape ended when I forgot to turn the gas back on after the tip over ordeal :lol3
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/BKzh7mupDN4?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    Here is my second attempt
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/iQJssw7yqo8?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    After I got back on track, I discovered a very interesting, technical, and scenic ride through Black Dragon Canyon that was more technical than anything I had previously ridden on the TAT.

    I was a little lost here, looking for the trail through Black Dragon Canyon... this was obviously not it :lol3
    [​IMG]

    But I eventually found it. And this is where it went.
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    However, the next section made the last one look easy :eek1. But, by the time I got there I had used up my video card memory and batteries. So, I didnt get many pics or any video. There is a bypass route, that Sam suggests for "big heavy bikes", shown on the TAT map. I was able to ride the standard route but ended up in a deep sand wash with lots of large rocks and other debris that made riding in it very slow and difficult - it was not fun! :(: To make things worse, I was already tired from wrestling my bike out of the mud earlier. And, I had to ride though it twice because it came to a dead end. I'm not absolutely positive that I was in the right river bed, but from the descriptions on the map I believe I was. Unfortunately, the Utah TAT roll charts dont have the GPS coordinates yet (most states do and I believe the rest will soon) and this section of the route did not use mapped roads. So, I was not certain that I was even going the right way. I decided to retrace my path back to a mapped known point and take the alternate bypass route from there. But, by now it was getting dark. No problem, I have an 8" HID racing headlight. I'll just go on a little night ride :ricky. So, I followed the TAT instructions for the alternate bypass route and found myself on a mapped dirt road that had been all but demolished by flooding. Every quarter mile or so the road would drop down about a foot and a short distance later go back up. These were where flood waters had created rivers that washed out large sections of the road which made travel pretty slow. Not a huge problem though... after all, Im on a dirt bike. Anyway, I found where the original TAT route was suppose to be but the road ended abruptly after just a short distance. Again, I could have been in the wrong place... Im not sure :confused. And at this point I was too tired to figure it out or to look for a way around and decided to call it a night. So, I headed back the way I came. But, I was not sure I would have enough fuel as I lost some when my bike fell over in the mud. And, I used quite a bit riding out and back on both the standard and alternate routes. So, I headed for Emery, UT which is shown on the TAT map as an "Emergency Exit" for gas and food. I figured that I would just get a hotel there because I was beat and just wanted to sleep. But when I arrived I found a tiny town that closes its doors at night and had no hotel. Great! Now Im really low on gas and have even farther to go and get some. I decided to head for Salina, since it is a bit larger town and would have both gas and a hotel. Well, I didnt quite make it - I ran out of gas about 10 miles away! Oh well. I'll have to call AAA and they will bring me some gas. So, I dig my cell phone out of the right side pocket of my tail bag and guess what? Remember that pic of my bike lying on its right side in a mud puddle? So, I flag down a car and ask to borrow their phone but they cant get a signal. No problem, the guy writes down my AAA info and says he will call them when he gets to the next town. Super. An hour later, a tow truck arrives with petro for me. But now my battery is near dead from running the turn signal for so long - I used it as an emergency flasher since I was on a narrow shoulder of an Interstate highway in almost complete darkness. No problem, I'll push start it... But, Im too tired and cant seem to get it to start. OK! unload my gear off the bike, remove seat, jump start it, replace seat, and reload bike... piece of cake... by the time I get to lay down it's 4:00am. Good news is that I ended up at a campground with showers and WIFI for $6 a night!... they charge by the person. So, I decided to take a couple days off and just relax.

    Utah now has special place in my memory of the TAT as the longest day so far. Just hope it keeps that record in tact for the remainder of the ride.

    Here are some more images I captured along the way, between all the excitement.
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    In Moab, I split the cost of the campground with another road warrior travelling from Washington. Kyle was photographing many of the National Parks in western Canada and the U.S.
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    #19
  20. LXIV-Dragon

    LXIV-Dragon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    652
    Location:
    St Cloud, FL
    Hi

    Cool stuff! Any issues with the DR at altitude?

    Cheers,
    #20