TransAmerica Trail: West - East

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

  1. Fat Chance

    Fat Chance Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    85
    I was just on GPSKevin's site and the tracks were available for free download.
    #61
  2. Addapost

    Addapost Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Great report! I appreciate reading a report from an inexperienced off-road rider. There are some fantastic reports from some very experienced travelers here and I have picked up a lot from them but I am in a situation similar to yours, I have very little motorcycle experience in general and almost zero off road experience. I am planning on doing the TAT next summer so I am very happy to read reports like yours showing it is completely possible for first timers like me. Thanks!
    #62
    GregDavidL likes this.
  3. DiverEd

    DiverEd Does this hat make me look fat?

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    I was there yesterday afternoon, and couldn't find the free CDR GPS files. I did pay the $38 to download the files. Going to take this ride late spring or summer of 2018.
    #63
    Armyguy, Fat Chance and AT Blizzard like this.
  4. disconnected

    disconnected brap

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
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    8,691
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Cool bike! I had one that looked just like it. :)
    #64
    trailer Rails likes this.
  5. Antikid

    Antikid Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    why change in a porta potty?????:scratch
    #65
    HardWorkingDog likes this.
  6. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,721
    Location:
    Walnut Crick, Cal.
    :rofl

    Can't wait for next installment.
    #66
    larryboy likes this.
  7. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Day 8: Rest Day

    I woke up late and was a little beat. I’d scheduled a day off every week for a little R&R. It would give me a chance to evaluate the bike, the tracks and do other housekeeping items.

    Four orders of business for the day.

    1. Go look at the air filter on the DR. She was coughing a little at idle when we rolled into town the night before.
    2. Re-evaluate my packing situation. I'd over packed, some of this shit needed to go home.
    3. Figure out the next day’s route, I was thinking of hitting the road through Nevada.
    4. Update the blog I'd been keeping.
    I went out about noon to look at The DR. As I’d guessed the air filter was caked with silt. I pulled the filter out and proceeded to tap it against the side panel on the bike until no more silt came out. It wasn’t perfect but it would due until I could wash it and re-oil it. I didn’t want to wash it in the motel sink because I was already making a mess of the place with my gear and those things are nasty. I figured I’d be camping the next place I stopped so I’d do it there. The Suzuki service manual says you can use 10w-40 to oil the filter. I also looked over a few things on the bike. Everything was in order but the panniers were still pushing the side panel up against the exhaust which had caused further melting.

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    I then went through my panniers and decided I needed about half the clothing I’d brought, half the camera equipment I’d brought and one less Nalgene bottle than I’d brought. If I shipped that all home and reorganized a few things my panniers would shut easily and I’d drop a considerable amount of weight.

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    The third order of business was to decide on a route. I’d read about a locked gate in one of the standard sections and there was an update online saying one of the green sections went through an active gold mine. The mine was starting the press charges against bikers coming through because they had been dealing with them all summer. The rest of the tracks look to have a decent bit of road from what I could tell so I decided I’d just to slab it to Baker, NV. Maybe this was why Sam rerouted through Wyoming. Baker is on the border between Nevada and Utah where the fun would really get started.

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    Mileage: 0


    ..
    #67
  8. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Day 9: Battle Mountain to Baker

    Nevada in a nutshell: Large, bland and highly irritating.

    I decided to take the road the 300 miles to Baker, NV. I really didn’t enjoy the idea of running my tires on the road for another 300 miles, but the complications on the trail were something I didn’t want to deal with.

    I packed the bike with my newly lighten panniers; which just by loading up I could tell was going to be much better. Everything has its place on the bike which meant awkwardly holding the bag of clothes I’d packed and tripod while I road the 2 miles to the post office.

    The terror in the eyes of the lady behind the counter at the post office was legendary. I’d walked through the door wearing bulky, dusty motorcycle gear with my crazy person hair and a suspicious looking package. Having just spent days in the desert I probably looked like a character out of Mad Max. This prompted me to immediately tell her I needed to ship home some clothes and ask if they had boxes. The terror subsided and she pointed me towards the boxes. Total cost: $40, for shipping and a box. Oh and I even had to buy the packing tape… Rip off.

    With that taken care of I hit the 305 south, passing the sheriff on my way out of town. There was nothing in front of me for 160 miles; 87 miles to U.S. Route 50 then 73 miles to Eureka, NV where I figured I’d grab gas. Thinking about this reminded me, about 10 miles down the road, I hadn’t gotten gas… I wouldn’t make it to Eureka on what I had. I turned around, rode back down past the sheriff, grabbed gas and then back past the sheriff one last time. She’d looked at me funny all 3 times so I was expecting a pull over that never came.

    The rest of the day was uneventful. U.S. Route 50 isn’t particularly scenic either; the sign says it all...

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    Indeed it was, but I snapped these regardless:

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    I was making good time until I was stopped for 20 or 30 minutes for construction. Which would have been fine except it was 90 degrees and there were bees just hanging out around me. I swear I am a bee magnet…

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    I camped at another RV park in Baker for the night. Baker, NV is on the border of Nevada and Utah and is located just outside Great Basin National Park. I’d planned to cross over into Utah the next morning. I’d hoped to get an early start since I was going to lose an hour when I crossed the state line.

    Again as it has been with most of my experiences in RV Parks people come up and ask the usual questions. Where are you from? Where are you heading? Off-road? Really?

    I met a guy from California, Blaine, who was walking his wife’s dog around the park. He'd recently sold his KTM 450 because he was nervous of getting hurt at his age; 67. He asked about the trip. I told him and he was pretty pumped by it. We got on the subject of riding in Nevada. His verdict: awful.

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    I decided to grab some real food. My camping meals had basically consisted of a can of soup. I grabbed a burger at a real cool hippie place.

    301 miles…



    ..
    #68
  9. jbb13

    jbb13 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Day 10: Baker to Richfield

    301 miles on the road really has a way of wearing you out. I’d slept well, it was finally a nice warm night for camping; the low was only 58, but I wasn’t refreshed.

    I packed all of my gear and ended up talking to Blaine again; until his wife yelled at him to stop talking and finish packing the RV. That was fine; I really needed to finish packing too.

    I hit the only gas station for 50 miles; a 24 hour unmanned operation and headed out into the country. The plan was to make it Richfield, Utah and shortly after heading out from the campground I was in Utah:

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    The first track for the day was amazing. The riding was fairly easy; there were a lot of straight gravel sections but the views were just spectacular:

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    The track made a left and started to head directly toward the mountain. I decided this looked like the perfect time to turn on the GoPro. The track went up past Crystal Peak. I’m not sure if it exactly qualified as a “mountain pass” but the lead up and ride past was a movie like definition of one:

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    Once over the pass there was a subtle downhill; the elevation barely descended. Riding the TAT East to West would have ruined this pass completely. There would be no build up; just a drop into a valley then onto Baker, NV.

    From there the road was basically straight. I ran it non-stop until I found myself at a main road and a train crossing:

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    About another 10 miles up the road I spotted I-70. If you look to the middle left of this picture you can spot a semi cruising down the interstate. (It looked a lot closer; the picture didn’t turn out as impressive as I’d anticipated).

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    I had this odd realization that I could hop on that interstate and be back in Pittsburgh in a few days; a very weird thought when you looked at the track ahead.

    In true TAT fashion; an easy morning was followed by a complicated afternoon, I ran into the below signs:

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    The signs probably applied only to hunters but I looked at my GPS for a go around anyway. Nothing except I-70. I didn’t like that idea so I decided hell with it. I’d just seen another TAT rider coming the other direction; we waved but neither of us stopped. I could see his tracks coming out of this section. I figured it was either no problem or they’d gotten the attention of the owners and they'd have me dead to rights. I decided to be optimistic and go for it.

    I followed the track for about a mile or so and saw the same set of signs facing the opposite direction. I figured it was only that small section of track. However, I started to see signs with arrows showing routes as “ATV Approved Route”. These continued and I started seeing road signs showing the direction toward the nearest towns. I was heading to Kanosh to grab some fuel then pushing onto Richfield.

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    I fueled up in Kanosh and started up the track again; which lead into Fish Lake National Forest. I started passing quads, side x sides and dirt bikes all over the place. This area was a designated off-road vehicle area and it seemed like it spanned the whole mountain. I tore through this system following my GPS track for a couple of hours. It was roughly 40 miles to cross over the mountain and into Richfield.

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    I passed a group of people standing around drinking beer but I had gone the wrong way. I turned around at the top of this hill and on the way back down they stopped me and asked if I’d just come from some town I’d never heard of. I told them no; I’d just come down from Portland, Oregon 10 days ago and I was headed to Pittsburgh. They were blown away by that; mostly because they were all drunk. Anyway, I told them the story thus far. They confirmed Nevada was shit for riding but said I was about to really enjoy the next week or so through Utah and Colorado.

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    I finished out the last 12 miles down to Richfield, passed some cattle, and grabbed a motel.

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    Oh and Richfield had the first Walmart I’d seen since Portland and the only flashlight baseball bat I’ve ever seen.

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    It does indeed look “High Performance”. Welcome to Utah… Mileage: 172.




    ..
    #69
  10. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
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    3,252
    Location:
    CONUS
    What? No bullet holes in the signage? Things have changed since I rolled through 50. :D
    #70
    BLucare likes this.
  11. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    751
    Location:
    N California
    Your so right about Hwy 50 - boring.

    Good RR :)

    Safe ride :)
    #71
  12. WVDingo

    WVDingo Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    324
    Location:
    Parkersburg, WV
    Route 50 gets fun east of Grafton, WV. Through Cathedral. Good ride over towards Blackwater Falls.

    My in-laws have the flashlight baseball bat - Purchase Location: Pettyville, WV Wal-Mart

    The No Trespassing signs probably mean for you to stay on the road.
    #72
  13. Proud Highway

    Proud Highway one hand waving free

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    112
    These signs are quite common out West where public roads traverse private property. The interests of the private property owners are two fold: (1) to notify users that the land on either side of the road is private (e.g. no antler collecting); and (2) to discourage/intimidate users with purposely vague signage. The former is legitimate the latter is not.

    It's important that users not cede to this deception. If the owner succeeds is limiting traffic, the next step is to install a gate and then a lock. This is illegal, but due to apathy, strained funding or corruption, governments will often turn a blind eye or become complicit with such actions--especially when the owner gives them a key. I've encountered a fair bit of this where I ride. A lot of property owners have concluded correctly that the county doesn't have the means to wage multiple lawsuits. This effectively gives land owners exclusive use of vast public lands/resources and sometimes with roads maintained by tax payers to boot.
    #73
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  14. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,264
    Location:
    Sand Hollow, Idaho
    Look at all the mine tailings or mine prospects on the hillsides. Stuff I miss when riding/driving.
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    #74
  15. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,841
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA

    If there is no gate, I interpret the signs to mean the sides of the road. If there is a gate, and the signs are still on the sides of the road, I have the same interpretation. If the signs are hung on the gate, then I interpret that the road is private. There are many gates on public roads out west because of cattle grazing lands.
    #75
  16. Bkoenig

    Bkoenig n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Monongahela
    Brice I'm in. A little late coming but I'm here. This is getting me pumped for our Colorado trip this year.
    #76
  17. Bkoenig

    Bkoenig n00b

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    Oct 8, 2017
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    8
    Location:
    Monongahela
    I'm going to send Brian a link, see if we can bump his enthusiasm.
    #77
  18. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I am a little bummed to see you skipped the Nevada sections. Those were some of my favorites. I don't remember the gold mine. I will have to do some looking to see why we missed that.
    #78
    larryboy likes this.
  19. BrownDog7

    BrownDog7 infected

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    154
    Location:
    Seacoast NH
    It's too cold to ski....looking fwd to the next installment :)
    #79
    PackinDirt and Aces 6 like this.
  20. Dirt wolf

    Dirt wolf I'm your huckleberry

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    518
    Location:
    Prescott Arizona
    Subscribed, looking forward to the Colorado section. Thanks for your time and effort of sharing you RR!
    #80