Going for Broke: TAT 2011

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by simonpig, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

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    After my KTM690 was stolen, I was reading up on all sorts of replacements for it and your recommendation was what made me get it. I was thinking about getting the te610 saw the path you took. So I took the plunge and never looked back. Its a keeper.

    It took me a season and half of riding everything to figure it how to best set it up for my liking. The steering damper is great. I set it at around 66% and just forget it. If I'm doing tight singles then I'll turn it off. The other thing that made a significant difference is the fastway footpegs. So nice.

    #61
  2. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
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    Bailed from the TAT. Hope to see you make it all the way and thanks for taking me along.
    Cheers Amigo...ride safe n' ride far. By the way Catoosha WMD has reopened after being closed due to vagrants strewing nails, tacks, etc on the trail!
    #62
  3. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    8/25/11 (Thursday)
    Daily mileage: 197
    Overall average: 20 mph

    Today, I woke up late 9:15. What can I say, but that I am not a morning person. Missed the continental breakfast... A Powerbar and some coffee will have to do.

    Decided to fill up those MSR fuel bottles since the ride is official now. I don't think I will need them on the east coast, but whatever. Better to have, than have not. After that I set off with the first hiccup being my garmin locked up and I ride 3 miles past the first waypoint.

    After getting back on track, I hit the first offroad sections about 10 or so miles into the ride hitting pea size gravel. As always, it takes several miles of this stuff to start getting use to sliding around corners, before the speed picks up. It ok to slide on level ground, but when going downhill, definitely need to be wary because no amount of braking is going to slow you down fast around a turn. I could see myself sliding off an enbankment if not careful.

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    The whole day really was a mix of on and offroad, with twisty switchback thrown into the mix, on and off. Made it hard to get a rhythm, but nevertheless good riding.

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    In the town of Wartburg, I stop for a lunch consisting of a jalepeno corn dog and a pepperoni hot pocket and a Caramelo bar (the official dessert of Going for Broke: TAT 2011). While lunching, I chat with a Mr. Bo Mcgee, who was riding a Harley Road King parked on the side of the building in sun. He showed me a map he bought that had some good scenic rides, and we have a conversation about the town. He was talking about staying away from the dirt roads cause you could be lost out there and made references to being abducted by shady country folks, and also staying away from cottonmouths if I was camping. Apparently, its been very dry so they come down from the elevations to get to water. Always good talking to the locals.

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    After lunch I take off and the next point of interest is Cliffy Road, and the Creek we've all grown to love through all the TAT threads to date. I stopped down and talked to a man and woman who met on the internet, but the outing wasn't going so well.

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    Click below for video of aforementioned, awesome creek. (warning: I stall out :shog)

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    After getting myself cooled down, I gear up and hop back on my bike and ride to the Royal Inn in Sparta, TN. I run into a couple of guys, Joe an Bill, who I remember was staying the Jellico hotel as well. They have a week off and so are riding until the end of Arkansas. I may or may not see them since they are early risers and as I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, mornings and me don't mix. I have an excuse though as I am slaving away on this report for all you FF on this forum..:rofl Joking, I'm enjoying this.

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    In Sparta, I go to a Mexican joint and have 3 tacos and rice and beans. Now I need to go to bed.

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    A pretty sunset to end this post.

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    #63
  4. meijer's trails

    meijer's trails Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    497
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    I'm riding vicariously through you! I never could keep up with you on the trail, so i'll use the internet.

    thanks for taking the time to post for those of us who can only ride a laptop

    good luck!
    #64
  5. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

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    Thanks and good luck on your new life in Michigan. hope the move was executed with flawless precision. I will come and visit one day.

    #65
  6. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    8/26/2011 (Friday)
    Daily mileage: 320 miles
    Overall average: 30.4 mph

    (Note: This report might be a couple of days old, I typed this up at the Bear Inn B+B in Clifton, Tennessee.)

    Packed up and on the road today at 9:30. My best effort so far. In the morning, the route across the TVA damn was closed, so I took a walk around the gate to take gander and to take pictures. The Tennessee Valley is pretty awesome to behold at certain points along the river. Theres a lot of industry going on there.

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    A little later on, I ran into a couple of gentlemen on horseback. I stop ahead and take my helmet off, as to not spook them. That was what I understood the procedure to be when approaching horses. Spoke with gentlemen and he didn’t think it was a problem but thanked me for doing that. I asked and he told me the horse was a Tennessee walker. Beautiful creatures, I’d love to own one, one day.

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    Sad to say, but I killed a grouse (or some gamebird) today. Was flying around a corner and 2 birds are hanging out in the middle of the road. They both started running to the left and at the last minute, the one closest in my path takes flight only to bounce off my front headlight numberplate. So sad. Sorry, mr. grouse.

    Stopped into Bellbuckle, Tennessee for gas and lunch. Had a corndog and some a dry grill chicken sandwich with a peach and a caramelo. The train passes by a couple of times as I sit on the bench devouring my lunch, and watching the locals go in and out of the store. I didn’t actually go into the main street which was maybe a total of 500 ft long, but it looked like the set of movie – well manicured and ideal for a southern small town.

    Off I roll, and pretty much ride for the next 6 hours straight. The whole days was dominated by pavement, so I just kept riding until I hit a nice stretch of gravel which wasn’t until maybe 6:00pm.

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    Heres a sweet homemade motocross track. Maybe I should go practice some scrubs.

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    I also passed by an amish section of Tennessee, cant remember the name, but it reminded me of the classic bowling movie, Kingpin... one of my faves. Passed by several cart and buggies.

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    Today was one of those days, that I felt I could keep riding as long as there was light in the day. Around that time, I hit the Laurel Hill Wildlife Management Area which is the site of the slick water crossing. It was late in the day and I flying on the gravel, so when I approach the crossing, it didn’t dawn on me at first that this was it. I thought I was rolling over it at maybe 8-10 mph and I must’ve slightly applied throttle because the tail end slid out from under me. Holy… nothing on me was hurt, but trying lift the bike, I couldn’t even get a firm foothold. I had to drag the bike over (which was easy in the lubricated rocks) to a drier area. As I lift my bike up, the sheriff comes from the opposite directio..

    Click below for the video documentation:

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    At this point it was getting dark in the woods, I could begin to see hints of my headlight illuminating the road, but the goggles are tinted so my perception might have been skewed. There was no cell reception to access googlemaps, so I found the closes hotel on the garmin. The Bear Inn B+B. This place is nice. Its located in next to a “pro level world class golf course.” I asked if it was on the masters tour, but Paul, the proprietor replied that there wasn’t enough lodging in the area to accommodate an event of that size. The room is huge and comfy and I think I will sleep well tonight.

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    Out front was this bitchin’ classic mustang that was for sale. $20K get you the keys.

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    As I’m unloading my stuff, I speak with a roofing technician, Kieth, who was lodged there for next week or so. His wife, Cherry, was from the Philippines, and their baby child Destin was staying with him for several days since his home wasn’t so far away. He spent a good amount of time in Asia doing missionary work and that is where he met his wife. He hopes to raise his kid, bilingual, and someday wants to move to the Philippines and make a homestead there.

    After unpacking I go upstairs to the bar and get my free lunch consisting of a garden salad, corn, mashed potatoes and 2 pieces of roast beef.

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    Paul, the proprietor, makes a great bloody mary. He’s an interesting character who has been around the world. He told me about his motorcycle ride down through Mexico on the way to Nicaragua.

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    Behind me there are 2 guys from Laos playing pool. They are there working at a Landfill site. Not really sure what job they are doing, but its nice to see so much diversity down in the sticks. The owner and workers there are great host. They mentioned that a big group of guys, some of who were Brits, doing the TAT stopped in a couple of weeks earlier.

    After scarfing down my food, I leave a generous tip and off to bed I go.
    #66
  7. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Location:
    NYC
    8/27/11
    Daily mileage: 236 miles
    Overall average: 30.1 mph

    Woke up real late today, but that was ok since I knew I would be staying the next couple of day in my home town.

    The first half of the day in Tennessee was pretty much the same riding wise, but as soon as I hit the red dirt, I sensed a change. I must be in Mississippi. There was more gravel and dirt as well. The second half of the day, I really enjoyed… slipping and sliding and power out of corners. There is this smooth floaty sensation I really enjoy about riding gravel. Its like one of those brookstone massage chairs. Hold the bars really loose and let the bike float under me.

    Enough blah blah. here's some pictures.


    Gratuitous self portrait

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    Bear Inn

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    The town of Clifton, Tennessee

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    Loved these bungalows on stilts.

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    Breakin' the law, breakin' the law ....

    Click for video documentation.
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    Some donkeys giving me the hairy eyeball

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    Mississippi red dirt and gravel

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    Some old building in MS

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    We are in the bible belt.

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    I brake for horses

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    At 6:30 I make it to my parent’s house and enjoy a home cooked me. Going to stay the night and tomorrow will be replacing the Dunlop 606 with a fresh one. I’m amazed the rear still has any tread left on it.

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    Observation: I really am happy that I plugged the whole TAT onto my GPS. It gives me one less responsibility to do and more of the mental space to focus on things like the scenery, fussing with my helmet cam, and stopping to take pictures… all of this while keeping my speed up and rhythm going. I could imagine the scenario today of being stressed out trying to beat the sun going down, while reading a roll chart as it gets darker and darker. I’m sure the roll charts are very accurate and if you want to use them, by all means go about it, but I think it does change the dynamics of your trip. I like to be efficient when getting from one point the next and I get somewhat annoyed if I’m always blowing by a turn, which by the way still happens when using the GPS. The only difference is that I can correct almost immediately and not have to reset my odometer mileage to correspond.
    #67
  8. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
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    5,148
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I think it's real neat of all the little simple things you take pictures of.
    Makes the reader see the ride as you see it thru your eyes---enjoying every inch
    of the ride and all there is to see.
    I like to look at all that little stuff.

    After all it's not a race---if a guy didn't have the time to take it all in as you are--you might as well stay home.

    Nice !!

    The older I get the bigger my rear sprocket gets----I think I could use this.

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    Mark
    BigDog
    #68
  9. xathor

    xathor Not actually Gnarly

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    449
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
    GAH... you're killing me man. The ride, the bike, the food. I'm stuck in Iraq for a few more months... going to sell my KLR650 and get a WR250... spend the winter farkling it and getting all prepared for the tat late May 2012.
    #69
  10. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

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    Thats sounds like a fantastic idea. Let me know if you need opinions on upgrades for this bike. I'm happy to give my 2 cents. When I get back I will be sending off the suspension for a rebuild and revalve. Was thinking about getting Revloc as well, but turns out they went out of business, last month. Sux. Take care in Iraq.

    #70
  11. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

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    Sweetness. Moms helped me pick it out. She likes how action packed it looked. :lol3

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    #71
  12. GotMojo?

    GotMojo? Long timer

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    Oct 22, 2004
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    Location:
    Ohio
    Lookin' good man. I bet the WRR was a blast at the Gap. I love that place (when there's no traffic) !

    :clap
    #72
  13. rudyunknown

    rudyunknown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    725
    Location:
    Phoenixville
    Than looks like i need a wr250 :)

    great reading and seeing the pictures......Reshmi says hi...
    #73
  14. GotMojo?

    GotMojo? Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,118
    Location:
    Ohio
    Just curious... you must be carrying a laptop with you... where are you storing it while riding? I will probably go with the Wolfman bags you have and I'm wondering where I could safely carry a laptop. Thought about getting a hard case (Pelican?) and attaching it to the rear rack but wasn't sure if that was necessary.

    I'm also debating on going with the IMS 3 gallon tank versus the slightly bigger Safari. How are you liking your IMS 3 gallon on this trip? And if you are carrying any extra fuel, where are you storing it?
    #74
  15. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

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    I carry it in the wolfman duffle -- the companion to the enduro saddlebag. The netbook is in a neoprene caselogic case and all of that is in wrapped in an eVent waterproof sack. Very simple and effective. It wont take a hit unless a tree falls on your bike. I keep all the tools and heavy stuff in the duffle.

    Love the 3.1 gallon tank. I carry 2 liter MSR fuels bottles 1 at each side of the saddlebags. Another inmate Machtig has a Safari 3.7 and never need anymore on his TAT trip. I figure 3.1 + the extra .5 is close enough for me to not need the bigger tanks.

    #75
  16. GotMojo?

    GotMojo? Long timer

    Joined:
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    Ohio
    That's probably what I'll go with. I'm gonna leave the exhaust and engine stock like you did, that way fuel mileage is at it's max. I know when I put the exhaust, filter, and fuel controller on my WR250X, gas mileage took a hit.
    #76
  17. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
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    08/28/11 (Sunday)

    Maintenance Day. Woke up today and was feeling lazy. In the afternoon, headed over to Walmart and got some Mobil 1 Synthetic 10w40 since they didn't have the very uncommon 20w40.

    I ordered some tires and had them waiting for me in MS. After a couple of hours, I had fresh oil in the bike and a new rear tire. No drama, just a little elbow grease.

    Spent the rest of the evening watching the Southwick Motocross Nationals on youtube. Awesome race with Dungey coming back to 7th, 1 minute and 50 seconds after the gate dropped.

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    After... so fresh.

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    #77
  18. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    8/29/11 (Monday)
    Daily Mileage: 308
    Average speed: 33 mph

    My pops woke me up today, and had some breakfast before packing up and heading out. Todays ride took me through end of the MS hill country and into the Delta which is super flat and the levee roads.

    Paris, MS

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    Talahatchie County, MS

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    Natural Light seems to be the local favorite. Saw boxes and case strewn throughout several counties.

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    Some interesting buildings along the way

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    Kudzoo is commonplace in MS

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    Through the the Mississippi Delta...

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    Click on below video for a little taste of the Delta.

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    The tallest object there in the Delta

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    An old building in a town just before crossing into Arkansas

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    Heading over the bridge into Arkansas, I see the Isle of Capri Casino and hotel, which is one of the recommended hotels. Once I get across the bridge into Helena, Arkansas, the scenery and atmosphere starts to feel not on depressed and impoverished, but also a little bit scary. The bars on on the gas station windows are telltales. I gas up and get on the road as soon as I can to get away from these bad vibes.

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    Arkansas, at least close the river, isn't very nice at all. I was riding long stretches of farmland roads, and there was a TON of dragonfly. There were areas of lowlands that were slightly flood with creek water from irrigating the fields. I'm happy it wasn't raining becuase there was a ton of dried out ruts through some sections. Overall, not scenic at all.

    I hit a swampy water crossing which I was happy to turn around and reroute. It was stinky stagnant water, and though I could see where the water ended, I've had enough experience to understand that I'd rather not get my boot dirty on this one.

    Most of the first half of Arkansas consist of straight gravel farmland roads. One annoyance is the dust that is kicked up if you happen to be behind an automobile. At the end of the day, Arkansas started to look nicer. The roads and scenery become more inviting.

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    At around 7, I stop for the night in Bebee, AR at the Days Inn.

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    There was pool so I took a swim and then walk over to the waffle house next door for dinner. Tomorrow, I hope to make it to Oklahoma, I'm making pretty good time each day, so if I get up early enough, I think it's possible.

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    Observation: Going from Semi synthetic Castrol Act-evo to Mobil full synthetic really made a noticeable difference. The engine seems to run smooth with less vibes? Not sure if its the function of refreshed oil, or that the synth actually made a difference in smoothing it out?

    Also, the improved traction of the new rear tire is great.
    #78
  19. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
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    2,310
    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    Great report....wished that I had the wherewials and finish the TAT 2 months ago....ahem, I bailed! Thanks for taking me long. Question: what's with the Isle of Capri ??..too rough; thievery??...unsafe?? Just curious as I might try again next year.
    Is Oklahoma your mid point till next year or are you going whole Hog?

    You wrote:

    "Observation: Going from Semi synthetic Castrol Act-evo to Mobil full synthetic really made a noticeable difference. The engine seems to run smooth with less vibes? Not sure if its the function of refreshed oil, or that the synth actually made a difference in smoothing it out?"

    Why manufacturers are using the word "synthetic" bogs my mind. Synthetic oils are in fact still Dino oils but are modified chemically.... to alter the molecular structure of the oil. Dino has a mixture of molecules( large, med, and small). While with synthetics the molecules are in consistent uniform size (whether all small or large) thus less friction. Your semi Castrol synthetuc has a mixture of both molecules(50/50). Synthetics cost more because it requires further processing to meet the criteria. Synthetics in fact do have higher shear properties.


    Cheers...
    #79
  20. simonpig

    simonpig packin' heat

    Joined:
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    1,201
    Location:
    NYC
    Oregon, dude.... I'm going for broke.

    I'm sure the Isle of Capri Hotel is fine. From my personal experience, I eastern part of Arkansas gives off bad chi, feng shui, juju... whatever you call it, starting with Helena, Arkansas just across the river. My ride yesterday started around 80 miles East of the casino`, so I had a lot more riding to do. Todays ride was a redeeming one for Arkansas.

    #80