The TAT and beyond

Discussion in 'Americas' started by kyled1, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    Ok...Here's my story. In July, I heard about the TAT. I read up a little on it and instantly knew it was for me. I'm not a motorcycle guy...haven't even owned a bike since I was a kid (41 yrs old now). I'm an adventure guy. I love adventure and the TAT is a grand adventure. I found advrider.com and started reading TAT ride reports nonstop. Found 2 2009 KLR 650s and bought them (my 17 yr old son will be riding with me). I've been lurking around on here daily since July....reading ride reports, learning what upgrades to do to the bikes and learning what gear we need (for both bikes and ourselves).

    We plan on hauling the bikes in a U-Haul from Louisiana to Charleston, SC, heading west through northern Georgia and Alabama, meeting up with the TAT in Tennessee just north of the Mississippi/Alabama border and then riding Sam's route to Port Orford with a couple of side trips. We're definitely going to take an extra day in Moab to ride the White Rim Trail and probably veer off of the TAT route between Rico, CO and Dove Creek, ride down to 4 corners and then meet back up with the TAT around Monticello, UT so that we can add Arizona to our list of states we rode in. We'll also probably take a side trip to check out Crater Lake in OR. After reaching Port Orford, the current plan is to put the bikes in storage in probably Medford and then fly back to Louisiana. Then in the summer of 2013, we'll fly back to Medford, revive the bikes and ride up to Alaska.

    I've already added SW-Motech crashbars and Happy Trails skid plates to the bikes. Bought a Zumo 660 and the maps from Sam. Both bikes already had after market seats, one being a Corbin the other I'm not sure of but it's comfortable. Both bikes now have Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bags and one bike has Ortlieb dry saddle bags. Going to replace the pegs on both bikes but haven't decided which pegs to buy yet.

    I bought us each AFX-39 helmets and added the Sena SMH-10 intercoms. Not sure which jackets, pants and boots to buy yet. Just from the reading I've done, I'm thinking about the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 or Rev'it Air Jackets, the Klim Dakar or Mojave pants and the Alpinestars Scouts.

    Any comments on the jackets, pants or boots? Or anything else?

    Looking forward to your input......thanks.
    #1
  2. HH

    HH Hurricane Harry

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    I love your enthusiasm, and not trying to dampen it at all, but I have to suggest.
    Are you riding the bikes now?
    My advice to you is baby steps. Yes the TAT will be a grand adventure, but you should be in the saddle developing skills and ironing out equipment and bike issues before taking on such an adventure.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
    #2
  3. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    Also how dare younpost about your new bikes with outbpics.
    #3
  4. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    Oh I totally know what you mean. We've been riding the bikes since July and will continue, though there isn't any technical riding in south Louisiana. We're going to do Sam's Mississippi Hill Country ride in April or May as a shake down ride for the TAT.

    I fully realize our inexperience but I do know the TAT has been done by inexperienced riders. The TAT doesn't get technical until Colorado with the exception of the Warloop Rd in Arkansas and maybe a couple of other places so we'll have from the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado to gain more much needed experience. And if we don't make it to Port Orford, we don't make it...but that's part of the adventure.
    #4
  5. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    Sorry about that. I'm fully aware of the pic requirement on here but I'm at work posting from my iphone. I'll get pics up sooner or later...lol
    #5
  6. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I have done the TAT on a KLR and the stock seat worked fine. Just make sure you start out with new tires and brake pads and consider new clutch and throttle cables and chain and sprockets if the bikes have more than maybe 10k miles on them.

    Good idea to get some riding practice in. Fortunately the eastern part of the TAT is pretty easy except for maybe mud and a few snotty creek crossings and a little sand in OK.

    Things get more challenging long about the middle of Colorado. It seems like two different people created the route before and after that.
    #6
  7. mohalk

    mohalk n00b

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    Kyle,

    I couldn't help but notice that you're also from baton rouge, as am I. My brother and I both have 2009 KLRs. We've been planning on riding the TAT this summer and/or Alaska, and I like your plan. We ride em a lot between commuting, the Bonnet Carre spillway, homochitto nf, etc.

    I also just got the maps for the Mississippi hill country trail and have them set to .gpx tracks. We could hookup to ride it soon or do some offroad practice in the spillway. There are some dirt roads near Angola, Homochitto, Desoto NF, or Kisatchie. I will be exploring Homochitto tomorrow so I'll let you know how it is. Let me know if you want to ride!

    In response to some of your gear questions:

    I have First Gear pants and jacket and they are very comfortable. I also rode 1600 miles on/around the Blue Ridge Parkway in October on my stock seat, and found it tolerable. Sure it's not the best, but after 9k miles on the bike this year, I'm finding I pay much less attention to it and I'm more comfortable. Try sitting as far back on the seat (the widest part) and it will ease the pressure points on your tail.

    Are y'all planning on camping during the TAT or staying in hotels?

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    #7
  8. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Ride the bikes to the start, no need to trailer!!! Get used to the bikes mechanically, tire changes, and hopefully you have some mechanical ability. Your on fairly new bikes but you never can tell. Big thing is to ride with in your ability!!!! Or BARELY above it. If it rains difficulty will increase dramatically. If not then all the way to CO isn't that bad. You'll find you learn more every day of riding. I did, but I've got plenty of road miles under my belt and had about 1 year off road and that was mainly gravel. I was lucky to ride w/ a couple of guys that coached me along which helped immensely!! If things work out it would be good to ride w/ a more experienced rider! I don't think I could have had near the fun if going solo as planned.

    It's a fun ride, but remember you're a long way from home and one good crash from being screwed!!! Read my TAT like for a take on my journey. I'd love to go again, maybe even solo, but riding solo is a completely different ball game than w/ someone else. I think 3 riders is the perfect number. That way if some person is hurt and can't continue riding then one stays behind and one gets help.

    Gear- pressure suit, Kilimanjaro Jacket less armor, Aero stitch Darrien pants full armor, Combat boots, good gloves, Arai Helmet, bandana for back of neck!!!
    astericks knee braces because I'm paranoid

    BTW- It will be a trip you will always remember!!!! Great adventure and to see parts of the US many people will never experience or see!!
    #8
  9. Badger

    Badger Been here awhile

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    Subscribed !!!
    #9
  10. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Just curious, why trailer all the way to Charleston, SC which is pretty far out of the way and then skip most of TN? Maybe you have family there?

    A group of 13 of us did from TN to OK border in 2009. Frozen Dead Guys do the Trans-America Trail. I started a RR myself, but never finished it, but Bryce's report above is pretty good.

    Anyway, 5 of us started in Jellico, TN the day before and met the rest of the group in Manchester, TN the next day. That first 300 miles was probably the best part of TN other than the water crossings which are their own adventure. I know a lot of people post up a lot of TN is paved, but my understanding is Sam rerouted a bunch of TN in 2010/2011? Not sure if its made it to the maps yet or not though?

    If you do decide to continue the way you are, at least check out the TetS and the Southern DS loop as both will add some dirt to get you to the TAT.

    TetS
    OK, Here We Go. Southern DS Loop
    #10
  11. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Just to get you in the mood, my wife did put together this music montage of many our of pics from the TAT

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/852471141_R2fc4?width=640&height=480"></iframe>
    #11
  12. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    We want to ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We're not dead set on starting in Charleston, SC but I have acquired a route from there that meets up with the TAT in TN just above MS and only adds 2 days to the trip. I've read countless ride reports and many say TN is worth skipping due to the amount of pavement. If I come across a route from the Atlantic to Jellico that only adds two days and contains alot of dirt, we'd probably do that.
    #12
  13. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    We haven't decided if we're going to camp or not. Camping obviously compliments the trip but not sure if we want to carry the extra gear. And hotels would be so much easier and comfortable. But we definitely haven't ruled out camping.

    We plan on going ride in the Bonnet Carre and the Homochitto.

    What part of BR are you in? I'm actually in Prairieville.
    #13
  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    The big advantage to hotelling it is lighter weight there were a few places where less gear would have been real nice. For me that was Black Dragon Canyon. If your a new rider on a KLR this is gonna kick your but. You'll pay lots of cash for the hotels!!!!! Camping is nice as it frees your riding up to stop almost anywhere you want (once getting west of the Miss), no busting ass to make a hotel at the end of the day.

    Camping is a part of the experience which heightens the experience, hotels shelter one and dilutes the TAT. If camping invest in good and light gear.

    I loved my Big Agnes seadhouse 2 tent, and the BA air matress, both pack down very small, look at an inflatable pillow too. Really look at my prep thread for a list of supplies and see what will work for you.

    Clothing list-
    1-pair zip off pants
    1pr swim trunks
    3prs underwear
    3prs socks
    2prs light weight shirts, one long sleeave.
    1- long under wear top and bottom
    1pr- eelskin gloves
    neck wrap/ or baklava
    rain hat
    First gear Kilimanjaro jacket less armor,w/ fleece liner
    Darien pants
    661 pressure suit.
    Asterick Knee Braces (maybe)
    Arai XD3
    Goggles
    Aero Stitch Combat Boots
    bandanna

    Tools-
    misc nuts and bolts, extra chain length
    tool kit- w/ test light, small hammer, sockets, wrenches, pliers, screw drivers, 2 punches, one chisel, adj wrench, 30mm socket, chain tool
    Gerber multi tool
    Enduro trail stand (bike prop for flats)
    Sven 15" saw
    wire and bailing wire
    rope
    epoxy
    tire repair kit,small hand pump, tire levers, two HD tubes,
    reusable stainless oil filter and gaskets, air filter oil, 8 OZ engine oil, chain lube, electrical tape, wire ties.
    extra coil, spark plug, foot shifter and foot brake lever.
    lighter.


    Electrics-
    Netbook, Cannon digital camera, headlight(flashlight) ER6I ear phones, Spot, 2 scan disc (GPS coordinates), electric adapters for cell phone, tire pump, battery charger and adapters to charge from bike, weather radio, Zumo 550.

    Sundry items,roll charts/ maps Advil, hydrocodone (just in case), ace bandage, band aids, surgical tape. Sunglasses, reading glasses, glasses, lots of ear plugs, mole skin for blisters.

    Camel Back, MSR Dromedary Bladder 2L.

    Cooking gear- still working on it
    Primus stove, and 1 butane can (liquid white gas better for cool temps)
    utensils

    BA air matress, Tent Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2, Old North Face down sleeping bag 30 degree( may try a smaller bag) camp rite stool.
    #14
  15. kyled1

    kyled1 Been here awhile

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    One Less Harley,

    I read your TAT ride report and it's definitely one of the better ones that I've read! I took lots of notes and will probably even re-read it. I too plan on trying to write mine as we go. How did you protect your netbook from being damaged during the trip?

    Also, I'm pretty sure I read that you had Oxford grip heaters. Are there different versions of the Oxford and if so, which ones do you have? Do you like them?

    Thanks,
    Kyle
    #15
  16. eflyersteve

    eflyersteve Adventurer

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    Central OK
    To the OP - I don't have much to add other than I admire that you and your son are going on this adventure together. My son (14:eek1 ) and I will hopefully be doing part of the TAT from OK to NM and then north on the great divide through Colorado this summer. We are in Oklahoma and are currently amassing our camping gear and will begin to stockpile spares. I'll keep an eye out on this thread and hopefully I can learn some things along with you. Perhaps you guys wouldn't mind a little company on part of the trip depending on when you go.

    Best wishes for a safe trip.
    #16
  17. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    I didn't keep the netbook in the saddle bags but the water proof duffel on the rear. Not on the side bags for obvious reasons, in the duffel provided the safest location from tip overs and road vibrations. Also had a lightly padded zip case for it. It would be nice to have had something smaller and lighter but for doing ride reports, net surfing and possible changes to map routes it worked out fine. I don't think an I Pad or equivalent has the versatility of the net book. I bought a refurbished Acer for abound $200.

    Hot Grips 475-876 (7/8" bar w/ open ends) came with a 3 way switch but available w/ a heat troller. Yeah I liked the grips but will drain battery at low idle, hence the headlight cutoff switch. There isn't much power available fromthe stator an ambitious 200 watts. There is a power mod available to up the voltage about 1/2 a volts.

    DRZ FAQ
    #17
  18. jontaylor

    jontaylor jontaylor

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    i may of missed it but when are you planning on doing the TAT? i am trying to put together a trip with 2 of my sons in late june this year. we are coming over from australia , and have a month to do it in will you be on the trail at this time?
    #18
  19. LivingLifeWell

    LivingLifeWell Adventurer

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    Aug 16, 2009
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    Monroe, LA
    I live in Lafayette and have the TAT on my bucket list. I'm going to ride the MS Hill Country ride this spring and am working on plans for a trip to AK the summer of '13. There's a group in this part of the world called the Dual Sport Riders of Louisiana - predominately people in S. LA. They are planning a ride around the Atchafalya Basin on 1/22 which may be something for you and your son to consider.

    About trailering vs riding, I took a trip to the TX Hill Country in 2010 and trailered the bike (2008 V-Strom); when I do it again I'll just ride my bike and not worry with the trailer.

    A comment about a seat for your bike - I bought a Sargent seat for my 2006 KLR, unbelievable improvement. I traded the V-Strom for a GSA and added a Sargent seat. My plan is to use the GS for the trip to AK, the KLR on the MS and TAT rides.

    I appreciate all the posts regarding gear, it's definitely something that will come in handy for any long ride.
    #19
  20. LivingLifeWell

    LivingLifeWell Adventurer

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