TransAmerica Trail: West - East

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

  1. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    On The Road
    This is beautiful,following along :)
    #21
  2. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer

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    In...:lurk
    #22
  3. Fat Chance

    Fat Chance Adventurer

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    In as well.
    #23
  4. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I'm sure you will address it in do time but I am interested to hear about the GPS Track(s) problem with the route/tracks.

    The nice part about your RR starting from the west is I usually lose interest or are skipping through other TAT RR's at this end and I'm finally (my fault for not reading others RR's carefully at this point) able to follow along. Fun ride.
    #24
  5. Glov3r

    Glov3r ThrottleJunkie

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    In..
    #25
  6. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Day 4: Crescent to Lakeview

    Even with the kindness of Mark, Rick and Paul the night before I was finding myself dreading the day’s ride. I’d started to wonder what I’d gotten myself into. Dead ends, bad tracks, crap way points, closed gas stations, spats of bad weather and less than affordable accommodations. And it was only day 4? Right, I know, that’s what makes it an adventure.

    I was up at 6:30 am. I’d heard the rain most of night which drove most of the dread I had for the miles ahead of me. I opened up my laptop and started to search for places to stay. I found an RV Park 10 miles outside of Lakeview which offered tent camping for $20. That’s the plan. No more panicking at 4 or 5 pm. The forecast for the evening was supposed to be 37 degrees for the Lakeview area and no rain. It all looked better than the night before. I looked at the route again, familiarized myself with where to head and told myself we would be on the trail by 9.

    As 9:45 rolled around I was finally my stuff reinstalled onto the bike and was heading out by 10. The first track of the day was sand. Great…sand. I knew there was going to be sand on this trip, the route goes through Nevada. I just didn’t expect it on day 4 in Oregon. I was slow at first; I hadn’t ridden sand in maybe 5 years and even then it was minimal at best. Fortunately, there was a good bit of hard pack sand.

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    After about 15 miles I was picking up speed. I was back up to the pace I was riding the gravel roads at. Even better though, I was actually having fun again. The worries of yesterday were gone. After about 26 miles I stopped on a gravel road and did an equipment check. The sand ride had some whoops and a few of them caught me off guard with the pace I was riding. I’d bottomed out the rear shock over the last of them; which isn’t terribly hard to do on a DR. I took a quick look over the bike and noticed that the panniers were loose. I tightened them and noticed that one of my clips was busted, so I tied it up and took off down the gravel road.

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    This leg of the track was 66 miles down to Silver Lake and there was a spilt at about the 24-mile mark between the standard route and the scenic route. I rode the first 24 miles; made great time and decided I wanted to continue that, so I jumped on the scenic route and pushed forward the whole way down to Silver Lake.

    The trail dumped me out onto Route 31 and there was a quick 5 mile run into the town of Silver Lake. Where again the gas station was closed. I looked at my fuel situation, I’d only used about 1/4 tank getting there. I figured I could make it to Lakeview on what I had, so I hopped on the trail and headed toward Lakeview.

    It was a desert trail and it was awesome. I clocked another 42 miles; smiling ear to ear. I was just flowing through the sand. I came up to an intersection and checked my GPS to see where to go. Interesting… I had a pink, green and RED line…hmm…Red was the color of my current track…

    Then it hit me. I’d made a wrong turn in Silver Lake. Instead of taking the track south to Lakeview, I had instead taken the “standard” track, the one I’d skipped earlier in lieu of the scenic route, and gone BACK up the mountain to where the two had intersected! At that point I snapped; complete mental break. I was pissed, I was swearing out loud with no one listening. In that moment the whole day had been completely ruined. There’s nothing in Silver Lake, so I either had to go back to Crescent where I’d have to camp in the cold or hit the road again toward Lakeview.

    I peeled out back down the scenic route toward Silver Lake. I was still fuming, which meant I was flying. I wasn’t going back to Crescent and freezing my ass off at camp or getting ripped off at the motel again. I was going to Lakeview, hell or high water. The sign on the road when I was in Silver Lake the first time said 95 miles to Lakeview. I was again skipping the TransAmerica TRAIL in lieu of just riding the street. This one was my fault though…and I knew it…

    I started to calm down a bit. Mainly because I realized I wouldn’t be getting to Lakeview if I wrecked on this stretch or broke the bike. I finally got back down to the road and hoped off the bike to open the final gate. As I got off the bike, I mistakenly kicked my top box while swinging my leg over. I lost my balance, so did the DR and we both hit the ground. I reached over, flipped the key off to shut her down and just laid there. I wasn’t hurt, I was just at rock bottom. Days of random crap happening, all coming to a head when I’d managed to ruin the best day I’d had yet by going the wrong damn way. I was defeated, after 4 days.

    Four. Damn. Days.

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    Anyway… for those of you keeping score at home: The split between the routes was 24 miles into the leg; which in total was 66 miles long. I took the scenic route (green) so I did 32 miles down to Route 31 and then 42 miles back up using the main route (blue) back to where the routes split. Then 32 more miles back down the scenic route to RT. 31…again. It effectively cost me 106 miles to go the remaining distance from where the tracks split to Silver Lake. All at about 30 mph or a tidy 3.5 hours… Please see map below…

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    I jumped on Route 31 and headed back toward Silver Lake. I wasn’t going to jump on the right trail to Lakeview; the gas station in Silver Lake was still closed and this time I really did think I was going to be in need of fuel in the near future. The sand was deeper on the standard route back up so I’d used noticeably more fuel. On the other hand, Route 31 passed a few towns and one of those was bond to have fuel. I pushed on down Route 31, all 95 miles of it, to Lakeview and then the10 more to the campground.

    Oregon Route 31 was amazing. It completely turned my whole mentality around. The views were awesome, the air was warm and there were no cars in sight. It was perfect. I’d recommend it if you ever find yourself that way. It is considered an Oregon Scenic Byway for a reason; it was spectacular:

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    I’d picked an RV Park/Campground to stay at earlier that morning. I figured Juniper’s Reservoir RV Park seemed like a good choice; just outside of Lakeview. I pulled in and the place was absolutely packed. I figured it might prove difficult to get a camping spot since it was Sunday in the middle of Labor Day weekend.

    I asked the lady running the place if they had any spots. She told me she wasn’t sure; there was a Moose Lodge event and a high school class reunion going on this weekend but she would ask her husband to be sure. About 10 minutes later her husband came walking over, looking a bit distressed. He told me he wasn’t sure if there was any room and when he saw me come up the drive he was praying I wasn’t looking for a spot. I told him it looked like they had plenty of room for a small tent; since the field the tents were in was basically empty. I was told the issue wasn’t so much spaces for tents as it was parking. I told him if he’d allow it, I’d just park next to the tent. He perked up and said “Yeah, that’d be perfect!” I’m not even sure why you would assume I’d want to park further away. Literally everything I owned was on this bike…

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    I set up camp and the guy in charge came back over an offered me an additional sleeping bag since the temperatures were supposed to dip into the 30’s. I accepted as I’d only packed a 50-degree bag after my coworker from Oregon, a camper himself, assured me I would be fine with that bag. When the guy in charge came back with the bag he informed me that the Moose Lodge had invited me to come join in on the BBQ. I thanked him and said I may; but I didn’t want to intrude.

    About 15 minutes later two ladies from the Moose Lodge walked up with giant plate of food saying they couldn’t just let me starve. I thanked them and decided I may as well walk over and eat with the Lodge; it’d be rude to just take the food.

    Everyone asked where I was from and where I was headed. I explained as I’d done numerous times already then proceeded to play Scattergories with them.


    Mileage: 210



    ..
    #26
  7. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Yes, I'm planning a post on that. Kind of developing it at the moment, I want to detail it and offer opinions and insight. I'll throw it up when it's done.
    #27
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  8. OldTriumphRider

    OldTriumphRider Livin the Dream

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    I made a wrong turn in Oregon one time , them forest and logging roads are hard to follow sometimes , I felt the same way you did and I felt it all over again when I read that part ! lol
    #28
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  9. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
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    648
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    I've stayed at that same motel before while riding the TAT.
    There have been times they wouldn't let motorcyclists stay there... I got turned away one time.

    That first big rock slide you kit, Sam was providing workarounds in early 2010 (I know, I made them and gave them to Sam) and he went out and reworked it that summer. This is an example of how GPSKevin's tracks are wrong.
    #29
  10. Otroo

    Otroo n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
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    In

    Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk
    #30
  11. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Busy night so short update.

    Day 5: Lakeview to Cedarville



    Fresh off an evening of Scattergories I started to pack up my camp. A guy by the name of Ron came walking by holding a coffee, mentioned that he road adventure bikes and invited me over for a cup.

    I walked over to his set up and he had a beautiful KTM 990 sitting there ready for a ride. He explained that he and his wife would load the bike up in their truck, haul the KTM and their pull along camper around the country stopping at interesting places to ride dirt roads 2-up on the KTM. Brave woman…

    They were at the RV park as part of the high school reunion and asked where I was headed. I explained the route and showed them my maps. They were impressed by the trip. Then we got on the subject of riding to Yosemite as I had conspired to potentially do after I reached Cedarville. I showed him my route and he said he’d ridden essentially that route before and it wasn’t much to see. It was long, would kill my tires and the best part would be the 140 miles from the park entrance to El Cap and back; the other 811 miles were just miles. Plus, there was too much to see in Yosemite to do it one day; it would be easy enough to fly out and rent a dual sport for a week and see much more of the park. I had to agree; the latter had been my thoughts on it in recent days as well.

    They also mentioned that Moab would be difficult to get a camping spot so if I made it down there later that week I could squeeze my tent onto their reserved RV spot. I wasn’t going to make that unfortunately. Oh yeah, remember the bear thing? It turns out I likely saw a black bear with a brownish tint to it’s fur; they don’t have predatory bears in Oregon apparently.

    I said my goodbyes, thanked everyone, packed up my gear and heading toward California. It was an awesome morning.

    The ride down to Cedarville was short; 67 miles. I knew I was going to make it a short day so I wasn’t concerned about getting out of camp quickly and it was 10:45 by the time I actually got moving. I figured the plan would be to shoot down to Cedarville, grab a motel in the early afternoon, plan the next few days and write up some of the blog posts I was behind on.

    The ride down to Cedarville was great. Easy, great views and more importantly, no dead ends or navigation mishaps:

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    I stopped at the the JnR Hotel in Cedarville around 2 pm, walked in and rang the bell. An older woman came out, surprised to see me there so early asking for a room and asked if I was coming from Burning Man. I told her I wasn’t and asked how close that was from here. She said about 80 miles and most of the people stop in Cedarville on their way there and back.

    I unloaded and they let me park the bike out of sight next to a stairwell.


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    Oh yeah, I finally found a good spot for the decal I got from the Canadians in Port Orford too:

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    Mileage: 67


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    #31
  12. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile

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    In. I am from Oregon and have ridden his area exclusively for nearly 40 years Everything the OP says is true about the public land cordoned off for "private" use, and the fire/logging roads that lead to nowhere, as well as the superb riding east of HWY 97 (Crescent) out past Summer Lake and Silver Lake all the way to Lakeview and to Cedarville.

    Great place to ride, but a paper map like the old Forest Service maps, is your best friend as opposed to GPS only.

    Keep it coming!
    #32
  13. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    So that is total BS then, right? Even though people want to "privatize" the road, from a legal perspective the road is still free to travel?

    Obviously, if people are serious about it, traveling that road becomes an "at your own risk" situation since people are crazy.

    ..
    #33
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  14. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

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    May 29, 2007
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    Location:
    overcrowded Northern Colorado
    Excellent report. Your great photos and well written first hand experiences really keep things interesting.

    Ride safe,

    Taz9
    #34
  15. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile

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    Yes, it is BS, but one has to consider that there are a lot of pepole who take issue with the government administrating public land in the west. After all, this is not far in a manner of speaking from where the Bundy family lead an armed takeover of the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. I am not taking sides just stating the realities of riding in that area.

    There is another real contentious route out by Derrick Cave that has been mentioned in ride reports on this site, too. Lots of heavily armed people out in that area...
    #35
  16. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Yea, I'm aware the Bundy family's armed takeover. I have opinions myself but for the sake of politics not entering the RR I left them out.

    Sounds like my err on the side caution was probably the correct course of action then.

    ..
    #36
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  17. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile

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    All true. Sorry to hijack the post. Now we return to normally scheduled programming...
    #37
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  18. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    You're all good man. I was hoping for an informational TAT post since W-E was tough to research when I did it. It's good to hear some input from someone local.
    #38
  19. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Day 6: Cedarville to Fields

    As it turned out, the Burning Man crowd was still on it’s way into town when I went to bed and the motel erupted with noise at about 1 am; which didn’t seem to stop until about 3 am. I could hear the old lady from the front desk showing people to their rooms, asking everyone if they were coming from Burning Man. Which was sort of hilarious because I think it’s pretty obvious who’s been at Burning Man. I

    I woke up the next morning, got my gear together and headed to the gas station across the street. There was a line of RVs waiting to fill up that stretched out onto the road and, of course, in true TAT form the station was down to only one working pump. Apparently the principles of gift giving and community that are considered “sacred” by Burners doesn’t extend beyond the gates of Burning Man because no one seemed willing to just let me top off the last gallon of my tiny tank and be on my way. One guy even said it had to suck having to wait for all of these RVs to fill up just to top off my tiny tank. Yea man, it kind of does…

    A few minutes later a guy came walking through the parking lot and tipped me off to another gas station about a half mile up the road; which still had a line but at least there were more pumps. This gas station’s parking lot had a lot more locals looking less than thrilled with all the burners hanging out in their town. I’d waited a half hour at the first station but only about 10 minutes at the second one. I finally got on the road about 10.

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    Even still, the vibe in California is infinitely cooler; even in a remote town in the desert. I was sort of sad to leave it and head back to Oregon.

    I thought about tackling two legs of the trail that day but I had read and heard only bad things about staying overnight in McDermitt, NV. This section was kind of short; 126 miles but I would go through three states. I was going to leave California, cut off the northwest corner of Nevada and end in Oregon. The trail started about 10 miles outside of Cedarville at the CA-NV state-line where the road instantly changed from beautiful pavement to gravel. It was really my first day in the open desert and the scenery had changed dramatically:

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    I passed a few guys on dual sports heading the other direction. They told me I was going the wrong way and asked where I was headed. I told them Pennsylvania. They had started out in Colorado 6 days earlier having already done the section of trail from Tennessee to Colorado back in June and were making their push for the coast. We wished each other well and headed our separate ways. A short time later I came up on a 2500 Ram they waved me by.

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    The next hour and half the track just wound through the desert. I was coming down a gravel road section at about 40-45 mph when I hit a patch of deep sand with the consistency of talcum powder. The front end went one direction, the rear went another and I went a third. It took everything I had to get the bike slowed down and keep it upright. I didn’t want to stop in this stuff but by the time I was able to get the bike under control until I was at a dead stop. I had somehow managed to stay upright though and a cloud of dust swallowed the bike and I. Holy shit…

    I let the cloud pass and started going again. I was almost completely out of control, my feet were paddling to keep upright and and plumes of dust everywhere. I finally made it out; the section couldn’t have been more than 100 yards long. I could feel the fine sand on my teeth; just a gritty feel as I ground my teeth.

    About a mile or so later we did it all over again; this time without the emergency stop at the beginning. Progress.

    I pulled into Fields about 2 pm. This is Fields, OR:

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    That’s entire town. It’s pretty much the only market/gas station/liquor store/motel/campground for miles and people from all around stop to resupply with whatever they need.

    I pulled in looking for a place to stay; thinking the motel would be cheap which, was again incorrect. There were 2 motel rooms at $65 each or I could camp for $5. I opted for $5 and asked where to set up and was to to set up here:

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    While I was setting up camp the guy in the 2500 Ram pulled in asking if I was the guy he waved on. I got nervous; I didn’t think I’d roosted his truck when I passed. I told him yes and he wanted to know how miserable those sand pits were because he’d seen my tracks. Apparently I left quite the impression.

    I finished setting up camp, awkwardly changed out of my riding gear in a porta crapper and decided to grab some dinner. It was 3:58 when I walked in looking for something to eat; the kitchen closed at 4. They were nice enough to make me a ham and cheese melt though and I went out to grab gas while I was waiting for it. Wikipedia says there’s 120 residents in Fields; however, the girl pumping gas told me there were 7 residents and 4 houses. She also pointed out that I’d met 6 of them by that point.

    The whole place was closed down by 6. There isn’t a whole lot to do camping in a one-person tent in a parking lot so I kind of just texted and looked at the GPS for a couple hours then went to bed.


    Mileage: 130ish


    ..
    #39
  20. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

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    NorCal
    IN. Very fun read........carry on.........
    #40