Questor and Motoadventuregal ride the Trans-America Trail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Questor, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hello All. :wave

    This past June, Motoadventuregal and myself had the opportunity to take three months to explore this wonderful country of ours. :thumb

    Last fall we decided that the best way to do this would be to get off the main roads and really see the 'true' America. We wanted to see the small backroads, and meet some of the people who we knew were out there.
    We decided that riding Sam's Trans-America Trail would be a great way to do this.

    So starting last November we started obsessing.
    We bought Sam's maps. Motoavdenturegal had a 96' Suzuki DR-350. I bought a used 2002 Suzuki DRZ-400 and started going over all the 'systems' and making sure I knew the bikes well enough to spot potential problems, and do most maintenance and do most common repairs.
    We started a thread, http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=414454
    and began harvesting the wealth of information that resides here on ADVrider. :deal

    By June 24th, we were ready to go, and left North West Connecticut and rode south towards Tennessee.

    This is a Ride Report of the places we went to, the people we met, and the adventures that we had.

    Why three months you may ask? Well what started out as a simple TAT trip, became a journey of 15,000 miles and also included the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico, as well as a few other "side trips". :wink:

    In the end, the route we took looked something like this.


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    I'll do my best to share everything we saw and did on this trip, but that will take some time. I took over 5,600 pictures, and so did Motoadventuregal. :eek1
    So settle in for a long Ride Report, and enjoy.

    Q~
    #1
  2. SRMN8R

    SRMN8R Down & Out

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    :clap Another TAT adventure!!! :thumb

    Looking forward to it!


    :lurk
    #2
  3. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Obviously, we were very excited to be taking such an epic trip. :wink:
    I had been thinking about the TAT for about four years, and had read every related Ride Report here on ADV and other sites.
    I'd been PM-ing many of the folks who had ridden it before, and had met some of them, including Dr. Rock and LDF, and talked to them at lenght about their experiences.
    I felt I knew all there was to know about the "Trail" - but there was a lot I never expected. As Vinnie the Snake says, "The TAT takes a lot, but it also gives a lot."

    So in the morning of June 24th at 8:30am we were kickstands up and wheels rolling towards Tennessee.
    Here we are all clean and eager to get going.


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    Leaving "Home".
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    Crossing familliar landmarks.
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    I had plotted a nice scenic route down to North Carolina so Motoadventuregal could see her Mom. The route took us along small secondary roads down towards the Delaware Water Gap and down agricultural valleys to Harrisburg PA where we had scored some tent space from Dziner. :thumb (I had used a combination of Mapsource and Google Earth Satelite imaging to find the rustic and rural routes.)

    The countryside was full of farmland and the ride was very relaxing.
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    Along our route we entered the Poconos, and Bear Rock State Park.
    Here's a picture of the big lodge at the base of the mountain.

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    We took the ride up to the top of the mountain and saw the viewing tower.
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    And the Panorama from the top.
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    Later, headed to the Delaware Water Gap, we came to our first of many, "Road Closed, or "Bridge Out" signs.
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    But a quick re-route got us back on track.
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    Finally we got to the New Jersey side of the Water Gap, and had miles of unspoiled scenic riding as we headed south towards Harrisburg.
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    We did have one mini-Adventure as Motoadventuregal ran out of gas. No problem since I was carring a small MSR Fuel bottle in 'reserve'. We had her up and running again in no time, and were able to continue without any major delays. :thumb
    By 3:00pm we were getting tired so we stopped here to get some Fuel and Energy. A bit to eat and 1/2 a Red Bull each we were ready to press on.
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    Along the way we saw a tank. (I LOVE military hardware, so I stopped to take some pictures. Keep reading this Ride Report and you will see more cool hardware like this, including missiles, and Civil War "Iron Clad" boats. :wink:)
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    As we continued to ride South it started to get dark. Remember we were riding little dirt bikes with a top speed of about 50 MPH, so it took us a while to get anywhere, but we were traveling at just the right speed to relax and take it all in. Our average moving speed tended to be less than 40 MPH, so the days did get long.
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    Finally, around 5:00pm we entered the city of Harrisburg.


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    and found the back yard of Dziner, out host for the night...
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    Stats for the day:
    Total miles 289. Moving Average 38.7
    Moving Time 7:27 Stopped 2:45
    Total 10:13

    Stay tuned. Only 90+ more days to go... :lol3
    Q~
    #4
  5. Lurch II

    Lurch II Been here awhile

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    I'm in :ear - expecting another great RR.
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Another great Questor adventure!! I'll be looking for you to be flying the ADV flag that I had made for you :deal

    :lurk
    #6
  7. scoon66

    scoon66 Who is the Coon?

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    Yay! :clap
    #7
  8. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Oh man, this is gonna be great!!!


    :lurk
    #8
  9. WIthumper

    WIthumper The 610 guy

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    Glued to this RR 'n subscribed!
    :thumb :lurk
    #9
  10. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    We awoke early to a beautiful day. The weather in the morning was cool and dry, but that was not going to last. By noon it was 90 degrees and very humid. Riding in full gear, including knee braces, and Acerbis pressure suit was hot, but it was something we were going to have to get used to.

    Anyway, the roads were scenic.
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    and Motoadventuregal was right behind me.
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    We stopped in this quiet little down and took in the tranquil scene.
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    Even when things seem idylic, there are dangers. :eek1
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    We took some of the smaller roads towards the Sharpsburg Military Park.
    It was good to be riding through the cooler air in the dense forest.
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    The towns along the way were antique and quiet.
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    We stopped in Sharpsburg and had luch in the Civil War battlefields.
    These places are so rich in history, but had a very somber feel to them.
    I'm always remoresful and saddened by this part of Americas history.
    For me it was a time of quiet introspection. So much idealism, so much valor, and so much violence.

    A traumatic time in our nations history. :cry
    [​IMG]


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    Lunch was a Subway sandwich in the shade of an old tree that had seen the battle, and bore scars of shrapnel and bullets.
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    After lunch we rode out of town towards the mountain roads of George Washington Natonal Forest.


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    As the afternoon wore on, we got closer to our destination. When we stopped in some tiny lown to get my evening beers I had an interesting encounter with the locals. I walked into the store and bought two cold beers. A group of four guys in straw hats watched me intently as I looked like some kind of paramilitary stormtrooper. They asked me if I wasn't hot in all my gear, and I replied I was and that was what the two cold beers were for.
    After a friendly exchange, I got back on my motorcyle, and all four of them climbed onto a big green John Deere tractor and we rode off in different directions. (You don't see four guys in straw hats riding a tractor eveyday.) We knew we were in farm country. :wink:

    A few more miles down the road.
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    and we got to our National Forest camping destination for the nightat Hone Quarry. (I would like to add that on this entire trip, we only stayed in a hotel twice. All other evenings were eiother spent camping, or couch surfing. :thumb Yes, I'm a frugal person. The less I spend on sleeping, the more money I have to ride and travel, and that makes sence to me. :wink:)

    [​IMG]

    Camp Snuggly was set up.
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    and we even had a nearby stream to take baths in. It was hot and humid and it felt great to get cooled off and refreshed.
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    Dinner was a one pan gourmet version of Glorp. :wink: (Again, my frugal nature would rather pay for exotic motorcycles and gas, than consumables like food.)

    [​IMG]


    So ended day two:
    Stats for the Day:
    233 miles
    Moving Average 38.3. Moving time 6:06
    Stopped 2:51. Total 8:57

    More to come.
    Q~
    #10
  11. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    :clap Go, Go, Go! Looking forward to reading and seeing the rest of the story!
    #11
  12. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

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    Cool! 3 months, damn! :thumb:thumb:thumb
    #12
  13. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

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    :lurk

    (I am subscribed to many threads. This is the first one I've felt obliged to put in the popcorn icon.) :clap
    #13
  14. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

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    :thumb :thumb Epic ! This is going to be Fantastic:clap :clap :clap
    #14
  15. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Gearing up to ride...
    Seems like a lifetime ago already. We covered a LOT of ground. It was a great trip. Epic.

    I'm still on the road (my year of motorcycle vagabonding started with this trip, and now I am getting ready for my Mexico - Central America - South America trip) so I'll post as much as I can as well.

    I haven't had the weePC implant like Questor has.
    #15
  16. leonphelps

    leonphelps TAT/Prudhoe Bay

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    I have that same orange combo spork/spoon/knife....I think it was under 2 bucks from EMS....best ever....
    #16
  17. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

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    looking forward to following the whole tale. So far so good.:lurk
    #17
  18. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Vinnie is all in on this one.:lurk Got a feeling this is going to be good.
    #18
  19. Stan Dalone

    Stan Dalone Gotta get me somma dat

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    Um, I really don't like :lurk , but I am settling in for this tale.
    #19
  20. DingWeed

    DingWeed Been here awhile

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    Hey Questor and MotoAdventureGal !! It was good to meet you guys and shoot the breeze their in Cuba NM. Looking forward to the RR . Got the popcorn ready!!!!:lurk :clap :clap Scott
    #20