Hi Everyone, When I was a kid, I used to look at maps and wonder where all those roads went. One of the columns in Popular Mechanics was written by Eugene Sloane. He had written a book about bicycling which at the time was viewed as being the bible for cyclists. I read this book, and ended up selling my Hodaka Wombat motorcycle and bought a Schwinn Paramount bicycle. I was 15 at the time, and somehow managed to get my Mom to drop me off at the Pelee Island Ferry for a trip across western Lake Erie to Leamington, ON in Canada. I had paniers loaded with a cheap World Famous tent, down sleeping bag, some clothes, cook pot and stove. I rode up to Tobermory, ON, took the Chi Chi Man Ferry to Manitoulin Island and back-tracked to Leamington. The World Famous tent leaked like a seive. I spent a night in this tent which has became part of our family lore. On my 16th birthday, I made my mandatory collect call home complaining about spending the night shivering in a wet down sleeping bag in a thunder storm. My Mom was obviously not going to be coming to get me, so we both had to tough it out. She probably had the tougher time. One thing to realize is that Provincial parks in Canada in the 70's rarely had running water, let alone showers or laundry. I was a stinky kid by the time I got home. I realized at the time that if I wanted to do things like this that I was going to be doing them solo. I mean what parent would alow their 15 year old to wander around in a foriegn country by themselves on a bicycle? I made it back to the Pelee Islander on time for my pickup and was off to bigger and better things. In subsequent years, I did a lot of bicycle touring--Bikecentenial, Oregon Coast, Alaska Etc. When I got back into motorcycles 10 or so years ago my first impulse was to throw some camping gear on the rack and head out. My wife and I did a lot of street touring, but the adventure touring started with Labrador, and then Alaska on a KLR. I had heard of the Trans-America Trail, and at first thought it would take 6 months to a year to complete. Then I read Big Dog and Gaspipe Ride the TAT and realized that it was doable by someone with a job like me. I purchased a DRZ400S in 07, but it took a couple of years to make the TAT my yearly project to complete. I broke the TAT down into 3 sections: 1) TN, MS. 2) AR, OK, NM, to Colorado Springs. 3) Colorado Springs to Port Orford. This seemed to me to be the best way to handle the ride. For me, 3 fast rides got the job done. If I had ridden the TAT in 1 shot, I think I would have been too fatigued to finish. I rode all but the last 2 days solo. I tried to line up one of my friends, but none of them were really interested. As I said above, if you want to go, you had better be prepared to go alone. Going solo has a lot of advantages: no dust, no drama, stop and go when you want, people are more friendly, etc. I was never lonely, scared, or lost. It is always best to pack your own parachute. A person has got to WANT to ride the TAT. It is not something you can just do half-heartedly. Every day you will get up with problems to solve and obstacles to overcome. Git-R-Done. I camped most of the time. Some of my best memories are of setting up camp just off of the trail. I did not spend a cent on lodging until I hit Baker, NV. I usually rode until I felt like stopping and there was usually someplace satisfactory to camp. I had food, so all was good. I suppose that I would have had an easier time without the 15 extra pounds of gear I was carrying, but all in all I was better off camping. I was prepared. I had most spares I might need. I had a well prepped, reliable, low mile bike. I had well tested camping gear. I gathered as much info as I could. I had layed down my own tracks and compared them to other people's tracks who had already ridden the ride. Maybe the most important was riding the western sections in early September. I had great weather. Weather will either make or break your TAT adventue. More tomorrow when Pbase is working so I can start uploading Pics.