No GPS TAT advice & good southwestern CO dual sport rides?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by ETD, May 4, 2013.

  1. ETD

    ETD Enjoy!

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    Im planning to ride the TAT from TN to CO this coming September. Im not big on computers and am looking for advice on making the ride using only the maps and roll charts. I will be taking a GPS for backup situations. Is not using the GPS going to really slow us down? Any advice would be great!

    Also we will be ridding for a week or so once out in CO. We will be ridding out of Durango. Id love to get some more info on any good rides out in that area?

    Enjoy!
    #1
  2. MUS

    MUS ActaNonVerba

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    I did the Tennessee section of the TAT two years ago and plan to do the New Mexico, Colorado and Utah sections in July of this year. I went with a group led by someone who has already done the whole TAT and he had it in his GPS. I was using the roll charts to follow along for the first day or two and atleast in the Eastern sections, it is very tedious. The big problem with using roll charts is the accumulation of odometer error. You have to reset the odometer at every turn which is crazy in Tennessee. I finally gave up and just followed the leader. I think once you get passed Tennessee, it might not be so bad because of the longer stretches between turns. Good luck.
    #2
  3. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    I'm riding at least the western half this summer, possibly starting in Trinidad (since I have a place to park my truck). Between now and then I don't really have time to sit and program all the waypoints, and from what I gather it takes quite a bit of time. I'm gonna do it with the maps and roll charts, using my 60Cx for back up. Might be a big mistake but I won't know till I try it

    ��

    I'm not the the most computer savvy dude either, but I'm pretty good with a map and compass. Oh, and I'm excellent at being lost. I was gonna post up a similar question - thanks for doing it LOL
    #3
  4. too old for dirt

    too old for dirt Been here awhile

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    I ride using the roll charts and once you get used to it, it is not a problem. Somewhat slower than using GPS routes, but you can navigate with few problems. You really do not need to be in a great hurry when riding the TAT and I think slower may be more enjoyable. As long as you get a early start, you can complete each day with no rush.

    Many times if the next turn is at a T, I do not reset the odometer to the next turn and just ride to the T. I do use the GPS when I miss or make a mistaken turn and it is a great help then. I do not try to keep up with the total mileage and only use the odometer to measure distance traveled to the next turn.

    Either way it is a blast!:D
    #4
  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    It is obviously a personal thing, but for me having a GPS with tracks on a preplanned ride makes for a far more enjoyable trip than navigating by trying to keep track of mileage to the next turn.

    I did this for years using good geological survey type maps and while we always found our way out, we spent a lot of time feeling hopelessly lost.

    The GPS is valuable if you miss a turn and don't realize for a while. It will tell you where you are.

    Out west there are many dirt roads that do not show up on maps and can easily be within .1 mile of the road you want. So it is easy to make wrong turns.
    #5
  6. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Sample routes:

    You wanna look at this and follow?: via GPS

    [​IMG]

    Or this and follow: via eyeballin'

    [​IMG]

    You decide...:deal

    cheers...
    #6
  7. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    I hope you get more accurate roll charts than we had for the TAT! I was not impressed with the accuracy of them and there were a lot of discrepancies with the mapped route and GPS. Sure, the mileage plays a factor, but my wife's (Write2ride) odometer was spot on with my GPS and my odometer and we still had issues. It was also a pain to organize the roll charts and change them out every few hours. I had every single track loaded in my GPS (Delorme PN-60W) and it took about 30 seconds to load the next one. Half a dozen button pushes twice a day instead of digging roll charts out of the tank bag, fumbling with tape and having to wind/unwind roll charts for 10 minutes several times a day.

    I would not do it without a GPS for several reasons. #1, if you miss a turn, you still know where you are at and are able to find your way back on course. #2, entering the route and all the waypoints gets you familiar with the route and also lodging/camping, fuel, and food nearby. This gives you an opportunity to customize your trip based on your needs and wants. #3, you will be dealing with enough issues on the TAT already and navigation can be tough in places, even with the GPS, so why handicap yourself further?

    If you don't have enough time to dedicate to spending a few hours entering in tracks and learning a mapping program and GPS, I would look for a different ride personally. I was a GPS/mapping (Topo 9, not intuitive at all!) dummy when I started, but could enter an entire state in less than an hour by the time I was done. Knowing your bike, gear, and electronics thoroughly is critical for a trip like this. It's not just dedicating the time for the ride itself. You will have stuff go wrong, and if you are not prepared or don't have the knowledge, it can get ugly really quick.:deal YMMV!

    :beer
    Tim
    #7
  8. ETD

    ETD Enjoy!

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    Interesting points everyone is making.
    If I was to use a GPS for primary navigation would it be possible to get a file from someone who has done the TAT before and load it to my GPS? Would you just buy maps for back up or not at all if you are using the gps for navigation? Im sure it has been asked here before, but like I said Im not great with computers.

    also:
    Anyone got advice on southwestern CO dualsport rides?
    #8
  9. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    We carried the paper maps with us in Write2ride's top box. I also took a compact US atlas with the states tabbed and the rough route highlighted so I could see at a quick glance what was close by and roughly where we were.

    I think it is possible to buy the tracks from Sam now that you could load onto your GPS. It depends on if their format matches your GPS. I still recommend mapping it yourself: you learn a new skill, you get more intimate with the ride you are taking, and if there are any problems with your navigation, it's nobody's fault but your own. To me, one of the coolest things was seeing the actual places that I had mapped out 6 months before and had a mental picture of, remembering road names and sections that were tough to map out, and finding out that the real thing was nothing like I had imagined. By learning to map your own routes, think of all the cool rides you could make up and new roads that you never knew existed. That is where I use my new-found skill at mapping, since I just moved to Montana last fall and don't know the area and the cool fire/logging roads yet. I spent all winter making different routes of varying lengths and it kept me occupied and in the game while waiting on riding season! Next best thing to real "helmet time".

    :beer
    Tim
    #9
  10. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    roll charts were pretty much spot on. if you had problems I think it was user error..sorry to say.
    #10
  11. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    We rode the TAT last year and primarily used the roll charts with GPS for backup. What you need is a good aftermarket odometer ( like an ICO, I think a Trailtech Vector has a thumb control) and it needs to be able to be adjusted up and down in 0.1 mile increments, ideally with a thumb control. That way at each intersection, if the mileage is different to the roll chart it can be adjusted easily. Also if you take a wrong turn and go back you can re adjust at a corner. The route sheets are 99.9 % right. There are a few weird bits in Oregon and SAMs maps of Oregon are to small a scale to be much use.
    #11
  12. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    Our maps didn't match our roll charts right out of the package, so I think that narrows down the problem pretty quickly. Maybe you'll get lucky, we didn't. We ordered our maps from Sam in December 2011, right as he was making the change over to the new TN route and I got the impression that the stuff we got was the left-overs laying around his shop. Between TOPO 9 and the paper charts, we were able to figure out the route, but the first few days were pretty tense as her navigation with roll charts and mine with GPS didn't agree. It was more of a double check and to give her something to do, but it was frustrating for both of us. We finally gave up on the roll charts in OK and just went with GPS.

    OneLessHarley, I was following your ride report as I mapped and used some of your notes in my mapping. I appreciated the pictures and descriptions that made the route make more sense.

    As far as the odometers go, as I said both bikes were spot on with the GPS within a tenth of a mile in 100 miles. But it was a good lesson learned, I've moved on and embraced technology, I'll pass on future use of roll charts unless I create them myself.

    :beer
    Tim
    #12
  13. gasgasman

    gasgasman Been here awhile

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    I DID THE WHOLE RIDE WITH JUST THE ROLLCHARTS . SAMS ROLLCHARTS AND MY ODO
    WHERE RIGHT ON. I DIDNT TAKE THE MAPS AND GPS WENT BELLY UP AFTER THE FIRST DAY.
    YOU MAY WONDER IF YOU ARE GOING RIGHT BUT YOU ALWAYS RUN INTO A LANDMARK
    THATS ON THE ROLL CHARTS
    IF YOU EVER RODE ENDUROS YEARS AGO YOU KNOW HOW TO USE A ROLL CHART AND IT BRINGS BACK SOME GOOD MEMORYS
    GO FOR IT!
    GASGASMAN :clap:clap:clap
    #13
  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    I needed the GPS, to double check myself for those moments when not paying enough attention to the charts. I found the roll charts pretty much dead on, the GPS was just used to point out when I screwed up. ODO, settings were acurate, lots of times my ODO was off between turns, usually up or down 0.01, I constantly readjusted it at the turns, pretty easy with the DRZ trip ODO. I had the old charts for TN to Utah, then the new color ones the rest of the way. I do remember some places in NV where the trail was hard to find with the roll charts, plus Oregon will be a challenge even with roll charts. But really the charts are pretty darn good, most of my/ our problems was misinterpretation.

    I did do the NEW TN, MISS and part of AK, last year solo, and I'm navigationally challenged and found the charts very good. trust me if I found them good then they must be accurate...as I suck at navigating!!!
    #14
  15. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

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    I have already transcribed the Colorado and Utah TAT maps I purchased from Sam to .gpx files and will be glad to share them with you AFTER you have purchased the maps from Sam. Sam did the heavy lifting and all I did was convert to the GPS files so he deserves his due. You will want to buy his mapsets anyway as a back-up.

    kingrj
    #15
  16. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    I've done the Eastern TAT twice (Both the old Jellico start and the new 2012+ Tellico route). The first time, an inmate sent me tracks after I showed him proof of purchase, but I didn't spend a lot of time verifying his tracks and found areas they were wrong out on the route. The 2nd time, I spent time creating my own routes & tracks which was much better. For one I had that knowledge in my head and recognized areas that I knew would be tricky when I made the routes/tracks. Its definitely worth your time to map it out yourself.

    I haven't seen this mentioned, but you really don't have to sit there and enter in every single waypoint from Sam's maps. I tried doing that and it would take forever and not necessary at all. In fact, it much easier to just sit there on your computer with a route tool and the map/roll charts from Sam and using his map as a guide, just draw/create a "calculated" route on your GPS mapping software. This should work fine in the Eastern US as I think most every road is on the GPS. Then use a program like GBSBable to convert your route to tracks and bingo, you have a full track log to follow with very little effort. This should take you less than week only spending a couple hours an evening.

    You could do it "drawing" tracks, but that is much more tedious then using the calculated route tool. If you do find a road that doesn't exist, just use a "direct" route in that section.
    #16
  17. ETD

    ETD Enjoy!

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    Thanks for all the great info everyone. I am planning to buy the maps and the roll charts as well. I like the idea of ridding across the country without the use of GPS for primary navigation. That said I think I will need to map our route into the GPS so that I can use it as back up as well as a good way to learn the route before hand.

    Also:
    Im still looking for info on Dual Sport rides around Durango and southwest CO? I have ridden a few days out there before so I know there is alot to offer, I'm just wondering if anyone has any local knowledge on "must do" routes?


    Thanks for all the advice! keep it coming!
    #17
  18. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    In a couple of limited attempts I have not found much DS riding around Durango. We have tried use it as a connector in getting to better stuff further north and east.

    North you will run into the jeep roads around Ouray. You will be going thru there on the TAT. To the south you are screwed by the Ute Indian reservation.

    There is some excellent riding out of Pagossa Springs, South Fork and Del Norte to the east, really nice forest roads that seem to go forever both north and south of 160..

    I have been trying to go over Bolam Pass just north and west of Durango, but have not hit the right time of year. It looks like there might be some nice roads in the mountains west of town, but I have not tried them. Plus there are a lot of dead ends. I have heard of good dirt bike riding north of Mancos.
    #18
  19. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Most of the good stuff is up in the mountains north of here.
    I think the TAT hits Ophir and Cinnamon and Last Dollar.
    There is also Engineer Pass between Silverton and Lake City.
    Imogene between Telluride and Ouray.
    Lots of good day loops like this....hwy 160 west to Cherry Creek FS, hit the railroad grade and continue west. Then onto highway 160 to Mancos, 184 to Dolores, then onto the FS roads towards Dunton, cross Hwy 145 and up over Bolam Pass back to DMR(ski area north of Durango on 550).
    Or 550 north to Ophir Pass, then Last Dollar, down to Sawpit on 145 up towards Woods Lake and Beaver Park and down to Dunton, cross Hwy 145 and up over Bolam Pass back to DMR.
    There are three routes up from the Hwy 145 side to DMR side on 550. The southernmost is Roaring Fork and is the easiest. Just south of Rico is Scotch Creek, which is the most difficult. North between Rico and Lizard Head is Barlow Creek CG and the start of Bollam Pass. They all go through the creek on the DMR side.
    #19
  20. ETD

    ETD Enjoy!

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    Thanks for the info guys.
    I think last time I was out visiting my brother we rode Bolam Pass. It was a great ride. I guess we will have to go explore around Silverton. I have heard that the ridding up there is fantastic.

    Thanks!
    #20