Mootsuno and Leadman's TAT adventure, plus a little more.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mootsuno, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    Late last year myself and Leadman (Pete) decided we needed an adventure. I'd been
    talking about doing the TAT the last couple of years. Business was going well this year and I decided I could afford to take the necessary time off to do the entire journey.

    Pete needed a little adventure in his life so we booked a flight and arranged shipping of the bikes. We were now committed.

    I have a buddy, Russ, (capitalistbiker) who lives just outside Pittsburgh and he told us we
    could ship the bikes to his home. He also wanted to do the first part of the ride
    with us too.

    Bikes just before the pick up.

    [​IMG]

    The bikes were picked up at my home in Cotati, CA the second week of May and our flight was out of Oakland on 6/14. Shipping of the bikes went just ok. I
    received a call from the shipper during transit that my bike had developed an oil
    leak and they had no idea why. I told them not to worry I'd check it out when I arrived at Russ's. So we get there and some oil on Russ's garage floor. I check it out and none of the obvious places are leaking. After a closer look I see oil coming the throttle body plenum. The only way that could happen is
    if the bike was laying on it's side for an extended period and the oil came up through
    the breather hose. It was an easy fix, just take the plenum off, drain it, clean the
    air filter and add some oil. Although I did have to add 1.5 ltr and it only holds 2.3.

    Anyway, the bikes were ready to go and we headed out from Russ's on Monday 6/17. Day one.

    By the way, Russ moved out there from California a couple of years ago and here's
    what you can get in Pennsylvania for under 300k, with 5 acres:

    [​IMG]


    Our initial group was comprised of me, Pete, Russ, and his friend Jim who's the senior enduro champ for the area. I was on Dakar, Pete on his DR650, Russ on a 990 Adventure and Jim on a DR650. Our goal for the day was to get down to Bethany Beach, DL our Atlantic Ocean starting point and do a little sight seeing
    along the way. All pavement, no dirt the first day.

    Our first stop about 80 miles in was for breakfast at Ruthie's Diner. Decent
    food and cheap.

    [​IMG]

    Second stop wasn't much to look at but was a lot to think about, even a little
    emotional. It was the Flight 93 Memorial.

    [​IMG]

    As we left the Memorial pulling back on the highway I felt something fall into
    my lap. I look down and see my new Garmin Montana. I guess I didn't attach properly and I always wondered why people attach leashes to them. Now I know
    and it has one.

    Our next stop was Gettysburg.

    [​IMG]

    Pete and I really wanted to do the tour but Russ and Jim wanted to keep moving so all we have are a couple of pictures.

    We kept going until we reached I-95 outside of Baltimore and headed northeast
    towards Delaware. By the way I-95 is a turnpike which we Californians aren't
    used to. so we had one person pay for all four and just filed through. Then
    the weather turned a little ugly and we got hit with a gullywasher. It was raining
    so hard cars just pulled over, put on their flashers and read the newspaper.
    We kept riding, albeit at 20mph, until we reached our exit which was 15"
    underwater. By the way it was so warm it wasn't worth putting on rain gear,
    it was over 80 degrees and as soon as the rain stopped you dried out.

    We were now heading south towards Bethany Beach but it was getting late
    so we stopped in Dover for the night.

    I'll work on Day two shortly. And don't worry the trip gets more interesting.
    #1
  2. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

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    *subscribed*
    #2
  3. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
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    Subscribed, I have been waiting for this report.
    #3
  4. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
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    Location:
    North SF Bay, California
    :lurk Welcome home to you and Pete!
    #4
  5. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    In!
    #5
  6. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    Location:
    Burbank CA
    congrats dean. glad to see a rr in progress.

    sorry pete you have to abort your trip. we were all rooting for you guys. well, better luck next time.
    #6
  7. roaming_art

    roaming_art In transit...

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Glad you're starting this up Dean! Ill be checking in often to see how this story unfolds ;)
    #7
  8. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    Hey Art,

    Good to hear from you. As people will see you and LateNate are part of it.
    #8
  9. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Gardnerville NV
    :lurk
    #9
  10. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    So we woke up in Dover and headed for Bethany Beach and have breakfast there. A little back story about starting the coast to coast ride in Bethany Beach.
    Russ has friend whom he calls the "Human GPS" layout an eastern route for us. It was to start on the Atlantic seaboard and make it's way to Jellico, TN, trying to avoid as many freeways and highways as practical. Jim and Russ would only be with us for four days and that's the time we allotted to get to Jellico.
    Of course our start point for the TAT was Tellico Springs but Jellico is another place where riders begin so that's what Russ told his friend to use. We be riding through Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia then Russ and Jim would
    head home when we hit Jellico.

    Anyway, we head down the middle of DL and then east to the beaches and into Bethany Beach. We wanted to get pictures of our feet in the Atlantic then of course when we finished the ride in Port Orford, pictures in the Pacific.

    We arrive at Bethany Beach and find a place to park near the water.

    [​IMG]

    Then it was time to get our feet wet.

    Me
    [​IMG]

    Pete
    [​IMG]

    We had breakfast and started our journey west. It was my first time in DL
    and was surprised by all the farmland small towns. It wasn't too long before
    we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into Annapolis and Maryland.
    We did a quick detour to check out Annapolis and get some snacks at a gas station then back on the road. The route took us north of DC through a number
    of beautiful neighborhoods, suburbs of DC since we wanted to avoid any DC traffic. Nothing too exciting and we ended up in Winchester, VA and decided to stay there for the night.

    While we were unloading in the motel parking lot a KLR pulls up with an ADV
    sticker on it so of course we had to find out his info. So we find out he's on a ride and on his way back from visiting his dad. He seems like a cool guy and
    we invite him to dinner with us.

    Across the street from the motel in an all you can buffet and we're all hungry
    that's where we go. So talking with Jeff, the KLR rider(adv name GasGuy) he's
    tells us he's from Michigan and a friend of his had recently moved to California. I asked where and he said Santa Rosa, where Pete lives and close to me. What's he ride?"," He has a 2 stoke plated KTM and an Adventure."
    "Is his name Dan?" Jeff says "Yeah, you know him?" "Yeah, I went dirt biking with him a few weeks ago."
    Then we decide to call him.
    [​IMG]

    Jeff calls and asked how he's doing then hands me the phone. "Hey Dan, it's mootsuno. How you doing?" Answer, "What in the Hell are doing with Jeff?" "Just having dinner. Met in the motel parking lot.
    Talk to you later."

    Yep, the ADV world is a small place.
    #10
  11. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    2,841
    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    :lurk
    Hope you have room for another. Sounds like a great start (with a great ride to follow).
    Jim
    #11
  12. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    Nothing very exciting. Sort of like doing a transport stage at the Dakar.
    We left Winchester and headed down into West Virginia.

    [​IMG]

    West Virginia has some beautiful roads to ride and they're in great condition. In
    fact much better condition than most of California. Thank you Senator Byrd. We
    started on pavement and then following the human GPS's routes we started getting of the tarmac. Even the dirt roads are well groomed. Since we were on a transport stage we decided to do a little sight seeing and headed for Spruce Knob. Spruce Knob is the highest point in WV and in the Allegheny Mountains with an elevation of 4863' and great views.

    [​IMG]

    Parking on Spruce Knob:
    [​IMG]

    From Spruce Knob we headed down another dirt road. Our next destination was to be the small
    town of Helvetia. Helvetia is a small tourist town the was settled in the 1800's
    by Swiss and German immigrants. With it being so remote many of the decendents
    are still there and many practice the crafts of those early days.

    He we are parked in front of the general store and post office. The same woman is in charge of both.
    [​IMG]

    And a shot down the main street.
    [​IMG]

    After Helvetia we did a little more dirt and a little more pavement and ended up
    in Summersville, WV for the night. Day 4 we start to have some adventure.
    #12
  13. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    Summersville, WV to Norton, VA via KY.

    We started riding much more dirt back roads this day. A number of small town
    mainly comprised of single and double wide trailers. Funny thing was almost all them were very well kept and had huge manicured lawns. I think one of the pastimes in WV is lawn maintenance.

    Most of the dirt roads were pretty easy then we got to one which was a bit tougher. It was a little steep was some loose rock. Jim and I made it up but Russ and Pete were having a little trouble. So we decided to go back down the hill and find a different route. As we came down the hill the woman who lives at the
    beginning of the hill flagged us down. She wanted to warn us that not too many people can make it through there on a big loaded bike and most turn around.
    We talked to her and her kids for a few minutes, thanked her and headed down a different road. That reroute ended up getting us in some small town trouble.

    Anyway we were back on pavement cruising along about 45-50 mph and we come upon the town of Rhodell, population 174. As we enter town the speed
    limit drops to 25 mph. All four of us chop are throttles and slow right down.
    we ride through town which takes about 2 minutes and head out the other side.

    Just as we're leaving I see a white unmarked SUV with blue flashing lights on top come speeding out of town. So I slow down, pull to the right and it goes
    right by.

    I look in the mirror again but didn't see Russ so I decide to pull over and wait for him. A couple of minutes later the SUV comes back pulls up next me and the officer says wait here while I talk to your friend. At this point I was a little
    confused, did something happen to Russ? Another couple of minutes go by and he says for me to follow him to my other friends and Russ wasn't following.

    So I follow him about half a mile up the road where Jim and Pete were waiting
    at an old gas station where the SUV had dropped off a junior officer and he was writing them speeding tickets. Of course I was getting one too. He told we
    were doing 32 in a 25. Jim was politely explaining to him the his GPS said he was going 27. Nope got you at 32. Pete and I were just sort of laughing at this point. Total speed trap, unless you lay on your brakes as you enter town
    you're going to be speeding.

    We talk to the senior cop and he was actually very polite and he tells us that they give everyone tickets who speed through town. Also, since we were being so polite he tell the judge we were only going 29 mph. According
    to him that means as long as we paid our fine they wouldn't report to the CA DMV and we wouldn't get any points on our license.

    Then he said if he saw our other friend (Russ) he would take him to jail for evading an officer. When I spoke to Russ later he said he wasn't sure if he
    was supposed to wait or not since he didn't talk with the officer but he figured why wait around to see. He took off in the other direction.

    For your entertainment we did get a picture of the officer with us.

    [​IMG]

    Don't we all look happy.
    One thing I surprised the officer with was that had my registration and insurance in my phone. I pulled it up when he asked and he said he hadn't
    seen that before, at least he accepted it.

    After handing us our citations he said to call the number at the bottom and they tell
    us how much the fine would be. It took us a few attempts to get through to the number and we ended up getting a voice mail from the mayor of Rhodell
    informing us our fine would be $162 and to mail it to the address on the ticket, which Mrs. Leadman took care of for us.

    It was early afternoon when that was all done and we still hadn't had any messages from Russ. Jim thought he probably headed for home (which was the case) and that he should probably head home too. We said our good byes
    and decided to head for Tellico Plains via the quickest route which was through
    KY and then back into VA where we grabbed a motel for the night.
    #13
  14. roaming_art

    roaming_art In transit...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    32 in a 25 :huh Ha!!! These guys would shit their pants patrolling the streets of Southern California.
    #14
  15. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Gardnerville NV
    You do the crime......you pay the fine! Better than doing time.
    #15
  16. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    Day 5
    From Norton, VA to Madisonville, TN.
    Even though it was day 5 of riding it was day 7 of our trip and we were getting
    antsy to get to the beginning of the TAT. So we decided get there a quick as possible via freeways and highways.

    We stopped at BassPro Shop in Sevierville, TN for some camping gear and that place is amazing.
    The place was packed and we received a few strange looks walking through the
    aisles with all our gear on. We also stopped at Mountain Motorsports to pick up
    a bungie cargo net for my bike.
    When we came out an older gentleman was checking out our bikes. He asked what we were doing and where we were going, questions you'll get all the time
    on these kinds of rides. I then asked if he still rides and he answers, " Of course."

    "What do you ride?" I ask. "I put on about 6000 miles between my cruiser and my KLR. I used to more but since I'm over 80 now the wife asked me to stay
    at home a little more."

    It turns out he was 82 and takes his KLR on dirt and gravel roads on a regular basis. With encouragement like that I hope I can ride another 30 years.

    After that we jumped back on the freeway and headed for Madisonville.
    Madisonville is only 20 minutes from Tellico Plains so we decided to stay there
    for the night and get an early start on the TAT.

    Day 6

    A lot of things happened this day, the first day on the trail. First off we grabbed some breakfast at an AHOP, not an IHOP. We were talking about the trip
    at breakfast and the guy at the next booth overheard us and started asking questions. He asked what we thought about the area and I asked him what was
    up with all the giant lawns. He says, " Heck, I live in a singlewide and I have a 2 acre lawn. It takes me 2 hours to mow it since I don't have a one those good cub cadets, just a regular sit on mower. We just like grass."

    We decide it's time to get on the road. We get the rollcharts out and look for mile 0, the beginning of the trail. It starts at an intersection in Tellico Plains.

    The beginning of the trail.
    [​IMG]

    The start of the trail? OK, where's the dirt? So we follow the roll chart and my messed up GPS routing (I'll elaborate on that later) and get to our first turn point a couple miles down the road.

    Here we go. Now we really starting. Our first dirt on the TAT.
    [​IMG]

    The roads are in great condition. Dirt and gravel, just a little moist, not too much dust. A few easy water crossings, well I thought they were easy. Pete
    tells me later he's never done one before.

    10 miles in we come to a water crossing that's a little tougher. Now these aren't
    the infamous slimy cement water crossings TN is notorius for, they're later on
    the trail. These are just rock and gravel. But the fourth is solid granite with solid granite narrow ruts to catch your tire in. Which Pete did and down he went. He didn't get hurt but did manage to completely flood his DR.

    After we got it ashore.
    [​IMG]

    Sorry, the was a little condensation on the lens.

    Giant loop bags will take on water when submerged.
    [​IMG]

    The day was just beginning. I'll continue it in the next post.
    #16
  17. mootsuno

    mootsuno Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    775
    Location:
    Cotati, CA
    OK, let's get the DR started. Pete hits the start button, the engine chugs a bit,
    then coughs and finally starts.
    It's a little rough and then it starts blowing steam from the exhaust. We figure
    it has a little water in the system so we run it for minute or two but the steam is
    still coming.

    [​IMG]

    We check the air filter and the airbox is full of water. Easy enough to drain.
    Then we check the sight glass and it's looks like grey milk, time to change the oil.

    Of course we only have one extra quart so it's back to town to find some more. On the way back to Tellico I pass a campground that caters to motorcycles and figure they may know where I can pick up some oil. It's early
    and the office isn't open yet but I see a some dualsports in one of the campsites.
    I walk over and introduce myself and find out they're starting the TAT today too. They're the kids, Nick, Eric and Taylor who just graduated from Virginia Tech this is their graduation present to themselves. We talk a bit and figure
    we'll see each other on trail which we will and I head out to find some oil.

    I eventually end up at a Napa auto parts which has some oil. I buy 5 qts of Mobile 1 (enough for two oil changes) and the clerk asks " You know how much that is?" Yeah I do, here's my debit card, you need an ID?

    He says " Let me see your belt buckle." "I don't have a belt buckle." "Well that's
    what we use for ID" "Where do I get one?" An older guy at the counter says I have to earn it. I ask "How?" "We're having a snipe hunt tonight." Yeah, I not that young, I'll see you guys.

    I get back to Pete and we do an unenviromental oil change on the side of the trail. Bike starts right up, no indication of oil in the sight glass, load up and
    get going. The entire delay was less than 1.5 hours, not too bad.

    We ride for bit, off the dirt and on to the pavement. We're stopped at an intersection figuring which way to go. Pete had never used a roll chart before
    and I screwed my routes on the GPS. It's my first GPS and didn't really know how to use. That's not the case anymore.

    Anyway, the kids I met earlier pulled up and we started discussing the trail.

    [​IMG]

    As it happens, Taylor had done tracks for the entire TAT in his GPS and offered
    to let me copy them. So we traded micro SD cards and did the transfer.
    He said just keep his chip since the tracks were on the hard drive of his GPS.
    Cool, we set for the rest of the ride.
    We talk some more and decide to ride with them for awhile. This leads to our next event of the day.

    All five of us were riding along on the pavement going up a mountain with
    some hairpin corners. I was 3rd in going into a left hander. About half way
    through my rear tire decided to step out. I counter steered but the rear just kept coming around. My momentum kept the bike up until I was going maybe 3 mph. The bike went down but not me.
    I was just standing over it and the bike was on it's side. Luckily there wasn't any oncoming traffic since I ended up halfway into the other lane.
    No damage to the bike at all and I just had a slight hamstring pull from trying to hold the bike up. Looking a the road I actually hit an oil trail.

    You can see the oil trail in the pic.
    [​IMG]

    We lifted the bike up and and I said too bad we didn't get a picture. Then Nick says, "I got it on the GoPro! The entire slide out." I haven't seen the video yet but am hoping to get a copy.

    It was then I started to realize how top heavy my set up was and I might have to change it. I get more evidence of that later.

    We rode on and then guys said they were heading to Nashville to meet some relatives for the night. We said we see them later and headed to Monteagle, TN and grabbed a motel for the night. Our first day on the TAT was an interesting one.
    #17
  18. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,975
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
    What a way to get the adventure started, one baptized bike and one low sided bike:huh
    #18
  19. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,014
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    I would love to see that video !!! LOL!!!
    #19
  20. roaming_art

    roaming_art In transit...

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Seriously! That video needs posting. Are the VA Tech guys finished with the TAT yet? Lol, I thought we took our time...:rofl
    #20