Seven More Days on the TAT (UT-OR)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by mpgmr, May 20, 2013.

  1. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    On 05/10/2013 my brother, Charles, and I began our seven-day ride of the TAT (Trans-America Trail) from Kanosh, UT to Port Orford, OR. This thread will chronicle our experience on that ride, be a repository for some of the pics/videos taken, and offer advice as to what did and did not work for us. But first some preliminaries.
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    Last year, Charles and I rented a U-Haul in Kamas, UT (my stomping grounds) and transported our bikes to Boise City, OK to start our TAT ride to Kanosh, UT. Charles chose a 2008 KLR as his ride and I had my blue (the fast color) 2006 DRZ 400S (with a 440 kit). In our youth, Chuck and I had spent many hours riding our bikes in the dirt but this was Chuck's first 'epic' dirt ride. My DRZ and I had previously successfully ridden the Mex2Can with another brother, Brian, so we had some idea of what to expect and pack. As we all know, buying a bike is just the initial expense, if you (or a previous owner) do not add some $2K in farkels then you are just not serious about getting the best possible ride from your bike, not to mention increasing the odds that you will actually make your destination. Thus our bikes are anything but stock and after over 5,000 miles on 'epic rides' the DRZ has yet to fail me. :clap
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    We bought roll charts and maps from Sam for our TAT rides and then proceeded to spend hours and hours converting the 2012 and 2013 rides to GPS coordinates and tracks. Frankly, it certainly expedited the rides with us both generating independent, GPS loadable coordinates/tracks and helped clarify ambiguities in what we saw when on the trail and what was on the roll charts. As we found out in our latest ride, it also helps to have the latest topo maps in your GPS as over the years roads, which are little more than cow trails to begin with, do change. When we were 80 miles from gas in any direction, out in the middle of 'no where', the loaded GPS units more than paid for their keep.
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    As to what worked and what didn't on this 2013 TAT ride, I think the biggest issue was trying to pack too many miles into too few hours. The problem was we only had seven days to ride a calculated 1,402 miles. Our 2012 ride from OK to UT through NM and CO was also seven days but ended up covering only some 1,061 miles. Two of our 2013 ride days were supposed to be over 250 miles. If you are an expert open desert/mountain rider on something more than a KLR or DRZ then 250 mile days is likely possible if you don't stop and smell the flowers. But we found 150 to 180 mile days to be more rational for us. We would typically get on the road about an hour or so after sunrise and set an evening curfew of a couple hours before dark (to have time to back-track if necessary or fix potential tire/mechanical problems). In some places we went 50-55 mph (my DRZ gearing limited our top end) and in other places we slogged through 5-10 mph sections which went on and on. We did not feel nearly as pushed on the 2012 ride when our plans called for 140-180 mile days vs. the 200+ mile days of the 2013 ride. We quickly learned that in order to not be riding out in the middle of 'no where' at night we had better have bailout routes planned. Thus we spent numerous hours at night during the 2013 ride going over maps giving ourselves alternate routes in order to make our next destination if terrain and time so dictated. In addition to our limited time (seven days) to do the ride it turns out that accommodations in the NV/OR sections of the TAT are often few and far between. Either a day's ride is shortened to accommodate widely spaced accommodations or plan on a long day in the saddle or camp out. Now I do not have a big problem camping out and we brought tents and sleeping bags if that were necessary but I sleep better after a nice meal, a warm shower and in a bed rather than in the wind, cold/heat, and on hard ground. :kumbaya Maybe after accomplishing some of the other rides I have planned (including finishing the TAT) then I will take three weeks and do a predominantly camping CO to OR ride or maybe make the Continental Divide ride a camping ride. But the bottom line is to really be circumspect regarding how many miles you realistically can ride in a day. For us it was 160 not 230. :thumb
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    Enough preliminaries for now, let's get on with the ride.<o:p></o:p>
    #1
  2. Plastrick

    Plastrick Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to this one - subscribed!
    #2
  3. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
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    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    I'm thinking of becoming a dirt rider but first I must decide if I could handle it? Seems like the time has moved along sorta rapidly and now I find myself to be only a few months from 70 yrs. old! Having never ridden on dirt before, I have a hunch that it just might be a little late to start now. :-(
    Guess I'll just follow along here then.

    Thanks for doing this for those of us who kept waiting for another day!

    Gary "Oldone" :gerg

    Grampa&#8217;s Lake Superior Ride
    Grampa&#8217;s National Monument Ride
    #3
  4. Squeaks

    Squeaks Adventurer

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    subscribed. Can you also post your gps tracks? I'm thinking of trying the same thing next year and am slowing starting to dig up info for my ride.
    #4
  5. TahoeRob

    TahoeRob Adventurer

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    Yes, Please! I live in N. Tahoe and plan to try and start hitting the same areas next year as well. Current GPS tracks would be wonderful!
    You could email or PM them if you don't want to share publicly.

    Looking forward to the report...now back to work for me!:D
    #5
  6. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    Gary "Oldone",<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I am 63 and change and my brother, if my calculations are correct, is 54 something. We each need to be the arbitrar of when we become 'too old' and these rides (Mex2Can, TAT, Cont. Divide, etc.) are my efforts to get in some 'epic dirt riding' before I can't make it over the next hill. There were sections of both our 2012 and 2013 TAT rides which were challenging and for which there were no easy/quick ways around. In my way of thinking it becomes more of a reactions and strength issue. Things happen quickly in the dirt, e.g., rocks, ruts, mud, steep down hills, etc. and if one's reactions are too slow or if the strength is not there to control the handle bars then one is going to be frequently picking themselves (and their bike - did I mention how heavy a loaded bike seems?) off the ground. There are sections of the TAT which anyone who can push a starter button can ride and other sections which definitely had a pucker factor and we didn't look pretty riding them. I would say get in shape (which I am not - do as I say not as I do), get a light bike, and do day rides on local trails and see how it goes. I don't know when I will be 'too old' but I hope it is not before I shake off the dust from the rides I have planned. So far so good, pretty much...:gdog<o:p></o:p>
    Best wishes!<o:p></o:p>
    Gary<o:p></o:p>

    #6
  7. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    I appreciate your desire to obtain GPS tracks of the TAT. If we could have easily obtained the tracks/waypoints, it would have saved us hours of work pouring over Sam's roll charts. In the past, when I read similar requests of other TAT riders their response was basically, "Sam spent a lot of time and expense finding and 'maintaining' the TAT route, producing the roll charts and maps (which can be obtained from Sam... http://transamtrail.com) so even though we created the tracks ourselves we did it from Sam's roll charts. Thus in order to protect his investment (time/money) and encourage his continued labor of love in maintaining the TAT route, please purchase Sam's roll charts and do as we did."<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Now to be fair, I do not know Sam's current stance on this issue but I too wish to encourage his continued efforts and the TAT route does change in sections from year to year, e.g., Sam changed a NV section in 2012 due to a road no longer being used and we found several sections in which we had to really hunt for the road.<o:p></o:p>
    I will shoot Sam an email or call him this evening and ask him his stance on giving out GPS waypoints/tracks produced from his roll charts. If he is OK with it then I will disseminate my waypoints/tracks, if he is not then I can't and won't.<o:p></o:p>
    Fair enough?<o:p></o:p>
    Gary<o:p></o:p>

    #7
  8. Schroeder

    Schroeder Schroeder

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    Sam's website now includes GPS Tracks!
    #8
  9. Rally_West

    Rally_West Central Scrutinizer

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    The BDR crew has the GPX files for you to DL from their webpage. You can still donate and participate in the program in other ways. Always smart to have a backup (not a second GPS) and know how to use it. Butler maps are recommended for the BDR rides.

    I know not TAT, but still epic offroad, cross-state rides.
    #9
  10. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    :ear

    More, please....:clap
    #10
  11. Tyr

    Tyr Expedition Leader

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    SoCal
    subscribed. Looking forward to the story by Gary "The Lone Dune Rider" and his side kick Chuck. A shout out from the old Glamis crew in Hemet, Sam, Todd, Mike and Kevin.:rofl:rofl:rofl
    #11
  12. dirt between my toes

    dirt between my toes Adventurer

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    held up by the rain ! let' go get this party started !!!:freaky
    #12
  13. Squeaks

    Squeaks Adventurer

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    Just found Sam's site this afternoon while looking for info. I'll get my tracks from there.
    :D
    #13
  14. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    In preparing for our 2012 TAT ride from OK to UT, Charles and I spent hours discussing the route, what to take, how to prepare the bikes, etc. For the 2013 ride I was a bit concerned since up until a couple of weeks before the start Charles and I communicated very little about the ride (Charles and family reside in Tucson, AZ while we call Kamas, UT home). But I knew all was a go when Chuck writes that he wants to meet in Kanosh at 9 AM on Friday. I suggested a saner 11 AM meeting so we didn't have to get up at 4 AM (that would have been a difficult sell, even to the very supportive better half, Mary Ann). Chuck concurs and preparations continue.

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    Friday, May 10th, dawns with the promise of great weather with a high of the mid-70s at our Day 1 destination, Baker, NV. We opted to ride the TAT early this year in order to avoid the summer heat sure to be encountered going across Western Utah, Nevada, and Southeastern Oregon. We rode the TAT (OK-UT) in 2012 in mid-August due to the snow in the passes of Colorado, but paid for that with the heat in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Eastern Colorado. I did not think snow would be an issue on this ride, but more on that later.

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    So I go out and load the bike into the truck only to find a nail in the left front tire. :baldy Great, is this a harbinger of things to come? Fortunately we have another truck so I unload and reload the bike and gear and we are off to Kanosh.

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    Charles and I arrive at the church in Kanosh within one minute of each other. Greetings are exchanged (Deb, Charles' wife, is to drive their truck back up to Kamas and spend the week with Mary Ann and friends), bikes unloaded, equipment loaded on the bikes, and protective gear donned. Uncharacteristically, I am ready to go before Chuck. Come on, come on, little brother! :ddog

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    Here's our send off pic (hopefully when Charles chimes in to this thread he has a pic of his bike at the start, though you will see enough of the KLR later in this thread). I am the one with Scott across his middle, appropriately enough since that is my middle name. Yes, we have the same mother and father and don&#8217;t tell Chuck, but physically fit people really bug me, when I&#8217;m not.

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    The following map will hopefully give you a better idea of the general route the TAT takes from Kanosh to the Border Inn near Baker, NV.


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    We finally start our ride :ricky at circa 12:15 PM and the first few miles consist of reacquainting myself with the DRZ as I had ridden less than 10 miles since the melting of the snow at our 6,700 foot home elevation. The bike feels less than nimble with a fender bag consisting of a front wheel inner tube, a handlebar bag above the head light containing small miscellaneous items like air gauge, air pump, spare head light bulb, WD-40, sun screen, lip balm, scotch tape for roll chart, registration and insurance paperwork, TP, etc., a tank bag containing maps, wallet, knife, pistol, glasses, camera, etc., two Wolfman side bags and a large rack bag. When I rode the Mex2Can with Brian in 2008 I tried to go cheap on the side and rack bags and paid for it by losing tools. I highly recommend Wolfman products (http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/), their side panniers and mounts are beyond peer, IMHO. In the panniers I carried 2 liters of water, a quart of oil, tools and related, another front wheel tube and green goop, a tent, sleeping bag, first aid kit, tie downs, rope, etc., basically stuff I hoped not to use but it was there if needed. The rack bag contained clothing, food stuffs, trip maps, tablet, electrical/digital components, light shoes, more tools, toiletries, etc. The rack bag was my go to bag at night. I also wore a hydration backpack with a couple liters of water, coat, wind breaker, rain coat, extra gloves/goggles, flashlight, spare GPS, etc. or stuff I could need on the trail but wasn&#8217;t heavy. I have a spreadsheet of all that I brought and where I located it on the bike. If you are interested in the equipment spreadsheet then email me and I will send you a copy. Note that as on the 2012 TAT ride, I really did not use anything but tools and tie downs in the panniers. I could have saved considerable weight if I had not brought the panniers but at the cost of the peace of mind of being able to extract ourselves from ride ruining, or worse, situations.

    In addition to the above I of course had Sam&#8217;s TAT roll chart along with a GPS (Garmin 76CSx) with tracks and waypoints and a SPOT messenger on my handle bar. I also had an ICO odometer mounted on the cross member of the handlebar. I would not attempt a roll chart ride such as the TAT w/o an ICO odometer (or similar). The ICO has been bullet proof since I installed it for the Mex2Can in 2008. The ICO is highly recommended, particularly since my DRZ odo gave up the ghost on the second portion of the Mex2Can. I also had an extra gallon of gas (Wolfman) mounted on the left pannier frame. With this extra gallon of gas and a 4 gallon gas tank the DRZ has a range of about 250 miles. That said, I do my utmost to keep the station to station distance down to a maximum of 150 miles. The extra gas is for track backs, bail outs, emergencies, etc. I guarantee you, I have no desire to push the bike along the TAT.

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    Getting back to the ride out of Kanosh, :clap we travel relatively well maintained dirt roads with some soft dirt and rocky areas but nothing noteworthy. This area South of Kanosh experienced a planned burn about three or four years ago so it is not that pretty or interesting. We are making good time and not paying enough attention to the roll chart/GPS tracks and miss a right turn at the TAT 382.83 Utah mile mark. Instead of turning right we ride up a small canyon with an ever decreasingly used road which turns into a trail. Doesn&#8217;t that figure? Eleven miles into the 1,400 mile ride we miss a turn. :huh Coming back down the canyon I get too close to a dead branch sticking out into the trail, it pierces my right pannier and breaks off. Great!! Did that stick puncture my water or oil or ? I stop and extract the embedded five inch stick. It comes out clean and dry but it is long enough to have done some damage to the pannier&#8217;s contents. I hope for the best but hurry on catching up with Charles who is waiting at the missed turn.

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    With our needing to only cover some 120 miles today and traveling mostly graded gravel roads we have no concern regarding making the Border Inn. But too much of a good thing gets boring and the rear sore so we stop alongside the road overlooking dry Sevier Lake and eat a light lunch of trail mix and cardboard bars, err, Cliff bars. Cliff bars were Chuck&#8217;s staple during the 2012 TAT ride and he gladly shared them with me. This year I vowed to carry more palatable fare, thus the trail mix.

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    I note that there is mention of Black Rock and Garrison on Sam&#8217;s roll chart and maps but I never see anything looking like civilization. Continuing on we traverse the House Range of hills which makes the ride a bit more scenic and come across an interesting rock formation. It looks like a huge mound of solidified clay with numerous pockmarks. As Charles was the primary photographer and videographer on this ride I know he has a picture of the formation which I will post here. I wish we could have spent some time clambering over the formation.

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    Like last year, Charles brought his GoPro Hero 2 video camera which he mounts to the top of his helmet. This mounting makes him look a bit like a Hessian soldier, but it works for stills and videos. Like last year I opted to take my Drift HD and did so again this year but when I try to look at my video from Day 1 at the Border Inn, nada. Great. I also, on the spur of the moment, bought a Veho Muvi Pro Micro DV camcorder. Here again when I checked the video for the day, I got crappy audio and no picture. Talk about a bust. My fall back was my Canon Power Shot SD990 IS but that was much less convenient than accessing the Drift and Veho, thus making Chuck the designated videographer and primary photographer.

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    We continue our unremarkable and rapid ride to mile mark 482.08 where the roll chart says to take a faint road out into the desert, find a second water hole and head West to State Route 159. This when continuing on the gravel road we were on would have us on the paved 159 in short order with just a bit longer paved road ride into the Border Inn. This then was to be Sam&#8217;s MO during this portion of the TAT. Sam did his utmost to keep us on dirt roads/trails even if it meant four miles of dirt road to save having to travel one mile on a paved road. Now mind you, I am not complaining (least when writing this, when riding it and trying to make time it was different) and these &#8216;dirt detours&#8217; best kept the spirit of the TAT. At times the &#8216;dirt detours&#8217; were even interesting to ride but when making time was critical or it was getting late, it could be frustrating. So we took the right off the gravel road and went through a bunch of cattle milling around a water hole, headed out into the desert on a faint track, hung a left at the other water hole and headed back to SR 159 in the dirt rather than gravel.
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    We arrived at the Border Inn at approximately 5 PM. We first loaded up with gas (to ensure we did not forget in the excitement of the morning), got our rooms (the Border Inn only had single double bed rooms available so we got two rooms), unloaded the bikes, checked in with our wives and ate supper in the restaurant. I spent some time wrenching on my Slozuki and we chatted with our neighbors. All-in-all, the Border Inn is what it is, a no frills gas station, motel, restaurant, and casino in the middle of &#8216;no where&#8217;. The rooms were small but reasonably clean and air conditioned. I give it a solid B+/A- for desert accommodations. It&#8217;s not for honeymooners but for those visiting the nearby Great Basin National Park or traveling through the area it meets our needs. Note that there is no cell phone service and marginal wi-fi at the Inn, thus the B+/A- rating.

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    A good though unremarkable afternoon&#8217;s ride, with stops and all, we averaged about 30 mph, we were on track and ready for the Day 2 ride, no one went down, we saw only one other moving vehicle on the roads/trails we rode and had good accommodations for the night. A good ending to Day 1. :rayof
    #14
  15. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    Kamas, UT
    Schroeder,
    Thank you for the update. Apparently this is new or at least I hadn't seen his offering GPS tracks last year (when I purchased the 2013 TAT roll charts). For the record the URL is http://www.transamtrail.com/store/#gps
    Excellent. I hope Sam is able to make a few bucks and continue his support of the TAT.
    Gary

    #15
  16. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

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    Feb 27, 2008
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    Location:
    Kamas, UT
    Hey! Welcome aboard.

    Good to hear from you guys. I still have the TRX 250R quads from our dunning days. I haven't been to the dunes (CA, UT or OR) in years. Maybe we should do a reunion?!

    How about a Continental Divide, an Alaskan Artic Circle, or Four Corners ride? Chuck and I will likely finish the TAT (TN-OK) next year, any takers? I would also like to do a mostly camping, no time constraints CO-OR TAT ride in a couple of years. Lots of beautiful scenary along the TAT, need to take the time to enjoy it.

    Keep well my friends.

    #16
  17. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    43
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    Kamas, UT
    The BDR that Rally_West is referring to can be found at http://www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com/
    Butler maps can be obtained at http://www.butlermaps.com/
    I have yet to ride any BDR routes or use their files or Butler maps but thank you for the heads-up, Rally_West.

    Back to the TAT.

    #17
  18. CactusChuck

    CactusChuck n00b

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
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    2
    Howdy...Cactus Chuck here...Gary's youngest brother and TAT Ride #2 partner. Day 2 had us riding from the Border Inn (Hwy 6 & 159), through Preston, NV (126 miles...first sign of civilization and gas/food), to Eureka, NV. Since this was a 215 mile day, we got up early and were on the road by about 7:00am. For those who haven't done a ride like this, give yourselves at least an hour to get ready in the AM (that assumes you showered the night before and don't eat breakfast), but more likely 1.5 hours to get suited-up, the bikes loaded, roll charts populated, checked out of the motel, grab a snack, and move-out.

    Since we are fairly experienced TAT riders now...having completed 2/3 of the adventure, Gary and I like to post tips here an there. One tip I can offer is to invest in a good bike-to-bike intercom system. Gary and I were always "connected" via our ScalaRider Q2 Multiset intercom system, and it is very nice to warn, discuss, recommend, or otherwise just chat during the ride. I can say that I can't offer glowing recommendations for the ScalaRider since it was hard to synch the two units at times, and the range is somewhat limited (line-of-sight...1/4 mile), but the rechargeable batteries did last all day (10-12 hours), and the clarity was good at close range.

    Day 2 started out fairly uneventful. We made good progress in the beginning, but as it turned out to be a recurring theme each day, if you like (or don't like) the condition of the road/path you are on, ride on for 5 minutes and it will be completely different. That's one of the exciting things about a ride like this...ever changing road/path condition. In some cases, as we found early on day 2, and then late that afternoon, that "path" can be a bit hard to find and/or follow if you are the first TAT riders of the season. That certainly seemed to be the case for us...we didn't see any M/C tracks the entire trip, and there were obstacles that hindered or halted our progress that may be cleared up by the time the next TAT riders venture through (particularly in Oregon where we hit snow and downed-trees across the road). An example of how faint the TAT trail can become over the "off season" is shown in the picture below.


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    Note that riding through NV can be a very lonely, yet reflective adventure at times with many miles of high desert riding, but it is also interspersed with some exceptional beauty as the elevation rises to meet scrub oaks, junipers, and some very interesting geologic formations. Again, what you will see on the TAT ride through NV is something that relatively few people have/will ever see. Like Gary said, over 1,400 miles and we only saw two other vehicles (other than when we hit the towns for gas/sleep). Through NV, I don't think we saw anyone, and we could "see" for many 10's of miles at times, except for this one TAT rider who apparently had bike trouble last year, and decided to lay around for a while!

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    Again, if you don't like the terrain you are riding through at the moment, just travel a few miles, and you get to see something quite different. That was certainly the case in NV. The highest part of our ride over the 7 days was on this day at Lone Pine Summit (NV TAT Mile 113.39) at 8,512' (still snow on the ground in shaded areas). Note the elevation on the "car" gps that I also attached to my handle bars (don't laugh...it came in handy several times)!

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    After traveling through some very pretty mountainous terrain, we finally made it to Preston, NV, where we had to get gas several miles north of town at Lanes Travel facility (one gas pump...coffee shop has been closed for years), then had a bite at Whipples Country Store (essentially the only place to eat in Preston).

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    After lunch, we had about 88 TAT miles to go to Eureka, NV, and a cushy Best Western suite. However, even though this day was proceeding nicely, some interesting experiences were to come. At one point late in the afternoon, about 30 miles from Eureka, we essentially "lost" the trail. It was already sketchy to begin with, and it just "died out". Well, since the sun was getting a bit low on the horizon, we felt impelled to "actively" search for the track. At one point, I stopped to survey the area, and Gary pulled up behind me. I then proceeded forward to continue our search for the trail when Gary "bellowed" in my ear "Holy $#!%"...you almost stepped on a rattlesnake! Sure enough, a pretty little western diamondback was only a few feet from where I put my left foot down when I stopped!! That would have been a really bad situation...a snake bite...can't find the trail...and many miles from anywhere. Another tip...watch where you put your feet when you stop! We saw several other snakes along the road in NV as well, but they were harmless garder snakes (we moved them off the road so they wouldn't get hurt...Gary and I both love snakes).

    One other interesting thing we saw before the end of this Day 2 was an old homestead replete with a dilapidated rock home, a few out-buildings, and a very cool corral made from local timber (see below).

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    Well, that's it for Day 2...didn't get into Eureka until nearly 7:00pm...that's cutting it too close to running out of light. Tomorrow promised to be even tougher with the longest day at 266 miles!! Gary get's to describe that ride in his next post!

    Until Day 4...Ciao!

    Cactus Chuck
    #18
  19. mpgmr

    mpgmr Utard

    Joined:
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    Kamas, UT
    I view our TAT ride, and this write-up Charles and I offer on ADV Rider, akin to a tag team wrestling match. When a problem was presented to one or the other of us on the ride the other guy would most often step up without being asked and offer assistance to help resolve the issue. Since Chuck and I approach life from different perspectives, so too do we approach this write-up of our ride. I think both of us sharing our experiences on this ride adds value and depth to the thread. Thus I am going to jump in and give my perspective of Day 2 as well (see also the previous post by Charles regarding Day 2).

    Before retiring for the night at the Border Inn, we had agreed to meet outside and start packing the bikes at 6:15 AM and be on the road by seven or before. We had agreed to a continental type breakfast to save time. As it happened I was awake by 3:30 AM and so spent time going over the ride map and repacking equipment. I checked the hole made in the right pannier yesterday and the stick had gone through the outer, heavy fabric of the bag, the heavy plastic inner lining, and ripped a small hole in the sleeping bag cover. It did not appear that the sleeping bag was itself damaged but I did not take it out to verify. I was not about to replace the bag while on the ride so why re-stuff it. All I can say is that I am glad it was the pannier that was punctured by the stick and not my leg. I mentally note that I will have to give such obstacles wider clearance in the future.

    After getting the bikes packed up and room keys turned in, we ate our abbreviated breakfast outside while enjoying the early morning. In short order we were back on our bikes :ricky and headed to meet the scheduled, third longest (in miles) riding day of 215 miles. The route for today is shown below with the general plan to get around the Great Basin National Park by riding South, heading West and then North to Preston/Lund for lunch and continue Northwest to Eureka for the night.

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    Riding the first few miles of Day 2, we retrace a small portion of our Day 1 route. We shortly turn South/Southwest and head out to the Snake Range of the Great Basin National Heritage Area. Late in the first hour of our ride we are going 50 mph down a dirt road when I spot a gopher snake in the road. Chuck, taking a different line, had missed it so I broke radio silence and informed him of my find. He comes back and moves Eve’s antagonist off the road. It is a nice, healthy specimen. Here is a pic of us shortly after finding the snake about 28 miles into the day’s ride with the Great Basin Nation Park peaks in the background.

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    On we ride with a constantly changing ride. As Chuck opined, “If you don’t like the ride, just wait a few miles and it will change.” We ride barely visible trails, rocky roads, fast graded roads, sandy washes, and about everything in between. We see antelope off in the distance and came across a couple of sheep and cattle ranches. Here we are due South of the Park about 51 miles into the day’s ride.

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    And looking South

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    As we headed around the West side of the Great Basin National Park

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    the TAT had us circumnavigate an old TAT route which apparently consists of deep sand and single track. Chuck’s KLR does not do sand well and I didn’t want to struggle through it so we take Sam’s advise and head North to Highline Road. On the back (West) side of the Great Basin National Park I snap this pic of Wheeler Peak (12,992’) before we head West on Highline Road.

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    Now here’s a heads-up on this section of the TAT. If you go around the old route you will need to go up to Highline Road then over to highway 93 and pick up the TAT route again at odometer reading 91.17. You then reset your odometer to 77.77 to keep the NV state TAT mileage consistent with the old route. When I calculated the number of miles for the day (and distance between the Border Inn and Preston/Lund, the next gas) I did not factor in the lost, but ridden, 13.4 miles. This go around made the ride to the next gas at Preston a 140.07 mile ride rather than a 126.67 mile ride. You better be aware of this if you are cutting it close with your gas supply. Our longest between gas stations segment was supposed to be 147.26 (Day 3: Battle Mountain to McDermitt) and my DRZ has a range of 250 miles (with auxiliary gas container) so I was not concerned but I would advise taking a bike with at least a range of 175 miles for the NV and OR portion of the TAT. :nod

    At odometer reading 91.17 (now 77.77) we head into the Schell Creek and Egan Range of mountains. This is a pretty ride, in fact we have been pleasantly surprised at how green the flora has been today, so it has all been visually appealing with scenic snow capped mountains and broad plains. As Chuck mentioned in his post, we hit our highest point of the TAT 2013 ride at Lone Pine Summit with an elevation of 8,512 feet. Here are before and after views while at Lone Pine Summit.

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    From Lone Pine Summit it is a quick downhill to gas on highway 318 by Preston, NV and a short ride to Lund where we snag lunch. If you are ready, here is some additional advice. If you are pressed for time, as we certainly are on this segment of the TAT, do not waste time with a 'sit down' lunch. We wasted about an hour in Lund getting something to eat when we should have grabbed something off the shelf/cooler and been out of the store/restaurant. We will pay for this later in the day.

    After lunch we wheel out of Lund and back through Preston to get on the TAT. I am not feeling that well after a lunch that was more oil and grease than substance. After about 15 miles I have to get off the bike and walk around a bit to settle my stomach. Eventually my digestive system calls a truce and we are on the move again. The approximately 40 miles of the TAT which meanders through the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest is, in my opinion, some of the prettiest and most fauna populated portion of the TAT I have ridden. I could happily go back and spend a week in the area, at least at this time of year. We saw elk, deer, and wild horses and our second highest elevation of 8,440 feet. A very neat area. :thumb

    The ride after Humbolt-Toiyabe to highway 50 was nice but the adventure was about to begin. I am pretty sure that the area Chuck spoke about in his post was the area off highway 50 at the TAT NV 192.95. Strangely the TAT route was also evident on Chuck’s auto GPS unit but we repeatedly lost and found the trail. At one of the head scratching stops Chuck puts his left foot down while we discuss the situation over the intercom. He then motors off 50 yards or so in search of the route. As usual I am the tail gunner so I wait to see if he finds the trail in the direction he rides when for some reason I look down and there is a 2-2.5 foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake about 10 feet in front of me and about 4 feet from where Charles put his foot down. The snake had its head under a coil of its body so maybe Chuck even rode across it before coming to a stop. I yell into the intercom for him to get over here and see what he almost had attached to his boot. After surveying the situation Chuck rides back to where he found the trail and I ride forward just when the rattler slithers across my path. I go lightly on the throttle not needing to throw the snake up into the bike with the rear wheel. Fun stuff. :rofl

    So we make it to highway 893 and the TAT calls for us to travel about 16 miles past Newark Summit in Newark Canyon to get into Eureka. With the sun near the horizon and the lost trail just behind us we decide not to get stuck traveling the TAT at night. So we head South on the 893, get on the 50 and ride the 16 asphalt miles to Eureka. Our bail off the TAT was because we were trying to do too many miles in too little time with too many slow/difficult and scenic sections and too many stops, particularly for lunch. That said, due to the remoteness of the TAT in sections and the fact we had not seen a moving vehicle on the dirt portion of the TAT all day long we vowed that there was no way we wanted to traverse the TAT in the dark :eek1 and thus set a curfew for ourselves of 5ish PM. This would give us time to fix a flat, find our way and still get in to our motel for the evening.

    Of course, simply arriving at the Eureka Inn is only the start. There is check in, luggage and equipment to drag up to the room, preventative wrenching on the bikes, securing the bikes, get showered up, getting dinner, getting back to the motel, and checking in with the wives. Seems that there is a car show in town and there are some nostalgic rides in the parking lot. So of course we had to chat with the owners but by about 9:00 the town, except for some enjoying ethanol in excess, was pretty well buttoned up. After getting back to the room we pour over the maps for Day 3. Charles was able to get our laundry done for a $10 gratuity, hmm, which reminds me, I probably still owe him the $5. I am shortly out like a light. Another great day on the TAT with some 231 miles ridden. :clap
    #19
  20. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,784
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Thanks for posting your trip.
    #20