Two Rats on the TAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ratsGoneRogue, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    Post #34

    September 27, 2017
    Arco, ID to Featherville, ID
    The Sawtooths
    Daily Miles: 196.6
    Cumulative Miles: 4,295.9


    There is frost on the bikes this morning. We are bundled up, but damn it's cold.

    We take on the Sawtooths today, and first up is Antelope Pass, just to the west of Arco. This is God's country, I tell you. Accessible passes, the tips of mountain tops kissed with snow, decent roads. It really is great, and I am happy that we have made it this far.

    File_000 (74).jpeg

    File_000 (75).jpeg

    While it is freezing outside, the road is mercifully devoid of snow. We are on dirt the whole time. But we pass what looks like 2-3 inches of snow. It may be the first of the season.

    Over Antelope Pass and we descend into the Copper Basin. Wide, hard-packed roads make for quick travel. We've been impressed by the roads in Idaho. And the signage. As we pass through the Copper Basin, geographic highlights have signs. "Pophry Peak," I say, as I see the sign on the right hand side of the road. I look up, and there I see what geologic feature the sign is obviously pointing out. "It's like we are back in Disneyland."

    We follow a river into Sun Valley, which is appropriately named and pictured below. The beauty of the area makes it immediately clear to us why this area is so popular. Dirt bikers, side-by-sides, cyclists, hikers are all around in force.


    File_000 (76).jpeg

    After Sun Valley, we are bummed to report that we had to detour. We had been warned by Sam, by friends up the trail, and by folks here at Advrider that the next road was impassable. Sure enough, there was sign indicating as much as we traversed down road 227 (Warm Springs Road) to Featherville. As indicated by the signs, this mudslide is "15 miles east of Featherville" or "Five miles East of Baumgartner Camp" and blocks the trail. Our friends up the trail, Rob and Derrick, tried to cross it, and failed. "You CAN NOT cross this landslide," he tells us in an email. Alright, if they can't do it, then we're not going to try.

    While there are many ways go around this one, we went down Warm Springs Road and then cut south to Fairfield, ID via Forest Roads 15 and 95 (I think). It can also be done on Forest Road 94. From Fairfield, you grab the 20 west to 61 north (I think) and up to Featherville. (Other folks have gone south directly from Sun Valley to pick up the 20.) The net result is that you miss 30 miles of the trail from the cutoff we took to Featherville. Instead, you get 70 miles of pavement all the way to Featherville.

    We saw a reservoir on the way into Featherville. That was our consolation prize.

    File_000 (77).jpeg
    BackRoadNomad, Sburke, CrStep and 6 others like this.
  2. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65

    We all read ride reports, I'm sure. Maybe you are reading about someone else who is riding the TAT. I thought I'd do a data dump of all I know about the Idaho detour discussed above. These are for Sam's maps and trail.

    The road is 227. It is commonly known as "Warm Springs Road" out of Sun Valley, but it goes by several names you can see on Google Maps. The common link is National Forest Road 227. This road goes from Sun Valley, ID to Featherville, ID. There has been a mudslide on this road making it impassable. We saw one sign on 227 indicating as much. We saw one sign on 61 North that said the same.

    The location of the mudslide, we were told, is "15 miles east of Featherville" and/or "5 miles east of Baumgartner Camp."

    We were told about this by Sam in August 2017, so it must have happened earlier in 2017. In conversations with forest rangers, we were told "this won't be fixed for 2 or 3 years." So it may be some time before this is fixed and the road restored.

    The Sawtooth National Forest Ranger Supervisor can provide details on the closure. Go to their website by googling "Sawtooth National Forest" and look down the panel on the left. The road, I believe, is in the Fairfield District of the Sawtooth National Forest. You may also get information from that office. These folks seem knowledgeable about the situation.

    I never saw the mudslide, but I was told by people who did see it, that it is genuinely impassable. E.g. you may drown your bike if you try it.

    I was also told by the forest ranger that there is a single track detour around it. While this forest ranger did not seem particularly savvy to moto travel, he remarked "I don't think a dual sport could do it. You'd need a dirt bike." I did not ask where the single track detour is, but he offered. There are miles upon miles of single track in this forest. If you choose this route, be sure you know where you are going.

    Options:

    (1) Avoid 227 entirely. Go south on 75 from Sun Valley to Highway 20. Go west on highway 20. Go north on 61 to Featherville.

    (2) what we did, a partial detour: go west on 227 for 20 miles (I think) until forest road 15. Go south on forest road 15. Forest road 15 intersects with forest road 95. Take 95 basically all the way into Fairfield, ID. Fairfield, ID is on Highway 20. Go west and then see (1) above.

    (3) Wanna give it a look? go west on 227 until the detour. Take a look and decide if you can jump the mudslide like the General Lee over Roscoe P. Coltrain's squad car. If you can, be sure to GoPro it and post it on this blog. If you can't, backtrack to Forest road 94 (which will be before 15) and head south. That takes you into Fairfield, ID. See above.

    There is gas in three places along the detour: Fairfield, Pine and Featherville. Fairfield has a Sinclair. Pine and Featherville both have the sketchy no-name, general store gas (which claims that the premium is ethanol-free.) The detour is 70 miles long, from the start of it on 227, which is 20-30 miles out of Sun Valley.


  3. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65

    Post #35

    September 28, 2017
    Fairfield, ID to Ontario, OR
    Out of Idaho
    Daily Miles: 187.9
    Cumulative Miles: 4,483.8


    Featherville is a small but charming forest town. The "Featherville Saloon" is in the center of town and by all appearances, it has a few regulars. We could have spent some time here, exploring the trails in the Boise National Forest. But it's damn cold, and we're going to keep going.

    The first portion of today's trail takes us over a couple of small passes, and the mountainside is lined with scorched trees. It's unclear when this part of the forest went up in flames. It may have been the recent past but the undergrowth seems to suggest it may have happened some time ago. But the tree trunks are black, and the branches gone or hanging by a thread.

    After these passes, we drop into a road that parallels the Boise River. It's nice.

    File_000 (78).jpeg

    Occassionally, this river cuts through rock, creating some striking canyons.

    File_000 (80).jpeg

    We have lunch in Idaho City at Trudy's kitchen. Trudy stops by our table. "You motorheads are the best customers," she says to us, "always so considerate!" We have some of her pie, which she makes every morning.

    The ride out of Idaho City takes us out of the forest and into a drier topography. Low level hills/mountains, few if any trees. We stop in the town of Horseshoe Bend, a giant "Road Closed" sign suggesting that the bridge we see ahead is out. We've researched our options, decided on a route. Amanda turns the key. The DR200 doesn't turn over. Damn.

    Key on. Headlight on. Tailight on. Blinkers work. Ignition button in. "Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat," but no crank. Sounds like an electrical problem to us. Damn.

    A woman noticing our predicament ambles over to us. "Nothing worse than a two wheeled paperweight," is the first thing she says to us. She's got a folksy charm to her. We engage in chit chat, and the line of conversation somehow gets to her grandfather's sale of pure spanish horse. I'm frankly lost in the conversation, and my mind is elsewhere. We've got another problem to solve, and we need to leave.

    The beauty of a 200 is that it doesn't take much to bumpstart. We get going again pretty easily. Surprisingly, while it was below freezing this morning, it is now close to 75 degrees. The swing in temperature is impressive. Our hunting gear and over pants are a little steamy. Keep going. Just keep going.

    It's about 5pm when we cross the state line into Oregon. We're out of Idaho. We're in the last state of the trail. We are down a battery, but we are here.


  4. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    Post #36

    September, 29, 2017
    Ontario, OR


    We took the day off to make repairs and to regroup.

    It's not clear to us what the problem with the DR200 is. That the alternator is a little on the weak side, we knew. We read it in the forums on the bike. We swapped the stock headlight and tailight with LED replacements to reduce the load. We don't run electric gizmos on the DR200 -- she's got the roll chart. We travel slow on the trail, and the peak output on the alternator is at 5,000 rpm. Maybe we are too slow; maybe she can travel in a lower gear. We recharge the battery at Napa, and are going with the latter theory. She'll try keep the RPMs higher. If that doesn't work, we'll bump start the bike to the next location, and try to secure a new battery. We can limp into the finish, that's ok.

    I pick up some oil at the local KTM dealer here. We go to Autozone to change the oil in both of our bikes. We are regulars there now, and working on the bikes in the parking lot seems to be part of the regular routine now. The mechanic who worked on my bike in Ogden has overtorqued my drainplug and oil screens. That sucks, and it takes a while to get those loose without stripping the bolt. I'm not impressed. The oil's changed. That'll be the last time of the trip

    I'm playing with the idle setting on my bike. It feels a little low. I'm also detecting just a hint of irregularity in the idle. As I blip the throttle, the engine gets high in the rev range and then settles down to an idle. I've done these blips three or four times, listening carefully to the idle, when, all of sudden, at the top of the next blip the radiator seems to explode and there's coolant everywhere. Bike off. I see hot coolant drip off my Klim jacket onto the ground. Silence. Amanda looks around at me. "What happened?!?" The stink of burning coolant fills the air.

    The radiator hose on the engine case blew off at the top of the blip. It was a loose clamp on the hose, I'm sure of it. Nothing else damaged. Patience. Calm. We get more coolant. We put it into the radiator. Start the bike up. No problems. I take the rest of my sockets and go over every bolt and screw on the bike. Yes, this is probably something I should have done after I got my bike back from the mechanic in Ogden.

    Back at the hotel we are on the final task of the day: routing in Oregon with special attention to the forest fires in the Umpqua National Forest. The TAT rolls through forest roads in an area that is roughly bordered by highways 138 to the north, 230 and 62 to the east and south east. While the fires appear to be largely contained, the forest that that TAT goes through is officially closed to public use. We are going to have to detour, and this one's going to be bigger than the last. Not a huge surprise, as people ahead of us have had to do the same thing. But just another challenge.




  5. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,922
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Awesome updates again! My post may be a little too late but I had similar issues getting through Oregon. The TAT is over 700 miles in OR. I ended up detouring to Boise for my last night in ID.
    I did make it through OR1 and at some point I had to cut back up to rte 26 and ran pavement to John Day. I don't recall where I turned north to get back to 26 off of OR2. This was about my 10th day in a row of plus 100 degree temps during the heat wave I rode through so all I thought about was getting there. There is a great brewery,1188 brewing company in John Day if you make it there. Gassing up in the morning, I spoke with a gentleman who supervised the water dumping planes in the region and he told me the fires for the leg from JD to Prineville should not be a problem. Coming out of John Day the riding was excellent.
    Great FS roads and I made good time until about OR6. Lots of wild horses and Elk in the area. It started to get pretty smoky and as I came across a pretty badly rutted section I ran into a rancher couple collecting cows in the mountains. He recommended I cut down to 126 somewhere between Paulina and Post and drew a crude map of FS roads that got me there.
    I stayed in Prineville at the fairgrounds campground. I picked up the rest of OR 7 there and road OR8 and most of OR9 until I cut off to camp at Crater Lake. The west side road around the lake was closed for fires and I got some decent pics of the lake from the east route, not too smoky. About half the staff at the campground were wearing surgical masks so it should have clued me in that the fires were close.
    I took 62 to 230 to 227 to try to pick up OR12 in Tiller but the smoke was bad. I encountered more fire crew trucks than I did civilian vehicles. Before I turned north for Tiller I had to stop and buy eye drops and I noticed I had developed a slight cough from the smoke. It was pretty eerie driving through smoke for a few hours and I finally bailed out to Grants Pass and got a hotel room.

    I ran north from Grants and picked up OR 13 in glendale. Some very good riding on OR13, 14 and 15. I dropped the bike twice on downhill scree fields and after getting by many downed trees I came to one that was very difficult for me to get through on the CB solo. It was another 100 degree day and I had enough, I bailed about 1/3 of the way through OR15 and took CR 33 north to Powers as the road crew I ran into told me it was closed for construction if I continued west.

    I ended up on 42 west around Myrtle point, took it to Coqille where I took the spur west to Brandon and 101 south to Port Orford. It was a long detour and it wasn't the way I wanted to end it, but I was on a tight schedule and managed to dip my toes in the Pacific about 6pm.

    I hope this info helps and the conditions are better for you guys to ride more of the TAT than I did in western OR.
    ratsGoneRogue likes this.
  6. beewill

    beewill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    Pittsboro, IN.
    We just finished the trail two days ago and other than a couple of smoldering trees off the side of the road, everything was passable. There was a road closed sign, I honestly can't remember where, but we went through it with no issue.

    We had to take the road to Canyonville out of Tiller as we couldn't find the single gas pump in town and I wasn't going to make it via the trail, other than that 35 miles of trail everything was great. There is a locked yellow Forrest gate in the trail, and a blocked road on the trail after Canyonville but it's not to bad to ride around them both.

    Take your time in the Rouge Forrest as there are many roads, both marked and unmarked on the gps on top of one another and it'll take a couple of second looks ahead to make sure you are on the correct road if you are navagating via gps only.
    ratsGoneRogue and juno like this.
  7. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65

    Post #37

    September 30 - October 1, 2017
    Ontario, OR to Prineville, OR via John Day
    Daily Miles: 187.4, 160.5
    Cumulative Miles: 4,671.2, 4,831.7


    I don't know why I'm nervous when Amanda hops on the DR200 in the morning. It started yesterday afternoon. Should start today, right? Boom -- she pushes the ignition and it turns over. No problemo. But the reliability of our machines is on my mind.

    Out of Ontario, OR, and we are in farmland again. I'm thinking our country has enough hay. We've seen hay bales from Tennessee to Oregon. Probably enough corn, too!

    Out of the farmland and we are in rolling golden hills with the occasional clump with green trees. It's a semi-arid environment, and it looks very similar to California during a certain time of the year. We stopped at a reservoir to snap this shot.

    picture 01.JPG

    As we continue, the trees get more and more dense. We are in the Malheur National Forest. This next shot captures the tree tunnel that we've been riding for the past two days.

    picture 02.jpg

    This densely wooded land is packed with a crazy amount of roads. The Garmin map looks like a spider's web of small forest roads. In the forthcoming zombie apocalypse, I'm thinking these Oregon forests could be a destination for us all. The road infrastructure is already there. The forests get a good amount of water, and aside from the occasional forest fire, the land is quite serene.

    We climb some comparably small mountain passes. At the top we get a view of our surroundings. Those rolling golden hills are now covered in a green carpet, separated by prairies here and there.

    picture 03.JPG

    "Home, home on the range," I hear Amanda sing over the radio. I pick up where she left off. "Where the dear and the antelope play." We are enjoying the ride. Additionally, we are enjoying the
    pine scent of the forest. For city slickers that get a steady dose of automobile exhaust from interstate 80, this is a welcome thing. It smells clean.

    The air is cold and brisk. My nose runs uncontrollably at times. To the 7 layers she has been wearing, Amanda has added my off-bike puffy jacket and some heat packs. It's cold for California folks. I think to the comments from our friends up the trail, Rob and Derrick. They never mentioned the cold. But they are from Maine.

    We are immersed in some conversation when -- whoa! -- some deer jump out of the forest to my right and sprint across the road immediately in front of me on their way to the left side of the road. That was close. Those little buggers are impossible to see; they are so well camouflaged. And then they are like a random number generator. You never know which way they are going to bolt.

    After a stay in John Day, we pick up the trail the following morning in light rain. It's almost as if we've picked up the trail right where we left off. The new forest looks just the same as before, with a couple of noteworthy exceptions. First, we begin to see some remnants of forest fire. The Ochoco and the Malheur did have some forest fires this year -- I don't think the picture below is of the recent burn given the undergrowth -- but there was plenty of bare charred trees where we rode.

    picture 04.JPG

    Three or four times we came across fires that were still smoldering. Some of the clumps of trees were still visibly on fire. Unlike other riders on the TAT this summer, we never come across the dense, nasty smoke that causes eyes to run and throats to burn. We did see a white haze as we approached a recently burned area, but it was never bad on the senses.

    Second, as we later learned, this weekend was the opening of rifle season in Oregon. The forest was packed with hunters, just packed. It reminded us of last August when we were in the Cherokee National Forest during the weekend of the eclipse. We were constantly passing ATVs, trucks, and walking hunters. Then these hunters: man do they go big on the camping. Large, canvas tents with heat stoves in the center and generators out the back. No one had a single tent. It was always a tent compound. In one camp, I think I even saw a tent over some kind of outhouse contraption. Impressive.

    We roll into Pineville, Oregon at the end of the day and grab a bite to eat. The constant eating out is getting to us. I used to think that, if left to my own devices, I could eat Taco Bell every single day for every meal and gladly compete the in the largest man of the world contest. Sadly, I don't think I could do it. We aren't eating at Taco Bell, but we are eating at restaurants every day. The rich food, the lack of fresh vegetables...it's getting to us. After today's meal, Amanda wanted to stop at the grocery store. She strolls through the produce aisles and picks out a plum. Just one plum. "I just need...something...real, Ok?"


  8. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,922
    Location:
    Jupiter
    I found the riding out of John Day to be some of the most enjoyable on the TAT. The remnants you mentioned were likely what I encountered. Your timing appears excellent! Here is to clear sailing to the coast!!!!!!!
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  9. WilberMaker

    WilberMaker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Lockesburg, Ar
    Wonderful report again! Starting to get bummed out as you both get closer to the end. Going to miss checking this thread all the time. Looking back at your very first post, " Quit our jobs. Sold our home. Gonna ride the TAT. ". What's next for the Rats? Interested in a Farrowing operation? This was our last adventure together, now I just want to ride the TAT. LOL
    ratsGoneRogue likes this.
  10. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    Post #38

    October 2, 2017
    Prineville, OR to Diamond Lake, OR
    Daily Miles: 172.1
    Cumulative Miles: 5,003.8


    I open the door to the parking lot outside the hotel and the cold air hits me like a bucket of water. It's cold. It's really cold. We are planning to go to Crescent, OR today. It's a short 120 mile ride, but it sets us up well for the Umpqua National Forest which, as far as we know, is still closed to the public. (I"m going to apologize for the lack of photos today. It was just too cold to remove our gloves.)

    The ride out of Prineville takes you through what could best be described as a mini-grand canyon. The road is the Crooked River Highway and, as you might expect, the road follows the crooked river. Towering hills or cliffs are on either side of the river. You travel between these hills or cliffs along a winding road all the way through to the other side where you hit the Prineville Reservoir. It's a lush gorge with lots of green, an oasis of sorts.

    South of the Prineville Reservoir, we proceed through an area that looks a lot like western Utah. We're back to the desert landscape. The Russian Thistle, the sagebrush. Indeed, it is here where we are treated to the iconic tumbleweed-across-the-road moment. "Amanda! Did you see that?!?"

    "What?" She replies.

    "Tumbleweed across the road!"

    "Oh." She responds. Not quite as enthusiastic as I was hoping. "That's cool." She humors me.

    After quick transition, we are now in the Deschutes National Forest. This is the third landscape we see today. The roadway alternates between Martian red soil and super white dirt; the path winds through a low density field of trees. If it wasn't so cold, we'd be pretty stoked about the ride so far.

    The ride proceeds west through the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, the centerpiece of which is two volcanic lakes. Picturesque, for sure.

    "Do you see what I see?" My tone is flat, perhaps slightly despondent.

    "Yep," she says. It's snowing. It's snowing hard. Flakes fall gently through the air and land on the asphalt. Thankfully, it's not sticking, but there are ominous black patches on the tarmac that cause concern. I don't have much experience riding a dirt bike on knobbies through near-freezing temperatures on asphalt. We take it easy. But the snowflakes are hard, and they somehow find their way between my goggles and helmet and pelt my nose. It stings.

    As we descend out of Newberry, we drive in to La Pine, Oregon, a small town in the middle of the state. "My fingers are numb," Amanda radios to me. Mine are too. I need to thaw some body parts and right now. We need to stop. We pick a random pizza joint to pull up to. We needed to regain our strength.

    After warming ourselves, we head to Crescent, OR through the fifth landscape of the day. Dense wooded forest surrounds us. The evergreen drips with moss. It's a pretty cool sight. We are talking about where to finish up the day when a Mercedes SUV flies out of a blind corner at an ungodly speed. Had I been riding in the middle of the road, the trip may have been over right there. We come across bright orange foliage. Even though it is freezing, we decide that we shouldn't pass this one up.

    picture 05.JPG

    I tell you those oranges were much more brilliant in real life. After reviewing the pictures at night, we questioned whether this picture was worth taking our gloves off.

    We get to Crescent to fill up. The snow has followed us. It's now coming down hard, but again, not sticking. We make the call to go another 40 miles to Diamond Lake. While not on Sam's map, we've found a hotel and gas station there. Those 40 miles are brutal. We are chilled to the bone when we roll into the Diamond Lake Resort. This resort is a gem, a throwback to 1970's summer resorts. It could have been a contender for the location in Dirty Dancing.

    There is a restaurant and bar there. A friendly customer named Elaine meets us and offers us a lift to Crater Lake the next day. Most importantly, the front desk has a real time analysis of the forest fire situation in the area. The local firefighters try to keep local businesses informed. We can see our entire riding area for the next day. It looks good...except for one road.

    We took this picture from the comfort of a warm lodge.

    picture 06.JPG
  11. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    Post #39

    October 3, 2017
    Diamond Lake, OR to Wolf Creek, OR
    Daily Miles: 166.6
    Cumulative Miles: 5,170.4


    When we arrived in Westcliffe, Colorado and saw the haze from forest fires, we started to think about what traveling through the affected areas would be like. We had a lot of time to think about it. I had a few visions.

    Vision #1. Amanda and are speeding along a forest road when we see a burning log laying across the road. "You ready for this!" I say to Amanda. "Yeah! I got the GoPro going!" We jump over the flaming log together and in the middle of the air, I turn to Amanda and the GoPro camera and give a peace sign.

    Well, the fires pretty much died out before we got there. No smoke in the air when we arrive. Then it was a matter of administration. The affected areas were closed to the public while the firefighters conducted their cleanup and supression work.

    Vision #2. "Cut in here!" I say to Amanda as we hide from the young forest service ranger who is patrolling the closed roads for rogue moto-bikers. "He doesn't see us!" She says back to me and then adds, "take that skinny jean boy!"

    As we roll out of Diamond Lake, chipping the ice off our seats, the firefighters have left, and the forest rangers are now rolling back closures.

    Vision #3. These forest fires were sooo bad that smoke was clear over in Colorado! When we get there it's going to be a dark charcoal wasteland. Nothing is going to be sanding except the remnants of a few tree stumps and smoldering chunks of logs are going to taint the air with old campfire smell.

    None of these visions are realized. Some way through the trail, I remark, "where were the fires?" The trail takes us through the heart of the fires. We see almost of none of it. We stop at a couple of areas where we see torched landscape, but these areas were the exception rather than the rule.

    picture 07.JPG

    And here:

    picture 08.JPG

    We blaze through a "Road Closed" sign. The forest ranger we see? I give him a hand wave as we pass. He returns the hand wave to me. No need to do a roosting 180 and hightail it out of there. For all I know, the closures may have been entirely rolled back this morning.

    The trail now puts us square in the middle of the Umpqua National Forest. At the peaks we see undulating hills covered in a green blanket of trees for as far as we can see. Occassionally, there are geologic formations that are cool to see. But mostly, it's trees, trees and more trees.

    picture 09.JPG

    We are talking about the lack of scorched earth when I turn a corner and bring the bike to first gear idle speed. That would be a black bear in front of me. 50 feet away. Young, small. Almost like a cub. He looks at me. I look at him. My first thought was: awesome, that is a black bear. How cool. My second thought: that is a very small bear. Where is mom? Thankfully, I never see her. He takes off running in the forest to my left. That was cool. Sort of.

    We are through the worst of the first fire designated area -- and, frankly, areas that have been closed to the public since mid August -- and come to Tiller, Oregon. Much like the rest of the TAT, Tiller seems like a forgotten forest town. We stop at a small market. It's quiet, very quiet. We sit on the porch and talk about the trail. It's been a long journey.

    picture 10.JPG

    It's late in the day when we are approaching Glendale. Around 4pm. About 20 miles out, we get to a really rough section of road. It's gone from normal, graded fire road, to rutted trail to super steep, loose scree almost single track. "Whoa, this is really steep" I think to myself, as the bike bucks up some pretty challenging terrain. Amanda's voice crackles over the radio, "I"m OK, but I've had a fall." I can't answer her, as I have my hands full going up the hill myself. I get to a semi-flat spot and stop and radio back.

    I know, I know... I said the TAT was doable. I guess I have to eat my words a little bit. We're going up this really steep hill and I am doing ok so far. I have to gun it over a rock and my feet slip off the pegs but I make it...and scream a little bit in my helmet. Ha.

    I turn the corner and catch another rock the wrong way at the wrong speed and I go down. Not a bad fall for me personally but my bike somehow ends up in a bush/tree in a way that I can't get it out by myself. This part of the trail seems steeper than anything we've seen so far. In fact, it seems uncharacteristic for what we've seen so far. I think to myself how close we are to the end and how adventures don't let up... even when you get close to the finish.

    Steve comes down the trail to help me get the bike up. "How did this happen?," he says. There is a few big branches somehow lodged between my front tire and the fender. Haha. I have no idea. My bike is upright and we find it won't start now. Great. Not sure why. But we figure it'll bump start. But we're on a really steep hill.


    My instincts tell me that this is a time when bikes break and bodies get broken. Late in the day. Tired. Loose scree. Steep hill. Her bike won't start. We don't have anything to prove. As far as I'm concerned, we've "done" the TAT. She's already exceeded expectations ten fold, much more than I could have asked for. She says she can do it. "I'm sure you can. I know you can. But I think it would be better if head back down and find another way." She's got a ton of courage, but she's also smarts. At this late stage in the game, we don't want to get hurt. We don't want to try and summon roadside assistance in the middle of a national forest. Let's keep our eye on the ball: both bikes, both bodies, in Port Orford and functional. Tomorrow. We make the right call.

    We run back down the hill back to the point where the road is more or less normal. Quick study of the maps. We are 12 miles to Glendale as the crow flies. Garmin gives us a 54 mile detour that includes a 27 mile stretch on Interstate 5. That's not going to happen on a DR200. I tell you: one of the more harrowing sights is your wife on a mini-bike, on the freeway, immediately in front of a tailgating 18 wheeler. Not cool. So it's either that or we try to piece together a route out of the spider's web of forest roads before us. We have no idea what to expect -- these roads could be worse than the one we were just on, they might not exist as Garmin says that they do, or they might not connect in the way we see on the map -- but that's what we did. And it worked.

    We rejoin the trail no more than 5 miles than where we left it. We get to Glendale. We take the quick shot to Wolf Creek. The Wolf Creek Inn is closed. Ugh. We've got no place to stay tonight, but on an app we see that Wolf Creek also has a campsite. We have pretty whimpy sleeping bags, but the weather seems to be warming. We go to the campsite. The evening starts well enough, and we enjoy some camp food before retiring to our bivy sacks. It's been a long day.

    About an hour into bedtime, I say to Amanda, "you awake?"

    "Yes."

    "Are you cold?" I say.

    "Freezing," she responds. From the time when we went to bed to now, the temperature has fallen off a cliff. It's cold. Very cold. Not enough that we are shivering, but enough so that we are awake and can't get back to sleep. We never get back to sleep.

    "Dude?" I say in the early hours of the morning.

    "Still awake," she says. It's absolutely miserable.

    We are awake for the rest of the night, engine-braking big rigs on Interstate 5 keeping us company until daybreak.

  12. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    606
    That is the worst, in a tent and freezing, been there, done that, not a lot of fun. You won't die, but, you sure were not happy about it. As we used to say, put every item of clothes on that you have, the sleeping bag and hope for the best.
  13. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,922
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Cold nights suck! From my experience the scree gets worse on some sections out of Glendale and a lot of downed trees, but nothing too steep IIRC. Some very nice riding otherwise. Definitely doable with two people on smaller bikes. But I fully understand if you just make for the coast. I had the opposite problems, older guy solo on 450 lb bike plus gear with temps in the high 90's. After two downhill drops crossing scree fields and faced with fighting the bike through some more downed trees I bailed out about halfway between Glendale and PO. Road crews caused my detour to be much longer than planned but they should be done with that by now. Good luck on the last leg! Looking forward to the pics from the beach!
  14. WilberMaker

    WilberMaker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Lockesburg, Ar
    Seen it on instagram. Congratulations on finishing! Job well done and thanks again for the ride-along.
    ratsGoneRogue likes this.
  15. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    ended up doing this. moto pants and over pants, and my two pairs of long socks in the sleeping bag. It took the edge off but damn it sucked.
  16. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65
    Post #40

    October 4, 2017
    Wolf Creek, OR to Port Orford, OR
    Daily Miles: 123.3
    Cumulative Miles: 5,293.7


    In San Francisco, there is a restaurant right on the Embarcadero called Epic Roasthouse. A little pricey -- everything in San Francisco is -- but nonetheless a great steakhouse. At reception, turn left and go up the stairs, and you'll be at the bar. As you look at the bar, look over your left shoulder and there is a deck out there with maybe two tables that few people know about. On that deck, you've got a great view of the Bay Bridge. The bar menu is a little cheaper, too. At this very location, we committed to the TAT over a glass of bulleit bourbon and a dirty martini earlier in the year. I had told Amanda about the TAT, but was now thinking it might be better to do a BDR. The conversation went something like this:

    Amanda: Wait, I thought you wanted to do the TAT. Why are you suggesting the Oregon BDR now?
    Steve: Think of it as a warm-up. We get our feet wet.
    Amanda: We've already done a moto-camping trip on Mendocino. What do you think we are going to get out of a BDR?
    Steve: Longer duration, more practice for you on a greater variety of terrain, sort out the gear list.
    [Pause. I know she's not big on this idea.]
    Amanda: What are you going to feel better about? What's more of a life experience? Doing a BDR or the TAT?
    Steve: The TAT, of course.
    Amanda: We didn't just quit our jobs and sell our house to do a warm-up.
    [Pause.]
    Amanda: I'm still thinking we do the TAT.
    [Pause. She's a leap before you look gal. I'm a look, measure, read 50 blogs, call up some folks, measure again, look with binoculars, and then leap person.]
    Amanda: It'll be hard. But won't it be the best use of our time off?
    [Pause. She's really up for this. She knows what she's getting herself into. And I guess with this attitude, what can't we do?]
    Steve: Alright....you are making sense...let's do it.

    Back in Wolf Creek, Oregon, we've packed up the campsite. We are on the bikes. We just did the radio check. Inexplicably, the DR200 is starting up just fine now. She detected a weird noise from the bike yesterday, but after she's ridden it around the campsite this morning, we don't hear it again. We are go for launch. Before I hit the ignition button, I whisper to my bike, "wolfie, it's just 120 more miles." Wolfie, my bike, turns over dutifully. I glance at Amanda, put the bike into gear, and let the clutch out. We are off for the day.

    Outside of Glendale, we travel north into what appears to be state lands. Head up a mountain (these Oregon Mountains are 3000-5000 feet, so pretty small), turn a corner and run smack into a gate. We had been given a heads up on this gate by @beewill , so it's nothing we hadn't expected. To go around the locked gate, you climb a very small hill on the left hand side. It's clear that whomever locked this gate also put a large tree trunk to try and impede the very maneuver we are now doing. I don't think anything of this at the time.

    We navigate to the bottom of the mountain, enjoying the pristine scenery around us. While it was cold last night, the day has heated up and there are no clouds. The swing in temperature is significant. At the bottom of the mountain, there is a truck and another locked gate. A man steps out of the truck. I stop. We introduce ourselves. We are trespassing on private land.

    Ugh. That sucks. The man is from Roseburg, a forest products company based here in Oregon. This guy could have been a butthead about this whole thing, but, thankfully, he's not. He's gracious, concerned, constructive and helpful. I explain who we are, that we are on a journey that's taken us over 5,000 miles, that this is the last day of our trek, and that we are very sorry for trespassing. He's gracious and more importantly, he unlocks the gate immediately in front of me. As I pass through the gate, I don't see how we could have possibly passed through this one. There were dropoffs on either side into a watery ditch. Maybe this is a stroke of luck for us.

    The trail to the coast takes you through undulating hills, blanketed with thick forest. On our last day of the trip, we are treated to a final topography, that of the temperate rainforest. Sure, we've got trees as we did earlier in Oregon, but now the forest floor is just covered with ferns and other plants. The rain here supports an amazing amount of life, all of it scrapping for a piece of sunlight. We take a picture here. Excuse the overexposure, but it's the best we got.


    picture.JPG

    Immediately before this shot, we see our second black bear of the trip. Again--a really small bear. We surprise him around a corner (not sure how this is possible given the sound of our engines). He takes one look at us and bolts like a bat out of hell. The cool part of his exit strategy is that the little guy climbs what appears to be a 30 foot vertical wall to get clear of us. Man, can bears climb. We didn't have time to turn or decrease throttle or anything. He was just gone. No mama or any other bears, thankfully.

    It's a good ride. Not in the pantheon of great TAT rides because the scenery doesn't change for the duration of the ride. (The truly great rides give you a variety of environments and topographies.) At one point, Amanda remarks over the radio, "it's like we are in the forest matrix". And frankly, for the last little bit, I was really just watching the odometer for 30 miles. It was our last day. We were anxious to complete the journey.

    The Pacific doesn't show it's hand until the last minute. In those last 30 miles, we were thinking that we'd crest a mountain and have this panoramic view of the ocean. This never happens. We are in dense foliage until 50 yards from the end.

    At about 4:06pm on Wednesday, October 4th, we make the final right turn off of 101 and head to the Paradise Point State Recreation Area. The Pacific comes into view like a sleeping giant. It's quiet. Very small waves lap up the shore. There is a gravel parking lot at the end of the GPS track. There's no one around. We have it all to ourselves.

    At the end of the parking lot, there is a path to the beach. I go down the path and, very quickly, find myself in deep sand. Nope. We are not going to do that. Indeed, our buddies who had completed the trail before us had gotten their bikes stuck in the sand. That didn't sound like a lot of fun, and we're not going to do it. I radio to Amanda, "deep sand down here, stay up there." Cock the bike over and punch the throttle and the bike whips around and I go back up to the parking lot. We take this shot.

    Picture 2.JPG

    I don't really recognize the scenery from a few of the TAT ride reports I've read. And before we finished, I think the shot I wanted was on the other side of the city. I want the Oregon Coastline in the shot. We drive to what I think is the spot. Sure enough, I find what I want, but there's deep sand here too. Whatever. I passed a great vantage point from atop a bluff on the way here. An old Korean Vet sitting in his car nearby volunteers to take the photo. "Been coming here for the last 16 years. This exact spot, just to watch the sunset. I haven't missed a sunset in all that time." Probably hyperbole, but we are thankful for his time. He's the only one around, and walking is clearly difficult for him. He comes over to Amanda who has set the shot up for him. A couple of questions on how an iPhone works, and he takes this one:

    Picture 3.JPG

    He hands the iPhone back to us. He smiles and ambles back to his car. And that's it. 5,293 miles and we are done. No ceremony, no other fanfare. Just the silent pride, the warm glow that comes from an earned accomplishment. There is a moment of reflection. A comment that the people that we met were as extraordinary as the landscapes we viewed. That the journey tested us and our resolve. A laugh over how many folks thought we were nuts for doing this. That we are here and overjoyed that we did it. That this is something we will remember forever.

    From where we stand, there is a motel just to the picture's right, the Castaway motel. We walk the bikes over, get a room and unpack for what is going to be the last time of the trip. After unpacking and some showers, we walk over to a restaurant called Red Fish. Great spot, right on the bluffs, with the same view you see in the picture above. We take a seat. There's live music: a Jack Johnson type who's great with a guitar. He's doing Tom Petty's Mary Jane's Last Dance: "Last dance with Mary Jane...one more time to kill the pain". Amanda's ordered an IPA and I've done the same. It's the first time we've had alcohol since we left Andrews, North Carolina, both of us wanting to stay sharp each day. That beer really tasted good. We clink glasses and commemorate the moment. Smiles and warm feelings all around. The glasses go back down on the table surface. There's a pause. We are enjoying the one man band. Amanda speaks over the tunes.

    "So what's next?"




  17. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    606
    Congratulations, very well done and thought out trip. Thank you very much for taking the time to recount it here and bring us along. Good luck in what comes next for you and yours. Another job, and return to the rat race? In the rat race, even if you win, you are still a rat!
    JagLite and ratsGoneRogue like this.
  18. ratsGoneRogue

    ratsGoneRogue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    65

    thanks for sharing parts of your ride. even though we didn't use it, your detour around the fires provided a blueprint for us, had we needed to bail out. Thanks much.

    Critic likes this.
  19. microtom

    microtom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Oddometer:
    176
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Congrats! Had a great time following along.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. WilberMaker

    WilberMaker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Lockesburg, Ar
    That one is a keeper Steve. Be good to her.
    JagLite and chudzikb like this.