BACKGROUND After years of dreaming and 2 years of planning, our trip is getting close! That is Write2ride on the left (Cheryl, my beautiful bride) and the incredibly handsome fellow on the right is me, 3Dchief (Tim). We have been married for 17 years and both have been riding motorcycles for a lot longer than that. We are both Coast Guard veterans and have spent the past 17 years moving around the country experiencing new places together, including 12 years in Alaska, VA, and CA. Cheryl is a writer and a paramedic. I am an instructor at the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy and a Gunner's Mate by trade. I am retiring May 4th after 21 years, so this trip is going to be a celebration of my retirement and the opportunity of a lifetime to get out and explore new places before we dive back into life's responsibilities. Our only child is a Chocolate Lab (Zoe), who gets to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana while we are off on our adventure. We will try to maintain a running ride report with daily updates as our access to wifi allows. ROUTE We will be trailering the bikes from CA to IN to drop off the dog and trailer at my parents house. Starting the last week of May from Northern Indiana, we will ride the bikes through IN, OH, WV, and VA down to the Outer Banks to start the "official" coast to coast trip. We will ride across NC to the start of the TAT in Jellico, TN. We will ride the TAT all the way to OR, but probably at a much slower pace than most. From there, we will ride north to WA, then across ID to MT. We have 3 months from the time we start until we have to be in Missoula, MT at the end of August for 3Dchief to start college. BIKES Write2ride will be on her weapon of choice, a 2007 Yamaha XT225. She has gone through a progression of bikes to get to this one and it seems to be the perfect bike for her. She is only 5'3", so her options for dual sports are pretty limited without major modifications. She got it brand new and has done most of the work herself to get it ready for this trip. Some of the mods are a Clarke 4.1gal tank, Seat Concepts seat, custom tail rack, skid plate, Pro-taper bars, Cycra hand guards, and tool tubes. Here she is in Death Valley with her XT: 3Dchief's bike of choice is a 1996 Suzuki DR650SE. Again, a long progression of bikes to figure out the perfect ride and I think I have finally found it. I picked up the bike about a year ago and tore it down to the frame with the intention of riding the TAT on it. Some mods are losing the "barbie bike" color scheme, airbox and jetting, IMS 4.9gal tank, skid plate, suspension, Pro-taper bars, Tusk hand guards, HID lighting, DR250 tail light and plate re-locator kit, custom passenger pegs, Seat Concepts seat, and engine armor for the engine covers. I'm probably on Pro Cycle's Christmas Card list with all the business I have given them! DR650 in Death Valley: EQUIPMENT After tons of research, we ended up going with Giant Loop luggage for both bikes. Cheryl is using the Coyote bag and I am using the Great Basin bag. We both have GL Fandango tank bags. I will also have a dry bag with the tent and sleeping bag on my bike. Cheryl has a Seahorse case mounted on her bike to carry our laptop computers so we can do a running ride report as we go. We are both at about 50 lbs for luggage with everything packed up and ready to go. For navigation, we are using a DeLorme PN-60W GPS and TOPO 9 software. We will also have a SPOT II locator. I will run the GPS on my bike and Cheryl will have the roll charts and paper TAT charts on her bike. LOGISTICS We plan on camping as much as possible on this trip. Not only because we are cheap (I also have a KLR ), but we both prefer a tent to a hotel room. Campgrounds with showers and wifi will be nice, but stealth camping is part of the plan as well. We will also be cooking most of our own meals. Cheryl has some diet restrictions, so we are very limited in where and what she can eat because of food allergies. SMELLING THE ROSES We have researched this trip extensively and got a lot of input from fellow inmates on "must see" things along the way. Some of the highlights we have planned are a detour in Utah to see Valley of the Gods, spending a few days in Moab to ride the White Rim Trail and see some of the other local attractions, an extra day or two in Denio, NV to visit the hot springs and a B-24 crash site from WWII, and a detour to visit Crater Lake in OR. We also have a lot of way points marked from reading all the ride reports of stuff along the TAT like petroglyphs, arches, cemeteries, and other neat things to see. Our goal is to take our time and see as much as we can on this trip. After 21 years of being told where to live, when to move, and missing a ton of life events, we are just planning to enjoy the freedom of no schedule and no rules!