2016 TAT, Solo, Ocean to Ocean, Plan vs. Actual, Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by KenCM, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    yeah, you right!! the 120 DesertIT is like the other 140's tho.... i've run a couple of fronts, i like the 90/100 one.... would be good for trips, straight line stuff, they got a kinda flat carcass......
  2. Nurse Ratched

    Nurse Ratched Been here awhile

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    KenCM;

    Thanks for posting such a candid, and thus an extremely enjoyable, read. What I find particularly interesting is your comment about this trip being all about the destination, and not the journey. I’m sure you know this view runs counter to current trends in “life studies”. And I am confident you don’t give a crap about that.

    So, can I ask you, why did you take this trip? You made it clear WHAT you wanted to do, but why?

    If this is too personal, just ignore my question. But I just had to ask.
  3. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    I actually care very much about the thing those life studies are trying to get at and worked diligently for decades, and largely succeeded, in making my everyday life exactly as I want.

    As far as why I undertook this trip... As best as I can determine, I wanted to test myself, differentiate myself, and find others of a like mind.

    Breaking that down...
    As best as I can determine: We are emotional creatures and answers to questions like yours are more often than not actually after-the-fact justifications for acting on emotions. I'm doing my best here to understand and relate the emotions that resulted in this undertaking.

    I wanted to test myself: I derive immense pleasure from trying to do a thing. Success at doing that thing is like a bonus, it doubles the pleasure, but I really enjoy the trying even if success doesn't follow. Perhaps it helps me understand my place in the universe? This is an everyday habit that started as a child (as an attempt to get my father's approval) but took on a life of its own after I realized its origins. I do tend to take things to the extreme - last year I had two teeth pulled and dental implants placed without any form of anesthesia; in my estimation, half because I simply wanted to know if I could endure the pain and half because of the next thing below.

    differentiate myself: It very much seems that everyone wants to be uniquely special is some way. I'm not good looking enough, smart enough, funny enough, or rich enough to stand out based on those attributes. So I combine my higher than average willingness to take risk with my truly exceptional pigheadedness and voila!

    find others of a like mind:
    I am somewhat of a misanthrope, but do very much enjoy the company of other like-minded individuals. If not for activities like this, that serve as beacons for certain collections of beliefs/behaviors, the filtering process would be more painful than the reward and I would probably have no friends and simply sit and read.
  4. Archery21

    Archery21 Adventurer

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    Have to say thanks for taking the time and effort to do this RR. Very unique. Enjoyed it immensely.
  5. Nurse Ratched

    Nurse Ratched Been here awhile

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    KenCM;

    Thank you. Your reply raises some very interesting and compelling issues and concepts that I can certainly relate to.

    And I must add: when you mentioned that if it were not for activities like this you probably simply sit and read, I felt a sense of personal regret. But maybe not enough to make me get up out of my chair, at least not yet.
  6. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

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    Just like you, I search out like-minded people to enjoy the down time of a demanding career and family life. Some would approach this ride in different ways, with different gear and riding abilities. In your quest to attain the destination, you considered the machine and found some of its limitations, as well as some of your limitations. But one thing is clear - you did the ride from beginning to end and shared your experience for all of us. Not to detract from being a misanthrope, by relating to us you have passed on knowledge that we would not otherwise have unless we ourselves had done the ride just like you. So for this very reason, I thank you. Perhaps someday we will meet on the trail and swap stories.


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  7. SillyWillys

    SillyWillys Adventurer

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    Fantastic read! I'm in the beginning stages of planning for a 2018 run at the TAT, likely with a handful of friends. Rode from NH to Deal's Gap earlier this year on a mix of sport tourers, naked bikes, cruisers, and even an 83 Suzuki GS. Hoping they are heeding my recommendation of reading this thread... not sure everyone is on board with the amount of preparation that a successful trip is going to take.
  8. trikepilot

    trikepilot Been here awhile Supporter

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    FWIW... I know more than a few that did little to no planning, were successful in completing the TAT, and had an unforgettable time.

    I mentioned above in a post that "less is more" when it comes to TAT packing. I fully extend this philosophy to the planning as well. Don't get too hung up in the logistics that you miss some of the spontaneity. Do some basic research, pack smart, and then let the TAT unfold naturally and come to you on its terms.
    larryboy likes this.
  9. road_apple

    road_apple Hit the Trail

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    Thanks for taking time and effort to explain your experiences and problems in a way that makes sense without prejudice. Great writing style. You will undoubtedly save someone these problems in the future if they take heed. While I would never ride with you I do want to say thanks and if you see someone under the only tree in west OK or east CO taking a water break your next trip it's me and you don't have to wave. I understand that everyone enjoys this ride differently and some of us continue to do it without others because we enjoy it in our own ways. KTM twins have that sound and yours will make me smile when the cloud goes by. Ultralight backpacking has shown me the way, try it to simplify your bike and your life. Destination or journey doesn't matter in the greater scheme just that you do it.
  10. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    Wow, what a great thread! Thanks for putting the time together to talk about this stuff. The land you took is outrageous. Outrageous in the magnitude and outrageous that most of it stayed on the bike. Good for you and it is obvious you have some persistence and good common sense.

    DD
  11. RogerShakenbak

    RogerShakenbak Adventurer

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    Long time lurker here. Just wanted to thank you for taking that single-track, justifying my z-drag kit, and telling probably the funniest recovery story I have ever read. A 1911 as a grab handle made me snicker, but the "Charles Bronson shit" made me wake my wife laughing.
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  12. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Laughing is good :lol2

    Since you mentioned the z-drag, I'll offer the observation that anchors can be especially problematic.

    On the first occasion I used the z-drag, the bike was on what was essentially loose gravel and on only a slight incline. So, it was being pulled mostly horizontally and only slightly vertically and it was on a surface on which it could easily slide. The only available anchor was a bush and while it worked, it did so just barely as it was mostly uprooted by the time the bike was up.

    On the second occasion, the bike was on a steep incline of large boulders. It was being pulled equally horizontally and vertically, but also over the vertical edges of those boulders. The best available anchor within 100' was a boulder which I estimate to have had the volume of approximately a 3 foot sphere. If I've estimated the size correctly, and done the math correctly, that boulder probably weighed more than 1,800 pounds (not sure of the rock type so using a low value of 2.0 for the specific gravity; pounds per cubic foot is SG * 62.4 = 125 pounds per cubic foot; 3 ft. sphere volume = 14 cu. ft.; 14 * 125 = 1,800).

    The boulder slid down to the path before the bike moved at all and it likely would have kept coming had it not had a substantial flat portion.

    My points are these: the more you need the z-drag, the more you need a truly substantial anchor; and the longer the rope, the more chance you have of reaching that anchor.
    I had a 100 foot length of rope and on both occasions found only one (marginally) viable anchor within its reach.
    RogerShakenbak likes this.
  13. DCTFAN

    DCTFAN VIN# JH2SD0451GK000002 '16 CRF1000LD

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    Hi Ken,
    I've learned a lot just by reading this. Just finished reading the whole thing for the second time.
    Hope you have another grand trip this year, on the Africa Twin.
    Hope to have the chance to read/talk about it, once we are both done with the 2017 TAT.
    Thanks to all who chimed in with comments, also.
    IMO, one of the most informative, and well thought out RR thread for long distance touring.
    rbsride365 likes this.
  14. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Glad you found that stuff informative.

    I will be doing the entire route again this year, as you observed, on an Africa Twin.
    The major changes are that I found a riding buddy (also on an AT) and we plan on doing the whole thing in 14 calendar days.

    I've been considering starting a new thread for that ride, prior to departure, discussing preparation.
    Thunder-dog and FASTRacing like this.
  15. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

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    I would love to do this! My job won't allow two weeks of vacation at one time, but I was thinking of doing a fly and ride. I live in DFW, Texas and could ride two days to the start, three-four days on the TAT, store the bike and fly home. Next time I could fly out, get the bike from storage and ride five days. Keep doing that until I make my way back home. It would take a lot of planning but I like the sound of it. Thoughts?


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  16. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    East of CO is boring, boring, boring.
    I recommend you plot your own route from DFW North and West to intersect the TAT in the OK panhandle and simply do the Western portion from there.
    i4bikes likes this.
  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    Please do! Put a tickler here if you do so we don't miss it.
    FASTRacing likes this.
  18. horseiron1

    horseiron1 Been here awhile

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    Awesome report. Thanks for sharing:clap
  19. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    I'm all in for that thread. Have a manual AT and looking forward to doing the TAT in the next 2 years.
    Bike all kitted it out just need the time.

    Will follow here until you post the new link
  20. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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