Three Friends, One Direction: West on the TAT! Giddyup!!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by mathewsturtevant, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
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    Location:
    Austin
  2. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    227
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    Austin
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    So, Travis flew in today and we started our trip in earnest. This morning our hotel room looked like a tornado had hit but eventually we got the bikes loaded. I made a pile of items to discard, because the weight is just too much. In fact, at one point later in the day I went to check the air in my front tire. The weight in the back of the back made it virtually effortless to spin the front wheel as it was sorta popping a wheelie just while it was resting on the kick stand! EEK.

    Once the bikes we loaded, we threw our legs over the saddle and rode down to the atlantic ocean. My bike felt completely different. At slow speeds it reminded my of paddling a kayak that is half full of water. Just lilting and listing from side to side. I also was wearing my Leatt neck breach for the first time. It was a little claustrophobic having a bike that felt drunk instead of nimble, and a neck I couldn't move as easily from side to side. I decided to leave the neck brace off until we reach dirt. Oh the irony if I wrecked and hurt my neck if my brace was sitting atop my luggage instead of my head. But I needed to feel somewhat normal as I set out.
    We walked down to touch the Atlantic as a symbolic gesture before turning our steeds west. I said "I'm really glad we're doing this, let's be safe and have fun" I found myself choking up a little bit out of gratitude and excitement.
    Not 2 miles from the shore we had already gotten East and West mixed up. We had stopped to get gas and I asked the man at the gas station which way was west on 105 and he said the direction we just came from. Idiot. How can locals not even know that? Well I then asked a 30 something black guy which way and he agreed with the store clerk. I went to fiddling with glove or something and the black guy yelled something at somebody and it turns out he was upset with one of his employees. I weathered woman in Hot pink shorts and a white mesh shirt and WAY too much makeup. Wow. I just got directions from a pimp.
    This is going to be quite an adventure.
    We spent the next several hours heading inland in spurts of rain on three lane roads where you find home depot, olive garden and Walgreens , over and over and over. The rain made me a bit wary but we got through it. In retrospect it was the perfect way to see how our heavily laden bikes handled in rain with new tires. Then speeding up to 50 only to stop at dozens of red lights. Even though I was riding gingerly, i felt pretty confident about my safety having just gotten all new Aerostich riding gear. You can kind of just laugh at the rain. It has no chance of getting to you.

    Eventually, the rain let up and we met some mild topography and many pleasant miles of tall pines that were aromatic from the light rains. The temperature was sometimes warm, but once we got moving our suits we fine, just unzip a bit to vent.
    We drove through Florence, then Columbus S.C. about 160 miles from our start my bike started sputtering. Wow! out of Gas on a 4 gallon tank. My oversized tank made me think I would only rarely be concerned with fuel, but because of all the food, water, gear, cameras, etc my mileage was probably 35 mpg or something horrible.
    We decide to press on and headed up 26 towards a national forest hoping to save a bit of money on a camping spot. Well this was about 35 to 45 minutes away and it was getting dark. Then we saw a sign for Dreher Island Park. I called but got answering machine. Then I just looked up campsite… perfect spots right on a lake. We showed up and I was literally a happy camper. The lake reminded me of lakes from growing up in Wisconsin, Pine trees the smell of fish mixed with lake water, somebody grilling hot dogs nearby. Our campsite was right on the water and I was so happy. We had quite a bit of heavy, high speed urban traffic and made it through just fine. Probably our only traffic of this kind that we will experience the whole trip. Really, statistically, the most dangerous part of our trip as far as fatal risks of vehicle to vehicle crashes. And we covered enough miles that tomorrow should be just 2 hours at the most before we're in the Appalatian mountains. Yee Haw. We were all in good spirits as we set up our tents. The breeze of the water kept the bugs away. The temperature was in mid 60s. We had a beautiful spot and my two friends who don't know each other except from me were getting along swimimngly. They cut jokes and both seemed to enjoy the company. We ate generous portions of Beef Stroganoff, Chilli Mac and Pad thai from our dehydrated pouches and sat aournd telling funny stories. A perfect start to this trip. I was expecting to get really anxious today with the trip officially getting underway and having SO MANY miles to go. But really, it was a perfect as a day could be.
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  3. eddievalleytrailer

    eddievalleytrailer Shh, is that a banjo

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
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    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    How was your route to the Atlantic? Knoxville then I-40 through the gorge to Asheville? Then on to 26 to Columbia? And was your Lake Murray campsite near Columbia, SC? I really hate that I will miss you guys on the trail by a week.
  4. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
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    227
    Location:
    Austin
    Start in Tellico:
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    The first 10 minutes of actual TAT have you thinking "WOW!! This is intense!". One river crossing went up to my knees. Wet slick dirt roads, but then it mellows out and actually in first few days just sort of figuring out the system. Lots of roads with no signs, wrong names, but the roll charts are spot on with distances!! I always doubt it but then at last minute it all adds up. At times it seems that Sam is sending you on a scavenger hunt. You'll go two miles out of your way for 600 feet of gravel seemingly. Then other times you'll just meander through a neighborhood for reasons I can't figure out. Over all though.. VERY beautiful, it even smells wonderful!! Super nice people!:clap
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  5. Blaise W

    Blaise W Been here awhile

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    Jan 19, 2010
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    680
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Happy to see someone using the roll charts. I found it very intertaining all the way, especially out west! Well, in western Oregon, maybe not so much. You'll have to feel your way a bit when you get there.

    'Looking forward to following you all the way across. Enjoy!
  6. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    844
    Location:
    Maple Valley , WA , USA
    Mathew , I just looked back and couldn't find a link to your SPOT . Are you using one ? If so , many inmates like to follow along to check on your progress and possibly hook up with you . Have a great ride !
  7. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
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    Okie near Muskogee
    If you guys are in Pryor, Ok tonight maybe we can meet up for breakfast tomorrow morning at carl's jr across the street I'll even buy:freaky My friend Joe from NZ said he meet up with some riders out of Tx when hewas out walking this evening. I work nights but will be off in the mornings around 7.
  8. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG

    Joined:
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
    When you send an ok message, the tracking is cut off. You have to restart the tracking.
  9. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Okie near Muskogee
    i'll see if I can get Joe out of bed to come along. Stop by the motel in a few minutes.

    John
  10. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

    Joined:
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    Typical ADV rider hospitality. Very Nice of you to give us the lay of the land . We enjoyed hearing about your travels!!:clap
  11. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    844
    Location:
    Maple Valley , WA , USA
    I am not sure about the newer SPOTs , but on my old one you have to hold the OK down for 5 seconds to activate the tracking feature . After you hit OK that is . And then it would be good to add a link for other inmates to follow along . Hope you guys are having a blast ! Ride safe .
  12. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    batteries last way longer on the old Spots too!!
  13. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Central Texas
    Keep riding. I can't wait for the full report.

    from the phone
  14. Deseret Rider

    Deseret Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    East Central Utah (Deseret)
    When last heard from your were entering some riding country----hoping you will show a map covering your route through Colo., Utah, and Nev.??
  15. eddievalleytrailer

    eddievalleytrailer Shh, is that a banjo

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    It's been a while since hearing from you guys, are you still alive?


    IBA #48298
  16. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    I hope they are enjoying the ride so much that they forgot to update.
  17. Deseret Rider

    Deseret Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    East Central Utah (Deseret)
    You got through Colorado, Utah, Nevada without nary a picture or comment? Now you are in Oregon and we hear from you again? Must have been having fun--and maybe you are a better rider than writer? Come on Matt? Let's review---what have we got so far? A picture on the beach in N Caroline and not much of anything since----????????? Grrrrrr! Moving on!
  18. CaseyB

    CaseyB Adventually

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    Mar 16, 2011
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    The Garden State
    i would humbly say, be patient. Judging by his first post and the vid, there is some quality footage and pics coming post ride.




    Or not :lol3
  19. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
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    Austin
    Over 5000 photos, tons of video footage. After prepping roll charts, navigating all day, finding gas, working on bikes, preparing dinner, setting up camp, there's not a lot of time left. There's only 24 hours in a day. Also, the internet was rarely hi speed so uploading photos is tedious to say the least. I am still traveling home from Oregon to Texas by Uhaul. So, all told, I'm traveling almost 10,000 miles in a month, I think people would rather read something crafted rather than slapped up out of urgency and impatience. It was quite a ride with many unexpected events; bears, snakes, tornados, rednecks, broken bikes, broken bones( not in our immediate group) and lots of colorful folks. We ran into the Cycles East guys who are doing the TAT on Honda Trail 90s when we were in Black Dragon Wash. Just like the ct 90 guys, we found it easier to post to Facebook, but in the evenings I will start to put this story together. Everybody who does the TAT does it differently, and we each find our own way of telling it too.
  20. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    840
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Looking forward to the full report. I also find it very tedious and distracting to report while on a ride. The pressure to put something up take too much out of the day, for me. Congrats on finishing the ride. I'll read the report when you get it going. Will you put it here or start a new thread?