Well just a quick introduction. We started out as 3 middle aged slightly to mostly overweight guys planning a long trip, that turned into a TAT trip. Well, one of us decided that at the ripe old age of 46 he wanted to become a Daddy :eek1, so suddenly there were Two We spent the first of the last three years deciding on what kind of motorcycles we wanted to get. You all know the story that follows. This ones too big, this ones too heavy, this one has too little horse power, this one is just right. So after nearly a year of debating we finally decided on bikes. This ones too Big. As much as we looked longingly at the GS1200s, the 580 pounds of big machine was just too much in the end, especially after we started looking at what people were bringing on the TAT. The F800 GS looked kind of good for a couple of months but the price tag and the 450 pound wet weight kept rearing its head in our decision. Thus out went the KTM 9XX bikes also too big too heavy. This ones too Small. As much as we wanted to like the WR250F we are looking at 270~290 pounds of guy and gear. So we kept looking at the HP number and sighing alot. But it was a step in the right direction which was more dirt less street. This ones is UGH Yes we looked at the used KLR market, heavy bikes with no power. The only plus side of that was we could just hand the title and keys to the homeless guy on the way to the airport and not feel bad about the financial loss. That being said... This one's just Right. What we finally decided on were Husqvarna TE 610/630. The power was up there, the weight was right around 300 pounds and it was way more dirt orientated, basically just right for us. So then began the search for the TE bikes. ESP41 ran out and bought the first one he could find, which turned out to be a TE610 that he promptly spread across his garage. I was being a bit more picky and was looking for a Fuel Injection bike, as my WR450F has sworn me off of ever jetting or touching a carbureted bike again. Unfortunately I had my little pile of cash ready just in time for Husky to kill the TE630. I looked for a new one for quite a while but gave up as they all seemed to be on the Left coast in SM form. I found an inmate in Virginia who had one for sale at a fair price, but at last minute he changed his mind. :huh So I started my search over again. I then decided that the KTM 690 would be just the ticket, even though ESP41 is betting I will be the first one to break down as the early 690s seem to be prone to drifting to a quiet halt (I am hoping that they cured it by the 2012 model year). I ordered a new one from my local purveyor of things for the dirt that let you do crazy stuff you would <s>get killed doing</s> not ordinarily do. I eventually got the bike and proceeded to put every farkel that Rally Raid made for the 690, quickly pushing the bike up in price past an F800GS So basically we spent the last year and a half tearing the bikes up, apart, and putting them back together stronger and faster than before. Doing test rides and basically dreaming of the day we would throw a leg over the bike and leave. In the meantime Life was doing what it does when you are busy making other plans. But we have overcome and will be leaving on Wednesday come hell or high water. So without further ado here are the first rounds of pics. Here are the bikes all loaded up and ready to roll We both decided to go with the Lynx fairing for the HID and dashboard space, you will notice the KTM is missing its wind screen. It was a victim of soft ground, a kick stand, and a shed , but then I rode it without the screen and liked it better . I decided on the Kriega Overlander 30 bags as I wanted to keep the weight down and the 690 does not have subframe to support those nice shiny Aluminum cases. I also felt I did not need the kind of room that the Giant Loop would have given me. ESP41 had the Manual Holders which fit the MSR 30 ounce bottle almost perfectly. I was not going to use the holder but I was kind of worried about the oil leaking inside the bags if anything happened, and I am a Magnet for anything happening. Usually that anything could be prefaced with "Watch This". The thing is those manual holders fit on the Kriega overlander like they were made to be there. So I zip tied them on. ESP41 just had to put three of them on his bike. Show off. So as I stated earlier we will be kicking off the adventure on Wednesday we want to hit the road at zero dark thirty to beat the DC traffic and hopefully make it down to Tellico Plains in time to check out both the Dragon (which I have been on many times with my Z) and Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. So here at last are the the bike pilots. Hopefully we can provide you all with a bit of entertainment and plenty of "I'm Just Sayin..." moments while you are chained to your desks. Here is the Spot Track which will start showing activity starting Wednesday morning bright and early. Kirkster's Spot Tracker ESP41 will be throwing one up also but I will give him some time to tell his own story... One more thing. We may have spent 3 years planning this adventure but besides the maps and GPS tracks from Sam, we have no clue what we are doing.