TAT the hard way - 2up on a 950

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BigWan, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    #41
  2. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    Day 6 continued...

    After we left State Line, the skies began to darken. We had some nice cooling rain, then some stinging hail.
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    After flying through the desert two track, we started to climb. We had finally arrived at the last bypass section - "5 miles of single track and deep sand." It drives me crazy that I can't find the name of this section on the roll chart or TAT map, so if anyone knows what it is, please let me know.
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    Here's a short video of the section.






    What a great trail! Sandy, rocky...wide single track around trees...lots of twists and turns...Don't miss it! It was a blast. I think Matt would have gone back and done the whole thing again if it wasn't getting so late.


    Christmas in July!
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    I think he liked it. Just a little.


    Then it was back to the desert.
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    and more desert.
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    We saw lots of elk.
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    and cows.
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    I had never seen barbed wire gates until this trip. As pillion, it was my job to be gatemaster so I was always on the lookout for the damn things. This is the gate that almost got us. The sun was getting low and Matt was still happy from the sand wash so we were flying along. I thought I saw something, but I wasn't sure until the last second. "FENCE! FENCE! FENCE!"
    He slid to a stop just in time.
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    This was such a pretty surprise - Chimney Rock Spring
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    Unfortunately, I don't have any photos from Lone Pine Summit. It was pretty, but I was busy enjoying the ride. Matt was still in his zone and we were zooming along in that smooth, easy, "flow" state. I love when the ride is like that. I don't normally check our speed, but at one point, I noticed that we were going kind of fast for such a steep rocky ascent. When I peeked over Matt's shoulder, I was concerned. Wow. I didn't want to break his concentration, so I just sat quietly. The speeds only increased as we went down the other side. Later, after we were back in the gravel, I asked about it. He had no idea how fast we were going but said he could see the perfect line and it just kept coming.


    We were really racing the sun as we headed to Preston, NV.
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    We got to where Preston was supposed to be and looked around. Is this it? We rode the Preston Loop, thinking it would bring us to the main town. Uh oh. How about Lund? After going back to the Preston truck stop and seeing that the coffee shop was closed and the gas station only had 85-87 octane, we slabbed 39 miles to Ely and found a room at the Motel 6.


    Today was one of our better riding days. One of those days that makes you really appreciate being on a bike. :beer

    Tomorrow - the trail giveth, the trail taketh away...


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    #42
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  3. 911racer

    911racer dare to explore

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    Fantastic! can't wait for more!! :lurk
    #43
  4. L Rider

    L Rider "Road Worthy"

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    What a great trip!!

    Thanks for sharing......
    #44
  5. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Matt, I think your wife is a better rider than you through those gnarly sections....she can ride with only one hand and take video with the other! Let's see...you need two hands, right. Anyway awesome riding for both of you. Great Report :thumb
    #45
  6. chipwich

    chipwich Been here awhile

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    Very much agreed. Well done both!
    #46
  7. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    hee - thanks, guys! :rofl
    kelly

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    #47
  8. Tompound

    Tompound M.M.S. Tommy

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    Don't forget about the having to ride one footed :bow :lurk
    #48
  9. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    7/30/09 Day 7 of the TAT: Ely, NV to Battle Mountain, NV aprox. 260 miles

    Despite yesterday's fantastic ride, I woke up grumpy. For the first time of the trip I was completely unenthusiastic about getting back on the bike. At some point during the previous day's 380 miles, my left foot (the one that got hit back in Black Dragon Canyon) slipped off the peg just as Matt was putting his foot down and he accidentally kicked me in the heel. This morning it was still big and swollen and barely fit into my boot. My right knee was also acting up. Many, many years ago I hurt it doing squats and now a full week of riding pillion in the dirt was catching up to me. Bracing during downhills and twisties, plus just the sheer number of hours in the seat, was making it ache. Is there an emoticon for bitching and whining? maybe this one :baby


    Looking back, we probably should have taken a rest day at this point, but we were focused on
    1) riding hard
    2) doing as much of the TAT as possible.
    We weren't on a time schedule or anything, but we felt compelled to keep moving as much as possible.


    We took the highway from Ely back to Preston and got on the trail. The same kinds of desert two track that we loved yesterday were killing us today. This is from yesterday - but you can see the sage brush and the narrow trails.
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    Yesterday, Matt had such good flow and maybe the track surfaces were better so we were able to keep up the speeds. Today, the tracks felt slippery and unstable - more loose and unpredictable. The sage brush clumps were taller and wider and over hung the tracks so the branches kept grabbing my feet. At one point, a branch yanked my right foot off the peg and my leg got sucked under the bike. I shrieked, which "scared" Matt and he scolded me for making a big deal out of it. He patronizingly told me that I needed to keep my feet on the pegs. WTF? Apparently, I was not the only one who was cranky.

    Admittedly, he had a much tougher job, trying to keep us upright. This two track is probably easier for a smaller, lighter bike - the 950 plus the two of us, fuel, and luggage weighs at least 1000 lbs. Trying to keep this beast on the trail is like trying to steer an overloaded school bus. It was not the best start of the day, but we dealt with it.

    Eventually we climbed a bit and got a nice view.
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    Went through the mining ghost town of Hamilton, NV
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    Oh, goody. More two track...
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    The dust cloud up there is our first herd of wild horses!
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    They were so fast and so beautiful.
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    I can't believe they used to make dog food out of such amazing creatures.
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    This is the trail? Sigh. I almost lost it at this point.
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    I want to take a little break here and very briefly explain how we're navigating. We have some non-riding family and friends who might be confused. For those of you who know about the TAT roll charts, you might want to skip ahead so I don't bore you.


    Sam Correro charted this TAT route and sells roll charts and maps for each state. The roll charts are paper strips with odometer readings and instructions for each riding section. They list turns and directions, landmarks such as gates or bridges, gas stops, etc... and if you coordinate your odometer with the numbers on the roll chart, you can follow the instructions listed as they come up.

    Here's what the roll chart looks like on the bike (this one is from colorado).
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    There are a dozen or more maps for each state, broken up into sections along the trail and corresponding with the roll charts. The black numbers are odometer readings. When your odometer shows that number, that's where you should be on the map. In theory.

    This map is from nevada (the blue line shows the TAT). It looks so clean because we never used it!
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    Most of the time, we just used the roll charts and the odometer to navigate. The maps were in the tank bag and only got taken out when we were lost and/or confused. Sometimes they were helpful, but most of the time they were useless to us. Since we put a grand total of a week and a half into planning this trip, the only other maps we had were AAA maps of the whole USA, Utah, Nevada and Oregon. Inevitably, if we were lost, the AAA maps would show roads that weren't on the TAT maps and vice versa so we could never figure out where we were. The only time they coordinated was when a major highway was involved.


    We also had an antique GPS - the garmin gps III. It was basically just a large heavy compass and only showed us what direction we were going in (e.g., North). It also worked for finding GPS waypoints, but we only had those in colorado and maybe utah (where the trail was pretty easy to find). This unit only shows large cities and major highways, so most of the time on the TAT we saw ourselves as a black triangle floating out in space. One day, when we were really lost and were hopelessly staring at our black triangle, Matt told me that newer GPS units come in color and can have topographical maps that list every dirt road and trail! I thought:
    1) Wow! That's amazing! Do you think some day, man will walk on the moon?
    2) Wait a minute, why didn't you tell me this before we left??

    You'll see this photo again later, but here you can see our black triangle. We were north of a highway (that squiggly black line) and lost again :D
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    Usually, while we were riding, Matt would read me the upcoming instructions and tell me when to watch for it ("in 11 miles, we want to go left on 295"). Hopefully, with both of us looking, we wouldn't blow past the turn. Sometimes it worked. Matt was pretty good at reading the roll charts so if a road was straightforward, he would just drive along without me. Most of the time, our system worked. Unless it didn't.

    Admittedly, we knew that there was an easier way to do this (i.e., we could have had more information), but we thought it would add to the adventure do it half-assed.


    Okay, nav lesson over...

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    #49
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  10. simmons1

    simmons1 Long timer

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    #50
  11. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    Day 7 continued...

    Eventually, we made it to Eureka, NV, where we refueled and had a mediocre lunch.

    Trying to pick up the trail as we left Eureka was an exercise in futility. We must have tried every road and trail offshoot near the pipeline, but each one was a dead end.

    Abandoned mine shaft. There were old shafts and danger signs everywhere.
    [​IMG]


    Judging by the abundance of bike tracks, we could tell that we weren't the first ones to deal with this mess. Finally, after wasting about an hour, we accepted the fact that the road we wanted had been fenced off.

    We went back to Hwy 50 to try and catch the TAT further down the line. It was an exasperating afternoon and as our frustration level went up, so did our speed - a dangerous combination.

    We got back on the trail and began to work our way through the roll chart. After a few miles, we realized we had made a wrong turn and had to back track a couple of times. To make matters worse, it had started to hail again (our second storm cell of the day). Pretty soon the hail turned to torrential rain - it was amazing how quickly the road filled with deep puddles and pretty soon the two track turned into two rushing streams. We didn't realize it, but the water was coming down so fast, it wasn't soaking into the desert silt. Instead it was creating a layer of super slick mud.

    Undaunted, we stubbornly (stupidly) continued to search for the waterhole (mile 239.05), increasingly annoyed at the trail. Later, I called this, "the tyranny of the trail" - the TAT uber alles. We would get obsessed with finding the correct road (or turn, or gate), at any cost. MUST FIND THE TRAIL. Today wasn't too bad, but as we went on, it got worse.

    The rain began to let up and, thinking that the thirsty desert ground would drink the water up, we continued to speed around.

    We were going down the trail at about 40mph when the bike suddenly slid sideways, perpendicular to the road. Matt said it was the same sensation as stepping onto an ice rink; one second you're on solid ground and the next -- zingggg! -- you're skating on ice. He tried to correct the bike, but had nothing, so he began to lay it down. Matt is used to crashing so he got off neatly - he hardly got muddy at all! I, on the other hand, got clobbered. My left foot hit the ground, my leg turned a bit, and then the bike hit or fell on me as its ass-end slid around. As far as crashes go, and considering the things we had been doing, this one was pretty easy. Mostly soft grass/mud. Too bad my knee got tweaked.

    Matt says if I were a good ride reporter, I would have taken a photo of the bike laying down. Sorry! I hate the smell of gasoline, so I made him pick up the bike before helping me stand. It was still so freaking slippery, I was skating all over the place and my knee didn't want to straighten completely (or bend) it was just kind of locked at a slight angle.

    Man, I was a muddy mess. I tried to clean up by wiping myself with sage brush branches but it only made it worse.
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    Still smiling!
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    Matt and the bike did alright.
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    Except for our poor fire extinguisher! (last summer matt rode the forests in oregon and he was required to carry a fire extinguisher. we brought this one just in case)
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    It was terrifying to try and get out of this section - we still slipped everywhere and had to gingerly move around. Matt used the ruts in the road to our advantage - he placed the front tire in a deep rut and then used it to keep us pointed forward (instead of sliding sideways). After a few miles of this, the mud suddenly disappeared and we were back to the usual dry silt. Which then turned into sand and deep ruts. Yay. To my frazzled nerves, this was just as scary as mud and we slipped and slid our way up into the mountains. At one point, I started to whimper, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home..." Matt just laughed and said, "You can't click your heels together - they're too swollen and full of blood!"

    He wasn't kidding. Take a look at this disgusting "cankle" (calf + ankle). Ewww.
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    Those dark specks at the horizon are the second group of mustangs we saw that day.
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    Where was this sign an hour ago?!?! Notice the storm clouds in the distance.
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    The highlight of the day was this third group of mustangs. They actually ran towards us at first. After this video, they went over to a nearby group of cows. The horses were black and brown and so were the cows. As the horses dispersed into the herd of cows, it seemed like they were trying to blend in -- "neigh!" I mean, "mooooo"







    The trail went on forever. Are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?
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    sigh. When I agreed to use this photo in the ride report, I figured that no one would even see the RR and that it would die a quiet death. But, a promise is a promise...
    Welcome to Dorksville - population: 1
    [​IMG]

    I was such a mess, Matt was worried that they wouldn't let me into the motel at Battle Mountain. When we came across this little stream, he wanted to use the water to clean me up. I couldn't move very well so he helped me take off my pants and he washed them in the water (which was swampy, stinky and full of horse and cow poop, thank you very much). He also cleaned off my boots and the back of my jacket. Wearing wet pants wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and they were pretty much dry by the time we got to Battle Mountain.

    Luckily, we had called ahead and reserved a room at the Super 8, for they were booked up by the time we arrived. A young guy working at McDonalds, gently asked if I had taken "a little tumble." He said he could tell by the mud and the way I was walking (if you could call it that). I thought it was sweet of him to ask, but when I went to go wash my hands in the bathroom, I saw my reflection in the mirror and started laughing. "Tumble", my ass - I looked like I had been hit by a garbage truck!

    Good times, good times.

    Tomorrow - ???


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    #51
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  12. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    ...to even be READING this RR!
    :bow :bow :bow

    Seriously - just amazing. Great route, great photos, great writing - and most of all, great riding. I get nervous with a pillion even on good gravel "Stop dancing around back there! Sit still! Hold on! Not that tight *&^&^%^&!!!" I can't even imagine trying to go 2-up through some of the stuff you describe.

    Eagerly awaiting rest of it! :eek1
    #52
  13. rcook52459

    rcook52459 Been here awhile

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    :rofl :rofl this will be memories the both of you will never forget.thanks for sharing.fun to read
    #53
  14. Daleah

    Daleah Been here awhile

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    I am also tremendously enjoying this RR. I have always wanted to make this trip with my wife and this is showing me it's possible (not putting myself in the same class as you-all, its just really encouraging).:clap
    #54
  15. Perfpup

    Perfpup Adventurer

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    Just rode CO on 1200 gs and planning to do Co again and the rest of the western trail in two weeks. Glad to see your report I was considering taking a 650 next time Hanncock with pannier was rough but seeing your report makes me believe I will take the 1200 again. Great report, loved reading it
    #55
  16. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    7/31/09 Day 8 of the TAT: Battle Mountain, NV - big fat 0 miles (unless you count Matt's trip to the grocery store).

    Last night I finally dipped into our first aid kit drugs - took 1/2 a vicodin and a motrin. Matt brought me a bucket full of ice and I dutifully iced my poor knee. And my other knee. And my cankle.

    At 3:00am, I try to get up to pee and it's bad. I can barely walk and I pretty much drag myself to the bathroom by hanging onto the furniture and hugging the walls. I have never wanted to pee standing up so badly but I manage to sit down (sorry, TMI, I know :eek1).

    By 7:00am, I feel a little better. It's still not pretty but I can kind of stand up and hobble around. We discuss riding today, but for once we show some sense and decide to take a rest day. Matt is mentally exhausted and I'm physically whupped.

    We don't have cable t.v. at home, so we spent the rest of the day sitting in the Super 8, watching crap. The Deadliest Catch, The X Games, Jesse James is a Dead Man (really?), and an interesting show about cephalopods. Matt went to the grocery store and brought back dinner - a baguette (surprisingly good, considering where we were), some laughing cow cheese, and microwave popcorn.
    I continued icing my knee. And my other knee. Oh, and my cankle.

    I don't really have any photos for today, except these:
    inside of cankle.
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    outside of cankle.
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    I guess the upside of hurting my knee is that I almost forgot about my cankle :D


    Tomorrow - Denio Junction, what's your function?



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    #56
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  17. chipwich

    chipwich Been here awhile

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    How does it go, something like RICE?

    Rest
    Ice
    Compression
    Elevation
    ?
    #57
  18. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    actually, I think it's:
    Rest
    Ice
    Denial
    Elevation

    :D
    #58
  19. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens

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    #59
  20. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

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    Great RR :clap

    I'm pretty good at dealing with adversity and accepting any adventure that happens to come along, but I think I might have just sat down and cried for a while if this happened to me :lol3
    #60