TransAmerica Trail: West - East

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jbb13, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Alright; so let me start with this. This ride took place back in September 2016, there is/was a stand alone blog where it originally appeared; which is now mostly defunct. I've begrudgingly decided to post it as a ride report here after contributing to a conversation on a TAT FB page around running the TAT West to East. I say "begrudgingly" because the TAT RRs all seem to swarm in around October/November every year. They are like the locusts of Advrider... I've spent over a year trying not to contribute to that nonsense but hey, at least its December.

    I'm going to basically just insert the text and pictures from the blog posts I had written during the trip which, kept friends and family up to date with what was happening. So these should hit rather quickly, I'll try and do one or so a night. Keep in mind this is 2016 me expressing thoughts and opinions as I went. Some of my thoughts have changed since the initial writing so I'll post an immediate 2017/2018 follow up with any thoughts and comments about those days.

    As for me, I'm like almost every other American on this forum. Been lurking around since 2009ish, followed the heavyweight's ride reports with dreams of a RTW trip but lacked the funds or the necessary balls to at least attempt it with almost no money. I found the TAT in 2012 and finally rode it, solo, in 2016. And I did it West to East. I'm not a TAT purist because frankly, successfully following an arbitrary route drawn by someone across the country isn't something to regard as holy. For me I am more satisfied with the fact that I rode coast-to-coast, mainly off-road, solo.

    In the interest of being "informational" to people in the future, seeing as that's how we've arrived here in the first place, here's the high level breakdown of the trip:

    Hometown: Pittsburgh
    Bike: 2002 Suzuki DR650 "The Doctor"
    Starting Point: Portland, Oregon
    Ending Point: Ocean City, Maryland
    Mileage: 5,937
    Tracks used: GPSKevin...regrettably...
    Shipping Company: Federal Motorcycle Transport ~$700
    Gear Shipped: Fedex ~$100
    Flight: Southwest ~$175
    Safety Equipment: ACR ResQlink; $250, no subscription, no cute messaging, just set up to save your life, anywhere, full stop. (admit it, you all hate the subscription fees on your Spot...)


    Map.png

    Pros and Cons of WEST-EAST:

    Pros:
    1. Endurance. If you end up quitting after two weeks, you've ridden the best part. The West is king, the East is a liaison stage. The truth is though, people get burnt out sometimes and call it before they even get going. If you're running the West first at least you can tell yourself you're missing the less exciting part.

    2. Tires. Most people seem to change tires around Colorado. This depends on where they start of course, but this seems to be generally where it happens (Ok, or maybe Utah). I rode it with one set of tires. A D606 in the rear and an MT21 in front. They were clapped out by the end of Arkansas; however, the extended weather report looked good and the route was becoming more paved so I kept riding on them. I made it, no issues. I know I wouldn't have chanced it East-West. Now, I'm not saying I'm too cheap to buy tires, I would have if I found it necessary. However, if you are then this lands in the pros column.

    3. Petty, but you don't spend hours staring at the sun in the afternoon. You do however end up doing this in the morning... so pick your poison. I'm lazy and would get late starts so the sun was higher in the sky when I was riding... sorry I meant Pro Tip: Start after 10 am to avoid sun in your eyes...

    Cons:
    1. If you've never attempted or completed an adventure ride longer than 3-5 days then East to West provides a very, very nice warm up for what's to come. I'm a seasoned enduro rider but was attempting my first longer term trip and the first week was rough... That will be evident from the RR. West to East you are certainly diving into the deep end. It's by no means a hurdle you can't overcome though, just be prepared to experience some mental low points.

    2. Port Orford is an AMAZING finishing point. Sam couldn't have picked a better location to end the TAT proper. When heading West to East having Port Orford as the start and not the finish is probably the biggest possible con you can ask for. I won't even try to say it isn't. Riding away from it is a MAJOR bummer. On the other hand, while I didn't put much thought into this for most of the trip; if you live in the East, triumphantly pulling down your street after a long journey to see friends and family waiting to greet you is actually a pretty awesome feeling.

    3. TAT purists. If you are one, aspire to be one, or for whatever reason feel being accepted into "the club" is important to you then you're going to be bummed. Because the TAT goes East to West, 'nuff said... I do not care therefore those people can f*ck right off.

    Some random odds and ends that one might be asking themselves from the above in quick answer form:

    "uShip is way cheaper than Federal MC Transport? Why did you spend that money, you could have gotten a deal, I shipped my bike...blah...blah...blah..."

    - Yep true, short answer, I needed a guarantee that the bike would be sitting in a facility the day I arrived. I was willing to pay a premium to ensure this. Federal was the only place able to do this for me at the time.

    "Why did you Fedex your shit there? You get 2 free checked bags on Southwest bro!"

    - Yep again true, layover in Chicago with a plane change was the reason. I was willing to pay the $100 to ensure that my stuff made it. Surprisingly, Fedex was the cheapest and will hold your stuff at a Fedex location for up to four days, you can pick it up there. PRO TIP: Don't send something Fedex that you taped with duct tape.

    "I love my Spot/InReach/Etc. Why are you knocking them? I can send 'I'm ok' messages to my mom from there."

    - Yep, true. Two things.

    Thing one: I'd read a few things were people cited instances were their Spot's SMS function wasn't received, one person cited ~30% of them were never received by his wife when sent. Sure, that's hearsay, but that's kind of eye raising IMO. What happens when you hit SOS? They say 100% are recieved but dead men don't tell no tales... Thing Two: Ok, it's mostly the subscription fee; I'm not paying that. The ACR ResQlink is a top notch product, it does ONE thing and appears to do it very well. It's ~$100 more than the Spot's initial cost and after 5-7 years the battery needs replaced. This is ~$100 to have done by ACR making the "subscription fee" ~$14.28 - $20 per year payable once every 5-7 years. Thing Three (I lied): You would be surprised at the amount cell phone reception you have on the TAT. Although, Colorado is a bit of a black hole if you have Verizon...

    "But what about a HAM Radio!?!? I've been an operator for XX years!!!"

    - No... Please stop asking people this...please...please stop...

    "Sam has been making these tracks...blah...blah...blah...and its unethical...blah...blah...blah..."

    - Yea, I know, this was a mistake. You get what you pay for...


    Finally, it's been awhile now but I met some awesome people out there. Some of which I know are members on this forum. I don't remember all of the names, and I wish I'd have gotten pictures with you all. However, if you read an experience and remember our encounter PLEASE REPLY! I'd love to reconnect with some of the people I met!

    The bike build will be a different thread. I have a 2018 update coming for this and also a 1971 Honda CB100 build for a 600 mile challenge/ride later this summer.

    That's a long ass rant so here's some preview pics:

    IMG_1681.jpg

    IMG_1686.jpg

    IMG_1709.jpg
    #1
  2. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
  3. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,173
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    Great start! Looking forward to this one, esp any comments about Kevins tracks. I'll be doing the TAT solo, off and on, over the summer, and will have both his and sams.
    #3
  4. bkendig76

    bkendig76 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2016
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Conestoga PA
    I'm In.
    #4
  5. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    482
    I like reading about the TAT so I'm in.
    #5
  6. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,325
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    In
    #6
  7. FLHTK

    FLHTK Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    Oddometer:
    16
    Me too!
    #7
  8. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    511
    Location:
    VenCo/CA
    I am In!

    FYI: I've seen both the ACR and SPOT in action... I carry a SPOT, it works fine in my opinion. But, the ACR is a more reliable product with a more reliable response, no question.
    #8
  9. rebel346

    rebel346 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Bristow,VA
    In!
    #9
  10. pebkac

    pebkac Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Colorado
    :lurk
    #10
  11. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Alright, hmm...so there's interest. I guess we'll dive in then. Full disclosure, it's been awhile since I've posted pics so if they come out crappy I may have to edit the posts. Hoping that inserting the URL from my original blog will do a decent job of hosting and get me around the 4 pic limit and will also get me around a paid service.

    Pre-Trip:

    So if you're doing a one-way TAT you gotta ship, or just quit your job and make it a two-way trip. As much as I'd prefer the latter my bank account enjoys the former.

    I spoke with Kristina at Federal Motorcycle Transport about getting the DR out there. I’d go dock-dock from Cranberry, PA to Tualatin, OR and it needed to go by August 16th. As I mentioned, yes, there are cheaper options, but the reviews for Federal are fantastic and the bike needed to be there before 8/31. I couldn’t just throw it on the lowest bidding truck on uShip and let it show up when the driver finally got around to the Portland metro area.

    I dropped the bike off at the shipping dock 8/12 and this dude tied her to a skid and sent her to Oregon.

    [​IMG]

    Then the gear had to go. I got a number of shipping quotes for my gear. UPS, USPS and Fedex; believe it or not Fedex was the cheapest, $91. My gear would go in a heavy-duty Lowe's moving box size 24″x18″x18″, weighing ~70 lbs. and have a claimed value of $1,500 for insurance purposes.

    All of this crap had to go:
    ...ok not the guitar, coffee table and recliner...

    [​IMG]

    Ideally, I would just ship the gear as early as possible and let it sit at Fedex until I got there 9/1. Except, Fedex Hold for Pickup, while a free and very convenient service, only lasts for 7 days. What happens after 7 days you might ask? Well, they ship the package back to where it came from; obviously a terrible, terrible outcome.


    Day 1: Portland, OR

    First day one picture? A plane! I left Pittsburgh around 6 P.M. EST and landed in Portland at 9:30 P.M. local time (12:30 EST) and it was pushing 10:30 P.M. PST by the time I reached the Airbnb booked. At this point I don't have anything except some tooth paste, my Macbook, and a pair of underwear in a tiny collapsable carry on bag thing I found on Amazon. An Airbnb seemed to be my best bet for the night.

    [​IMG]

    The "space" was interesting… I’m not so sure about the part of town, so I'll let the owner describe it:

    Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 8.01.46 PM.png

    I didn't know wtf that all meant so of course I booked it...and it was cheap. But here's the house rules; I particularly like the part where they found it necessary to specify no HARD drugs. I do indeed love the west coast man.

    [​IMG]

    It kind of seemed shady but when I left in the morning the doors were all unlocked. Hey, these guys lived there; they would know. Right?

    My internal clock basically tells me to wake up whenever 6 A.M. comes so I can go to work and it was very much still running on EST since I woke up at 3 A.M. PST. I slept on and off until about 7 when I gathered my things and left.

    Room was pretty nice though:

    [​IMG]

    I stopped in at McDonalds to grab a burrito figuring I’d stop for lunch at some point (I didn’t…). Then made my way down to Tualatin and grabbed my box of gear from Fedex.

    [​IMG]

    I signed for the bike and returned the rental car. Now it was time to make all my crap fit in these bags. Which of course it didn't...it all fit at home. I knew I stuck a couple extra small things in the box before I shipped it but damn!

    These panniers were pretty much full in this picture:

    [​IMG]

    After about 2 hours just about everything was packed. I was trying force my riding pants into the left side pannier a I managed to tip the bike slightly past center and CRASH; down it went. The first drop of the trip, in the shipping company’s parking lot… I wish I had a picture of it but I immediately rushed to pick it up. And oh yeah, WOW she was heavy loaded up. Which should have been my first hint I was overpacked.

    Shortly after the drop, we set off. I hit a gas station where I immediately got to feel like an ass because I didn’t have money to tip the full-service person. Turns out that’s still a thing in Oregon; in fact it’s actually the law. I didn’t feel so bad though since the lady let me pump it myself after she swiped my card.

    I set off for the day, I had planned a ride through a forest area out to the coast. About 35 miles in I stopped to take this cool shot of the reservoir and noticed smoke coming from my right pannier and then this…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The rear of the bag had slipped off the rail, onto the exhaust and started melting through the bag. It seemed like I'd caught it in time and was able to adjust the bag and throw a little duct tape over it. Of course this wouldn't be the last time dealing with this.

    Cool reservoir:
    [​IMG]

    A short time later a Sheriff came by and asked if everything was good. I told him yes, he gave me a thumbs up and just left. Far different from back home where just three weeks prior my buddy Ryan and I had to explain ad nauseam to a Ranger that we had no intention of riding anything other than the dirt back roads that appeared on the map. BTW PA is a pain in the ass...

    I ultimately made it out of the forest area and down to Hwy 101. At that point it had been raining for about 2 hours. I rode through the rain for about another 45 minutes until I reached Lincoln City, OR where I got my first proper look at the ocean. I found a section where they let you ride onto the beach. Awesome. Unfortunately, I had to stay on the bike because the ground was too soft and the kickstand was sinking in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I made my way to a parking lot so I could scheme where to stay for the night. I figured I’d head another 20 miles to Newport, where I found a cheap motel that was equally as shady as my Airbnb the prior night. They only had 1 room available which naturally was a way overpriced 2 bed; or there was a guy in the lobby, on the phone, trying to cancel his room with Expedia. The guy behind the desk said if the guy on the phone could get his stuff cancelled he'd be able to book the room again. Ok, fine... However, I decided to pass after a 3 way argument broke out between the guy behind the desk, the guy trying to get a refund and a drug addict who was hoping to get the cancelled room too.

    [​IMG]

    Sooooooooo I cruised down the coast for another hour looking for a place to stay, snapping pics along the way.

    Picture dump time:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally, after hours in the rain, no food and no water left I decided I’d had enough. It was getting dark so I grabbed the first place in Yachats I could find. It was some Irish themed place. I got a room, unloaded and then went to the market to grab some food. Soup sounded good so I bought it only to remember all of my cooking gear was metal so I couldn’t exactly heat the soup up in microwave.

    Time to get creative…

    [​IMG]

    The place also had a sauna light so that was key in drying my stuff out.

    [​IMG]

    So there I was; 160 miles completed. I'd only planned for 125 originally since I wasn’t going to get riding until the afternoon. Port Orford was the next stop and maybe the first leg of the trail.

    The room next door had some people come in and of course they had young kids. All they did was scream for hours…I don't like kids...


    2017 Update: Nothing really I guess. I did end up asking a coworker who grew up in Oregon about tipping the full service gas station attendant and he laughed and said he'd never heard of anyone doing that. Also, there are many ways to warm up soup as you will learn.


    ..
    #11
    trypod-AL, Dirtdigger, GF-kam and 7 others like this.
  12. norton(kel)

    norton(kel) vintage

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,376
    Location:
    CO.
    :lurk
    #12
  13. OldTriumphRider

    OldTriumphRider Livin the Dream

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    866
    Location:
    Smoky Mts
    I'm in , I'd forgot about the full service gas stations, guess it gives more people jobs.
    #13
    jbb13 likes this.
  14. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Well this is actually kind of fun to relive and slightly embarrassing to read all of my typos from the original blog. Oh well, we can edit! I'll shut up now.


    Day 2: Port Orford - Glendale(ish)

    I set out from the Dublin-whatever-the-hell motel/hotel overpriced place at promptly…1030 am. Much later than I’d hoped. It was a perfect morning though, so it was hard to complain. It took a while to reload everything onto the bike; I was going to have to get better at this.

    [​IMG]

    The ride down the 101 was pretty dramatic and I must say a much better view without all of the rain. Just overlook after overlook of this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I finally made it to Port Orford and pulled down onto the beach like every good TAT rider does. Unfortunately, the tide was way up so I couldn’t ride down the beach. Well, actually that’s a lie; yes, I could have as you can see from the picture below. However, I wasn’t about to get stuck in that little stream there.

    [​IMG]

    I turned around and rode back up the drive from the beach and met up with a few Advriders from Canada who had caught up to me on the 101. They were making a loop into California then back toward Crater Lake before heading home. The one guy gave me a cool decal to throw on the bike; I guess I am now officially part of the Roaming Polar Bear Club. Pretty cool! If you guys are reading this then Hey!

    [​IMG]

    The TAT ends in Port Orford, OR but this is where it will start for me. The first loop on the route is a 114 miler to Glendale, OR. It was about 1:30 pm when I set out from Port Orford. It was too early to stop and I was anxious to get off the highway. The 101 was great; but sort of miserable on a dirt bike, especially after 300 miles. I think I’d like to do it in a car maybe.

    I set off down a back road that wasn’t much different than any average road you’d see in Pittsburgh. Paved, yet crappy. At least in Oregon they save these for back roads and not the main routes in and out of downtown; but I digress... I rode down along this river that was pretty amazing looking and took a few snaps.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then the off-road sections began and they kept on going up the mountain. The view from the top were AMAZING.

    It's hard to describe, so here:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now according to some people online there was a rock slide about 35 miles in and at this point I’d ridden roughly 50 miles... This update was added sometime in late July 2016; but judging by the size of the rocks they posted in their ride report they weren’t getting cleared anytime soon. The trail I was on came down out of the mountains and dumped out onto a main-ish road. The tracks had you follow this road about 2 miles and then back up into the woods. That’s where the rock slide was at; about 55 miles into this leg of the trail. I think I could have squeezed around it if I’d opted to take the panniers off the bike but the ledge was pretty steep. I’m alone and I wasn’t eager to hit the “O dear God please come save me…” button on my rescue beacon the first day. I backtracked down to the main road and took the next dirt road into the mountains. This road converged on the TAT track about 5 miles in. We were on course again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I followed the tracks for some time. I wasn't sure how much time but I wasn’t really making the progress I’d hoped to be and it was starting to get late. I had planned to be done riding for the day between 5-6 pm so I could get camp set up before dark. I came across this downed tree that the forest service thankfully had already cut up. Back tracking would have taken some time. Pretty bitchin' looking though!

    [​IMG]

    I finally popped out of the forest again; this time thinking I was on the home stretch into Glendale. There had been a lot of wildfires out here over the years and every road I turn down seemed to have fire risk level warning sign; all of which were set to extreme. The tracks took me a through a paved section that at some point was on fire. It’s pretty devastating, especially when you consider this used to look as lush as the other pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It wasn’t long after that that the tracks led me to a section with such an extreme fire risk that they closed the road for use entirely. Which is probably a safe bet on their part but it was even later in the evening now and I was starting to get a bit nervous. There has to be an easy go around right? It was time to consult the GPS! The map I had loaded had almost all of these forest roads on it but they really just looked like a spider’s web; 90% of them go nowhere. Shit…

    [​IMG]

    From what I could tell the road I was on went up maybe another 1/2 mile and then turned in the same direction as this closed road. I figured they may parallel for awhile then run into each other like a few roads had earlier. At first things looked pretty promising. The road I was on kept getting closer and closer to the track so I stuck with it figuring any at moment they would meet. Three miles passed. Four miles passed. I know what you’re thinking; trail blaze the gap? Sure, you're not supposed to do that, but desperate times right? The track was only a few hundred yards away; but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the 30′ drop next to the trail I was riding on. I followed it out until they diverged, permanently.

    Now GPS is an amazing tool. The problem though, and maybe it's my luck, is that GPS never seems to work when you really need it. Mine now wasn’t showing my current track. Meaning, I couldn’t just follow the line I’d been drawing on my GPS screen, literally all day until now, back to where I came from.

    New plan: Interstate 5 was showing on the GPS. It was time to just zoom out and keep making turns that kept me pointed toward it. I'd get on there or some legitimate road and head to camp.

    That meant we were going up hill; exactly the direction I didn’t really want to be going. Oh yea and then a giant brown bear came running across the trail I was riding on (This is the part where you comment and tell me they don’t have those in Oregon; pause though and keep reading the next few posts). This wasn’t going well… The next mile or so became a mental game of remaining calm enough to not panic and crash.

    I don’t have many pictures of this part since it wasn’t exactly my top priority but I snapped these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shortly after snapping these I finally started heading downhill again and 10 miles of logging company access road later I dumped out into a town. Success. I was about 20 miles up I-5 from Glendale and another 3 from a campground. I hit the Interstate since it was the only option I was willing to consider at the moment and cruised down to camp. I pulled in around 8:30 PM, called the number on the office, paid my $7 dollars, ate some cold soup and went to sleep.

    The 114 mile leg of the TAT turned into 150 miles. From the Irish theme park motel to Glendale it was 289 miles total for the day.

    Oh yea, the lady at the campground also informed me I made a good choice skipping over the Inn in town (of course she did, right?). Personally, I skipped it because it was supposedly a “haunted” tourist attraction; who needs that crap right? She informed me that it was also run by tweakers; God bless meth.



    2017 Update: Yes, cold soup this time. Mainly because while I'd planned on buying gas for my stove I was overpacked and didn't have a place for it. This really was the start of a pattern of good vibes in the AM and minor panic as the afternoon dragged on. Oh ya, and I commented about the roads in Pittsburgh, well they literally lite one of the main bridges that lead into town on f*cking fire while I was gone...

    http://www.post-gazette.com/news/tr...sitive-spot-on-structure/stories/201609080070


    ..
    #14
  15. WVDingo

    WVDingo Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    321
    Location:
    Parkersburg, WV
    We may have to let you not pick overnight accommodations anymore. I mean I'm seeing a trend... the Hatfield & McCoy ride where we stayed at the hotel in Williamson, WV, and then these places you stayed.
    #15
  16. sperduton

    sperduton Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    535
    Location:
    Lebanon Township, NJ
    Bring it on..a west east report..been thinking about this

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    #16
  17. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    That's probably wise...
    #17
  18. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,623
    Location:
    Dixie
    What do you mean pictures aren't your top priority? Don't you know you're here to entertain us no matter how late you get to camp ? Don't forget that in your next report. :lol3 I'm still in for this one, though.
    #18
  19. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Day 3: Glendale(ish) to Crescent

    So where were we? Oh, yea: Campground, outside of Glendale; not run by tweakers. Perfect. Let’s do this.

    I actually got an early start this time; I was packed up and back on the road by 8:30. It was gloomy and kind of chilly out. First stop was a gas station and this kid was the only person working the place when I got there. He came stumbling out of the store attached to the station smelling very much like the devil’s lettuce; apologizing profusely for making me wait. I’d probably been there for all of 30 seconds. He proceeded to fill my tank instead of allowing me to do it; surprisingly no spillage.

    Anyway, pretty cool kid. I stopped in the store, grabbed some supplies then I left to load everything onto my bike. Another guy pulled up in a truck and the kid again came stumbling out. The guy started talking to me about my trip and the kid came over to join in. We all talked for about 10 mins. The PA plate really gets people wondering how you got there and where you’re going. He wished me luck and hoped I could chase summer fast enough because winter was coming in a hurry.

    I finished packing and realized I'd forgotten a bottle of water. I ran back in to grab one. I went to pay and the kid told me it was on the house. I argued, he insisted, I lost. My first taste of Oregonian hospitality; it wouldn’t be the last.

    I set off back down the TAT. More of the same from the day before, but colder. I got to the top of the mountain and my gauge was reading 52 degrees. It was a bit chilly while moving but the views?

    I'd say they're alright:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The track ran all of the way up the mountain then all of the way back down. The trail got pretty rough in some spots but I was able to slug the DR up it and safely back down. Man was this bike going to be a real pain in the Rockies…

    When things finally evened out again I took some pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The tracks took me back down the mountain and onto a main road. Again, just as they had yesterday, the tracks told me to turn off the road about 2 miles later and into the woods.

    I followed the track up the road and it came right up to a gate; which was open, with a house about 15′ off the road and a giant homemade sign “POSITIVELY NO TRESPASSING!” and an AR-15 silhouette below it. In the two days of travel I had already seen a lot public roads that appeared to be private based on the proximity of people's homes, random junk and No Trespassing signs to the road. I'd also read about people trying to close public roads down for private use; which, it was said could be ignored because it was illegal to do. However, this guy seemed a bit more serious and whether he was in the right or wrong I didn’t want to have the merits of his rights being debated in court because he'd shot me; so I bailed.

    I jumped back onto the main road and looked at the GPS. South Umpqua road was the next turn; it followed the Umpqua River and it looked like TAT track met up with it about 20 or so miles down the road.

    I followed the road and finally met up with the track. The TAT track followed South Umpqua about 6 miles then made a left. This road was amazing! Fast gravel, straight line, no turns for about 4 miles until… Yep, you guessed it; it suddenly ended!

    I came skidding on in, full brakes, right into a small campground obviously set up by visitors instead of the Forest Service with a huge 7′ high embankment blocking the track. It had obviously been there for some time because there were 15′ pine trees as far as you could see growing behind it.

    I’ll admit, by this point I was kind of frustrated and a little bit angry. Yesterday I hit the closed road; which wasn’t GPSKevin's fault. However, today I hit private property that probably shouldn’t have been entered and now this stupid road block? I uploaded GPSKevin's supposed “2016 update” version of the tracks GPS for a freaking reason. Where’s the update man!?

    I promised myself yesterday, after getting lost in the mountains near dark, that I wasn’t going to go on anymore self guided tours of the Oregon forest. Instead I rode back down to the South Umpqua road and consulted the GPS for a second time. The next gas stop is a place called “Dry Creek Store” and from what I’d read you HAVE to fill up there if you want to make the next leg up to Crescent on the TAT.

    Now, I wasn't so sure that my range was the same as what the GPSKevin estimated you’d need because I had this enormous tank. I was able to make yesterday’s trek with plenty to spare. However, I also wasn't 100% sure what my off-road mileage was at all, since this varies depending on terrain. Either way it’s good practice to fill up when you can; if for nothing more than piece of mind. Also, I didn’t plan on making a habit of pretending I know more about the trail than the author. If it says fill up before you go off miles into the woods, then that’s what I’m doing.

    Anyway, Dry Creek Store is on highway 138. Perfect, the sign in front of me says “State HWY 138: 46mi” with an arrow pointing left. I end up following this same forest road, South Umpqua Road, all 46 miles. The road is awesome. It was all twisties so naturally I’m leaning the DR out through the hairpins like no buddy’s business. It’s a blast.

    The road turns into gravel and continues up the mountain where I went from leaning out turns to fishtailing them like a Dakar racer. I also shot this at the top:

    [​IMG]

    The track then turned into a long, long down hill section to Hwy 138 where I was greeted by this bad boy:

    [​IMG]

    I hung a left and shot up to Dry Creek Store; which is of course closed. Permanently.

    Again, what was the 2016 update to the tracks and waypoints supposed to be? This kind of seemed like an important one…

    While I’m sitting in the parking lot taking a break a guy pulls up in an SUV with Washington plates looking panicked and asks if this place was really closed. "Yes, it is..." He spead off. Not sure where he was going; there didn’t appear to be gas for miles…

    I look at the map and GPS again and decide the safe bet was to take Hwy 138 to 97, then 97 up to Crescent. This was a crappy 69 miles on-road as opposed to the 75 miles off-road that the TAT track was showing. Seems like almost no difference but my MPGs are bound to be better on-road; plus at least there’s people on the road if I run out of gas. To be honest 75 miles was within my range but it was 3:45 at this point and judging by how the day had gone so far I had absolutely zero faith that I wouldn’t get 40 miles up the road, have to turn around and then find myself actually outside my range.

    The road route was pretty crappy though because it was something like 14 miles in a straight line East, the road turns right then 12 miles South. Again it turns East for the last 15 miles to 97. Then make a left on 97 and head 30 miles in a straight line North. Those miles don'y add up, but you get the picture. The speed limit was 65 and it’s a two lane road. Fantastic…

    The ride is cold and I hadn’t taken many pictures yet, which was upsetting me, so I pulled off at a Clearwater Falls:

    [​IMG]

    I looked at the map again but on Google Maps this time and it was showing that there was an alternate route just off the main road. I decided to give it a shot because it went straight to Crescent and was only 40 miles. The road started out paved but soon turned to gravel.

    I decide to give it a shot because the prospect of the main road just seemed painful. As I’m driving up this road my phone starts telling me to make U-turns and head back. It is literally telling me to ride around in circles. I am very, very angry at this point and decided hell with it, I’m going back to the main road to do the original road route.

    [​IMG]

    One very freezing hour later I end up in Crescent; at the motel tagged as a waypoint on the TAT tracks. Which, to my understanding, were all supposed to be "affordable establishments". Wrong again, but I’m tired, cold and kind of annoyed. I just wanted a shower and a warm bed; plus it was going to rain all night and the temps were forecasted to go down as low as 28.

    I paid for the room and was unloading my stuff when three Harley guys walked up and saw my PA plate. They hit me with a ton of questions and were blown away by the trip. Mark, Rick and Rick’s son, Paul were from Eugene and had come down for the night on the bikes to have some beers. Mark and Rick were Pharmacists and Paul worked at a bank much like myself.

    I got my stuff unloaded and into the motel. I went back out to throw my rotor lock on and the guys were sitting out on the porch drinking whiskey and they called me over for a drink. We had a few drinks and they invited me to come to dinner with them. I agreed and ran in to grab a quick shower.

    We hit the burger place across the street, had some burgers and shared a few pitchers of beer. Good times. The bill came and they said dinner was on them. I argued, they insisted, I lost…again.
    We all headed back to the motel, I thanked everyone then went in and crashed for night.

    Oh yea, the place had a kind of cool toilet seat.

    [​IMG]

    Mileage about 236.


    ..
    #19
  20. peejayess

    peejayess Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Cheltenham UK
    I'm enjoying this - keep going ....
    #20