Trans America Trail 2010: Who's Doing It?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by DirtyDR650, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. DirtyDR650

    DirtyDR650 Mud Lover

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Ozarks
    Thought I'd start my first thread here for everyone who's doing the TAT this coming year to post up with their plans, preperations, expectations, idea exchanges, and general BS about the trip.

    Me and a bud are doing the eastern portion this spring, 2 weeks starting in Jellico TN and going as far as Bartlesville, OK. We're looking at the last week in April and first week of May, a little cool and rainy still but hopefully avoid the worst of the bugs.

    He's riding his 2005 DRz400S, has a lot of miles on a DL1000 including Mexico and much of the western U.S. Not a lot of experience with enduro/trail riding but he's a natural rider and has youth on his side at 34 years old.

    Me, I'm al old fart in my 50's with over 45 years riding both on and off road. I'm in the process of prepping my 2008 DR650SE for the TAT and beyond. So far I've gone with a lighter custom-fabbed exhaust, dual off-road headlights, and putting together a rack/bag system using Alice-pack frames and soft bags. Also doing my own custom seat mod and a bunch of other little tricks here and there. It's a low-budget project with a lot of do-it-yourself stuff.

    Reading through all the DR650 threads has been a great help. But this thread isn't bike-specific, I'd love to hear from everyone that's doing the TAT in 2010... whatever bike you're riding. And those who have done it already, your experience and advice is, as always, greatly appreciated.

    So who else might we meet on the Trail this coming summer?
    #1
  2. lopaca

    lopaca Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    We are in the beginning stages of our planning. So far we have decided that we are going very minimalist - we will be on KTM EXCs and not set up to carry much weight. We will start with new rubber and ofcourse oil and valve checks. We may check out the giant loop bags, they are pricey. I saw them at Touratech in Washing this summer - very nice!

    We are planning on hoteling it each night. We are only doing the western half so we will start out in Trinidad, Co.

    Mods to the bikes will be basic (other than the usual that has already been done) - better seats, bigger tanks for better range and HT Oil Cooler to help cut down on oil changes. We do not plan on riding at night so we will not be doing anything crazy with our lights/stators/batteries, etc.

    We are setting aside 2 weeks for the ride. We will ship the bikes to Trinidad and then back to L.A. from Oregon.

    I have ordered Sam's roll chart and maps for Colorado, for now. We are meeting next week to start the actual mapping process.

    I have just as much fun planning these rides as I do the actual ride. Have fun.
    #2
  3. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    414
    Location:
    PGH
    #3
  4. amoroso6

    amoroso6 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    greensboro, NC
    Im headed out the first or second week of august and also camping most of the time.. buying KLR 650 2008 for the trip.
    #4
  5. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,364
    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    I(we??) plan on doing the TAT in mid July avoiding most of the late spring storms that are always prevalent in Ark, Tenn, Miss..NC, before June and in June. Although June is summer season...these areas are still engulfed with these storms. Furthermore the snows at higher elevation in June might stilll make transitting the higher passes in Colorado impassable....July or even August(ugh?) might be better.

    So far, me(2007 DR-Z400s) and another guy who's looking for a light KTM, are committed in tackling the TAT at our young age of 60-65:eek1 , we're also deaf in our :ear, he,he!. I have yet been succesful in convincing two other deafies to make the assault on the TAT a foursome event. :(:
    #5
  6. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I'll be on the TAT in 2010, still looking for the bike though. I wish someone would give me the right list to look at!!!!!!!!
    #6
  7. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
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    2,364
    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    NOTAR 520....

    For us oldies, it was recommended to go lightweigh. Easier to lift back up in case of tipover than my 1200GS. Seek out these DRZ400s'es; Honda 350-400; Kawa..350,400. Stay away from KLR 650..too heavy!
    #7
  8. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I am debating the KZ650 for it's torque, and uniqueness(for a TAT bike).

    Labrador Ride..NICE

    Cool hack on the GS, it's BIG. I always thought it would be a good challenge to hack the TAT, and pack some good comfortable camping gear.
    #8
  9. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    Love to Hack the TAT and be the first to conquer the TAT 100%. Alas!....but not doable...too wide..too heavy, fueling that pig would be enormous. Maybe 50% can be done...Rather do it on a DRZ..cheers Amigo's, see you there.
    #9
  10. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike TAT Rookie (planning!)

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    542
    Location:
    Northeast Oregon
    I have a window in my summer when the Western TAT should be ridable. Depart Eastern Oregon on June 25th..I hope to be arriving/leaving Trinidad around June 28th, ride west to Port Orford. Am still shaking out the new front end on my XR600, but it should by dialed in for a nice long ride by june. will use weekend excursions around home to trial my camping gear, which should be on the light side. Going with camping 3 of 4 days, have spot, maps, gps, cell phone, multi fuel stove, 3lb tent, select tools.
    #10
  11. DirtyDR650

    DirtyDR650 Mud Lover

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Ozarks
    Good to know there's guys older than me doing the TAT! :D Your reasoning behind the lighter choice of bike is perfectly understandable, they keep getting harder to pick up as the years go by, don't they?

    You're right about the stormy spring weather here in the Ozarks, I've lived here for ten years now and seen some nasty ones. But by late April they aren't near as frequent, tho the transitional weather is unpredictable at best. Our reasoning behind the early dates is to avoid the bug infestation that explodes around mid May, the ticks and chiggers get pretty bad and the spiders start building webs across the trail right about face-high... yuck!

    Also the heat and humidity can get up there by the end of May. I guess we'd rather ride in cooler temps and risk getting rained on than sweat our butts off under our gear. We plan on mostly camping with a couple motel nights thrown in to dry out along the way.

    I'm envious of you guys doing the whole trail, that's my ultimate goal but I have to do it in sections because of time restraints. Best of luck to you, if you need a partner for future trips and you don't mind putting up with a younger 50-something punk like me than let me know I'm usually up for 3-4 day trail rides around the Ozarks area. :1drink
    #11
  12. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    Location:
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    Yo MUDLOVER...

    Sure will give you a Blk'berry text should we be in the vicinity. We're ageless..anyone is welcome to kick our oldies :gerg weary butts...:D
    #12
  13. AugustFalcon

    AugustFalcon Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,139
    Location:
    Waterford, Connecticut U.S.A.
    I'm going to try it again in 2010. Made about the first 1000 miles in Sept 2009 before my bike broke in Arkansas. Ended up going back to get the truck and then following my son across the rest of the way as the support truck. Even that was fun. We did camp all the way across.

    Bought the Giant loop bags: son had the original, I had the Coyote both well worth the money. They hold a lot of crap and keep it low on the bike. We were riding 250s. Out west he wanted something a little bigger than his WR250F because he wanted to go faster to keep up with another FF we met on the trail.

    If you are riding in a group together I would suggest that you all think about running the same tires. I ran Kendas and my son 606s. Sometimes his hooked up when mine didn't and vice versa. He really really liked the feel and the wear of the 606s.

    If you're an old guy like me (67) and plan on camping get a National Parks and Recreation Senior Pass for $10 then most of the Federal pay campsites are 1/2 price.

    If I'm able to get my stuff together I will probably start sometime in mid to late August 2010.

    Planning and mapping it out is almost as much fun as the ride.
    #13
  14. Ruffus

    Ruffus Dirty Old Mudder

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,140
    Location:
    Fort Erie,Ontario
    With any luck, I'll make my run at it in July
    #14
  15. Tompound

    Tompound M.M.S. Tommy

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    TN
    Hey Jack,
    FF'er here how are ya?
    Let me know when you are doing it. Is John doing it too?
    I am Thinking of doing it again after this tour is over in mid august, but riding all the way home this time. :clap
    Cheers :freaky
    #15
  16. AugustFalcon

    AugustFalcon Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,139
    Location:
    Waterford, Connecticut U.S.A.
    Hey Tommo... good to hear from you. :freaky

    Don't know yet if John wants to do it again, or, if he can since I think he used up most all of his accrued vacation time on the last trip. His bike's up for sale -- don't know if he's going Orange or not but I think he really likes the thought of 450 ccs, particularly out west.

    If everything comes together I will be riding home, too. There are some guys up this way who are trying to put together a dirt route connecting the northeast from Massachusetts down through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and over to the TAT in Tennessee. That's how I'd like to get to and from the TAT -- had enough of the truck on the last trip. :1drink

    As soon as things firm up I'll let you know and perhaps we can hook up -- I would enjoy it. My only concern is that I'm kind of slow but I'd usually be able to catch up with you by the end of the day so everything would work out.

    Enjoy the rest of the tour... I'll be in touch.

    have some fun....
    #16
  17. Tompound

    Tompound M.M.S. Tommy

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    371
    Location:
    TN

    Sounds great, I think I will ride a little slower on the next trip and take my time there was a lot of stress on the last TAT trip, knowing what I know now it will be a better and more enjoyable trip! Barring all the bad shit that can happen!
    keep in touch and,

    Happy Holidays to You and All! :freaky
    #17
  18. gmsnowball

    gmsnowball Black Bear Pass

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    936
    Location:
    Oklahoma Some Where
    I have made the TAT, twice, on a KLR 650 with no difficulty. The TAT doesn't get anywhere near difficult until Colorado. We made a side trip to Moab from Monticello Utah as if your that close, 60 miles, how could we pass Moab up? Smaller bikes are easier but many have made the treck all the way to Oregon on KLR's, DR 650's and KTM Adventures. If you get to a spot that you think is too dificult there are many routes around it.

    I and my buddies easily qualify as oldies and had no problems, except for one gentelman that broke his wrist in a fall. He still made it to Utah before turning to go home. As far as picking up a downed bike....first of all, try not to fall over :lol3 Why do you think you travel with buddies, so they can help you pick your bike up, after they take numerous pictures of the fall of course.:freaky

    Be advised the trail has changed many times since Sam made his first TAT so be prepared to find alternate routes around closed gates etc. You should have no problems and will have the time of your life. Enjoy and take a zillion pictures.:D
    #18
  19. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,569
    Location:
    Diamond Bar, CA.
    Heck!

    That's one great reason to travel with an 'older' rider...
    50% off campsites! :lol3

    Q~
    #19
  20. DirtyDR650

    DirtyDR650 Mud Lover

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Ozarks
    Looks like most folks are going in mid-late summer.

    So as first-timers, we're wondering about the time it takes to do each state. We have 10 to 14 days, our original plan is Jellico TN to Bartlesville, OK. Is that enough time so as not to be in too much of a hurry?

    Since hearing that TN is mostly pavement, we thought we could skip that section for now if time is short. Whadda y'all think?
    #20