20 Days and a Quart of ATF--Solo TAT Combat Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jetdoctor, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    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.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    67,743
    Bring on the adventure and the pics :thumb

    Thanks for the intro :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

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    So there I was, deep in the heart of darkest Tennessee.........
    I got started with the Trans-America Trail last June. After having lunch with my wife and saying goodbye I rode my GS1150 up to Jellico and started the TAT in the late afternoon. TN lived up to it's reputation of being mostly paved. On top of that you constantly find yourself crossing over the same road.
    The first lesson to learn about the TAT--take the most direct way in and out of town. Unless you are running some really soft knobbies (which there is no need for) or have a 40 MPH top speed you are better off heading directly into town. Most of the trouble I had riding the TAT was going into or coming out of a town. As the population density increases, so does your probability of coming in contact with a landowner who does not want you there. Honestly, if you are riding the complete TAT and need to make time, you are probably better off cutting off a lot of the jogging around. You will not be missing much.

    This is where I should be inserting pictures, but PBase (my picture host) has had a power failure.:ddog This fits in nicely with the rest of the week. We had 17" of rain here in Douglas County, GA and most of the bridges and roads are washed out. I spent the day cleaning out my buddy's airplane and hanger which got flooded out by the Chattahoochie River. I-20 was closed and traffic has been snarled for days.:bluduh
    #3
  4. LXIV-Dragon

    LXIV-Dragon Been here awhile

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    St Cloud, FL
    Hi.

    Looking forward to the rest of the RR. I aim to do the whole TAT next year and want to camp as much as possible - as many tips as you have please!

    Cheers,
    #4
  5. Trailryder42

    Trailryder42 Long timer

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    Good to hear you made it home ok. Last I heard from Noel was that after you got to the coast you headed into Idaho I think he said, to see family.

    Thanks picking up and retrieving all the stuff that came out of my bag when it got ripped open in that last wash in Nevada.

    Look forward to more of your report.
    #5
  6. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    Ok, Pbase is working now so onwards.....


    Fall Creek Falls



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    I rescued this guy from a fence. His horns were stuck. He appeared to have been there for a while, but I doubt it was his first time.

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    Bell Buckle, TN

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    David Crockett State Park, TN.

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    Nice little round rock water crossing--cylinder deep in the rain.


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    You can make those slick water crossings a lot easier by kicking some gravel onto the rocks.

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    I loved this section through some Pines.

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    If you end up here it is the wrong way. I ended up having a little "talk" with the land owners......

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    After this I turned off the auto reroute on my 76CX.

    This is the right way.

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    Olive Hill Store. They make sandwiches here and I ate lunch. It was their first couple of days that they were open. They let me wash some of the mud off of my bike. I had a long talk with the owner. His grandson was there, and we talked about how we grew up and how he would probably grow up. One thing for sure--we had a lot more freedom than the grandson will ever know.

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    I spent the night at Big Pond State Park in TN, and headed into Missisippi. You could tell what state you were in by the color of the roads.

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    There are a lot of bridges out in MS. The first one you will come to is on Tubby Bottom Road. Do yourself a favor and head in to Ashland and get some food. You can waste a lot of time down there trying to find a go around. This next bridge I went over. I just needed a ramp to get my rather large motorcycle up onto the deck. Do not let the fact that if you fall off the ramp you will fall through the bridge deck bother you......:D
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    Mission accomplished. I would be glad a thousand times that I traded my 1964 Yamaha YG1 for a Bultaco Sherpa T 199 trials bike.

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    Misissippi lunch. I stopped in Crenshaw, MS and had to say to myself "son, you are in the wrong place." I did manage to get a sandwich made where I got gas, but this was definately rural Misissippi. I obviously did not stay around to eat and rode out of town until I found some shade. Just before this pic was taken, I rode on the levies which was cool.

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    The land got flat as a pancake, and I could see storms brewing off in the distance. I headed off towards the Misissippi River and Arkansas crossing the bridge to West Helena, AR. There was a welcome center there, so I stopped to get a map. I could see it darkening up, but you would have thought that there was about to be Armageddon from talking to the guys working there. I have to say it was a heck of a storm. All of the landscape plants were blown flat. There were many tornados and Memphis was kicked around pretty bad. I ended up slinking to the Motel 6 and holed up until the rain stopped. Power was out in town, and the only place open was McDonalds, so I dined at the Rainbow Room.

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    Camping was definately out.:eek1 West Helena has a reputation as a combat zone. I stayed at the Motel 6 and felt perfectly safe.

    The next morning I headed west and was met with a lot of flooding. Everything was under a foot of water. I headed home and had to deal with the remnants of the weather from the day before as it wacked Birmingham, AL.

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    I was gone for 4.5 days to ride this leg of the TAT. Nothing was too hard, and it was reasonably easy to navigate. I used routes and followed turn by turn directions from my GPS 76CX. City Navigator worked fine as it will for 95% of the TAT.

    The BMW GS 1150 worked like a charm. I did a fair amount of prep work to make sure it was reliable, and started on a new set of Tourances. I just ran the recomended tire pressures and had no problems. I had a light load on the bike so it was easy to handle. The deep MS gravel was no problem, I just stood on the pegs most of the time. I was suprised at how well it hustled around on the back roads, and ate up the miles. It also was very comfy on the road going to Jellico, and coming home to Atlanta. The GS would be great from Green River east if you left out Hancock pass.
    #6
  7. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    Seattle, WA
    After I got home from the first leg, I got to work on my DRZ400S wich I used for the rest of the TAT. I would have preferred to ride the GS1150 for the next several states, but it would have been a problem logistically.

    I am a firm believer in the 6 P's. Proper Preperation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. So I got to work.

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    I moved the main fuse, and shortened the wire used to charge the battery. I also put anti chafing materials on the wiring to prevent problems.

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    Kick starter for backup--I would hate to get stuck somewhere with a dead battery and try to bump start it by myself.

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    Installing Race-Tech Gold Valves in the suspension. I cannot describe how much this mod and respringing improves a DRZ400. Baby head rocks? No problemo. This mod allowed me to use the stock S model gearing on the whole TAT. Shown also is the MSR shock seal which would later cause me headaches.

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    My rig to change countershaft sprockets. I carried a 13 and 14 tooth countershaft sprocket in case things got too gnarly. They did not and were dead weight. Also doubles as tire iron and axle nut wrench. Also doubles as socket wrench to take crankcase plug out to change oil. I tried to make everything have more than 1 use to save weight. The Motion Pro MP tool was indespensible on this trip and epitomizes this principle.

    Notice the EK super chain for crotch rockets. I took up 3 knotches on the whole TAT. Unbelievable. Highly recomended.

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    Nothin' spells lovin' like somethin' from the oven--my first attempt at powdercoating.

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    A little something to knock down sage brush.......

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    Tool Storage built into my custom Dirt Bagz racks. I added loops to attach the luggage so nothing moved around. Very secure, but too strong. I ended up bending the lug on my subframe when I crashed.

    I rode the DRZ from Arkansas to Oregon and back to Boise with only 1 problem but I will get to that later. Bulletproof bike. The only thing I could think of that could be better would be a 525 KTM. You are going to have to man handle your bike in many places on the TAT. You had better have something that you can man handle.
    #7
  8. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    Leg 2 of my TAT adventure started in Oxford, MS. I wanted to get a ride to West Helena, AR where I left off. My wife and her girlfriend had other ideas--they wanted to go to Tupelo, MS and see where Elvis was born. So Oxford it would be. We had lunch at a nice Thai restaurant and I was off like a prom dress.

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    I headed over towards W. Helena and the infamous bridge. The last time I went across it was pre storm....


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    Off into the White River basin.



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    There was miles of this kind of flooding/moving water. I was glad to be riding on D606's.

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    So, I am riding along on gravel and came into some houses. The roads were starting to be chip sealed. Here, someone spread a bunch of chips, but did not seal it. It was like hitting ice. The next thing I knew, the rear end was now the front end, and I was in a slow motion low side. ATGATT saves the day again. I always ride in street gloves, and this would not be the first time they saved my hands. The next time would save broken bones.

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    I am finally in the Ozarks.

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    I did a little horse herding. I spent my youth with farm animals, and enjoy being around them.

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    After a pleasant night at Shores Lake State Park it was time for Warloop Road. I was taking this picture on Sunday morning, and the people who live on the corner came out to see what I was doing. They did not know that their road was famous. I got some history about the county worker who kept the road in repair years ago. I also found out about his attempt to pave the road seruptitiously which causes the shelfs and erosion. I ended up riding Warloop road 3 times. I got to the bottom and figured I should see if having the DRZ geared up would cause any problems so I headed back up. Woo hoo. On the way back down my sneakers got loose, so I had to go back up to find them. So three times it was.

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    I am not really sure why this road gets people's panties in such a wad. Another case of the hype not matching the reality.:dunno

    OOOOOOOOOklahoma!

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    I think this was the Buffalo River. If it had been time to stop, I would have camped around here. I might have even rented a canoe.

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    I camped at the Snowdale State Park outside of Salina, OK. The hot showers sealed the deal. It was hotter than Hades, and a swim seemed like a good idea.

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    As you can see, I have pretty minimal camping gear. One man tent, down sleeping bag, Big Agnes Air Core pad. Everything weighs less than 10 lbs. I know that people will tell you to leave this behind, but I would not have missed camping for much of anything. Besides, this gear weighs less than a lot of guys beer guts:pot .
    The gear available today is really good, so spend the money wisely--you do not really need that Big Dude exhaust. I got all of my gear on closeout. This is the second one man tent I have had. The other one did not have enough head room to sit up in. This one does, and it is really easy to put my gear on without giving someone in the campground a free show. I also have things like a blow up pillow and a silk liner for my bag. Little things like this add to comfort and keep you from getting fatigued over the days.

    The Oklahoma roads were straight and fast.

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    Tall Grass Preserve--one of my favorite parts of the TAT.

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    It had been raining, and the sand was nice and tacky. Great for riding.

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    I was dodging storms all afternoon up by the Kansas border.

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    I ended up popping up into Kiowa, KS and took refuge from a big lightning storm in the Hometown Inn. Nice people there running the motel who are motorcyle friendly. Do not ruin it.......I managed to do my laundry for the rest of the trip.

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    Cows.

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    Buffalo, OK

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    Sand.

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    Things got a little sketchy for a while. I should have found a reroute. There are a lot of people who get out here and slog through miles of mud just to say they rode the whole TAT. Earlier this summer there were a couple of guys from here in GA talking smack about a couple of BMW guys that rerouted. In my mind, why slog through mud when there is a good road one square over? Besides tearing up your bikes, you are tearing up the trail. This is not a problem here where roads are graded occasionally. This is a problem out west though. In the end the TAT it is just a line drawn on a map........

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    I rode into Boise City, OK and had dinner. I decided on Mexican. It took forever to get, and was lousy. Black Mesa State Park on the other hand was great. I said hi to Gordon Freeman while I was there:wave

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    Welcome to New Mexico for the next hour or so.

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    My GPS crapped out somewhere out here. Since I had been using the GPS, I really did not know where I was. This could be bad...... I ended up making a field repair to the cigarette lighter adapter. I later bought a replacement GPS since the old one had broken aa battery terminals. I also found out that the GPS76CX takes 12V power and did not need the step down in the cigarette adapter anyway. I wired the GPS and did not have any more trouble on the western sections.


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    Into Colorado. I went past all of the old buildings. Everyone has seen them already.....

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    Spanish Peaks

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    Camping my last night on this leg of the TAT.

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    I happened to find this campground. I would like to meet the owner some day.

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    I rode north from here and headed up to Colorado Springs where I would be leaving the bike for the next couple of weeks. I rented a unit at Public Storage and took care of some maintenance.

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    This leg took me 5.5 days. These were fairly long high mileage days, especially in OK. I spent a lot of time running 60+ mph. The windshield and Renazco seat were crucial for making this kind of mileage. I cut out several of the detours to cities for gas or lodging, since I did not use any of the recomended stops. I just rode until I wanted to stop, or needed fuel. Super easy riding, but I could see how weather could either make or break you in OK.

    With the bike all maintained, fresh oil, and a full gas tank, it was time to tuck it in and head for home. I spent the night in a motel, and hitched a ride back to Atlanta on a 737NG the next afternoon. Two weeks until the meat of the trip.
    #8
  9. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
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    Right where I need to be
    Looking good so far, can't wait to see part 3.

    :lurk

    P.S. How was the trail once past the Sheldon Wildlife refuge?
    #9
  10. betiller

    betiller Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
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    122
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    Georgia, USA
    Well done! Be safe on the last leg.
    #10
  11. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Lower US 48
    What the heck? Winter is far from here but we have had one night of cool weather. Besides, I'm just an absolute sucker for these reports. Bring it on.

    :lurk
    #11
  12. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
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    4,747
    Location:
    Thousand Oaks, CA.
    Thanks flor the TAT Ride Report...
    It brings back many good memories. :thumb
    Q~
    #12
  13. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
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    Way Down North, New Hampshire
    I like your style of writing!

    Some details on your bike setup please!

    Nice pictures, good reporting!
    #13
  14. DingWeed

    DingWeed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
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    769
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    4 Corners
    Hey jetdoctor!! It was good to meet you and shoot the breeze therein Dovecreek CO RR looking good:lurk :clap :clap Scott
    #14
  15. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    Seattle, WA
    Hi Everyone,
    Hi Dennis, it was good camping with you. I need to read your R/R. The Sheldon refuge is rough to say the least. It only took me a few hours to ride it, but it seemed a lot longer.........How did your subframe come out?

    About bike setup, what do you want to know? I made as many of the parts myself as I could. That is my philosophy in general. This trip is not a once in a lifetime kind of thing, and I did not break the bank in any way. My emphasis is on reliability, and protection from damage.

    I did make some changes for the last part of the trip. I have a First Gear Cross Moto jacket that I wore for the first 2 legs. It is not waterproof, so I had to carry a rain jacket which eats up a lot of room. I used some MSR ISDE pants on the other legs, and bought the matching jacket for the last leg. I cannot recomend this gear enough. It is made of Gelanots fabric which is like Gore-Tex and is truly waterproof and breathable. The jacket has great ventilation, not so the pants. I ended up riding with the fly open to get some air inside. I rode in everything from the high 90's to the low 40's and pouring rain in this suit. When it got hot, I took off the jacket and put an XXL jersey over my pressure suit. I carried a fleece top, but never needed it.

    I had planned on flying back to Colorado Springs on the morning after I finished with work on Aug 30. I work a 12 hour midnight shift, got home around 6 AM and was hoping for a nap before I left. I told my wife to set the alarm clock so I would not have to wake her, but she neglected to do this.:ddog I ended up waking up late, and after getting held up in security, missed my flight.:becca The only flight to Colorado Springs.....I had to call my wife to come and get me, and my box went on without me. I probably needed the rest anyway.

    I got up the next day and got to the airport with plenty of time. They did not have a flight crew to fly the plane, so it ended up being an hour late. When I arrived in COS, I collected my box, which unlike me arived on time.
    A word or two about boxes: If you are leaving your bike in a storage unit and flying home, you are going to need some way of carrying your gear home. Boxes are usually available at the storage places and airlines are perfectly happy with your using them to check as luggage. Just use a lot of tape so it will withstand being thrown around. This is a convenient way of carrying your gear without adding anything else to your load.

    I got a cab to the Public Storage, opened up my unit, and got my bike out. I packed my gear, and did a quick hard wire of the GPS. I also added another Ram mount in the center of the handlebars with a long arm so I could see the GPS better. This turned out to be a real help in navigating. Especially since I spent so much time standing.

    After checking out of the unit it was aroung 5PM. Do I call it a day, or do what I came here to do--ride? I ended up getting some food, and heading straight to Hancock Pass. I have ridden in the Sangre De Cristos on other trips to CO, so I was not worried about missing anything. I ended up getting to Hancock pass right around dusk.

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    I had some hopes of seeing the sunset up there, but you know how that hope stuff has been working out lately.......

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    Hancock is a bit rocky. The DRZ took it in stride, and soon I was at the top.

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    As you can see, it is getting dark in a hurry.

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    The moon was rising.

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    And I was at the top of a mountain.

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    I thought about setting up camp in the trees between Hancock and Tomichi, but considered that it was probably going to be well below freezing by the time I woke up. I have a 30 deg sleeping bag, so I carried on to lower altitudes.

    Focus.

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    I got to the bottom soon enough after sliding over countless water bars, loose rocks, etc. I am used to working at night, so it was not really all that bad. I am not sure I would have liked riding my GS1150 here, but it was a piece of cake on a DRZ.

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    I spent the night at Snowblind USFS campground. I tried to pay, but there were no envelopes. I ended up with a streak of free camping over the next few days.

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    It was 30F that night, and I barely stayed warm. It was also cold as I headed to Seargents. The cafe there was not open, so I ate some snacks and headed west to Lake City. After lunch, I decided to head over Engineer pass rather than Cinnamon. Engineer is quite a bit harder, but well worth it in terms of scenery.

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    The weather was a little sketchy, but I was glad that I was not in danger of any lightning storms like you can get in August.

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    I ran into some other bikers in Animas Forks. I have been here before, so I headed towards California Gulch.

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    Lake Como

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    Ophir Pete's Sake!

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    After Ophir you head over towards the Delores River valley. On my way, I happened to run into Rainer Huck. He has been riding forever, and is one of the people responsible for the access we enjoy in Utah. He was scouting a route for the group he was with that they would be riding the next day. We talked about the TAT, and how Sam Corerro had come to him and others asking for help laying out the western states. He told me who layed out the Oregon TAT, but the name escapes me. Through my riding, I know a lot of the people who gave information to Sam about the TAT. None of them can understand the stand taken about the route and the relative secrecy surrounding it.

    I need to upload a couple of pics of the "fun Jeep road," so I will carry on tomorrow.

    Cheers,
    Doug
    #15
  16. werewasi

    werewasi Guest

    #16
  17. gronk

    gronk HIGH ANGLE RIGGER

    Joined:
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    Very High Above Ground!North of The 49th parallel
    That's what I'm talking aboot eh!!:clap
    #17
  18. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

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    Seattle, WA
    #18
  19. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

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    Seattle, WA
    Hi Scott,
    It was good meeting you in CO. The food was great in the cafe where we met.
    How did your WR250 do on the rest of the trip?

    Cheers,
    Doug
    #19
  20. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Once you get off of US550 and head west, you will be riding on some easy gravel roads until you get to the "fun Jeep road." The "road" is actually an ATV trail. The first gate you get to will have you wondering if you are supposed to be there in the first place. I at first was looking for a go-around. The barbed wire was stretched tighter that a GD piano wire and it took all of my muscle to get the gate open. If I had not seen a trail marker on the other side I would have looked for another way. I am glad I went on this road. It was a little rough, but still a very cool trail.

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    This does not do justice to the ruts and rocks, but the switch backs made up for it.

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    It was getting late, so I started looking for a place to camp. After coming down the switchbacks, it poured rain. There were 2 USFS camp sites that I passed, and they were both soaked. After I got out of the rain, I started looking for somewhere to hole up for the night. It turned out that I hit the jackpot in a lot of ways.

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    I ended up pulling up over a low ridge behind some cottonwood trees. Cows had been bedding down here so there was a lot of flop around. I was not really sure where I was, but it was public land. I did not use a flash light, and set up camp using moonlight. I made some freeze dried chicken and rice, and while eating it saw some flashes over in the trees you can see over in the distance above. After a night listening to Coyotes howling and elk bugling and grunting, I figured out it was a game camera.

    This was Combat Touring at it's finest. I was somewhere I was probably not supposed to be. It turned out to be a really cool night, and it did not cost me a dime. Just ride until I got tired, stop and sleep next to the bike.

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    In the morning, I rode in to Dove Creek, and had a hearty breakfast in the cafe. While waiting, I got cleaned up and brushed my teeth. Then it was off to Utah, and the LaSalles.

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    Heading into the LaSalles you gain a lot of altitude. It also started raining and the temperature dropped to 42 deg F. I came up on 2 ranchers who were rounding up cattle. They had some cattle dogs with them, and we had a nice talk. My practice when coming up on people with horses is to shut off my engine and coast towards them. After we were done talking, I coasted down hill until I figured the bike would not spook the horses.

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    After shivering in the LaSalles, I got a good baking heading into Moab. Going from 42 to 98 in an hour was a shock. I had some tires waiting for me at a friend's house. They let me change my tires in their garage. I called some of the businesses in Moab, but none of them would GUARANTEE that they would have a set of tires for me when I got there. So, I spotted a set there myself. Pack your own parachute.:augie

    My bike with a nice shiny new set of D606s. The old ones would have gone another several hundred miles, but I did not want to have any trouble. These are one tough tire.

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    Notice the decidedly low tech prop rod used for tire changing and chain oiling. Just a simple piece of PVC with a cap on it. I kept it under the straps on my bag and with me in my tent in case something needed WHAPPING.:nod

    I ended up having dinner with my friends, and we talked about airplanes. He spent his time in Vietnam working on B66 electronic warfare planes. I had a really enjoyable night, :kumbaya caught some Z's and had a hot shower. Three nights into the trip, and 0 Dollars spent on lodging.:D

    The next moring, I was up bright and early. I got all loaded up and noticed my back tire looked low.:bluduh It was flat. I either pinched it and had the world's slowest leak, or the valve was leaking. Where I was going, I was not going to chance any problems, so I busted down the tire, and stuck in the spare tube. This took about 30 minutes, but I would have to wait until 9am for the Yamaha shop to open to get another spare tube. Off to the Rainbow Room for a long breakfast. I was hoping to see the 2 old guys who frequent the Moab McDonalds most mornings. We have had some great talks about Moab. They were not around, so I hope they are well.......

    I rode Mineral Bottom Road over to the Schaefer Switchbacks.

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    I have been to Moab before, and it never fails to impress. Still, I wish I had just headed towards Green River on the TAT route. A lot of people do the White Rim Trail, but I have to agree with DMan that you are best to just concentrate on finishing the TAT. Mineral Bottom Road was a mess, it was hot, and I knew I needed to be somewhere else. There was a badly off camber corner with deep gravel at the edges where I almost ended up down in a gully. D606 front tires are without a doubt the worst steering tire I have ever ridden on. A K270 steers better. I was listening to my MP3 player, and in trying to get the music to stop ruined my ear plugs and dropped my bike. I know, very squidley:shog . No more music for the rest of the trip.:(:

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    Later in the day would be the most physically challenging part of the whole TAT for me. I would need every bit of strength I could muster.

    Cheers for now,
    Doug
    #20